At Halal Food Gastronomy we only showcase places that meet the following strict criteria, this is to help ensure that all of the places we feature are universally accepted as Halal with the lowest possible level of risk due to the widespread levels of malpractice in the Halal Food Industry.
Non Stunned slaughter with Hand Zabiha is the safest method of Halal slaughter with widespread acceptance due it being the closest method to the sunnah of our prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). It also removes the major risks associated with stunning which causes the chicken to die before the point of slaughter which would render the animal as carrion which is Haraam (Impermissible)
But they say it's "Halal"
Sadly having a Halal sign or following your favourite “Halal Foodie” simply isn’t enough the following may be shocking. Ilm Feed ran a study looking at a sample of 60 restaurants in London reviewed by large “Halal” Food Instagrammers found:
41 out of 60 restaurants presented issues regarding permissibility
- 10 of 60 restaurants were Non-Halal or confirmed cross contamination risks whereby Halal & non Halal items were cooked together.
- 19 out of 60 restaurants had Machine Slaughter present (Regarded as Haram by majority opinion)
- 12 out of 60 restaurants stunned with hand slaughter (Stunning is Makrooh e Tahrimi which means______ & poses risk of being rendered Haram if animal isn’t alive at time of slaughter due to the impact of the stunning)
Only 19 of 60 restaurants were hand slaughtered (and non-stunned).
List of Restaurants in sample: https://ilmfeed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Halal-Report-Findings.pdf
What about Stunning?
Stunned slaughter whether it be combined with machine or hand slaughter raises numerous issues.
- Research shows that animals, especially chickens die prior to slaughter when stunned. If the animal was to die before the point of slaughter then it would be Haraam.
- Stunning deprives animals from the benefits of tasmiyah (religious blessing) due to being unconscious.
- Stunning causes unnecessary suffering and distress to the animal.
- Stunning prevents the drainage of all blood resulting in it being retained.
- Retained blood causes germs and bacteria.
- The British Law allows the Muslim to carry out religious slaughter without stunning.
- Stunning goes against the Sunnah practice of slaughtering
It is Haram to stun an animal by striking it or giving it an electric shock etc. because that causes suffering to the animal and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade causing suffering and tormenting them, and he enjoined kindness and goodness in general terms, and with regard to slaughter in particular.
Muslim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not take anything in which there is a soul as a target.” And Muslim narrated that Jabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade tormenting any kind of animal to death. Muslim also narrated from Shaddad ibn ‘Aws (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has decreed kindness (or proficiency) in all things. So when you kill, kill well, and when you slaughter, slaughter well. Let one of you sharpen his blade and spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” Fataawa al-Lajnah al-‘Daa’imah, 22/456-457. (www.islam-qa.com) Source
The Issue Of Stunning
The issue of stunning is very delicate (whether done by captive bolt stun, electric head stun or electrified water bath), in the sense that there are many conditions and criteria that must be considered. Firstly for reason of the animals’ welfare, the act of stunning is extremely disliked and according to some even reaches the stage of being Haram, as it causes the animal unnecessary suffering. Thereafter even more importantly is how it affects the Islamic ruling on the animal as to whether or not it is fit for Muslim consumption.
The Islamic criteria that must be met while slaughtering the animals are clear-cut; any deviation from them will render the animal unfit for Muslim consumption. Amongst the guidelines established for a Halal slaughter is the unwavering fundamental that the animal must be alive at the time of slaughter and the blood must be drained out.
It has been witnessed that on many occasions animals subjected to stunning arrive at the slaughterer dead. This is due to either the unbearably high voltage or a delay in the time it takes to get to the slaughterer if the stunning is irreversible. Sometimes it can also be because animals are drowned in the stunning tank. It has been noted that the problem of dead animals reaching the slaughterer is invariably present in all the slaughterhouses that use the stunning method. The research also states that animals, especially chickens die prior to slaughter due to stunning. It is also proven that a large amount of blood remains in the animal which renders it Haram. The animal is also deprived of the effects of tasmiyyah as it would be unconscious at the time of slaughter.
Also what needs to be understood is that there is no pressure from the side of the government of the United Kingdom forcing Muslims to adopt such inhumane methods of slaughter.
There is a risk of death with stunning (even if it’s done on a low voltage) bare in mind the whole process that animal goes through before slaughter is stressful. Transportation, being hung on the line etc now if 5 of the 1000 chickens were over stressed & died during this process rendering it haraam before being stunned & slaughered then it wouldn’t be known & would go through with the rest of the chickens despite it being Haraam. Also if a stun was applied to one of the above chickens who are weak it’s very likely to cause death rendering it Haraam Vs if the stunn was applied to a healthy animal.
