Islamic Method of Slaughter (Dhabiha)

The below question was asked by Br. Abdul Waheed on WhatsApp Group:
1small Q
While slaughtering 1 goat or cow we say bismillahi allah hu akber
Suppose if we have 10thousand or tons of animals to cut all together do we have to individually say bismillahi allah hu akber…???
Waiting for the answer…

Answered by Brother Sadeeq:
As salaam Alai kum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkathu, the above question was some time ago, we apologize for replying late, as we were collecting information, and analyzing to respond properly and accurately with necessary references:

The arabic word ‘zabiha’ derived from root word (ذ ب ح) normally means to ‘slaughter’, and any further explanation on this word like: what to slaughter?, How to slaughter?, On what occasions to slaughter? would be beyond the scope of this post. However, we would like to mention slaughtering involves cutting of the approved animal, with a little bit of details, so please note what the following verse of the Quran is teaching us:

Neither their flesh nor their blood reaches Allah, but it is (the feeling of His) fear in you that reaches Him. Thus He has subjected them to you that you may regard Allah Great for having guided you, and convey the good news to the doers of good.1

From the above verse it is clear that ‘neither their flesh nor their blood reaches Allah (SWT)….’, then what should we do, if these do not reach Allah, are we allowed to consume? The following verse explains about ‘blood’:

He (SWT) has forbidden for you only: the dead and blood and flesh of swine and that over which (a name) other than that of Allah has been invoked, but one who is driven to necessity (being helplessly forced to eat) neither desiring it nor revolting, then Allah is certainly Protectively Forgiving, Merciful.2

So the Quran has clarified that blood is forbidden to eat, then what about flesh?

And of the cattle some are for carrying burden and some for slaughter (food). Eat of that which Allah has provided for you and do not follow the footsteps of the devil, he is certainly your open enemy.3

Now it is clear that the flesh is for consumption, but do we keep the whole meat for ourselves or share it?

And the camels for sacrifice, We have made (them) among symbols of Allah for you, there is good for you in them. So mention the name of Allah (as) they line up (for sacrifice), then when they fall down on their sides eat from them and feed the one who is content and the one who begs. Thus We have subjected them to you that you may be grateful.4

Now we know that slaughtering involves, mentioning Allah’s name, injuring the animals in such as manner so as to drain their blood, and consuming the flesh. It is totally prohibited to consume blood, it is a proven scientific fact as further explained by Dr. Zakir Naik in the following video:

In last Hajj Rasool Allah (SAWS) gave sacrifice of 100 camels, out of which he (SAWS) slaughtered 63 by himself and rest were slaughtered by Ali (RA) as per the following hadith:

‘….He (SAWS) then went to the place of sacrifice, and sacrificed sixty-three (camels) with his own hand. Then he gave the remaining number to ‘Ali (RA) who sacrificed them, and he (SAWS) shared him in his sacrifice. He then commanded that a piece of flesh from each animal sacrificed should be put in a pot, and when it was cooked, both of them (the Prophet (SAWS) and Hadrat ‘Ali (RA)) took some meat out of it and drank its soup….’5

The above hadith clarifies that it is a must to slaughter by hand, allow the blood to gush out of the slaughtered animal, however large the quantity of animals may be, and it is also clear that the slaughtering process can be shared with someone else, like Rasool Allah (SAWS) shared with Ali (RA) in the above hadith.

The duration in which slaughtering is done is also important during Hajj, but compensation was given by Rasool Allah (SAWS) as per the following hadith:

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Somebody said to the Prophet (during his last Hajj), “I did the slaughtering before doing the Rami.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) beckoned with his hand and said, “There is no harm in that.” Then another person said. “I got my head shaved before offering the sacrifice.” The Prophet (ﷺ) beckoned with his hand saying, “There is no harm in that.”6

From the above hadith it is clear that the total time available for slaughtering is a ‘whole day’, rather the 3 days of Eid, the slaughter house in Makkah Al Mukarama, near Mina Valley was re-built and started to function from the year 2000 to accommodate a capacity of slaughtering 200,000 sheep/day with a workforce of 10,000 people according to BBC News Middle East posted on Saturday 11th March 2000.7

The above article also mentions that ‘proper cutting’ of flesh, its ‘preserving’ and ‘distributing’ to the needy are a requirement, otherwise the whole purpose of Sacrifice is lost.

With the advancement in science and technology now we can preserve the slaughtered meet by a process called ‘Flash Freezing’ or ‘Blast freezing’ where the fresh meet in frozen in a specified time of four to six hours to a temperature of -45OC, and then stored at a temperature of -18OC, which ensures a shelf life in freezers / cold rooms of at least one year without loosing any of its properties or taste or texture, so the meat can reach the needy in good condition. Please refer to 8 for more details. The article says that the current figure of employees at the slaughter house has risen to 40,000 people plus the ‘preserving services’ and ‘huge cold stores’ are required obviously.

The following video is an automated sheep cutting line, but the ‘only and major’ difference would be the Islamic way of slaughtering that is by hand and allowing the blood to gush forth from the animal.

Some improvements can be done in the automated line ofcourse, such as shown in this video from Abu Dhabi slaughter house:

In short to answer the question, yes for every animal that is slaughtered Allah’s name must be mentioned, irrespective of the quantity of animals, slaughtering should be by hand, the rest of the process could be automated, science and technology could be used as necessary to preserve and distribute the meat to the needy.

We hope the above answers your question, Jazak Allah Khair

References:

  1. Al Quran – Surah Hajj (Pilgrimage) Chapter 22: Verse 37
  2. Al Quran – Surah Al Nahl (The Bee) Chapter 16: Verse 115
  3. Al Quran – Surah Al Anam (The Cattle) Chapter 6: Verse 142
  4. Al Quran – Surah Hajj (Pilgrimage) Chapter 22: Verse 36
  5. Sahih Muslim: 1218a, In book Ref.: Book 15, Hadith 160, English Ref.: Book 07, Hadith 2804 http://sunnah.com/muslim/15/159
  6. Sahih al-Bukhari 84, In-book reference: Book 3, Hadith 26, English reference: Vol. 1, Book 3, Hadith 84 http://sunnah.com/urn/840
  7. Saudis open huge slaughterhouse http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/674088.stm
  8. Flash freezing takes care of surplus meat from Haj sacrifice click here

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