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Section Three
Factory Farming
(See also the sections on Cruelty to Animals and Slaughter of Animals Used for Food and the restrictions thereon.)
Our Holy Prophet(s)'s overwhelming concern for animal rights and their general welfare would certainly have condemned (La'ana) those who practice such methods (factory farming), in the same way as he condemned similar other cruelties in his days. He would have declared that there is no grace or blessing (Brakah) - neither in the consumption of such food nor in the profits from such trades.

Vegetarianism
There is no suggestion in the Qur'an Majeed or in any other of the Islamic sources that eating meat is good for physical or spiritual health. Islam's approach in this matter is neutral; it has left the choice to the individual, but those who opt to eat meat are urged in the Qur'an Majeed to eat in moderation. (The Qur'an 7:31; 5:87 and other verses). Furthermore, there are elaborate and stringent laws governing the ove rall treatment of animals used for food - their rearing and breeding; the pre-slaughter; and handling during and after slaughter.
 
The Holy Prophet(s) has placed the killing of animals without a justifiable reason as one of the major sins:
Avoid ye the seven obnoxious things {deadly sins}: polytheism; magic; the killing breathing beings! Which God has forbidden except for rightful reason. (Narrated by Abu Huraira. Sahih Mulim - Kitab-ul-Imam (Ref. No. 46); Chapt. XXXIX, Vol.I; p. 52. Bukhari, 4:23. Also Awn, (Ref. No. 32); Hadith No. 2857.
 
The Arabic word for 'breathing beings' is 'Nafs.' Until recently it used to be taken as meaning 'human beings' only. All the Arabic dictionaries give the meaning of 'Nafs' as 'Ruh' (soul), and since they are breathing creatures, there seems to be no reason why the Qur'anic verses No. 6:151, 152 and others should not comprehend all 'breathing beings', i.e. all species of animals. These verses should be read in conjunction with other verses of the Qur'an Majeed and numerous Ahadith which speak of the sanctity of life as a whole, declare animals as possessing soul (zi Ruhin) and place animals physically on a par with human beings.
 
The baneful {sinful} things are: polytheism; disobedience to parents; the killing of breathing beings without a valid reason. 
(id. Narrated by Abdullah Ibn 'Amr.)
 
Slaughter of Animals Used for Food
Meat-eating is neither encouraged nor even recommended by Islam: "Say {O Muhammad!} I find not in what has been revealed to me any food {meat} forbidden to those who wish to eat it, unless it be dead meat, or blood that pours forth, or the flesh of swine - for it is unclean {rijs} - or the sacriligious {fisq} meat which has been slaughtered in anybody's' name other than that of Allah." It is significant to note that these laws have been laid down for those "who wish to eat it" (Ta'imin yat'amohu). Eating meat is not required.
 
While Islam permits eating meat, it gives instructions to ensure humane slaughter, with as little pain to the victim as possible:
God's Messenger(s) was reported as saying: 'Allah Who is Blessed and Exalted, has prescribed benevolence toward everything {and has ordained that everything be done in a good way}; so, when you must kill a living being, do it in the best manner and, when you slaughter an animal, you should {use the best method and} sharpen your knife so as to cause the animal as little pain as possible. (Narrated by Shaddad bin Aus. Muslim; Vol. 2, Chapter 11; Section on 'Slaying'; 10:739, verse 151. Also 'Robson' (Ref. No. 15); p. 872. Also recorded in Riyad. (Ref. No. 28); Hadith No. 643; p. 131).

The Messenger of Allah was heard forbidding to keep waiting a quadruped or any other animal for slaughter. (Bukhari. Also Muslim; Vol. 2, Chapter 11; Section on 'Slaying'; 10:739; verse 152. Also 'Robson' (Ref. NO. 15), p. 872).

The Prophet(s) forbade all living creatures to be slaughtered while tied up 
and bound. (id (Ref. No. 46); Hadith No. 4817; p. 1079).

The Holy Prophet(s) said to a man who was sharpening his knife in the presence of the animal: 'Do you intend inflicting death on the animal twice - once by sharpening the knife within its sight, and once by cutting its throat?' (Al-Furu Min-al-Kafi Lil-Kulini; 6:230).
 
