Although one of the most joyful amusements that we usually choose, is to grab some chicken and meat from a supermarket or a Halal butcher and go out to the parks for a barbeque day, many of us have never thought about killing an animal and then barbecuing it.
Has it ever happened to you to be stuck in a village and have no access to butchers? Those of us who are more adventurous may have experienced camping in nature or visiting outlying villages. In such situations usually making a fire and roasting chicken or beef gives us the exciting sense of early humans. But who would be the one to kill that chicken, sheep, or cow and make it Islamically lawful (Halal)?
In this short text, I am going to provide you with a guideline of how to slaughter an animal according to Islamic law. But before starting on the Islamic slaughtering guideline, I know that you may have a bad feeling about killing animals, (as if other meats that we buy from butchers or supermarkets have been flourished in jungles beside mushrooms!!).
Or that many animal rights activists may condemn us for the Islamic slaughtering of animals. Therefore I would shortly argue if the Islamic way of slaughtering animals is a humane act or not?
Eating meat has been naturally and instinctively downloaded in human beings! Our body has been created in a way to digest both meat and vegetables. That is why PKU is known as an inborn error of metabolism that causes an amino acid known as phenylalanine to build up in the blood because the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) enzyme is either missing or not working properly . People who suffer from PKU must live vegan as they lack this metabolism system.
God has created us meat-eaters and has permitted us to eat meat (but those that he has named forbidden (Haram)). Therefore having created human beings, the environment, and the animals, God knows best how nature's life-cycle must run.
Animals obey the rules of this cycle instinctively. However, having a quick search in the Quran and study the verses about food and drink, one can realize that opposing to slaughter or avoiding to eat animals is not something new that belongs to this century. “Why should you not eat that over which Allah’s Name has been mentioned, while He has already elaborated for you whatever He has forbidden you, excepting what you may be compelled to [eat in an emergency]? Indeed many mislead [others] by their fancies, without any knowledge. Indeed your Lord knows best the transgressors.” (6:119)
Now imagine we are in a far-away village, gathering with a group of friends. Of course, there are no butchers, nor a supermarket from which we can buy food. But there is a beautiful white lamb grazing in the field. How does it become lawful (Halal) to roast?
First of all, we have to buy it from the owner.
Don’t forget that the animal must be Halal-meated .
It is recommended to water the animal before the slaughter and do the slaughter job in a way that the animal feels the minimum pain and distress. And it is detestable (Makruh) to slaughter the animal in a place where other animals can see. It is also detestable (Makruh) to slaughter that animal that one has brought up and has an emotional connection to it .
Then we have to make sure that we follow the rules as below:
It must be facing the holy Kaaba (Qibla) when slaughtered.
The person performing the slaughter must mention the name of Allah as he slaughters the animal.
The slaughtering must be done with sharp metal so that the animal does not suffer much, and it happens as quickly as possible.
It must be slaughtered with a specific method in which the four main veins (the throat, windpipe, and blood vessels) are cut, without cutting the spinal cord.
The animal must show some sign of movement after being slaughtered, especially if there was some doubt whether the animal was alive before being slaughtered.
There must be a natural emission of blood from the animal after the act of slaughtering[i] .
As Islamic slaughtering is taken from the Quran and Prophet’s (PBUH&HP) conduct, it is known to be the best way of killing an animal in which it feels the least pain. Also, there are many scientific reasons behind this method of slaughter.
For example, the blood being drained entirely before the head is removed causes the emission of most of the blood which would serve as a suitable culture medium for microorganisms. Or for example, it is said in Islamic law that the spinal cord must not be cut, and the scientific reason found for this rule is that the nerve fibers to the heart could be damaged during the process causing cardiac arrest, stagnating the blood in the blood vessels .
There are some scientific explanations found to justify the fact that Islamic slaughtering is the best way of slaughtering. However, there are still many scientific and spiritual reasons that we are yet aware of. It is NOT impossible to find scientific reasons for God’s orders and prohibitions, but it is always easier to trust Him and obey His rulings for a more profitable life.
[i] It is permitted to stun the animal before slaughtering as it causes less pain and distress for it. However, the animal must be alive after stunning .
Being exposed to the ever-alluring representation of “A Perfect Body” in media through the picture of celebrities and actors, we inevitably grow more careful about our own body and try to compare ourselves with that unrealistic image that is made real for us. And the only remedy we find to get closer to that so-called norm is to change our appearances with the help of cosmetic surgeries.
