Slaughtering – according to the Hanbalis

The following rulings are translated from Zad al-mustaqniʿ, with selected notes from its commentary Al-Raud al-murbiʿ placed between ‹…›, build upon to the previous article on lawful and unlawful foods according to the Hanbalis.


No part of an animal that can be subdued is permissible without slaughtering ‹since what has not been slaughtered is carrion, and Allah Most High says, “Prohibited to you are dead animals” [Q5:3]›. [This is with the] exception of locusts, fish, and everything which lives in water only ‹as they are permissible without being slaughtered, since their carrion are permissible.›

‹Animals that live on land and in the water [both] (e.g., turtles, seals) are not permissible without slaughtering.

It is unlawful to swallow a live fish, and to roast it while alive. Doing so with locusts is not offensive, since they are bloodless.›

There are four conditions for slaughtering.

‹The first is› the slaughterer being eligible, by being of sound mind, a Muslim or a from the People of the Book ‹both of his parents being from the People of the Book, since Allah Most High says, “and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you” [Q5:5]› – even someone who ‹has reached the age of discernment, or› is an adolescent, a woman, uncircumcised, or blind, ‹or menstruating, or in a state of major ritual impurity›.

Slaughtering is not lawful from someone who is intoxicated, insane, an idol worshiper, a Zoroastrian [majūsī], or an apostate. ‹This is due to the negative implication of Allah Most High saying, “and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you” [Q5:5]›

The second ‹condition› is the instrument. Slaughtering is lawful with every sharp instrument ‹that sheds blood through its sharp edge› (even if it is stolen), made from: iron, stone, reed, and something else ‹like wood with a sharpened edge, gold, silver, and bone› – except for teeth and fingernails.

The third is cutting the windpipe and esophagus. ‹It is not a condition that the they be completely severed, nor that the carotid arteries be severed.› If the head is severed by slaughtering, it does not make what is slaughtered unlawful.

An animals that cannot be subdued (including game, wild beasts, what has fallen into a well, and the like) is slaughtered by injuring it in any part of its body. [That is] unless its head is in water and the like ‹that would kill it if left on its own› and then it is unlawful.

‹If an animal is slaughtered from the back of the neck – even if intentionally – and the instrument reaches the part of the animal’s body where it is slaughtered while the animal is still alive and viable: it is permissible. Otherwise, it is not permissible.

If the head is [swiftly] decapitated, it is permissible – without restriction.›

‹The fourth› is ‹for the slaughterer› to say, when ‹moving his hand to perform the› slaughtering: “Bismi Llāh.” ‹Allah Most High says, “And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned” [Q6:121].› Nothing else suffices ‹such as saying “Bismi l-Khāliq”›.

If he omits ‹saying “Bismi Llāh”› forgetfully, it is lawful. But not if [done] intentionally ‹or out of ignorance›.

‹It is recommended to add “Allāhu akbar” along with the “Bismi Llāh,” but not a supplication for the Prophet ﷺ.

It is unlawful to mention the name of someone else along with Allah’s name, and the slaughtered meat is unlawful.›

It is offensive to slaughter with a dull instrument; to sharpen ‹the instrument› while the animal watches; to face ‹the animal› towards a direction other than the direction of prayer; to break its neck; and, to butcher it before it fully expires.

‹If a Person of the Book slaughters something unlawful to him [but permissible to us], it is permissible to us provided he says “Bismi Llāh” while slaughtering.

An unborn fetus is lawfully slaughtered through slaughter its mother if it emerges dead or moving like an animal on the verge of death.›


The first quarter of this book is already published as Supplement for the Seeker of Certitude.

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