Summary of conditions for Halal slaughter

Islamic law requires that animals intended for human consumption be slain in a certain manner. The conditions for Halal slaughter can be summarized as follows:

  • The animal to be slaughtered must be from the categories that are permitted for Muslims to eat.
  • The animal must be alive at the time of slaughter.
  • No electric shock, bullet or any other means should be used before slaughtering. Using any such method may lead to the death of the animal before it is cut. Islam prohibits Muslims from eating any meat coming from an animal that is dead before slaughter. Muslims are also advised to avoid eating anything doubtful.
  • The animal must be slaughtered by the use of a sharp knife. The knife must not kill due to its weight. If it kills due to the impact the meat may not be permissible.
  • The windpipe (throat), food-tract (oesophagus) and the two jugular veins must be cut.
  • The slaughtering must be done in one stroke without lifting the knife. The knife should not be placed and lifted when slaughtering the animal.
  • Slaughtering must be done by a sane adult Muslim. Animals slaughtered by a Non Muslim will not be Halal.
  • The name of Allah must be invoked (mentioned) at the time of slaughtering by saying:
    Bismillah Allahu Akbar. (In the Name of Allah; Allah is the Greatest.)
  • If at the time of slaughtering the name of anyone else other than Allah is invoked (i.e. animal sacrificed for him/her), then the meat becomes Haram “unlawful.”
  • If a Muslim forgets to invoke the name of Allah at the time of slaughtering, the meat will remain Halal. However, if he intentionally does not invoke the name of Allah, the meat becomes Haram.
  • The head of the animal must not be cut off during slaughtering but later after the animal is completely dead, even the knife should not go deep into the spinal cord.
  • Skinning or cutting any part of the animal is not allowed before the animal is completely dead.
  • Slaughtering must be made in the neck from the front (chest) to the back.
  • The slaughtering must be done manually not by a machine, as one of the conditions is the intention, which is not found in a machine.
  • The slaughtering should not be done on a production line where pigs are slaughtered. Any instrument used for slaughtering pigs should not be used in the Halal slaughtering.

Customary and Desirable Practices When Slaughtering

  • Water should be offered to the animal before slaughter, and it should not be slaughtered when hungry.
  • The knife should be hidden from the animal, and slaughtering should be done out of sight of other animals waiting to be slaughtered.
  • Animals should be killed in a comfortable way. Unnecessary suffering to them must be avoided.
  • The knife should be re-sharpened before slaughter.

Storage, Processing and Transport of Halal Meat

  • Meat chilled or frozen for export to Muslims should be stored in separate cold stores other than those in which pork or other non-Halal meat is stored.
  • Meat minced or processed for Muslims should not be minced in the same machines used to mince pork or other non-Halal meat.