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Chapter thirty-two » Method of slaughtering a camel → ← Chapter thirty-two » Method of slaughtering an animal

Chapter thirty-two » Conditions of slaughtering an animal

Ruling 2611. Slaughtering an animal has the following conditions:

1.
the person slaughtering the animal must be a Muslim man or woman. The child of a Muslim who is mumayyiz – i.e. able to discern between right and wrong – can also slaughter an animal. And if an animal is slaughtered by a disbeliever (kāfir) who is not from among the People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb),(1) or by someone who is subject to the rules applicable to disbelievers, such as a nāṣibī,(2) the animal does not become lawful to eat. In fact, if an animal is slaughtered by a disbeliever from among the People of the Book, even if he says ‘bismillāh’, based on obligatory precaution the animal does not become lawful;
2. as far as it is possible, the animal must be slaughtered with something made of iron; and based on obligatory precaution, a steel knife is not sufficient. However, if an item made of iron is not available, the animal can be slaughtered using something sharp enough to sever the four ducts, such as a piece of glass or a stone, even if it is not urgent to slaughter the animal;
3. the animal must face the qibla(3) at the time of being slaughtered. Therefore, if the animal is sitting or standing, it must face qibla in the same way that a person faces qibla in prayers (ṣalāh). If the animal is lying on its right or left side, the point where it is cut and its stomach must face qibla, but it is not necessary for its hands, feet, and face to face qibla. If someone knows that an animal must be slaughtered facing qibla and intentionally (ʿamdan) does not make it face qibla, the animal is unlawful to eat. However, there is no problem if he forgets or does not know the ruling about this or mistakes the direction of qibla. And if a person does not know the direction of qibla or cannot make the animal face qibla even with the help of someone else, then in case the animal is unruly or is in a well or has fallen down a pit and one is compelled to slaughter it, there is no problem in slaughtering it in any direction. The same applies if one fears that the delay caused by making it face qibla will result in its death. If a Muslim does not believe that an animal must be slaughtered while facing qibla, the slaughter is still correct (ṣaḥīḥ) even if he does not make it face qibla. The recommended precaution (al-iḥtiyāṭ al-mustaḥabb) is for the person slaughtering the animal to also face qibla;
4. at the time of slaughtering the animal or before it at a time that is connected to the act of slaughtering the animal, the person slaughtering the animal must mention the name of Allah, and it is not sufficient for someone else to mention it. It is sufficient to say ‘bismillāh’ or ‘allāhu akbar’; in fact, if he only says ‘allāh’, it is sufficient, although this goes against precaution (iḥtiyāṭ). If he mentions the name of Allah without an intention (qaṣd) to slaughter the animal, or if due to not knowing the ruling he does not mention the name of Allah, the animal is not lawful to eat. However, there is no problem if he does not mention the name of Allah due to forgetfulness;
5. the animal must make some movement after it has been slaughtered, even if that be by moving its eyes or tail or striking its foot against the ground. Fulfilment of this condition is necessary only when there is a doubt as to whether the animal is alive or not at the time of being slaughtered; otherwise, it is not necessary;
6. a normal amount of blood must drain out of the animal’s body. Therefore, if its blood congeals in its veins and does not drain out, or, if the amount of blood that drains out is relatively little for an animal of its type, the animal is not lawful to eat. However, if the amount of blood that drains out is relatively little due to the animal having bled before it was slaughtered, there is no problem;
7. a person must sever the throat of the animal with the intention of an Islamic slaughter. Therefore, the animal is not lawful to eat if a knife falls from someone’s hand and happens to sever the throat of the animal, or if the person who is slaughtering the animal is asleep, intoxicated, or unconscious, or he is a child or a non-mumayyiz insane person, or if the knife draws against the throat of the animal for some other reason and it happens to sever its throat.

Ruling 2612. Based on obligatory precaution, the head of an animal must not be separated from its body before the spirit (rūḥ) has left its body, although this does not make the animal unlawful to eat. However, there is no problem if the animal’s head is separated from its body accidentally or owing to the sharpness of the knife. Similarly, [it is not permitted,] based on obligatory precaution, to break the animal’s neck or to cut its spinal cord before the spirit has left its body. The spinal cord is like a white thread that runs between the lumbar vertebrae and extends from the animal’s neck to its tail.

(1) As mentioned in Ruling 103, the ‘People of the Book’ are Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians.

(2) In Ruling 103, nawāṣib (pl. of nāṣibī) are defined as ‘those who show enmity towards the Imams (ʿA)’.

(3) Qibla is the direction towards the Kaʿbah in Mecca.
Chapter thirty-two » Method of slaughtering a camel → ← Chapter thirty-two » Method of slaughtering an animal
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