Some people see a perfect correspondence between their physical features and inner confidence and instead of working on their inner abilities to elevate their character, try to make a better look. But there may be cases in which one is forced to undergo this kind of surgery out of necessity. What is Islam’s view about this matter on the whole? Are we allowed to have cosmetic surgeries or not? What are the conditions?
In what follows we will try to find the answers to these questions.
Beauty is a very relative concept and can at least be divided into two kinds: the beauty of the body vs. the beauty of the soul. In Islam, both of these aspects are given importance. However the latter is regarded as being superior to the former; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says in a narration that, “Allah does not look at your faces but your hearts and deeds” .
The beauty of your character and the purity of your soul which is born with you and then can be elevated by following Allah’s guidance is far more valuable than your beautiful body. What gets you closer to Allah is your pious deeds, since: “…Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you” (49:13).
Nevertheless, Islam is a religion that pays careful attention to the matter of personal hygiene and appearance. We have many narrations that emphasize this issue. For instance, Imam Sadeq (AS) always recommended his followers to “be neat and orderly, since Allah is beautiful and loves that which is beautifully provided that it is lawful (Halal)”.
As the best example of practicing Islamic teachings in its ideal form, prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) always appeared in his best shape both in society and at home and in this way showed Islam’s concern about the matter of appearance and outer beauty.
Having said all of the above, the idea of beautifying yourself through cosmetic surgery remains unresolved. According to most Islamic jurists, having this kind of operation is not forbidden (Haram) in itself, provided that it is done for medical treatment such as removing a burn mark or curing a deformed part of the body .
However, undergoing cosmetics surgery just for the sake of beauty and without any purpose of medical treatment is only allowed if it is done by a doctor of the same gender since it is not out of necessity. This is because in Islam patients can refer to a doctor of the opposite gender, only when no same-gender doctor is available, or his proficiency is lower than a doctor of the opposite gender. To have a better view of “Islamic Etiquette of Looking” as well as the matter of Mahrams, you can refer to the related articles.
It has been proved by many psychologists that having a better life, more often, is not related to your outward appearance; in other words, being beautiful does not necessarily make you happy. Instead, working on the inner beauty and elevating your soul leads you to a beautiful perception. However, this does not mean that Islam gives no importance to personal appearance and physical beauty. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always rejected the notion of abandoning worldly pleasures altogether in favor of a solitary and monastic lifestyle [i].
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “ There is no monasticism in Islam” .
- Mustadrak al Wassail, Vol 11, p. 264
- sul al Kafi , Vol 6 , p.442
- medical issue
- Na’aman Ibn Muhammad Tamimi Maqribi, Daaem Al-Islam, Egypt: Dar Almaaref ,Vol. 2, p.193
The hours of fasting in Ramadan vary based on the geographical position of the city where one lives. In some regions, the fasting hours might be extremely long while in other places it might be too short such that one wonders if the goal of fasting (Sawm) has been accomplished or not. Extended fasting might cause difficulties.
Some might complain that there is no advantage in fasting long days. Others might find excuses to avoid fasting altogether. But, Islam does not want Muslims to suffer. There are, therefore, some rulings on how to fast on very long days and very short days, that we review them all next.
In the case where the days are very short, one should perform fasting in its typical way, from dawn to sunset, according to the prayer times. Hence, short fasting hours does not change the default time rulings on fasting (Swam) .
Fasting is not a mere act of depriving oneself of foods or drinks, but it aims at spiritual growth and salvation, inner peace, exercising patience, strengthening the social ties and experiencing how poor people live their lives .
Hence, the obligation on fasting is not to make people suffer; as it is stated in Surah Baqarah: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship” (2:185). So, there are some rulings on long fasts which make them less difficult.
Long fast (Swam), especially in hot summer days, is tough. In this case, one should fast according to the prayer times of his\her city of residence. But, if it is extremely difficult, whenever during the day he\she feels unable to continue, he\she is allowed to break the fast (Swam) and have to fast (it is obligatory, Wajib) later on for those missing (Qaza) fasts in shorter days of the current year and before the next Ramadan 
However, different religious experts (Mujtahids) have different opinions on this matter. We explained one of those views above. There are two other opinions as follows and one of them might be the opinion of your religious expert (Mujtahid):
In any case, one should fast according to the prayer times of the city of residence;
One should fast according to the prayer times in a “moderate region,” with the normal day length, that is on the same meridian as his\her city of residence.
Fasting is obligatory due to its spiritual and physical benefits. It is not to put pressure and make people suffer. If it is tough to fast in very long days, one can fast according to the rulings stated above.