How Halal Meat Is Slaughtered and Prepared In 8 Steps


halal meat displayed at butcher shop
Photo Courtesy: portable soul

The preparation of halal meat is different than traditional meat. Islamic practices have to be followed to ensure that mass production of halal certified meat is actually halal. Yes that can be confusing process but we’ve simplified it to 8 steps to help you wrap your head around how halal meat is prepared.

Here’s how halal meat is slaughtered & prepared:

Step 1: Animal Must be Halal and Permissible To Eat
Step 2: Animal Pre-Slaughter Conditions Must Be Met
Step 3: Tasmiyyah and Takbir Must Be Recited Before or During Slaughter
Step 4: Animals Should Not Witness The Slaughter Of Another Animal
Step 5: Animal Must Be Slaughtered With A Sharp Knife
Step 6: Animal Should Be Facing Qibla (Optional)
Step 7: Animal Must be left to Drain Out
Step 8: Animal is Packaged In Factory

Step 1: Animal Must be Halal and Permissible To Eat

This may be an obvious one to many, but we though we’d clarify the meats that are halal. We also wanted to shed light on rare foods that many people question whether it is halal or not.

List of Commonly Known Halal Animals to Eat

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Horse
  • Seafood

As long as the animal you’re eating is not harmful then you’re good to go. Nevertheless, if you’re eating a rare type of meat and are curious about whether it is halal or not, always do your research!

List of Commonly Known Animals That Are Non Permissible to Eat

We, at Halal Guidance, are at no position to tell you what not to eat. However, these are the foods that are known to be Non-permissible to muslims

  • Pork
  • Donkey (Forbidden by the Prophet Muhammed SAW)

On the Day of the battle of Khaibar, Allah’s Apostle made donkey’s meat unlawful and allowed the eating of horse flesh.

Sahih Bukhari [429] (source)

The Prophet made the meat of donkeys unlawful on the day of the battle of Khaibar.

Sahih Bukhari [430] (source)

Step 2: Animal Pre-Slaughter Conditions Must Be Met

For an animal to be legitimately halal to eat, it must be treated with respect and dignity prior to its salughter. The animals must be well cared for. We realize that simply saying “the animal must be treated with respect” is too broad and simply sounds politically correct at this point.

That’s why we wanted to nail down the specifics of what the pre slaughter conditions must be for the animal to be considered halal to eat:

  • Animal can not be already dead before
  • It is preferred that the animal have no scars or injuries (source)
  • Animal must always have access to drinking water
  • Animal should not be fed animal by-products as part of its diet

The rationale here is that in Islam, every living being must be respected. This is further amplified by a hadith, According to Sahih Bukhari, this is what Prophet Muhammed SAW had to say about the general treatment of animals.

The Prophet cursed the one who did Muthla to an animal (i e., cut its limbs or some other part of its body while it is still alive)

Sahih Bukhari [424] (source)

Step 3: Tasmiyyah and Takbir Must Be Recited Before or During Slaughter

Clearly if you’re preparing meat for muslims, it makes sense for it for the slaughtered meat to be prepared by a muslim. However, there is more rationale to it.

We reached out to IFANCA (Islamic Food And Nutrition Council Of America – A Halal Certifying Agency in America) to ask them about the process of preparing halal meat.

Here’s what they had to say

The animals should be treated according to animal welfare requirements, they must be alive before slaughter, the slaughterman must be Muslim and recite the Tasmiyyah and Takbir during slaughter..

IFANCA Representative

There was more to that email which we will cover later on, but the reciting of the Tasmiyyah and Takbir are one of the main reasons why the slaughter ought to be done by a muslim.

Step 4: Animals Should Not Witness The Slaughter Of Another Animal

In our opinion, this is what some butchers mess up. There are some that do it correctly of course. But looking at videos online, a lot of butchers who are looking to get the meat out quickly will cut corners and dismiss this step.

This is a controversial point because slaughtering an animal in front of another animal is seen as unethical and scares the other animals who are most likley next in line to be slaughtered.

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid responded to someone asking about this touchy topic on Islam QA

The question asked was:

Does the meat of a slaughtered animal become haraam if it is slaughtered in front of another animal?

Islam Question & Answer (source)

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid responded by referencing Fuqaha’:

Firstly: The fuqaha’ are unanimously agreed that part of the etiquette of slaughtering is not to slaughter one animal in front of another.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad said: 

He should not slaughter it with a tool or cause pain to it as he is slaughtering it. Also he should not slaughter it in front of another, because this is torture. End quote. 

Secondly: If one animal is slaughtered in front of another, this does not mean that eating its meat is haraam, if the slaughter is done in the proper Islamic manner, because all he has done thereby is something makrooh, and such actions do not make the meat haraam. 

Thirdly: With regard to slaughtering animals together in front of one another, as is the case in mechanised slaughterhouses, there is nothing wrong with it, because one animal does not see another when it is being slaughtered; rather they are all slaughtered at the same time with one movement of the machine. 

Islam Question & Answer (source)

He states that slaughtering an animal in front of other animals is considered Makruh. So technically it is not haram. But because something is Makruh it doesn’t make it ethical.

Step 5 Animal Must Be Slaughtered With A Sharp Knife

The knife used to salughter the animal must be sharp. The edge of the blade must be very smooth (source).

The slaughter of the animal must be done on the front of the neck. The Esophagus, trachea, two jugular veins and two arteries must be cut. It must be done between the lower jaw and the beast bone (source).

In a nutshell for the slaughter to be halal it must be done with one pass of the blade across the throat.

Step 6: Animal Should Be Facing Qibla (Optional)

This is not a mandatory step, instead it is considered to be a practice of the sunnah according to Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid. This was his response when asked whether animals need to be facing towards the qibla when slaughtered (source).

Step 7: Animal Must be left to Drain Out

The animal must be allowed to bleed completely out. Blood is not halal (source). This process typically takes a few minutes.

Step 8: Animal is Packaged In Factory

This is an obvious one, but at this point the halal meat is available and the butchers along with the factory workers will remove the feather, limbs etc so that its packaged and ready to be sent out to suppliers.

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