Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Stunning The Animal Before (Dhabh) Slaying Can Not Be Accepted By The Muslims?

Islam, the last religion to mankind, is a comprehensive full way of life.The holy book al, Qur'an and the sayings/actions of the last prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or Sunnah are the two major holy references for every Muslim for all affairs and all issues of life.

Food, diet ,eating, what is allowed to eat(Halal) and what is not allowed to eat(Haram),when to eat, how to eat, what animals allowed to eat, what animals not allowed to eat, how to do(dhabh)/slaying the animal for food..?

And how the teacher and the model prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did do dhabh and slayed the animal for food...all these and many more have been explained clearly and in detail in the teachings of Islam.

Allah (god) the creator, the legislator, the compassionate, the merciful to man and the animal has said clearly in the last holy book al Qur'an:

In the name of Allah the most compassionate, the most merciful

"Forbidden for you (for food) are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine and that which has been invoked other than the name of God.

That which has been killed by strangling or by violent blow or by a headlong fall or by being gored to death (by horns) that which has been (partly) eaten by a. Wild beast, unless you are able to do dhabh/slaying (in due form) and that which has been sacrificed on stones/idols…." (Quran: chapter 5, verse 3)

According to this holy verse it is prohibited to eat:

• any dead animal before doing dhabh/the cut.
• any blood or blood inside the meat.
• any dead animal as a result of strangulation (and not dhabh)
• any dead animal as a result of a violent blow (and not dhabh)
• any meat contaminated or mixed with Halal meat.

And certainly Islam is against any cruelty or any painful procedure done to the animal. Unfortunately most of these prohibitions do occur in many techniques used in stunning the animal today..!

Not only that but the last prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has taught us clearly how to do dhabh/slaying in the only merciful way, without any cruelty and he did it himself and showed us how to do it?

He said in the Hadith:

"verily Allah has prescribed /goodness (ihsan) in all things; thus if you kill, kill well (painlessly), and if you do dhabh/slaying, do best dhabh /slaying ;( perfect) by sharpening well the blade/knife in order the dhabiha die comfortably/painlessly"

We know medically and physiologically today that when proper dhabh/slaying of the animal is done, by cutting the blood vessels of the neck, in the right anatomical site: sudden profuse bleeding does occur quickly, hemorrhagic shock and an instant "anaestisation" in the brain as a result of the quick loss of the blood from the brain in the fast bleeding out thus taking away instantaneously any functioning of the brain (sensation). There are many types of stunning techniques today:

• the captive bolt pistol (used for cows/cattle).
• Electric stunning (used for sheep).
• electrified water bath (used for poultry).
• carbon dioxide (co2) gas (used for pigs).

Medical research, scientific and medical evidence has, shown that stunning causes: some animals to die as in the electrified water- bath for poultry or chicken: government figures about 1/3 of chickens die before doing the cut. This is mitah/dead and is prohibited to eat in Islam. The problem today: there is no body or doctor checking each animal after death (sheep, chicken...) if it died from stunning or from the cut? At least many are shubuha (doubtful) and a Muslim should avoid it.

The verse was clear before: it is prohibited to eat any dead animal before the cut. Less bleeding out, more blood in the meat;

Stunning causes "salt and pepper hemorrhage" inside the meat and blood can not be taken out, also by causing some animals to die when the heart stops, this will causes less bleeding out and more blood inside. It has been proved that the direct method of slaying the animal without stunning as in dhabh causes more bleeding out. Blood is harmful to health as it is full of bacteria, infective agents and waste and harmful substances. Chemical changes in the meat… Making the meat less healthy and less nutritious. Cruelty and suffering to the animal that can not complain or speak up.

More stress to the animal which causes more discomfort and some harms to our health by consuming the meat of the "stressed animal". Failure on proper effective stunning, half stunning, paralysis and re-stunning; surely this is cruel. Not only that but today there are many non Muslim scientists who oppose stunning, in the west for humane and health reasons like: van der wal, wenberg, mcloughlin, pollard, winstanley, marple etc....and it is legal…the law of the land: Muslims and Jews to do dhabh /slaying without stunning. (Religious slaughter).

The official response given by the Muslims in Britain before to the government and following a national conference of Muslim organisations and Muslim leaders in regent park mosque and following many meetings:

Muslims are against stunning and will not accept stunning (see official response on 22nd Oct/1985 from regent park mosque on behalf of the Muslims in Britain). Since then there have been any new decisions or any change in the Muslim view.

The declaration of the European council for' fatwa and research, in may 1999 in their annual meeting in cologne/Germany against the consumption of the animals stunned, especially the chickens and the cows, (the decision of over 35 l\1 muslim theologians/ulamas who are living and working in Europe).The Jews in Britain and in many other countries oppose strongly all types of stunning.

Lastly: new scientific medical researches done by doctor’s, vets, pharmacists, pathologists and members of parliament in Syria have showed clearly the therapeutic effect of saying: Bismillah Allah akbar (in the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest) on the animals:

if the animal hears that, it gives him/her the tranquility and it takes away any germ or infection to give you pure healthy meat, the animal has to be fully conscious and alive before the cut/dhabh...and not unconscious or dead as it happens with some animals when stunning was used.

