Mon, 15th Jul, 2024 / 9 Muharram 1446
الإثنين ١٥ , يوليو , ٢٠٢٤ / 9 ٱلْمُحَرَّم 1446
Mon, 15th Jul, 2024 /
9 Muharram, 1446
الإثنين ١٥ , يوليو , ٢٠٢٤ / 9 ٱلْمُحَرَّم , 1446

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and the ranks of Prophets Adam, Noah, Ibrahim, Musa (Moses) and ^Isa (Jesus) and the rank of their brethrens in prophet-hood, their righteous followers and their companions; and may Allah protect the nation of prophet Muhammad from that which he fears for it. Thereafter:

Darulfatwa of Australia sadly received the news about pertaining to the transportation of sheep and farm animals over long distances for slaughtering and about the slaughtering method and concern for the apparent cruel manner in which animals are being treated during transportation to overseas countries and handling upon arrival to their destinations.

Hence, in our following response to this inquiry we will substantiate our statements drawing on evidence from the Qur’an, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad and scholarly statements, to assure you that animal cruelty is against Islamic teachings and prescriptions.

We also take this opportunity to describe in detail the characteristics of slaughtering animals according to the authentic Halal method, deeming the meat edible by Islamic standards.

Islam prescribed a slaughtering method that allows for the least agony to animals. This method is by cutting the air pipe and food and water canal (oesophagus) with what has a sharp blade, with the condition that the person slaughtering is a Muslim, Christian or Jew.

Upon satisfying these conditions on an edible animal which was steadily alive, consumption of the slaughtered animal becomes permissible upon the person who is confident that these integrals were satisfied. Thus the slaughtered animal is Halal.

However, if the death of the edible animal occurred by a blunt object or other means such as the animal died from the impact of a high fall, or by drowning, or by an electric shock, or by choking, or something that kills on impact like being squashed under a huge descending rock, it becomes unlawful to consume that animal. Hence the animal is considered non-Halal.

 Many of these methods result to animal torment, cruelty and longer death, which are absolutely not tolerated in Islam under any circumstances.

This ill-practice is rampant in many slaughter houses in Australia. In contrast to the mediated view, many slaughter houses in Australia who testify to being Halal certified, do not slaughter the cattle and farm animals in complete accordance to the Islamic rules. It has been observed that the cow is stunned on the forehead with a captive bolt which penetrates the skull or with a percussion stunning mushroom head (non-penetrating) before slaughtering. The bolt is driven into the animal’s brain, killing the animal and reducing it instantly unconscious. Proceeding to cutting the throat of these dead animals does not render them Halal.

 As for the percussion stunning mushroom head on the forehead, it incapacitates the animal by its velocity sending it unconscious before slaughtering. This method however, does not ensure a state of non-death. It does however cause extensive damage to the blood vessels of the brain in the process of producing unconsciousness. All of this causes immense torture and suffering to the animal prior to slaughtering. 

However, in the case where sheep are electrocuted ahead of slaughtering and chickens are placed on automatic conveyer belts into a water basin with an electric current running through it ahead of slaughtering, two matters arise. If the electric current is enough to only temporarily incapacitate the animal before slaughtering, and providing that if left alone the animal will regain its strength and return to its original stand, it is permissible to proceed to slaughter the animal by hand and according to other Islamic rules, and to consume the animal after slaughtering. Hence, it is certified as Halal.

But, if the electric shock or electric current paralyses the animal to a state of death or near death such that in the absence of being slaughtered the animal will not regain its original stand but will die slowly, it becomes unlawful to consume from that animal if slaughtered. This is the case even if all other Islamic integrals are satisfied during its slaughtering process. Islam considers this situation like slaughtering a dead animal. Hence, it cannot be certified as Halal

The best practice according to Islam is to avoid using electrocution prior to slaughtering the animal by Islamic rules, even if it does not kill the animal prior to cutting its throat.

Islamic Proof 1:

This is evidenced by the saying of Prophet Muhammad which means: “Allah has willed the right of goodness upon most things. So, let the one who is slaughtering sharpen his blade and relieve his slaughter by killing it quickly.”  This saying was related by Imam Muslim from the route of Shaddad the son of Aws.

Moreover, it is unlawful for a person to eat from the slaughtered animal if one cannot identify or determine that the slaughterer is one of the three classes of people whose slaughtering is lawfully edible according to Islam. Doubting about whether the slaughterer is among those three recognized categories of people eligible to slaughter animals, deems the consumption of the slaughtered animal non- Halal and unlawful according to Islam. Hence, to satisfy the certification of being Halal, the slaughterer must be identified without a doubt as being a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew.

Islamic Proof 2:

This is evidenced by the sayings of the scholars of Islam like Ibn Hajar Al-Haytamiy, Al-Suyutiy from the Shafi^y school, Al-Qarafiy from the Malikiy school and others. Indeed a consensus exists that having doubt whether the slaughter process of an edible animal has satisfied Islamic procedures or if there is doubt in the validity of any one or more integrals thereof, deems the consumption of that slaughtered animal unlawful upon the one who is in doubt. 

Islam also prescribes best practice of slaughtering edible animals in what is listed below as ethical and preferred deeds, outlining to what extent Islam shows concern towards easing the animal’s pain and suffering. It is desirable:

1.      To sharpen the blade away from the sight of the animal to be slaughtered, to slash the throat (wind, food and water pipes) in one fast back and forth motion applying pressure to instantly kill and relieve the slaughter.