Hazrat Imam Ali says: "Do not slaughter sheep in the presence of other sheep, or any animal in the presence of other animals." (id (for Hazrat Ali see Ref. No. 4).
 
Hazrat 'Omar once saw a man denying a sheep, which he was going to slaughter, a satiating measure of water to drink. He gave the man a beating with his lash and told him: "Go, water it properly at the time of its death, you knave!" (Reported by Ibn Sirin about Hazrat 'Omar and recorded in Badae al-Sande; 6:2811).
 
If animals have been subjected to cruelties in their breeding, transport, slaughter, or in their general welfare, meat from them is considered impure and unlawful to eat (Haram). The flesh of animals killed by cruel methods (Al-Muthiah) is carrion (Al-Mujaththamah). Even if these animals have been slaughtered in the strictest Islamic manner, if cruelties were inflicted on them otherwise, their flesh is still forbidden (Haram) food:
 
Oh, ye messengers! Eat of the good things {tayyibat} and do righteous deeds. Surely, I know what you do." (Qur'an.23:51).

Oh believers! Eat what We have provided for you of lawful and good things, and give thanks for Allah's favour, if it is He whom you serve. (Qur'an 2:172; 16:114).

The word 'Tayyib', translated as 'good', 'pure', 'wholesome', etc. means pure both in the physical and the moral sense.
The main counsel of Islam in the slaughter of animals for food is to do it in the least painful manner. All the Islamic laws on the treatment of animals, including the method of slaughter, are based in all conscience on "the spirit" of compassion, fellow-feeling and benevolence:
 
Allah, Who is Blessed and Exalted, has prescribed benevolence toward everything and has ordained that everything be done in the right way; so when you must kill a living being, do it in the proper way - when you slaughter an animal, use the best method and sharpen your knife so as to cause as little pain as possible. (The Sahih Mulsim, 2:156. Also Al-Taaj fi Jaami al-Usool, Vol. 3, p. 110, Cairo Edition. Also Al-Faruo min-al-Kafi, p. 2, and others.)
 
Failure to stun animals before slaughter causes them pain and suffering. Muslims should give serious thought to whether this is cruelty (Al-Muthiah). If so, then surely the meat from them is unlawful (Haran), or at least, undesirable to eat (Makruh). Al-Azhar University in Cairo appointed a special committee to decide whether the meat of animals slaughtered after stunning was lawful. The committee consisted of representatives of the four acknowledged Schools of Thought in Islam, i.e. Shafii, Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali. The unanimous verdict (Fatwa) of the committee was: "Muslim countries, by approving the modern method of slaughtering, have no religious objection in their way. This is lawful as long as the new means are 'shar' (Ahadd) and clean and do 'cause bleeding' (Museelah al-damm). If new means of slaughtering are more quick and sharp, their employment is a more desirable thing. It comes under the saying of the Prophet(s) 'God has ordered us to be kind to everything' (Inna'l-laha Kataba-'l-ihsan 'ala kulle Shay'in). (The History of Azhar, Cairo; 1964; pp. 361-363)."
To crown all verdicts (Fatawa), here is the 'Recommendation' of a pre-eminent Muslim organization of this century - The Muslim World League (Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami). It was founded in Makkah al-Mukarramah in 1962 A.C. (1382 A.H.) with 55 Muslim theologians (Ulama'a), scientists and leaders on its Constituent Council from all over the world. MWL is a member of the United Nations, UNESCO and the UNICEF. In January 1986 it held a joint meeting with the World Health Organization (WHO) and made the following 'Recommendation' about pre-slaughter stunning (No 3:1. WHO-EM/FOS/1-E, p. 8):
 
Pre-slaughter stunning by electric shock, if proven to lessen the animal's suffering, is lawful, provided that it is carried out with the weakest electric current that directly renders the animal unconscious, and that it neither leads to the animal's death nor renders its meat harmful to the consumer.
 
As of 1989, in the following countries, Muslims were NOT exempt from stunning: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. The following countries allow only partial exemption to Muslims under special conditions and regulations: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Finland and Canada.


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