Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is the prescribed method of slaughter for all meat sources, excluding fish and other sea-life, per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering animals consists of using a well-sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, windpipe, and jugular veins. The head of an animal that is slaughtered using halal methods is aligned with the qiblah. In addition to the direction, permitted animals should be slaughtered upon utterance of the Islamic prayer “in the name of God.”
The correct method of slaughtering involves the simultaneous cutting of the gullet, windpipe, carotid artery, and jugular vein of the animal with a sharp knife. The conditions for slaughter are as below:
- The one who carries out the slaughtering must be a Muslim;
- If possible, the instrument used to slaughter should be made of iron;
- The creature to be slaughtered must be made to face the Holy Kaaba;
- The animal should be slaughtered according to Islamic ritual including with the recitation of ‘Bismillah Allah Akhbar’ before slaughtering each animal.
- There must be a normal emission of blood from the animal after the slaughter.
The animal must show some sign of movement after being slaughtered to show that the animal was alive before being slaughtered. In Islam, other forbidden items include pork and all its products, animals which are improperly slaughtered, alcoholic drinks including all forms of intoxicants, carnivorous animals, birds of prey, and any food contaminated with any of these products.
“They ask thee (Oh Muhammad SAW) what is made lawful for them. Say (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey, which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you, so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah’s name upon it and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account.’’ (5:4)
How is halal commercial slaughtering beneficial to our health?
Islamic slaughter methods are beneficial to human health in that the blood completely drains from the carcass, producing healthier and cleaner meat free from excessive microbial growth. In addition, the meat lacks fear toxins, which cause fear and anxiety in humans, as the slaughter is swift, quick, all-encompassing, and as painless as possible. Lord Horder GCVO, MD, FRCP comments that, ‘The animal loses consciousness immediately. It is difficult to conceive a more painless and rapid mode of death; for a few seconds after the cut is made, the animal makes no movement, its body is then convulsed, the convulsive movements continue for about a minute and then cease. The interpretation of this fact is clear: the cut is made by a knife so sharp and so skillfully handled that a state of syncope with its associated unconsciousness follows instantaneously upon the severing of the blood pressure. The movement of the animal, which begins at 90 seconds is epileptiform in nature and is due to the bloodless state of the brain (cerebral ischemia with complete anoxaemia). Sensation has been abolished at the moment of the initial syncope.
Any action or method, which will definitely lead to some harm, damage, or suffering is to be rejected or any action, which can be suspected to lead to a prohibited act is also to be rejected. So any method of slaughtering, which can give us more blood or a dead animal (before the cut (for slaughtering) is made) is rejected.