2.      To request of comfortable place on which to slaughter the animal, because it alleviated unnecessary stress to the animal while being slaughtered.

3.      To face the slaughter’s neck towards the direction of the Qiblah (i.e direction of prayer-Ka^bah in Makkah) and for the slaughterer to also face his body in the direction of the Qiblah when slaughtering. This practice is in the tradition of Prophet Muhammad as relayed by the two renowned scholars of Islam Al-Bukhariy and Muslim and because the Qiblah is the most honourable direction to face.

4.      To mention only the name of Allah whilst cutting the throat, as if to say: “Bismillah” or “In the name of Allah”.

a.     Islamic Proof 3: Evidence to this practice is drawn from the meaning of the Quranic verse: {Eat from the slaughtering upon which the name of Allah has been mentioned}. This is also in adherence to the tradition of Prophet Muhammad as mentioned by Imams Al-Bukhariy and Muslim.

5.      The best practice mentioned in Islam is to cut the jugular veins and carotid arteries on both sides of the neck with the air pipe and oesophagus, because it is less distressing to the animal.

6.      After cutting through the jugular veins and carotid artery, the preferred conduct is to cease cutting right through, leaving the spinal cord intact and not separating the head completely, because such is an undesirable slaughtering practice.

7.      To avoid doing the following things after slaughtering the animal until the soul completely exits the body: to avoid cuting through excessively, commencing skinning the animal, breaking the spinal cord, breaking any body parts, setting alight the slaughtered animal and to not move it from its spot. Also holding down the animal in order to suppress its jerking motion in the process of its death, until the animal comes to a complete stillness.

8.      To transport the animal to its slaughter house in a kind manner that avoids distressing and harming the animal. To offer it a sip of water and lay it down kindly before slaughtering it. Also to not slaughter one animal in view of another. 

Hence forth, in reference to the conditions of transport, the slaughtering process and the handling of the cattle described to us in the inquiry and associated graphics, there is no doubt that such practices are against the practice inscribed by Islam. Some of these practices oppose the integrals of slaughtering rendering the slaughtered animal non-Halal for consumption. Other practices oppose the ethical and desirable best practice of traditional slaughtering methods, which does not alone render the slaughter as non-Halal for consumption providing the integrals of slaughtering as mentioned above had been satisfied.

However, the procedures described seem to be against what is considered by Islam as ethical and desirable practice on several fronts, one of which concerns the handling of the animals by employees and is of two types. One type of handling does not seem to reach the level of sinful act, even though it is against the preferred traditional practice of the Prophet. The other type of handling does seem to be in violation and a sinful act.        

Certainly, in adherence to Islamic judgments, we strongly advice that the integrals and preferred practices are adhered to and that kind methods are employed in transporting and handling the animals to their slaughter houses.

Islamic Proof 4:

To this Imam Al-Bukhariy in his book al-Jami^ al-Sahih in the section on al-Adab (i.e. Ethics), chapter ‘Kindness to People and Animals’, mentions that the Prophet Muhammad said what means: “Those who are not merciful to others, will not be granted the ultimate mercy [i.e. will be subject to punishment]”.  

In further explaining this saying the scholar Ibn Hajar, in his book ‘Fath Al-Bari’ –the explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhariy said: “Ibn Battal said: ‘this statement [the abovementioned saying of the prophet] urges for the kind and merciful treatment of all creatures including animals owned and un-owned. Merciful and kind treatment includes responsibly providing food and water and to not over work the animal or over load it with unbearable weight and to refrain from physically abusing the animal by hitting it.’”    

Islamic Proof 5:

Imam Muslim in his book AsSahih, in the section on ‘Benevolence, Keeping Ties and Ethics’, in the chapter on ‘The Unlawfulness of Inflicting Harm on Cats and the Like’, the Prophet Muhammad said what means: “A woman was tortured after her death because of her treatment to a cat. She had imprisoned a cat until it died. So, the woman entered hellfire because of that deed. She did not feed the cat, nor gave it water nor did she free the cat to enable it to eat from the bugs of the earth. Instead she kept it imprisoned until it died.” 

Islamic Proof 6:

Imams Al-Bukhariy and Muslim related that the Prophet Muhammad said what means: “As a man was walking in the street, he became very thirsty. He found a well and descended in it and drank. As he climbed out he saw a dog panting in thirst for water and scavenging the earth dust in desperation. The man said: ‘this dog probably feels as thirsty as I did’. So he climbed down the well again and filled his shoe with water and climbed back up clinching on to the shoe by his teeth and offered the water for the dog to drink and the dog drank it. Allah accepted this good deed from the man and pardoned him from all prior sins.”

The companions asked the Prophet: “O Prophet of Allah, do we earn rewards for treating animals with goodness?”

The Prophet explained that, approaching animals with goodness such as to give them food and/or water, is a rewardable deed.

Imam An-Nawawiy, in his explanation of ‘Sahih Muslim,’ in the Chapter on ‘Giving Food and Drink to the Regarded Animals relayed the saying which depicts this understanding.

Hence, this saying instructs one to treat well all regarded animals. Then the prophet said: “The rewardable deeds to regarded animals include such deeds as feeding them or giving them water and being kind to those animals, irrespective of whether the animal belongs to someone or not, or whether the animal is your own or not.”

May we be among those who learn the correct methods and apply them.

[1] Such as cattle and sheep.  

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