Al-Safa Chicken Products Convert to Machine Slaughter
For many years, Al-Safa has marketed its chicken product as ‘Zabiha’ or hand slaughtered. The company has recently changed its chicken supplier and no longer uses zabihah or hand slaughtered chicken for its products. The Halal Advocates of America have verified this with the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) who is the Halal Certifier for Al-Safa products. Mechanical slaughter is a controversial method of slaughter which is not accepted as halal by many Muslim scholars and Halal Organizations all over the world. On the other hand, the ‘Zabihah’ or Hand slaughter procedure is universally accepted as halal by Muslims of all schools of thought and backgrounds. In order to accommodate all Muslims, the Halal Advocates of America have stipulated in their halal standards for slaughter that the animal must be slaughtered by hand, thereby ensuring that the meat can be consumed by all. The Halal Advocates of America maintain that hand slaughter is the best method of slaughter and have been actively promoting hand slaughter for restaurants, halal meat stores, masjids, and conferences all over North America.
A significant percentage of the Muslim community and religious scholars maintains that mechanical slaughter of chickens does not meet the requirements of Islamic law and holds the view that chickens slaughtered in this manner are unlawful to consume. The Quran stipulates that the name of Allah must be recited on each animal by the slaughterer himself, and this requirement is not fulfilled in mechanical slaughter by having a person stand by the machine. Many scholars maintain that the intent of slaughterer is a requirement of slaughter, and this also cannot be fulfilled by a machine. Pressing one button for 100,000 chickens cannot be attributed to the physical contribution of the human being but to the machine itself. The analogy is that it is not valid to press a button on a ‘robot Imam’ which will perform the postures of Salaat and lead the Muslims in prayer. Some scholars have also deduced that the slaughter must be carried out by hand based on the verse, “Except that which you have slaughtered.” (Surah 5 verse 3)
Muslims should demand 100% halal meat products and avoid products which are slaughtered using a doubtful method. The consumption of halal food is one of the most important elements of the life of a Muslim and has tremendous repercussions for his/her religious, spiritual and physical condition. The Muslim community should push for universally accepted slaughter methods such as hand slaughter and ensure that all the food they consume is hand slaughtered by a Muslim. The Halal Advocates of America will continue to work both with the industry and the consumers to ensure halal integrity is maintained and halal food requirements are met.
A survey of major suppliers of halal processed chicken products in America
Hand slaughtered or machine slaughtered
Crescent Natural Chicken Patties
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