There are also two well known Islamic rulings:

• the first, any step or action leading to Haram is not allowed to do. We know well today that some animals die before we do any cut and a dead animal is forbidden to consume if it dies before slaying/dhabh. Also scientists have proved that stunning causes blood hemorrhage and blood inside the meat. Consuming blood is forbidden in Islam.

• The second ruling; a golden rule in Islam. If anything is doubtful (shubaha), the Muslim has to avoid it and we know today about the doubt in the stunned animals (death and blood).

This was done and repeated in many double blind "studies. Video, slides and the book is available, even the Syrian doctors and scientists are willing to come to Britain to explain it all. Lately also, Britain and Europe has prohibited one type of stunning (pithing) because of the risk of BSE.

One could see clearly that many haram/prohibited things can occur as a result of stunning like: eating dead animal/mitah (not from the cut), consuming blood, which is forbidden too, meat not tayyib/wholesome/natural/pure due to some chemical changes in the meat. Besides it is cruel to the animals.

Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has told us and showed us clearly how to do dhabh for real proper tayyib/wholesome halal meat.

It is wise and sensible and more humane and more healthy to stick to the prophetic way in dhabh/slaying the animal for food, especially as no one can find any mistake or cruelly or fault in this divine method as it is the only way to treat the animal humanly and to get healthy safe meat.

Allah, the creator of all animals and man and the universe is called also: al rahman al rahim (the most compassionate, the most merciful) and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the mercy to all. There will never ever be any religious instructions which can cause suffering or pain to any animal.

Fatwa Regarding Stunning
Making an animal unconscious prior to slaughter, wheth er by means of a current or pistol, contains from a shar`ee perspective a number of major flaws which have been detailed 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.

1. The Fuqahaa have specifically mentioned that it is forbidden to cause unneeded pain and suffering to the animal 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 Shari`ah. 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 increase suffering.

1. The Shari`ah 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 Shari`ah as this clashes with the objective of the Legislator.

2. 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 Shari`ah (in which the animal is not made unconscious), and consider the method of Shari`ah inferior and deficient, and giving preference to the innovated over the prescribed is close to Kufr.

Whose Halal and Who's Not?

A recent report published by the Farm Animals Welfare Council (FAWC) on the treatment of animals at slaughter has pushed the "stunned vs. non-stunned" debate firmly back on the agenda. The Council, which has advised the government on issues of animal welfare since 1979, calls for the current exemption of halal and kosher meat from being pre-stunned to be repealed. This recommendation, which has not yet been put into practice, has caused outcry among British Muslims and Jews, who thought this chapter had been firmly closed since they were exempted back in 1984. But what, if anything, has changed since then, and why are we once again being forced to justify our right to halal and kosher meat? Erfana Bora investigates and discovers a huge split within the Muslim community.

It was almost two decades ago that a joint committee of Jewish and Muslim groups resolved the furore over pre­stunning by presenting the government with the case for halal and kosher being essential to fulfil requirements of Divine Law.
Now, the publication of this new report has brought history to repeat itself. An emergency meeting of Muslim and Jewish groups was called at Central London Mosque on June 12th, to formu­late a joint strategy to counter the recom­mendations and once again present a unit­ed front to the government. The attendees included representatives of the Chief Rabbi's Office, Jewish Board of Deputies and the Shechita Board. From the Muslim community, representatives of the Muslim Council of Britain, Islamic Medical Council and the Halal Food Authority were amongst those present. The meeting's outcome was a petition and two-page cover letter addressed to all parliamentari­ans concerned with the new FAWC guide­lines. Signed by all the meeting's attendees, the petition called, once again, for non­stunned slaughter to be allowed to contin­ue.

On the surface of it, this was an admirable display of inter-faith and, I dare­say, 'intra-faith' unity. But in reality, the show of solidarity between the different Muslim groups masked a fundamental split in method and ideology between some of the delegates. Q-News has discovered that the seemingly straightforward attempt to convince the government of the need to continue with the exemption may be undermined by the controversial stance of one lone group in this debate: the Halal Food Authority (HFA). Enter Mr Masood Khawaja, Director of the HFA, who signed the petition on June 12th, but does not, it seems, really believe that the exemption is necessary at all. In a press release displayed on the HFA website, Mr Khawaja states that "experiments carried out to immo­bilise the animal through controlled stun­ning, if successful, would be looked at with an openmind." When Q-News spoke to Mr Khawaja it became apparent that, for reasons of sheer pragmatism, he was behind the scenes eager to endorse any method of stunning which hopes to immobilise animals without the risk of them dying in the process. This would introduce a method of producing halal meat that is at once pre-stunned, and failsafe, something that is, according to those in the opposing camp, by its very nature an oxymoron. And so, enter Dr Majid Katme, spokesper­son of the MCB on issues of halal meat.

