Halal food and zabiha meat is one of the big topics in the West. Here we look at what Zabiha is and what we can do when there is no halal meat around.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! One of the biggest challenges newly practicing Muslims have to face is eating halal.
Why do you ask? Well, that’s because people love their food and it's a hard thing to take away the food they are used to eating.
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He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Chapter 2, verse 173 of the Holy Qur’an)
Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah , and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. (Chapter 5, verse 3 of the Holy Qur’an)
Zabiha, or dhabiha, literally refers to something that is slaughtered. In technical terms, it refers to the ritual slaughtering of animals that are permissible to eat in Islam. Once the ritual slaughtering is done, the meat of the animal is permissible to cook and eat as long as the animal is not forbidden to eat from the get go.
For example, ritually slaughtering a pig, dog or cat does not make it halal to eat! The animal has to be “okayed” by Islam before the ritual slaughter is even valid. So in addition to pigs and dogs, the zabiha of dead animals or animals who have been sacrificed to pagan gods are not permissible.
So let’s look at four of the major rules of zabiha
- The zabiha must be done by a sane, adult Muslim. A minority of scholars within the school of the Ahl al-Bayt (as), however, believe that the animal can also be slaughtered by someone from Ahl al-Kitab, that is, a Jew or a Christian. The tendency to accept meat slaughtered (not electrocuted!) by the Ahl al-Kitab is more popular among Sunni Muslims.
- While slaughtering the animal, one must say the name of God as the Qur’an says "Therefore eat of that on which Allah's name has been mentioned if you are believers in His communications." (Chapter 6 verse 118 of the Holy Qur’an)
- One must led the blood of the animal drain out.
- The slaughtering must be done by hand. The cut should be made on the neck.
When slaughtering an animal, Muslims usually give the animal water to drink and cover its eyes so that it doesn’t see the knife. Muslims also sharpen the knife and make sure that it is big enough so that it gets killed as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Muslims also commonly face the animals towards the Qibla when slaughtering it.
When meat is properly slaughtered, it gets the label as zabiha. A question that often gets asked is the following: are all zabiha or halal labels that I see really halal?
Well, it depends. According to the school of the Ahl al-Bayt (as), the animal must be hand slaughtered. Other schools of thought in Islam permit animals to be slaughtered by robots and machines in factories. Although the meat may be halal according to them, it is not halal by Shia standards.
So whenever you see a label zabiha, if you know for sure or with reasonable confidence that it was slaughtered by a machine, then it won’t be permissible to eat. Otherwise you are welcome to eat the zabiha of other Muslims.
In some Western cities, people are blessed with many halal options. There are halal restaurants and halal meat markets everywhere. But for some, they aren’t so lucky. Sometimes there are no halal restaurants or halal meat markets anywhere near by, so what is one to do?
Well, there are still options. First, you can always opt for fish or vegetarian menus at restaurants. Some restaurants offer imitation meat that’s made out of soy, so those can be eaten as well. In terms of buying halal meat for the home, there are some options as well. What some Muslims do is they go on car trips and buy a large load of meat and then bring them back home and freeze their meat so it can last them a while.
If that doesn’t work, there is also the option of buying imitation meat. Nowadays, markets are full of imitation ground beef or imitation chicken. Those foods tend to be quite delicious.
Finally, there is also switching to a fish and a vegetarian diet. Although for some this might not be the option they want (that is, if they don’t like imitation meat) it is still a healthy option. Remember that many of our diseases come from our overconsumption of meat. So although difficult, the fish, seafood and vegetarian option may be a healthier option and thus a blessing in disguise.
Remember that Islam does not ask the impossible from us. In cases where we are starving and where there is a serious danger to our health, we are allowed to eat meat that would usually be categorized as haram. The Qur’an says:
Say, "I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine - for indeed, it is impure - or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful." (Chapter 6, verse 145 of the Holy Qur’an)
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Where an animal is ritually slaughtered in accordance with the rules of Islamic law and thus permissible to eat afterwards.
Hand Slaughtered Zabiha
Animal slaughtered around the neck by hand with a knife, as opposed to a robot/machine.
Can I eat zabiha that is slaughtered by machines?
Can I eat the zabiha of the Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book)?
Most Shia scholars say that it is not permissible. However, a small minority of them, along with many Sunni scholars, say that it is permissible. Those Shia scholars that permit it have much stricter conditions than the Sunni scholars who permit it.
Is it permissible to eat the zabiha of Sunnis?
Yes, as long as the zabiha is hand slaughtered.
Is any animal that has been properly slaughtered halal according to Islam?
No, only animals that are first permissible to eat can be slaughtered. Pigs for example, even if slaughtered through zabiha, are not permissible to eat.
What can I do if there are no halal restaurants or halal meat markets around me?
For restaurants, you always have fish or vegetarian options. For meat markets, a good tip is to go to one of the further markets once in a while and buy a large amount of halal meat, then bring it back home and store it in a freezer. If this is not possible, there are plenty of vegetarian meat substitutes that are made with soy.
halal meat market
zabiha of the ahl al-kitab