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Animals & You

What does Halal mean?

"Halal" is Arabic; the term is used to describe anything permissible under Islamic law (Sharia). This includes behaviour, speech, dress, conduct, manner and dietary laws.

In non-Arabic-speaking countries, the term is mostly used in the narrower context of dietary laws; what a Muslim can and can not eat.

So what makes meat halal?

The principles of halal can be split into 3 areas; 1) the actual slaughter, 2) the welfare of the animal and 3) the state of the slaughterer.

1) The Slaughter: The following procedures constitute the ideal procedure for slaughtering an animal

a) The animal is given a drink of water and is to be placed lying down facing Mecca
b) The animal must be calmed
c) The animal is not allowed to see other animals going to slaughter or being slaughtered and ideally not let to smell other animals' blood
d) The animal can at no time see the knife
e) The knife must be razor sharp
f) A prayer must be read and the intention to take the animal's life for the correct reasons must be made
g) The neck must be slit in one clean pull of the knife cutting through the skin and oesophagus right to the back of the neck
h) The animal must be held securely until all life has left it

These methods are used as they are believed to be the kindest and most effective way of slaughtering.

Stunning is not the considered as an ideal method of slaughtering but
some scholars have permitted it. Therefore much of the halal meat in the world is stunned and bled just like any other meat. The only difference is that halal meat would be cut by a Muslim.

2) The Welfare: The Quran, along with the Torah and Bible, is one of the original animal rights texts. In addition, many of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad [صلى الله عليه وسلم] demand that Muslims treat animals mercifully and with kindness. In one they [صلى الله عليه وسلم] say, "God calls for mercy in everything, so be merciful when you kill and when you slaughter: sharpen your blade to relieve its pain".

Technically speaking, Islam opposes battery and intense farming as they are seen as an exploitation of animals. Therefore from birth to death an animal should be reared and cared for in a natural and stress-free environment.

3) The State of the Slaughterer: The act of taking an animal's life is called a "sacrifice". This points to the fact that within Islam an animal's life is seen as no less worthy than any other creature's.

A few Ayat & Ahadith 

Narated By Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said, "A man saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him.‎ [Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, #38] & [Muslim Book 26, Chapter 39, # 5577]

Narated By Salim: That Ibn 'Umar disliked the branding of animals on the face. Ibn 'Umar said, "The Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] forbade beating (animals) on the face." – [Bukhari Vol.7, Book 67, #449] & [Muslim Book 24, Chapter 21, #5281]

Narated By Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] cursed the one who did Muthla to an animal (i e., cut its limbs or some other part of its body while it is still alive). – [Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 67, #424]

Narated By Hisham bin Zaid: Anas and I went to Al-Hakam bin Aiyub. Anas saw some boys shooting at a tied hen. Anas said, "The Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] has forbidden the shooting of tied or confined animals." – [Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 67, #421; #422]

Narated By 'Abdullah bin 'Umar : Allah's Apostle [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said, "A lady was punished because of a cat which she had imprisoned till it died. She entered the (Hell) Fire because of it, for she neither gave it food nor water as she had imprisoned it, nor set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth." – [Bukhari Vol.4, Book 56, #689]

Ibn Mughaffal reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: what is the trouble with them (the people of Medina)? How dogs are nuisance to them (the citizens of Medina)? He then permitted keeping of dogs for hunting and (the protection of) herds. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Yahya, he (the Holy Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم]) permitted the keeping of dogs for (the protection of) herds, for hunting and (the protection of) cultivated land. – [Muslim Book 10, Chapter 31, #3814]

And the earth hath He appointed for (His) creatures. – [Quran 55:10]

The companions asked, ‘O Prophet of God [صلى الله عليه وسلم], do we get rewarded on humane treatment of animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward in (doing good to) every living being. [Saheeh Al-Bukhari]

“Fear God in regards to these animals who can not speak their will. If you ride them, treat them accordingly (by making them strong and fit for that)." [Abu Dawud]

Making animals fight one another for entertainment was also forbidden by the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم]. [Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi]

The Prophet of Mercy [صلى الله عليه وسلم] advised his wife to kindly treat the camel that she was riding. [Saheeh Muslim]

The Prophet Muhammad [صلى الله عليه وسلم] also said:

'Whoever kills a bird or anything else without its due right, God would ask him about it.’ [Targheeb]

While on journey do not pitch your tents for the night on the beaten tracks, for they are the pathways of nocturnal creatures. (Narrated by Abu Huraira. Sahih Muslim - Kitab-ul-Imam [Ref. No. 53]; Vol. III; Chapter DCCVII; Hadith No. 4724; pp. 1062, 1063)

Holy Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] and his fellow travelers used to delay even their prayers until they had first given their animals fodder and had attended to their needs. (Narrated by Anas. Awn (Ref. No. 32); 7:223; Hadith No. 5234. Also "Guillaume" (Ref. No. 57); pp.106, 107).

One day Imam Bukhari heard that he could get information about a Hadith from a particular person. Imam Sahib went to that person so that he could get the requisite information. From some distance the Imam Sahib saw that the person had folded his garments and was beckoning his camel towards it and posing as if there were something in the fold. The animal, enticed by it, came forward and the person caught hold of the animal. Imam Sahib saw that there was nothing in the fold of his garments. He returned without meeting that person thinking how could he believe a person, in the matter of Hadith, who had deceived an animal.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad [صلى الله عليه وسلم] prohibited the use of skins of wild animals. (Narrated by Abu Malik on the authority of his father. Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi as recorded in Garden of the Righteous - Riyad as-Salihin of Imam Nawawi; translated by M.Z. Kahn; Curzon Press, London, 1975; [hereafter referred to as Riyad]; Hadith No. 815, p. 160.)

The Holy Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said: 'Do not ride on saddles made of silk or leopard skins.' (Narrated by Mu'awiah. Abu Dawud; (see Riyad, Ref. No. 28); Hadith No. 814, p. 160.)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If any Muslim plants any plant and an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.” – (Al-Bukhari)

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اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد
كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد
اللهم بارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد
كما باركت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد

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وآخر دعواهم أنِ الحمد لله ربِّ العالمين  


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