Dr Katme ardently presents the case against all stunning, not only in the case of halal and kosher meat, but for all other meat, on the grounds that non-stunned meat is better for the health of the nation. He cites numerous scientific studies that have shown stunning has a detrimental effect both on meat quality and safety. More specifically, in relation to halal meat, stunning can present major problems that obstruct the process of dhabiha (halal slaughter). One of these is that currently, a large proportion of animals are killed by the stunning process, which makes the meat carrion and therefore unlawful. According to the FAWC, 33% of stunned chicken is dead before it reaches the blade; this would enter the market labeled 'halal.' Stunning can also cause hemorrhaging and subsequent retention of blood that is required to flow away. Moreover, stunning causes massive changes in the chemical composition of the meat as the animal goes into stress and shock, releas­ing hormones into the muscle tissue. Not only this, but stunning also increases the risk of the spread of BSE. The picture then, does not look too good. These salient argu­ments against stunning render such meat to be at the very least non-tayyib (good/wholesome), if not haram (imper­missible).

But these issues did not seem to con­cern the director of the Halal Food Authority. Mr Khawaja, instead, wants a system whereby licensed slaughter men operating in licensed slaughterhouses would stun meat before slaughter to bring about immobilisation before the process of dhabah, with vets on hand to ensure that animals are well treated before slaughter. When asked about checking each animal to determine it was still alive between stun­ning and slaughter, he deemed it an unnec­essary or unworkable idea, and gave the analogy of cooking rice and not having to check whether each individual grain of rice in the pot was cooked through before you can eat it.

Mr Khawaja obviously does not realise the implications of potentially haram meat being passed through his proposed system, and to liken this to someone eating a cou­ple of grains of undercooked rice is about as crass an analogy you can get. To think that the HFA have such disregard for the welfare of the Muslim community's physi­cal and spiritual state and yet is widely considered an authority on halal food in this country is in my opinion, scandalous.

As far as my investigations indicate, the HFA may as well change its acronym from HFA to DFA, the Doubtful Food Authority.

Another problem with Mr Khawaja's proposal is that it leaves Jewish concerns for kosher meat out in the cold. For meat to be kosher, no stunning may be used in any circumstances, and so to call for mass 'controlled' stunning shows no regard for the joint work carried out with Jewish groups over the years. And the plain truth is, that on this issue at the very least, the old maxim could never ring more true: if united we stand, then divided we must surely fall.

Perhaps the deciding factor in this debate should be the insistence on following the sunna and the safe, healthy option. As Dr Katme points out, what Allah ordained for His prophets must be returned to as our example, and we should not pander to the relentless needs of Muslim consumers, who want massive amounts of cheap meat. It is after all, this excessive demand for meat that allows Muslims to buy pork-injected chicken without checking where it is from or at whose hands it has been processed. Although, as Mr. Khawaja points out, three million chickens are slaughtered in the UK for the halal market per week, and 'controlled immobilisation' is the only way to cater for this demand, we need to have an overhaul of the way we deal with halal meat in this country. We have reached crisis point, with the biggest irony of all in this debate being that 90% of all dhabiha in the UK is stunned anyway (due to both ignorance of the current exemption on the part of slaughter men and the chance of making a tidy profit) and the only way we can break this system down is through education of the masses and drastically downsizing our appetite for meat. This, and support for organic and fair trade foods will not only put the halal back onto our plates, but also the tayyib.

I believe we need a united front against stunning or else we will lose not only the halal and the tayyib, but our voice and our rights. There should be no shame in saying we cannot have an 'open-minded' attitude when it comes to stunning. Such an atti­tude, after all, conforms only to the conve­nience of those who have no idea what halal and kosher means, both spiritually and practically, to Muslims and Jews.

Islamic Method Of Slaughtering Animals Is Better

Al Shaddad Bin Aous has quoted this tradition of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) "God calls for mercy in everything, so be merciful when you kill and when you slaughter, sharpen your blade to relieve its pain".

Many allegations have been made that Islamic slaughter is not humane to animals. However, Professor Schultz and his colleague Dr. Hazim of the Hanover University, Germany, proved through an experiment, using an electroencephalograph (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) that *Islamic slaughter is THE humane method of slaughter* and captive bolt stunning, practiced by the Western method, causes severe pain to the animal.

The results surprised many.

Experimental Details:

1. Several electrodes were surgically implanted at various points of the skull of all animals, touching the surface of the brain. 2. The animals were allowed to recover for several weeks.

3. Some animals were slaughtered by making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck cutting the jugular veins and carotid Arteries of both sides; as also the trachea and oesophagus Halal Method.

4. Some animals were stunned using a captive bolt pistol humane slaughter by the western method.

5. During the experiment, EEG and ECG were recorded on all animals to record the condition of the brain and heart during the course of slaughter and stunning.

Results and Discussion:

I - Halal Method

1. The first three seconds from the time of Islamic slaughter as recorded on the EEG did not show any change from the graph before slaughter, thus indicating that the animal did not feel any pain during or immediately after the incision.

2. For the following 3 seconds, the EEG recorded a condition of deep sleep - unconsciousness. This is due to a large quantity of blood gushing out from the body.

3. After the above mentioned 6 seconds, the EEG recorded zero level, showing no feeling of pain at all.

4. As the brain message (EEG) dropped to zero level, the heart was still pounding and the body convulsing vigorously (a reflex action of the spinal cord) driving maximum blood from the body: resulting in hygienic meat for the consumer.

II - Western method by C.B.P. Stunning
1. The animals were apparently unconscious soon after stunning.

