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Dhabḥ (Arabic: ذَبْح) or slaughter in Islamic rulings, is among the methods of the tadhkiya of animals and refers to beheading them according to Islamic rulings. Religiously edible animals (except camels and grasshoppers) which live on the land and aquatic animals whose blood gush out are ritually slaughtered (mudhakka) through dhabh and eating their meat becomes permissible then.
In Islam, slaughtering according to Islamic rulings requires certain conditions. The glorious Qur'an has mentioned some of the wrong methods of killing animals. Islam has also mentioned some manners of slaughtering animals, observing some of which is recommended and some of them are makruh (reprehensible).
Lexically, "dhabh" means beheading animals. In Islamic jurisprudence, it is one of the methods for tadhkiya of animals which is performed by cutting the four veins of the animal's neck. Religiously edible animals (except camels and grasshoppers) which live on the land and aquatic animals whose blood gush out are ritually slaughtered (mudhakka) through dhabh and eating their meat becomes permissible then.
In the third verse of Qur'an 5 (Sura al-Ma'ida), the Qur'an mentions some of the wrong methods in killing animals and has prohibited Muslims from eating the meat of animals slaughtered with these methods. In the jurisprudential works, the issue of slaughtering animals is discussed in an independent chapter titled as hunting and slaughtering (sayd and dhabaha). A person who practices dhabh is called "dhābih" and the animal undergone this practice is called "dhabīha" and "madhbuh".
In Islam, some conditions are specified for slaughtering according to Islamic rulings observing all of which is obligatory. They are as follows:
- The four main veins of the animal's neck shall be cut from under the throat.
- Upon slaughtering, the name of God shall be uttered.
- Upon slaughtering, the animal shall be faced toward the qibla.
- The tool used for slaughtering shall be made of iron, but in case of necessity or fear from dying of the animal before being slaughtered, stone or another sharp tool can also be used.
- The slaughterer shall be Muslim. Based on this condition, the slaughterer cannot be a Nasibi (an enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt (a)) or a disbeliever who does not follow any of the Holy Books. About slaughtering performed by the people of the Book, there are two views and most Shi'a jurists believe in the prohibition of using the animals slaughtered by them.
- The animal shall be alive before slaughtering. Some jurists believe that after slaughtering the animal shall move its body or its hands and feet to prove that it has been alive before being slaughtered.
Slaughtering Using Machine
In most Christian countries, slaughtering animals is done using advanced machines and, in some countries, animals are made unconscious before being slaughtered. Jurists believe that slaughtering animals using machines is valid, but the name of God should be uttered upon slaughtering and also other conditions should be observed. Also, about buying the meat we do not know if it belongs to an animal which has been slaughtered according to Islamic rulings, they say that if it is bought from a Muslim or from the Muslim's market, it is permissible.
Islam has considered observation of some instructions regarding slaughtering animals as recommended, including,
- The slaughterer should face the qibla upon slaughtering.
- The tool used for slaughtering should be sharp and slaughtering should be performed swiftly.
- Before slaughtering, the animal should be offered water to drink.
- In slaughtering sheep, the hands and one foot of the animal should be tied and its other foot should be left loose.
- In slaughtering a cow, the four hands and feet of the animal should be tied and its tail should be left loose.
- After slaughtering a hen, it should be left loose, so that it can flap its wings.
According to jurisprudential sources, makruh (reprehensible) acts in slaughtering of animals are,
- Cutting the spinal cord before the animal breathes its last breath
- Slaughtering of an animal in front of other animals
- That one slaughters his own nurtured animal
- Slaughtering at night
- Slaughtering before noon on Friday
- Piercing the knife behind the throat of the animal and drawing it forth so that the throat is cut from behind.
In Islamic jurisprudence, after slaughtering religiously edible animals, eating their meat becomes permissible and their body parts become pure afterwards; but, when religiously non-edible animals are slaughtered, only their body parts become pure (not their meat) and according to many jurists, using their leather and skin for purposes other than for prayer becomes permissible. Based on Islamic jurisprudence, if animals are not slaughtered according to Islamic rulings or if one of the conditions of Islamic slaughtering is not met about them, the animal is not ritually slaughtered (mudhakka) and its body parts too will be najis.
Slaughtering in Other Religions and Cultures
In Judaism, the religious slaughtering is called "shehita" and the slaughterer is called "shohet". In Talmud, many orders are mentioned about the method of slaughtering, including that the animal should not be unconscious or incapable of standing before slaughtering. Also, slaughtering should be performed by a person who has been trained before Jew scholars (hakhams) and he should perform it with one accurate swift strike.
- You are prohibited carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and what has been offered to other than Allah, and the animal strangled or beaten to death, and that which dies by falling or is gored to death, and that which is mangled by a beast of prey—barring that which you may purify
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ذبح شرعی in Farsi WikiShia.