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What is required for Islamic (Halal, Zabiha) slaughter?

​The requirements for zabiha or halal slaughter are to cut the animal so it bleeds, that bleeding results in the loss of life, and to invoke the name of God at the time of cutting. The four schools of thought have different opinions on the number of passages that should be cut but as long as the cut results in bleeding that results in the loss of life, all four schools of thought accept the slaughter as halal.
Traditionally, slaughter was a manual process, with an individual administering the cut. This is still the case today for large animals such as cattle and sheep, though a few processing plants have introduced more automation into the process. Automation has been used in the commercial poultry industry for some time due to the large volume of chicken being processed. The automation involves the use of an automated knife to do the cutting. This has been termed ‘machine slaughter’ while the traditional method has been termed ‘hand slaughter’.
​The question of machine slaughter has been discussed among the Islamic Scholars and some have concluded it is an acceptable means of slaughtering poultry while others have concluded it is not. So there is not a consensus on this issue. However the fact that Islamic scholars have concluded it is acceptable is sufficient to consider it halal.
All four schools of thought require slaughter to cause bleeding that results in the loss of life. This is the minimum requirement. The four schools have different requirements for the number of passages that should be cut but as long as the cut results in bleeding which results in the loss of life, all four schools accept the slaughter as halal. Many present day scholars around the world as well as the Islamic Fiqh Council have stated that machine slaughter is halal. Of course, the animal must be alive at the time it is cut.
Again, the major requirement for halal slaughter is that the cut cause bleeding which results in the loss of life of the chicken. Just as with slaughter using a hand held knife, the knife (or blade) must be sharp, it should cut the throat causing bleeding which results in the loss of life, and Tasmiyyah must be performed.
In the machine slaughter process, the cut is made in the proper area, the minimum required passages are all cut, and the blood is drained. On this basis, IFANCA accepts machine slaughter of poultry under IFANCA supervision. In IFANCA supervised machine slaughter, Muslim slaughter men must be present, reciting the name of Allah (Tasmiyyah) continuously on the birds passing by the knife, and slaughtering any birds missed by the knife. (It is not uncommon that some birds will be missed by the mechanical process.) The entire process is under the control of Muslims and further processing does not take place until the bird is lifeless.
This method may not appeal to everyone and that is okay. Anyone who does not feel comfortable with this method of Zabiha halal slaughter is free to avoid it. However, no one should accuse it of being unacceptable Islamically as it meets the minimum requirements for Zabiha and it has been deemed acceptable by respected Islamic scholars (e.g., Shaikh Muzammil Siddiqui, Shaikh Iqbal Nadvi, and many others) and Islamic Councils (e.g., Islamic Fiqh Council, Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), and many others).​​

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