The other issue with stunning ate the ethical issues that arise regarding what the animal goes through which can only be understood once you know the some of the methods of stunning that take place.
Water bath Stunning
This is where the chicken is hung upside down by their legs then have their beak / part of the head dipped into a bath of water which has an electric current running through the water which stuns the Chicken & stops it moving. There is risk of death to the chicken especially with high voltage stunning if the chicken was to die before slaughter due to stunning this would render it Haraam. If the chicken was alive at the time of slaughter it would technically be Halal but Maqrooh e Tahrimi
Bolt Method of Stunning
This is where the animal is shot in the forehead / brain with a bolt (either penetrating or non penetrating) this usually shatters the skull causing them to be stunned thus fall to the ground & go down via a shoot after which point they will be slaughtered. This is generally used on larger cattle eg Beef & can cause death. If the animal was to die before slaughter due to the excessive force gone through its head causing the skull to shatter it would be rendered Haraam. A study found 9-30% of captive bolt slaughter has malfunction eg not applied correctly or animal moved causing it extreme pain & possible death (2004 European food stands agency report)
In the UK there is an exception by law whereby Halal meat isn’t required to be stunned thus we should utilise this rather than turning to more dubious & cheap doubtful methods of slaughter.
Carbon Dioxide Gassing
This is the process where the animal is starved of oxygen to the point of death, it was previously used mainly for pigs but has now been used for chickens and infiltrated into the Halal industry.
What is Machine Slaughter?
Machine Slaughter is when the slaughter is carried out by a mechanical rotating blades with no Muslim slaughterman present either to perform the slaughter, or to recite the ‘Tasmiyah’ on each individual slaughter. Thousands of chickens are slaughtered in this manner daily. The practice of blessing the blades, playing prerecorded bismillah or even appointing a Muslim to recite bismillah as he switches the machinery on, is common instead of reciting bismillah on each and every animal slaughtered manually. This practice is directly against the teaching of Islam and will not serve to conduct a Halal slaughter.
Machine Slaughter is sadly becoming common in the Halal Food Industry in a bid to make more profit by cutting out the need to have Muslim staff performing Zabah, thus reducing costs be speeding up the process. By majority opinion Machine Slaughter would be classified as Haraam due to the omission of Tasmiyah on each individual Animal at the time of slaughter hence should be avoided.
Halal Consultations are one of the main certification bodies which allow Machine Slaughter to take place. Most of the large popular chains use Machine Slaughtered chicken along with lots of small takeaways & restaurants using frozen items eg chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken etc which are then fried together with chips etc which would cause issues for the majority who regard Machine Slaughter as Haraam.
The following are fatwas and comments by prominent Islamic scholars regarding mechanical slaughter in Islam:
Mechanical Slaughter – GMWA Halal Foodguide Service
Mechanical Slaughter – Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Mechanical Animal Slaughter – Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Mechanical Slaughter – Darul Iftaa, Karachi
The Law Of Shari’ah Regarding Mechanical Slaughter – A’llamah Zia Ul Mustafa A’azami Al Qadri
Mechanical Slaughter – GMWA Halal Foodguide Service
Mechanical slaughter – The point of debate among scholars with regards to mechanical slaughtering is whether it fulfils the important requisite of the Tasmiyah (reciting Bismillah at the time of slaughter) being rendered by the person actually slaughtering the animal.
The books of Fiqh state categorically that the Tasmiyah must be uttered by the person actually slaughtering the animal. If someone else utters the Tasmiyah while the person slaughtering remains quiet (i.e. intentionally omits reciting the Tasmiyah) the animal will not be Halal. (Fatawaa Alamghiriyyah P. 286. Vol. 5)
During mechanical slaughter, when the power is turned on, and the poultry starts to move along the conveyor belt towards the fixed blades, a Muslim may be standing and reciting the Tasmiyah on each individual chicken, the question here is whether this is considered to be his own act of slaughter or not?
The majority of scholars hold the view that in the above case, only the first chicken will be considered Halal and all subsequent poultry will be Haraam.
The reason for this is that when the Muslim slaughter man turns the power on and recites Tasmiyah, his action of turning the power on is considered valid only for the first chicken, i.e. It will be assumed that the Tasmiyah has taken place on his personal act of slaughter. The pressing of the ‘On’ button is considered his own act.
However, as for all subsequent poultry which follows, they are not considered to be his own act of slaughter, hence his Tasmiyah remains meaningless rendering the poultry Haraam for consumption.
