The Islamic Way of Slaughtering
Not all animals require slaughtering before they
can be consumed by Muslims. Marine animals, bloodless
animals and locusts need not be slaughtered. Allah
says, " Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game
and their use for food for the benefit of yourselves
and those who travel."[Al-Maidah (5), verse
Slaughtering of edible animals for food is a ritual
of the Shari'ah that is observed by Muslims worldwide.
It is a ritual that purifies an animal from blood
and filth thereby making it good and wholesome for
Conditions for Slaughter
The slaughtering of Halal animals must be separated
from Non-Halal animals and should adhere to the
• It must be performed by a Muslim (who is
of sound mind, mature, and fully understands the
Islamic procedures, conditions and methodology for
slaughtering of animals;
• Dressing of carcasses should commence only
after the animal is dead;
• The meat of the animals to be slaughtered
must be edible by Muslims (eg. pork is prohibited);
• Slaughtering tools and other implements
used must be for the slaughter of Halal animals
• The animals must be alive or deemed to be
alive at the time of slaughter;
• For animals with normal necks, the act of
slaughter must begin with an incision to the animals
neck just before the glottis. For animals with long
necks such as chicken, turkeys, ostriches, camels
etc., the incision must be before the glottis;
• The animal's trachea and aesophagus must
be severed. The spinal cord should not be cut and
the head not severed completely so as to induce
immedite and massive hemorrhage;
• Uttering the full phrase of "Bismillah"
immediately before the slaughter is compulsory .
• Slaughtering must be done once only. The
slaughtering implement must not be lifted off the
animal during slaughtering. Any lifting is construed
as one act of slaughter. Multiple acts of slaughther
on one animal is prohibited;
• Slaughtering must be for the sake of Allah
only and not for other purposes e.g. for ritual
• Bleeding must be spontaneous and complete;
Note: The above conditions are for information only
and are not intended to qualify any individual for
slaughtering of animals.
New Methods of Slaughter
There are basically two new methods of slaughtering
animals that have been adopted to cope with growing
concerns towards animal cruelty and increasing demands:
stunning prior to slaughtering and mechanical slaughtering.
Stunning of Animals Prior
The alleged cruelty to animals during slaughter
using the simple knife-based method is a growing
concern among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. With
the advance of technology, new methods that seem
to be less cruel have been adopted and carefully
employed to ensure Halalness. The methods involve
stunning of animals prior to slaughtering.
For the stunning to be acceptable in Islam, the
following conditions must be complied with:
- The use of stunning equipment must be under the
control of a Muslim supervisor, or a slaughterman
or Halal Certification authority at all times.
- The animal should be stunned temporarily only.
The stunning should neither kill nor cause permanent
injury to the animal.
- Gadgets used to stun pigs must not be used to
stun halal animals.
There are three acceptable methods of stunning -
electrical, mechanical and pneumatic:
- The stunner should be of the type approved by
the authority and of the type Head-Only -Stunner
i.e where electrodes are placed on the head region
- Stunning should not damage the heart or brain
or cause physical disability or death.
- Electrical stunning of poultry is allowed using
water bath stunners only.
- Mechanical stunners can be used on cattles and
- Only non-penetrative type is allowed.
- The stunner must not penetrate or break the head.
Any injury caused should not be permanent.
- The skull of the animal, after being skinned,
should be checked for permanent injury. If found
to be broken or penetrated, the carcass shall be
- A pneumatic stunner uses high pressure air to
stun animals and must be directed at the atlantooccipital
to render the animal unconcious for a few seconds.
Mechanical Slaughtering of Poultry
Slaughterting of poultry using mechanical knife
is permitted subject to the following:
-The operator of the mechanical knife is a Muslim
and should utter the full phrase of "Bismillah"
prior to switching on the machine.
-The slaughterman who switches on the machine must
be present at the slaughter area at all times during
- If the slaughterman has to leave or be replaced,
he has to stop the mechanical slaughter and his
replacement will first utter the full phrase of
"Bismillah" prior to restarting the machine.
- The knife used must be of single blade type and
- The throat, the aesophagus and major blood vessel
in the neck region (jugular vein and carotid artery)
of the poultry must be severed.
- Each bird must be checked that it is properly
slaughtered and only dead birds are subsequently
sent for scalding.
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