2. EEG showed severe pain immediately after stunning.

3. The hearts of the animal stunned by C.B.P. stopped beating earlier as compared to those of the animals slaughtered according to the Halal method resulting in the retention of more blood in the meat. This in turn is unhygienic for the consumer.



1 - Some animals DIE from stunning, especially chickens (about 33 % of chicken die from stunning before slaughter - Government figures). It is HARAM to eat any meat from an animal that died before slaughter (Dhabh). No body is checking stunned animals/chickens to see if they are dead or alive before slaughter, so all are SHUBUHA (doubtful) which Muslims should avoid eating. Also even if the animal is alive, what about the other HARAM and cruelty and the health hazards and the undesirable effects occurring as a result of stunning?

2 - consuming BLOOD inside the meat which is HARAM! The animals bleed less because of stunning, especially when the heart stops. There is also: "SALT AND PEPPER HAEMORRHAGE", rupture of the small blood vessels inside the meat, oozing more blood which does not go out at all.

3 - Stunning is PAINFUL and CRUEL to the animal, according to many medical studies done with the recording of the EEG (electric recording of the brain). Islam FORBIDS us to inflict any type of pain or cruelty on any type of animal. Similarly, EEG medical studies have shown that the direct method of slaughter (Dhabh) is PAINLESS to the animal.

4 - Stunning affects the QUALITY OF THE MEAT, by disturbing and disrupting the natural healthy chemicals/formula of the meat; making the meat after UNHEALTHY or harmful to health (NOT TAYYIB).

5 - Handling the animal for stunning, causes a lot of STRESS to the animal, which affects the hormones in the body of the animal and causes medical harms and other undesirable effects. This is cruel to the animal and Islam would like a relaxed, comfortable animal before slaughter.

6 - Failure of stunning leading to repetition of stunning which is more CRUEL and PAINFUL. Also some animals become paralysed and awake after stunning, some develops broken bones, some get bruises and lacerations...this is CRUEL and PAINFUL! Islam opposes all types of TORTURE to the animals.

7 - There are today in the West many non Muslim scientists who OPPOSE STUNNING for humane and welfare reasons like: Van der wal, Wernberg, Mcloughlin, Pollard, Winstanley, Marple etc... Also the Jews oppose all types of stunning.

8 - Some stunning techniques cause STRANGULATION/SUFFOCATION to the animal, as in the electric water bath used for stunning the chickens. Strangulating/suffocating the animal is prohibited in the Qur'an. Other animals are stunning by a violent blow on the head; this is prohibited too in the Qur'an.

9 - Risk of MAD COW DISEASE (BSE) occurring in some stunning, as in the Captive Bolt pistol used on the cows. The brain is damaged and there is a risk of contamination with BSE, and the consumer could develop a similar disease which will kill him/her. The European Union has decided recently to BAN stunning by the Captive Bolt pistol because of this serious health hazard. PITHING, another type of stunning, was prohibited before for the same reason.

10 - New medical research and studies have proved the amazing tranquilliser and healing effects on the animal when it hears BISMILLAH ALLAH AKBAR, when it is alive, fully conscious and able to hear! In stunning, the animal is unconscious or dead and unable to hear BISMILLAH ALLAH AKBAR.

11 - ALLAH is the MOST COMPASSIONATE, the MOST MERCIFUL. Muhammad (peace be upon him)is the MERCY to all the worlds (men and animals), all prophets of ALLAH like: Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) have done DHABH by the direct method and without any type of stunning...surely all were NOT CRUEL to the animals! Besides that, Teacher Muhammad has told us and shown us how to slaughter our animals as the best humane method and best for quality of meat.

12 - Surely stunning is a NEW BID'A/invention and is contradictory to the Prophet Muhammad's way the PERFECT way!

13 - The final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has ordered us in a Hadith to FIGHT all those who do not slaughter their animals as done by the prophets.

14 - The OFFICIAL MUSLIM VIEW to the Government in the UK, by the major Muslim organisations like:

The Muslim Council of Britain, Union of Muslim organisations, Sharia Council, Regent Park Mosque etc is that ANY TYPE OF STUNNING CANNOT BE ACCEPTED BY THE BRITISH MUSLIMS.

15 - The European Council for IFTA and RESEARCH, has prohibited stunning in 1999 (about 50 European Ulama and Muftis in Europe).

16 - MORE: The British Government has allowed the Muslims (& Jews) to slaughter their animals according to their religions (exemption from stunning) and without any type of stunning. So it is LEGAL and according to the law of the land to have our Real Halal meat from DHABH without stunning...


So any Muslim practicing stunning is disobeying the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and NOT following the Fatawas of Ulama, and is feeding our Muslims and the innocent children non Halal meat and is CHEATING the Muslims by saying it is HALAL MEAT.

He is also GIVING us 2 HARAMS at least: eating from dead animal and feeding us the Haram blood! And he is giving us unhealthy meat with many risks to our health (BSE, Blood etc...)

He is also inflicting pain and cruelty on the stunned animals and he will have to answer before ALLAH, when he will be asked about this unnecessary cruelty.

He is also breaking the official Muslim view (consensus) to the Government.





Question: Is there an obvious reason why it is forbidden to eat animals that are not slaughtered according to sharee’ah, such as those killed by electric shock or shot with a gun, etc.

