What is Islamic slaughter and is it humane?

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 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?


Islamic slaughter, critical thinking, Islam, Muslims

Is slaughtering humane?

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 [1]. 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 the nature 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)


Islamic slaughter, Islam, slaughtering, rituals, Muslims


The Islamic slaughter: Rules and rituals


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 [2].


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 [3].



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 the 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] [4].

Benefits of Islamic Slaughtering


As Islamic slaughtering is taken from the Quran and Prophet’s (PBUH) 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 [6].



There are some scientific explanations found to justify the fact that the 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 [5].


[1] http://www.pku.com

[2] Read about ­Halal-meated animals here: Can Muslims Eat Any Meat?

[3] trans. From: http://www.aviny.com

[4] http://islamic-laws.com

[5] trans. From: http://www.aviny.com

[6] http://www.therevival.co.uk