Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Islam made it clear for Muslims that animal should be slaughtered according to the rules and regulations of the Shari`ah. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with slaughtering the animals by hand or machine as long as the rules have been applied.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
The rules of the Islamic slaughter are quite simple and precise. They can be summed up as follows: invoking the name of Allah, cutting the throat/arteries with a sharp knife/instrument, thus administering a quick death and sparing the animal unnecessary torture and suffering. This is to be done in such a way that the blood is drained.
In reply to a question about lawful slaughter, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: ” As long as one invokes God’s name, and the animal is slaughtered with a sharp instrument letting the blood flow, you may eat it.” (Al-Bukhari and others)
In other words, the instrument used should be sharp enough to cut the arteries letting the blood flow efficiently thus sparing the animal of torture or inflicting unnecessary pain.
In another hadith, the Prophet states: “Allah enjoins benevolence in all things we do: so, if a person were to slaughter an animal (for food) he should sharpen the knife and make the slaughter easy on the animal (to avoid unnecessary torture).” (Muslim)
These are the rules of slaughter as clearly outlined in the pristine sources of Islam, namely, the Quran, and the Sunnah. These are essentially the same rules that have been formulated by the great Imams and jurists in all the authentic schools of jurisprudence.
There is virtually no disagreement among them, irrespective of the divergence of their madhhabs (schools of jurisprudence), in regard to the lawfulness of consuming such meat.
In light of the above, one may safely conclude that all animals that have been slaughtered in this manner, as long as they are fit for Muslim consumption, are considered halal (lawful) for Muslims to eat, irrespective of whether they are hand-slaughtered or machine slaughtered.
Therefore, to make a distinction between hand slaughter and machine slaughter, rendering the latter unlawful, is clearly unwarranted as there is no evidence in the sources of jurisprudence for such an artificial distinction.
Furthermore, since the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has warned us against hair-splitting and rigidity in matters of religion, Muslims are advised not to create dissensions based on trivial matters, as one’s energy can be used on far more important issues that are vital for the survival of Islam and Muslims.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.