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But whosoever is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits; (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-An’aam 6:145]

Blood is the reason why it is forbidden to eat meat that has not been slaughtered according to sharee’ah. Our sharee’ah intends that the slaughtered animal should be drained of blood as completely as possible, and that is because of the extreme harm that would result from eating its blood.

It does not make sense, and it is unacceptable to suggest, that Islam would set out all these conditions to get rid of the blood of the slaughtered animal in the manner prescribed, then allow us to drink or eat blood after it is drained from the animal. For this reason it is a definite fact that Islam has forbidden blood as a means of nutrition for man. Rather this prohibition is a clear sign of the wisdom and purpose of sharee’ah in purifying the animal by draining the blood from it because blood is one of the most evil and unlawful kinds of food, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sent to abolish.

“he allows them as lawful At Tayyibaat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al Khabaa’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods)” [al-A’raaf 7:157 – interpretation of the meaning]

Al-Tabari said in his Tafseer: “ The phrase ‘blood poured forth’ means blood that flows copiously. This is how Allaah described the blood when He told His slaves that it is haraam. ‘Ikrimah said: were it not for this aayah, the Muslims would gone to extremes in avoiding the blood that remains in the veins as the Jews do. Al-Maawardi said that with regard to blood that is not ‘poured forth’, if it has solidified in the veins, as in the liver and spleen, then it is halaal, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Two kinds of dead meat and two kinds of blood have been permitted to us…”

The reason why the blood that is “poured forth” is forbidden to us is because of the information that has become well known and well established nowadays among the doctors and those who carry out medical tests and study microscopic creatures, which is that blood is considered to be the optimum environment for the growth of germs. So if a person drinks blood it is as if he has drunk a “farm” for growing germs, in which the germs can multiply and grow, producing lethal poisons which, as is well known, have extremely harmful effects which result in germs invading the human body resulting in the person contracting contagious and lethal diseases.

If it is said that cooking the blood and eating it will surely kill these bacteria and microbes and put an end to them whilst preserving the hoped-for nutritional benefits of the blood, our answer is that some of these toxins cannot be altered by boiling and changed in such a manner that they become beneficial to the body. There are some that do not change at all, rather they remain lethal poisons even after being boiled, or the heat may alter them in such a way that they become even more lethal and harmful.

With regard to the benefits expected by the one who drinks blood thinking that it is a nutritious substance that strengthens the body, these benefits are non-existent, if we examine the composition of blood. Blood is very difficult to digest, so much so that if some of it is poured into a man’s stomach, he will vomit immediately, or it will come out in his stools without having been digested, in the form of a black substance. The reason why it is so hard to digest and it turns the stools black is the presence of the red substance (haemoglobin) which is basically formed of iron. As the blood passes through the digestive tract and as time passes, it starts to disintegrate and break down, and thus it also harms the body. If it were said that cooking also helps to break down the components of blood and make it easier to digest and benefit from its nutritional value, our answer is that boiling solidifies the proteins in the blood and makes it even more difficult to digest, more harmful and less beneficial.

After hundreds of scientific experiments and huge advancements in modern science, carrying out blood tests and precise scientific research in this field, it has become indisputably clear to all those who are concerned with human health of all nationalities and specialties that the great harm done to health by eating blood or cooking it and using it all boil down to the fact that drinking blood is ingesting a lethal poison. This is clear from the following scientific facts:

1 – Blood is basically composed of two basic elements, namely water which represents 90% of the liquid in which the components of blood swim (which is known as plasma). The rest is formed of blood cells and other elements. The one who wants to drink blood or cook it and eat it does so because he wants to consume something with a high or regular nutritional value. But these scientific facts prove that he would have to drink such a huge amount of blood in order to avail himself of a small amount of blood protein and a little bit of iron that it is not worth the risk of exposing himself to the dangers that result from that.

In brief, blood is the opposite of what people think, it is very poor in nutritional values. Therefore the fact that it is forbidden does not mean that the Muslims are being deprived of any major nutritional benefit.

2 – Major harm may result from this small amount of blood protein mixed with very harmful and poisonous elements, which means that ingesting it poses a great risk and puts a person in danger. Foremost among these dangers is the poisonous gas with which blood is filled, namely carbon dioxide which flows in venous blood from all parts of the body.

Because the one who drinks blood takes it from the animal when it is full of carbon dioxide, which is a gas that kills by asphyxiation. When a person dies of asphyxiation, it is because of the accumulation of this gas in his blood, the lethal effects of which result in death. So it is obvious that repeatedly drinking blood which is filled with carbon dioxide, on the part of one who is accustomed to this practice, will lead to harmful results depending on the extent to which this gas is present in the animal’s blood and the extent to which the body of the drinker is susceptible to it.

What we have mentioned here are only the effects that result from the components of blood on the one who drinks it or eats it after cooking it. We have also mentioned other extremely harmful effects which are directly connected to the specific functions that Allaah has created in blood and the roles that it plays in the animal’s body, functions that cannot be performed unless the blood is in a liquid, flowing state. If we were to content ourselves with the above bad effects of using blood for food, that would be sufficient to make any nation that appreciates knowledge to promulgate laws banning this practice, even if that nation was kaafir.

