ANIMALS IN ISLAM

Title
Is the appalling treatment of animals as per the finding of WSPA halal or acceptable?
Question
LONG DISTANCE TRANSPORT AND SLAUGHTER OF ANIMALS

Handle with Care, a coalition of some of the world’s leading animal welfare organisations, would like to bring to your attention the findings of a two-year investigation into the long distance transport of animals for slaughter. The main findings are compiled in the scientific report “Long Distance Transport and Welfare of Farm Animals”.

Enclosed are several images and two films in Arabic that illustrate the serious animal welfare issues encountered in the journeys of cattle transported from Brazil to Lebanon and sheep transported from Australia to the Middle East.

Every year millions of animals are transported from Australia and Brazil to several Middle Eastern countries. Health and welfare problems caused by long distance transport include injury, disease and stress. Many animals die during the journey. The ones that survive are often subjected to inappropriate handling, transport and slaughter upon arrival at their destination. Sheep, for example, may be dragged by the horns or the legs, beaten and kicked, and have their legs tied to restrict their movements. In some markets, sheep may be left on the ground, with their legs tied and without food or water for the whole day until a client finally buys them for slaughter.

At the slaughterhouses, sheep and cattle are dragged, beaten and kicked, slaughtered in front of dead or dying animals and in contact with the blood of other animals. Many of the knives used are as small as 10 centimetres in length and inadequate for the task. They are frequently sharpened in front of the live animals. Often, animals are not killed with one clean cut of the knife. The meat is then sold as Halal in butcher shops and supermarkets.

The Handle with Care coalition understands that this appalling treatment of animals is not to be considered Halal, a position that has been confirmed by the President of the Halal Food Authority in the United Kingdom. More recently, Dr. Mohamed Sayed Tantawy, the Grand Sheikh of the Al Ahzar University in Cairo has issued an important legal opinion condemning this appalling treatment of animals. A copy of this document is attached for your information.

As an authority in the field of Islamic law, the coalition kindly requests your expert opinion on whether this treatment before slaughter and at the time of slaughter, as shown in the attached images and footage, is indeed Halal or whether it should be considered Haram.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

We commend the WSPA for their noble endeavors in rescuing the animal kingdom from abuse. It is a great feat on their part for taking the initiative of helping these helpless creatures.

There are two issues pertaining to your query, viz the treatment of animals before slaughter and the ruling of the meat of such animals after slaughter. We will address both these issues separately

The treatment conducted to animals as outlined in your query clearly contradicts the principles of Islam. According to the spirit and teachings of Islam, it is impermissible to cause unendurable pain and harm to these innocent creatures of Allah. Consider the following narrations of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah shower his peace and blessings on him),

(1) حدثنا عبد الله بن محمد النفيلى حدثنا مسكين – يعنى ابن بكير – حدثنا محمد بن مهاجر عن ربيعة بن يزيد عن أبى كبشة السلولى عن سهل ابن الحنظلية قال قال رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم: « اتقوا الله فى هذه البهائم المعجمة ». سنن أبى داود – (ج 2 / ص 328 دار الكتاب العربي ـ بيروت )

(1) “Fear Allah in the way you treat animals…” (Abu Dawood 2/328)

(2) 5674 – وحدثنى سلمة بن شبيب حدثنا الحسن بن أعين حدثنا معقل عن أبى الزبير عن جابر أن النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم- مر عليه حمار قد وسم فى وجهه فقال « لعن الله الذى وسمه ». (صحيح مسلم – (ج 6 / ص 163

(2) Jabir told that an ass which had been branded in its face passed by the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah remarked, “May Allah curse the one who branded it.” (Muslim 6/163)

(3) 6841 – حدثنى عبد الله بن محمد بن أسماء بن عبيد الضبعى حدثنا جويرية – يعنى ابن أسماء – عن نافع عن عبد الله أن رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال « عذبت امرأة فى هرة سجنتها حتى ماتت فدخلت فيها النار لا هى أطعمتها وسقتها إذ هى حبستها ولا هى تركتها تأكل من خشاش الأرض ». (صحيح مسلم – (ج 8 / ص 35)

(3) A woman was punished and entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had imprisoned until it died, neither did she give it food nor did she set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.”(Muslim 8/35)

(4) 171 – حدثنا إسحاق أخبرنا عبد الصمد حدثنا عبد الرحمن بن عبد الله بن دينار سمعت أبي عن أبي صالح عن أبي هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم

