Common Misconceptions About Islam, Muslims and The Quran

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Misconception: Halal meat uses an inhumane slaughter method

The Arabic word "halal" simply means "lawful".

The Quran only forbids the following food: carrion, pig meat, running blood and from animals dedicated to other than God, however there are exceptions due to hunger/coercion for example [2:173, 5:3, 6:145, 16:115]. Also not allowed are animals that have been killed by strangulation, violent blows, fallen from a height, gored [5:3].

The guidance suggests that a humane method of slaughter which allows the blood to drain out is the goal. For example, a common method of slaughter in Europe and North America involves stunning of the animal to render them unconcious, then they are hung upside down to have the throat cut. Whilst there is a little controversy amongst some Muslims surrounding the acceptance of stunning, the aforementioned method would pass the criteria given in The Quran. Meat labled "halal" in these countries often employ this technique.

In addition, it should be noted that similar methods of slaughter would also be acceptable, for example the Jewish "Kosher" method:

Today, the good things have been made lawful to you, the food of those who have been given the decree/book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them...
[5:5]

The message of The Quran is intended to be universal, for all people at all times, thus it has to balance a simple and effective method of animal slaughter with one that results in minimal suffering. If technology can be utilised to further reduce animal suffering then this complements the basic goal in The Quran regarding this matter.


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