“He grants Hikmah [wisdom] to whom He wills, and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding” [al-Baqarah 2:269 – interpretation of the meaning]

Glory be to the One Who taught the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that which he did not know and bestowed that blessing upon him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allaah has sent down to you the book (the Qur’aan), and Al Hikmah (Islamic laws, knowledge of legal and illegal things, i.e. the Prophet’s Sunnah — legal ways), and taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allaah unto you (O Muhammad)”[al-Nisa’ 4:113]

Glory be to the One Who honoured the world with this true religion which has not left any major or minor matter without explaining to mankind the right way and the straight path. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Indeed, there has come to you from Allaah a light (Prophet Muhammad) and a plain Book (this Qur’aan).

6. Wherewith Allaah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to the Straight Way (Islamic Monotheism)” [al-Maa’idah 5:15-16]


In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Stunning the animal before it is actually slaughtered is a common practice in many western countries. It is claimed to be more comforting and causing less pain to the animal.

Pre-slaughter stunning was originally introduced to protect abattoir personnel, rather than the animals themselves. The idea was to immobilize the animal to facilitate killing procedures. However, the principle of stunning has now evolved to encompass the idea that animals should be rendered unconscious before they are slaughtered.

There are many methods used for stunning animals, just to mention a few:

The Captive Bolt Pistol

This stunning method is widely used for all farmed animals.

There are two types of captive bolt pistol: penetrative and non-penetrative. Penetrative stunners drive a bolt into the skull and cause unconsciousness both through physical brain damage and the concussive blow to the skull. The bolt on a non-penetrative stunner is 'mushroom-headed' and impacts on the brain without entering the skull. Unconsciousness is caused by the concussive blow. After the animal is unconscious, it is slaughtered.

The bolt is described as 'captive' because it flies out of the barrel but remains attached to the pistol. The pistol is placed on the centre of the animal’s forehead and is either trigger-fired or fires automatically on contact with the animal’s head.


Pitching is carried out in the majority of cattle slaughterhouses. The practice involves inserting a wire or rod through the hole in the head made by the captive bolt. The rod is slid up and down to destroy the lower part of the brain and the spinal cord.

Electric head-only stunning (electric shock or current)

Electric head-only stunning with tongs is used to stun cattle, calves, sheep, goats, rabbits and ostriches. The operator places a pair of electric tongs on either side of the animal’s head and passes an electric current through the brain - supposedly causing a temporary loss of consciousness.

Waterbath stunning

The electric waterbath is widely used to stun chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. Birds are shackled upside down on a moving conveyor which carries them to an electrified waterbath into which their heads are supposed to be immersed. The shackles contact a bar which is connected to earth. The strength of the electrical current has risen in recent years - with the aim of ensuring that birds suffer a cardiac arrest and die when they enter the waterbath.

Gas stunning

An animal is stunned by exposing them to a mixture of carbon dioxide and air. This gas causes the animal to loose its consciousness, after which it is slaughtered.

From an Islamic perspective, two main questions arise here:

1) Is using the method of stunning permissible?

2) Will the animal be considered lawful (halal) if it was slaughtered according to the rulings of Shariah after being stunned?

As far as the answer to the first question is concerned, this depends on whether stunning the animal reduces the pain or causes more unnecessary pain.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill (an animal), kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters” (Sahih Muslim).

Some of the methods used to stun animals are indeed very painful and as a result have been banned in many countries, like the method of pitching, for example. Therefore, such methods will indeed be impermissible according to Shariah.

As far as the other methods of stunning are concerned, although experts claim that they minimize the suffering of the animal, but this can not be said for certain. An electric current or a bolt pistol does cause pain to the animal, whereas gas stunning may cause severe breathing difficulties.

However, if it is ascertained that the claim of the experts is correct in that stunning does minimize the suffering of the animal, and also the animal does not die prior to the actual slaughtering, then it would be permissible to use the method of stunning, otherwise impermissible.

The second question is: what is the ruling regarding an animal that was stunned prior to being slaughtered? The answer to this depends on whether stunning causes the animal to die. Animal experts claim that it does not cause the animal to die; rather it only causes it to lose its consciousness, thus not feel the pain of the slaughter.

This, however, can not be said for certain, as many a time the animal does perish as a direct result of the stun. Especially with chicken, it is very likely that the animal dies as a result of the electric shock. Some experts are of the view that the stunned animal remains alive only for a few minutes, after which it dies.

As a result, no such ruling can be giver for certain. However, there is no doubt in the fact that if the animal was to die prior to the actual Islamic slaughter taking place or there is a fear of it dying, then it would be unlawful (haram) to consume its meat.

As the act of stunning renders the animal doubtful, one must avoid consuming the meat of animals that are stunned. It is known that the Jews abstain from consuming stunned animals, thus a Muslim should be more precautious in what he eats. However, if it is determined in a particular animal that it did not die prior to being slaughtered, then it would be Halal. This of course, is very difficult to determine whilst buying from meat shops, thus one should avoid it totally.

If you are forced to stun the animal by law, then it must be determined that the animal is still alive at the time of actual slaughter. This must be assured with each animal especially chickens, for they may die by the stun due to them being weak.

And Allah Knows Best

Is Stunning Animals Really Humane?