(Summary of an Urdu Treatise by Mufti Khalid Saifullah Rahmani. Jadeed Fiqhi Masaa’il, Page 219, Vl. 2)
The nature of food certification is such that it requires the overseeing of qualified and reputable Ulamaa. And Allah knows Best
Fatwa on stunning by Hakimul-Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi
The practice of rendering animals unconscious before slaughtering, which is carried out in different ways, consists of a number of undesirable and objectionable elements, for example:
a. If this act is such that it causes the animal to lose all its senses and consciousness completely, then there is a risk that it will have caused the animal’s death before slaughter, especially if the animal was weak or ill.
b. If this act is such that it does not cause the animal to lose all its senses and consciousness completely (such as a mild electrical shock that merely immobilizes the animal), then there is a strong possibility that the animal’s pain and suffering will have been unnecessarily increased, since the pain of slaughter remains due to its not being unconscious, and the pain and stress of the electrical shock will have been administered additionally without any need.
c. If this act makes the animal weak (compared to its normal and natural condition), and at the time of slaughter the animal is not at its full physical strength, then there is a risk that this will cause a reduction in the amount of blood that will flow from it at the time of slaughter, compared to what might have flowed in the case of the animal being fully conscious and In full possession of its senses and physical strength, and to undertake such a course of action deliberately is to oppose and counter a Shar’i requirement of slaughter (i.e. the discharge of flowing blood).
d. If the amount of blood discharged is reduced due to the animal’s weakness, then there is a risk that the remaining (non-discharged) blood will be absorbed into the meat of the animal, and this is an undesirable outcome both from a medical point of view and also according to Shari’ah.
e. If the person undertaking this way of slaughter believes it to be a less stressful and painful method than the prescribed Shar’i manner, then this is tantamount to believing an invented method to be superior to a revealed one, and it means that the person believes the revealed method of slaughter to be painful and cruel, which is ‘close to disbelief ‘.
(Ref: Imdadul-Fatawa, Vol. 3, P. 605-8 and Ahkamuz-zaba-ih, P. 55-6)
Fatwa By Mufti Shabbir Ahmad, Darul Uloom Bury
Making an animal unconscious prior to slaughter, whether by means of a current or pistol, contains from a religious perspective a number of major flaws which have been detailed by Shaykh Ashraf ʿAlī Thānawī in Imdād al-Fatāwā and then by my teacher Shaykh Mufti Muẓaffar Ḥusayn, Director and Mufti of Madrasah Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur in response to a legal query. I briefly present an exposition of this. This method of practice (due to the reasons given) is, therefore, in no way permissible. It is an obligation on Muslims to make all efforts in trying to bring this method of practice to an end and under no circumstances to accept this method.
The Fuqahāʾ (jurists) have specifically mentioned that it is forbidden to cause unneeded pain and suffering to the animal which is to be slaughtered.
Since the above shock cannot constitute slaughter, it is apparent that it is, therefore, a means of unneeded pain and suffering which is not permitted by the Sharīʿah. If it is claimed that this act does not cause the animal pain and suffering but rather aids the expulsion of blood from the body and annuls the animal’s senses, this too would be incorrect as prior to being made unconscious the animal senses were in working order and so their suspension after unconsciousness is not certain as it is possible that this instrument may have caused a suspension in movement (paralysis) whilst senses are still functioning, and it is obvious that in the case of the senses remaining, the usage of these instruments will be a means of increased suffering.
The Sharīʿah has declared the releasing of flowing blood as the reason behind slaughtering. Now it is apparent that the workings of the physical organs are strongest in the state of consciousness, and it is also apparent that the expulsion of the blood is a physical act. Therefore, the stronger [and more actively] the organs function, the more blood will be released and the objective of the Legislator will be well realised. Thus, to intentionally enervate the organs and thereby cause a decrease in the amount of blood pumped out would not be permitted by the Sharīʿah as this clashes with the objective of the Legislator.
The third reason, which is more abhorrent than the others and alone would suffice in making this matter impermissible is that those that adopt such methods consider them preferable to the way prescribed by the Sharīʿah [in which the animal is not made unconscious], and consider the method of Sharīʿah inferior and deficient, and giving preference to the innovated over the prescribed is close to Kufr.
03/05/1404 – 06/02/84 Fatwa Number 145
Mufti Shabbir Ahmad – Darul Uloom Al-Arabiyyah Al-Islamiyyah, Holcombe Hall, Holcombe, Bury – Translated on 29/01/04