: ( أن رجلا رأى كلبا يأكل الثرى من العطش فأخذ الرجل خفه فجعل يغرف له به حتى أرواه فشكر الله له فأدخله الجنة ) (صحيح البخاري – (ج 1 / ص 75 دار ابن كثير ، اليمامة – بيروت )

(4) A man saw a dog eating mud due to severe thirst. (Feeling pity on the dog) the man took a shoe (and filled it) with water and kept on pouring water for the dog until it quenched its thirst. Allah approved of his deed and granted him entry into Paradise.(Sahih Bukhari, 1/75)

(5) 4676- قال أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة : حدثنا إسماعيل بن إبراهيم ، عن زياد بن مخراق ، عن معاوية بن قرة ، عن أبيه ، رضي الله عنه ، أن رجلا قال للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : إني لأذبح الشاة وإني لأرحمها ، أو قال : إني لأرحم الشاة أن أذبحها ، فقال : إن الشاة إن رحمتها رحمك الله مرتين. (اتحاف الخيرة المهرة – (ج 5 / ص 283)

(5) “A person said to the Prophet of Allah (May Allah shower his peace and blessings on him), “Verily I slaughter a sheep and show mercy to it.” The Prophet of Allah (May Allah shower his peace and blessings on him) replied, “If you show mercy to a sheep, Allah will show double the mercy on you.”

(6) 925- حدثنا عبد الرحيم بن واقد ، حدثنا عبد الغفور بن عبد العزيز ، حدثنا عبد العزيز بن سعيد الأنصاري ، عن أبيه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : إن الله ليرحم عبده المؤمن يوم القيامة برحمته العصفور (بغية الباحث عن زوائد مسند الحارث – (ج 2 / ص 865)

(6) “Verily Allah will show mercy on a Muslim slave on the of Judgement on account of him showing mercy on a sparrow.”

It is clear from the above, that cruelty and to animals is not permissible in Islam and will cause a person to be punished.  Thus, the manner in which the animals are treated, as explained in your query, is prohibited.

As for the second issue (i.e. the ruling of the meat of such animals after slaughter), it should firstly be noted that Islam advocates kindness to animals even at the time of slaughtering. Prophet Muhammad (May Allah shower his peace and blessings on him) has said,

5167 – حدثنا أبو بكر بن أبى شيبة حدثنا إسماعيل ابن علية عن خالد الحذاء عن أبى قلابة عن أبى الأشعث عن شداد بن أوس قال ثنتان حفظتهما عن رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال « إن الله كتب الإحسان على كل شىء فإذا قتلتم فأحسنوا القتلة وإذا ذبحتم فأحسنوا الذبح وليحد أحدكم شفرته فليرح ذبيحته ». (صحيح مسلم – (ج 6 / ص 72)

“Verily, Allah has ordained compassion for everything; so if you kill, perfect your killing, if you slaughter, then perfect the slaughtering. SHARPEN THE BLADE AND COMFORT THE ANIMAL THAT WILL BE SLAUGHTERED.” (Sahih Muslim 6/72)

A similar narration to the above is narrated by Imam Bayhaqi (May Allah be pleased with him), wherein it is stated that Abdullah bin Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) has said,

3865 – وروينا عن ابن شهاب أن عبد الله بن عمر قال : أمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بحد الشفار ، وأن توارى عن البهائم وقال : ‘ وإذا ذبح أحدكم فليجهز ‘ وقيل : عنه ، عن سالم بن عبد الله بن عمر ، عن أبيه (السنن الصغرى للبيهقي (ج 8 / ص 256)- (نسخة الأعظمي مكتبة الرشد)

“The Prophet of Allah (May Allah shower his peace and blessings on him) commanded that the knife is sharpened, and (a sheep) is slaughtered in the absence of other sheep. He also said, “When any one of you slaughters, he should first prepare.”

Having mentioned the above, it should be known that the ruling of the meat depends entirely on the method in which the animal was slaughtered. Thus, if the animals were slaughtered in accordance with the laws of Islam, the meat will be halaal (permissible to consume). The cruelty which was shown to the animals before slaughter is a separate crime.

In conclusion, we suggest that it would be ideal if you take up this issue with the relevant authorities. We trust that they will consider your suggestions and make the necessary amendments.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam

Ml. Ismail Moosa,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah

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