THE MUSLIM METHOD
Presented by Dr. Abdul Majid Katme, (Chairman of the Islamic Medical Association in the UK) at the UFAW* Symposium on Humane Slaughter and Euthanasia, held at the Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, on the 18th and 19th September, 1986.
*Universities Federation for animal Welfare (in association with the Humane Slaughter Association).
In the name of ALLAH, the Beneficent, the Merciful
AN UP-TO-DATE ASSESSMENT OF THE MUSLIM METHOD OF SLAUGHTER
N D E X
would prefer to call this talk An
up-to-date assessment of the Islamic
as the Islamic view towards slaughter is what we would like to
discuss here today; Islam has got permanent fixed rules and
teachings which do not change with time but Muslims sometimes,
especially when they are not practicing, do not adhere properly and
strictly to the code of Islam.
Before going into this subject, I think it would be wise, for the benefit of this large, non-Muslim audience, to give an idea about Islam, a faith with 1.5-2 million followers here in the UK. I am sure that this explanation about our background will clarify many of the issues which we would like to raise during the talk today and will make you understand the importance and wisdom behind our Islamic Law in connection with slaughtering of animals for food.
Islam is the last, and final religion, after Judaism and Christianity. Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the last Prophet giving this message to mankind. The word Islam means voluntary, total and full submission to the words and orders of the creator, ALLAH (s.w.t) the one and only creator, the creator of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them). Islam is a full, comprehensive religion and code of life which contains all the instructions for the different aspects of life - health, nutrition economic, education, science, morality etc. - for the individual male and female, for the family and for the society at large. Its rules and orders are permanently fixed, forever, applying to any one place at any one time.
We therefore believe that religious law should not be interfered with by any authority.
The two basic references for Muslim laws are:
ALLAH (s.w.t) is the Creator of the universe, our bodies - with its anatomy and physiology - and the Creator of all the animals.The same Creator has given us the appropriate laws, especially in connection with food and diet, which will never, ever, lead to any contradiction or any suffering or ill-health. The laws of real science go hand in hand with the laws of ALLAH (s.w.t)
Food and dietary laws are an important part of Islam and we have all the details about:
what food to eat and drink
what food and drink to avoid;
how to eat and drink (i.e. etiquette);
when to eat and drink
what animals to eat and
which ones to avoid;
how to slaughter the animals.
All this, and a lot more, have been stated and explained in the Quran and by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his sayings and practice and to eat halal (lawful) food is a form of worship, like prayer.
Mercy is another characteristic of Islam:
mercy to all animals;
to children; to women;
to the elderly,
and even to plants.
A person can go to paradise for feeding a thirsty dog! A person can go to hell for starving a cat!
Health is also another characteristic embedded in all the teachings and instructions of Islam. Anything halal (lawful) will lead you to good health, free from disease and suffering; conversely, anything haram (unlawful) will inevitably lead to disease and suffering of one kind or another. For example adultery leads to venereal diseases and other problems; homosexuality leads to AIDS, etc.; alcohol abuse gives brain damage, liver disease and many other medical, psychological and social problems (all these are forbidden).
Fourteen hundred years ago, Islam talked about the relationships between diet and disease by encouraging the Halal (lawful) diet and drink. Allow me to establish a few basic facts in Islam, which are relevant to our subject today. It is forbidden to consume blood, in any form, and, medically, we know that blood is harmful to health. As it contains toxins and urea, and may contain bacteria, parasites viruses new chemicals and drugs etc. Besides this, blood can lead to poisoning when still in meat to be consumed.
It is also forbidden in the Old and New Testaments to cosume blood.
The Bible says: -
And they smote the Philistines that day from Mishmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. And the people flew upon the spoil, and took: sheep, and oxen. And calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood. Then they told Saul. Saying. Behold, the people sin against the Lord. In that they eat with the blood. And he said. Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day. And Saul said. Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them. Bring me hither every man his ox. And every man his sheep. And slay them here, and eat: and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood.
(Samuel 15: 31-34).
Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life: and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. Thou shalt not eat it. thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water.
It is forbidden to eat the meat of an animal, which has died before being slaughtered (by any kind of stunning, strangulation - chemical or physical -, a blow to the head -concussion or percussion -, or due to a fall etc.) Only meat killed in the Halal (lawful) way is allowed to be consumed (dead meat with all the clotted blood in it is very harmful to health).
ALLAH (s.w.t) says in the Quran Forbidden to you (for food) are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine and that over which has been invoked other than the name of ALLAH (s.w.t) that which has been killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a headlong fall or by being gored to death; that which has been partly eaten by a wild animal, unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form) and that which is sacrificed on stone (altars).
( Surah Al-Maida 5/3)
It is also forbidden (Haram) to eat carnivorous animals such as lions, tigers, etc., carnivorous birds like eagles and hawks, scavengers like vultures, mules, donkeys, rats, mice, dogs, cats and frogs. Some seafoods, however, are allowed (halal) Eating meat is not compulsory in Islam, but highly recommended. Slaying animals for food has been described, clearly, by the Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), in his saying,
Verily, Allah (s.w.t) has prescribed proficiency in all things; thus, if you kill, kill well and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters
In addition, it has been practiced by him (the Prophet) in the most perfect and humane way (and he is a Prophet and a model to follow).
The Islamic View Of the Animals:
Again, to make you understand the religious concept of slaughtering, I would like to give you a brief idea about how Islam views animals and what the Quran and Prophet Muhammad. (peace be upon him) have said about the animal kingdom and its place in Islamic teaching.
The biggest chapter in the Quran is Al-Baqarah (The Cow). It contains 286 verses, many of which are verses of guidance and Islamic instruction for the believers.
Other chapters of the Quran with titles related to the animal kingdom are:
Cattle, Bees, Ants, Spider, Elephant.
According to the Muslim scholars and scientists, these titles and names of the animals carry behind them some wisdom and interesting, meaningful ideas. Look at how these animals have the honor to have chapters of the Holy Book named after them!
There are also other animal names mentioned in the Quran with the stories relevant to them:
camel, mule, donkey, horse, snake, locusts, whale, pig, fox, house-fly, carnivorous animals and birds, frog, bird, calf, fish, sheep, monkey, lice, dog, goat, bee and many others.
Preservation of the species was done a long time ago by ALLAHs (s.w.t) order in Noahs Ark, without which we would not know of any animals in our lives today. T