The religious practice of slaughtering animals by a swift cut to the throat of the animal, practiced by both Muslims and Jews, has recently come under attack in the UK. The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), an advisory group to the British government on ways to avoid cruelty to livestock, wants to see these methods of slaughtering banned under the pretence that these practices are cruel and cause suffering of the animals. They are demanding that it be required by law that the animals are stunned prior to being slaughtered.

According to the BBC, spokesman Roy Saich was quoted as saying, "There is no imperative for Muslims or Judaists to eat meat produced in this manner." He continues saying, "There is no reason why they should not simply abstain from eating meat altogether if they do not wish to eat the same meat as the rest of us." (BBC News).

As disturbing as this quote is, let us for the sake of comparison look at the various methods of stunning that Muslims and Jews are being told are more humane than their own religious methods of slaughter and that they may be required by law to use whether they want to or not.

Animal Slaughter in the UK

Each year in the UK, 900 million animals are slaughtered for the purpose of consumption. This takes place in less than 600 abattoirs. The concept of humane slaughter is supposedly behind the adoption of the practice of stunning animals before slaughter by the UK government, the claim being that stunning renders the animals unconscious and unable to feel pain at the time of slaughter. However scientific studies and the opinions of several experts have shown this to be untrue.

According to VIVA (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals), “Tens of millions of animals are being ineffectively stunned and are regaining consciousness while they bleed to death.” Furthermore, it is quite an interesting fact that the original purpose behind the practice of pre-slaughter stunning was the protection of abattoir personnel rather than that of the animals since the immobilization of the animals facilitates the slaughtering procedure and allows the slaughter if a greater number of animals and hence a higher profit gained.

According to a report done by Rebecca Smith of VIVA, a vegan campaigning group fighting to save animals, the stunning techniques used in UK abattoirs include:

· The Captive Bolt Pistol (CBP) and concussion stunning:

This type of stunning is widely used for all farmed animals. Unconsciousness is caused either by penetration of the skull which causes brain damage or by causing a concussive blow to the brain without penetration. It is called ‘captive’ since the bolt is shot out of the barrel but remains attached to the pistol.

The disadvantages of CBP stunning:

In order to be effective, CBP stunning must be performed by highly trained personnel. Correct cartridge strengths must also be used. If this is not the case or if the pistol is not positioned correctly, the animal will have to endure the pain of being shot incorrectly and will then have to be shot again or be knifed while conscious. In a 1996 report, the Scientific Committee of the European Commission said that, “In 5 to 10% of cattle, captive bolt stunning is not applied correctly.”

VIVA translates this percentage into 230,000 cattle in the UK being stunned incorrectly each year.

A practice known as pithing, which often followed the CBP shot and was practiced by the majority of cattle slaughter houses, increased the risk of BSE also known as Mad Cow disease by allowing infected brain matter to reach other parts of the animal’s body. Pithing was banned in the UK in 2002.

· Electric Head-Only Stunning:

Cattle, sheep, goats and ostriches are all stunned using this method. The technique involves the application of a pair of electric tongs on either side of the animal’s head. An electric current is then passed through the brain and this supposedly leads to the temporary loss of consciousness.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) say that, “There is increasing scientific evidence that some animals stunned electrically using tongs regain consciousness before they die from loss of blood.” The reasons behind this are either an inefficient electric current being passed through the animals’ brain during stunning or the animals begin to regain consciousness if the time interval between stunning and sticking exceeds a period of 20 seconds.

VIVA explains this saying that the stun caused by the electric head-only technique lasts between 20 and 40 seconds whereas the interval between stunning and knifing is as high as 70 seconds for sheep. This means that there are around 5 million sheep that regain consciousness after being electrically stunned before they die of blood loss.

Research done at Bristol University has also shown that after an electric stun, sheep may not be able to feel pain, they do, however, experience periods of full awareness. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the loss of consciousness is immediate, and some people like neurophysiologist Dr. Harold Hilman believe that stunning is extremely painful, pointing out that the electrocution of prisoners is used as a torture method in some countries. The animals cannot express this pain by crying out or by moving since the massive electric current paralyzes them.

· Water Bath Stunning

This is a widely used method of stunning for chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. In this method, birds are shackled upside-down on a moving conveyor belt that takes them to the electricified water bath. The birds’ heads are to supposedly be immersed in this water causing their electrocution. In recent years, the strength of the electric current has been raised to ensure the death of the birds by cardiac arrest.

· Disadvantages of this method:

The inadequate stunning of birds is a common problem with this method especially with ducks and geese that tend to raise their heads when entering the water bath and their heads are therefore not fully immersed in the water.

Another problem with this method is that although the aim of this method is to induce cardiac arrest, “many birds are improperly stunned and recover consciousness before slaughter,” according to the RSPCA.

It was found by an experiment conducted by Gregory and Whittington in 1992 and published in Research in Veterinary Science under the title of ‘Inhalation of Water During Electrical Stunning in Chickens’ that “chickens can and do inhale water during electric stunning in a water bath. NO remedy for this is available at the moment.” It was also noticed that birds may defecate while being stunned and so live birds may inhale water fouled by faeces at stunning, thus making their meat unhygienic as the fluids may leak out of the lungs and cause contamination.

