Fataawa

Indicators of Life in the Slaughtered Animal

[The following is extracted from Fikihatul Bustan, a Fiqh book dealing with slaughter and hunting issues. It was written by al-‘Allimah Muhammad Hashim bin ‘Abdil Ghani as-Sindh (d. 1174 Hijri). The following passages explain things which may indicate life in an animal and thus render its slaughter valid – SANHA]

Know that the indications of life is not restricted to blood flowing and movement. That is why it is stated in Fatawa Q??? Khan that if:

A sick ewe was slaughtered and it was not known if it was still living.

  • If it opens its mouth, it will not be eaten, but if it closes it, it may be eaten.
  • If she opens her eye she will not be eaten, but if she blinks she may be eaten.
  • If it stretches its leg it will not be eaten. If it tightens back its leg it may be eaten.
  • If her hair becomes limp it may not be eaten. If its hair stands up it may be eaten.

This applies if it is not known if it is alive at the time of slaughter and no flowing blood emerged and it did not move. If however it was known to be living; or flowing blood was found; or movement [was apparent]; then it is halaal in all the scenarios we have mentioned.

This has been mentioned in al-Khul??ah, al-Bazz?z?yah, Khazinatul Fatawa and as-Sir?j?yah. Similar mention has been made in ‘Aqdul L?l?, Tu?fatul Fiqh and al-?amm?dIyah. That is correct because life slackens with death. Thus the opening of the mouth and eye, the stretching of the leg and limping of the hair are signs of death. All these are slackening. As for the mouth and eye closing, the leg tightening and the hair standing, these are not slackenings. Instead, these are movements specific to the living. Thus they indicate life. This is when life is not known at the time of slaughter. We have already discussed if it is known to be living at the time of slaughter. Thus it is mentioned in az-Zayla‘?’s commentary on al-Kanz and ash-Shamn?’s commentary on an-Naq?yah.

It is appropriate to be acquainted with the statement, “If it was known that it was alive then it is ??l?l, even if it does not move or bleed.” It is clear that what is meant by “known” is absolute conviction. That is why al-Fat?w? al-‘Alamg?r?yah quotes from as-Sir?j al-Wahh?j:

If life is known with certainty at the time of slaughter it may be eaten under all circumstances.

But does one’s stronger thought equate to conviction in this case? Mu??? as-Sarakhs? quotes from al-Bar?mikah:

A man slaughters a sheep which had fallen from a height and does not move. If his opinion is stronger towards that it was living, then he may eat, if not then not. So if it moved it may be eaten because the dead do not move.

Thus it is mentioned in al-‘Ayn?’s commentary of al-Hid?yah. It is also indication in al-Mus?a?f? and the commentary of al-Manzh?mah that the greater thought equates to knowledge. And Allah knows best.



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