This method of stunning is particularly cruel to turkeys. The shackling of turkeys by their legs, which may last up to 6 minutes, is extremely painful. This pain is caused by leg deformities that the birds suffer from due to their being bred in a manner that ensures maximum weight gain as fast as possible whereas their bones do not have time to properly develop.

Another problem for turkeys is that their wings may sometimes hang lower than their heads causing the bird to sustain a painful electric shock. The Scientific Veterinary Committee of the EU says that, “The prevalence of pre-stun electric shock in turkeys is high (about 80%).”

· Gassing

Birds may be stunned using CO2 or Argon gas while they remain in their crates. Pigs are also gassed using CO2.

· Sticking

In this method a knife is stuck into the animal’s throat or neck causing brain death from the rapid loss of blood supply to the brain. This method if not performed correctly can lead to the animal regaining sensibility before death.

Islam’s Stance on Stunning

Muslim scholars disagree on whether pre-slaughter stunning is prohibited or not. Some believe that if the animal is killed by the cutting of the throat and not by the stun then it is lawful to eat the animal’s meat. The joint Muslim World League/World Health Organization meeting held in Jeddah during Rabi’a al- Awwal 1406 AH/December 1985 agreed that “if it could be shown that stunning with electric shock enabled the animal to die peacefully, then it would be Islamically lawful”(Islamset).

On the other hand, those against stunning argue that in cases of captive bolt stunning or concussion stunning, the animal may die from the concussion, which would be similar to dying from a violent blow and the animal would then be classified as mawquza ("beaten to death"), which is prohibited in Islam.

In the electric water bath used for poultry, the birds may die partly by drowning or by cardiac arrest, which would classify the birds as mayta (dead). That would also make eating their meat unlawful.

These scholars also argue that chemical gassing should not be used as a stunning method as this would be similar to death by strangulation and the animal would be classified as munkhaniqa, (death by suffocation).

In this translation of Surat Al-Maida (The Table) Allah says, “Forbidden to you (for food) are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that over which has been invoked other than the name of Allah, that which has been killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a headlong fall or by being gored to death, that which has been partly eaten by a wild animal, unless you are able to slaughter (in due form), and that which is sacrificed on stone (altars).”

However, no matter which choice one makes regarding this matter, there is no doubt that stunning of animals is cruel and causes unjustifiable suffering to the animals which is strongly prohibited in Islam.


§ Smith, Rebecca, Sentenced to Death . Viva!

§ BBC, 2003: Halal and Kosher slaughter 'must end'.

Health an Islamic Perspective. Islamset.

Stunning Animals Prior To Slaughter Is Unacceptable, Say UK Muslims
The British Muslim community views with serious concern recent reports that the Farm Animal Welfare Council intends next month to recommend that the Government outlaws the religious Islamic and Jewish method of slaughtering animals.

"The stunning of animals prior to their slaughter is an unacceptable requirement to both British Muslims and Jews. Numerous medical studies have shown that stunning leads to the retention of a significant amount of blood in the meat and is the cause of death in some animals before slaughter. The consumption of blood and the meat of animals which have died before slaughter is clearly prohibited in Islam as it is harmful," said Mr Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Dr Ahmad al-Dubayan, the Director of the Islamic Cultural Centre, London's largest mosque, voiced his support for the MCB's position and said: "The Islamic Halal method is a humane and Divinely-ordained injunction which is binding on all Muslims. We hope that others will not seek to interfere with our most basic beliefs and custom

An Islamic Perspective

The issue of electrically stunned chicken has been placed in front of the Ulama, and has undergone extensive research and studies. To such an extent that to achieve the most complete and satisfactory answer matters were referred to specialists and research groups.

With complete insight and without any doubts in our hearts we now proclaim the Islamic perspective on electrically stunning animals prior to slaughter is makrooh-e-tahrimi (extremely detested bordering close to Haram), as well as being an utterly pointless method of subjecting the animal to unnecessary cruelty and torture.
(This is the ruling on stunning itself not on the meat of the animal, which will be Haram if it dies prior to slaughter, and this is a very common occurrence - translator)

Many sheikhs and muftis in their fataawa have already stated the same reasoning and have reached the same conclusion.

For this reason, i.e. to avoid causing the animal untold pain and suffering, and to take advantage of what the law does not force upon us, we must resort to the Islamic, Sunnah methodology and abandon such inhumane traits.

We also strongly advise our Muslim brothers and sisters in general, to as far as possible endeavour to acquire Halal, pure foods, and also to avoid the purchase of stunned animals altogether.

We also at this moment in time would like to thank those slaughterhouse owners who, upon hearing this judgement have promised to altogether discontinue using any method of stunning.

In a Hadith narrated by both Sahih Muslim (Mishkat p357) and Abu Dawood (Abu Dawood ma’al Bathl; vol 5, p77), the companion of our beloved messenger T, Shaddaad bin Aus Z, relates that the messenger of Allah T has said, “Allah has ordered Ihsaan (kindness/benevolence) in all things, to such an extent that even when capital punishment is to be issued to anyone, then that too must be with Ihsaan. And when any animal is to be slaughtered then that too must be with Ihsaan. One must ensure that the knife is sharpened and the animal is relaxed.”

And Allah Alone Knows Best

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