Stunning The Animal In Islamic Perspective

In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

Stunning the animal before it is actually slaughtered is a common practice in many western countries. It is claimed to be more comforting and causing less pain to the animal. Pre-slaughter stunning was originally introduced to protect abattoir personnel, rather than the animals themselves. The idea was to immobilize the animal to facilitate killing procedures. However, the principle of stunning has now evolved to encompass the idea that animals should be rendered unconscious before they are slaughtered. From an Islamic perspective, two main questions arise here:
  1. Is using the method of stunning permissible?
  2. Will the animal be considered lawful (Halal) if it was slaughtered according to the rulings of Shariah after being stunned?

As far as the answer to the first question is concerned, this depends on whether stunning the animal reduces the pain or causes more unnecessary pain.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill (an animal), kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters” (Sahih Muslim).

Some of the methods used to stun animals are indeed very painful and as a result have been banned in many countries, like the method of pitching, for example. Therefore, such methods will indeed be impermissible according to Shariah.

As far as the other methods of stunning are concerned, although experts claim that they minimize the suffering of the animal, but this can not be said for certain. An electric current or a bolt pistol does cause pain to the animal, whereas gas stunning may cause severe breathing difficulties.

However, if it is ascertained that the claim of the experts is correct in that stunning does minimize the suffering of the animal, and also the animal does not die prior to the actual slaughtering, then it would be permissible to use the method of stunning, otherwise impermissible.

The second question is: what is the ruling regarding an animal that was stunned prior to being slaughtered? The answer to this depends on whether stunning causes the animal to die. Animal experts claim that it does not cause the animal to die; rather it only causes it to lose its consciousness, thus not feel the pain of the slaughter.

This, however, can not be said for certain, as many a time the animal does perish as a direct result of the stun. Especially with chicken, it is very likely that the animal dies as a result of the electric shock. Some experts are of the view that the stunned animal remains alive only for a few minutes, after which it dies.

As a result, no such ruling can be giver for certain. However, there is no doubt in the fact that if the animal was to die prior to the actual Islamic slaughter taking place or there is a fear of it dying, then it would be unlawful (Haram) to consume its meat.

As the act of stunning renders the animal doubtful, one must avoid consuming the meat of animals that are stunned. It is known that the Jews abstain from consuming stunned animals, thus a Muslim should be more precautious in what he eats. However, if it is determined in a particular animal that it did not die prior to being slaughtered, then it would be Halal. This of course, is very difficult to determine whilst buying from meat shops, thus one should avoid it totally.

If you are forced to stun the animal by law, then it must be determined that the animal is still alive at the time of actual slaughter. This must be assured with each animal especially chickens, for they may die by the stun due to them being weak.

“Stunning the animal before slaughter leaves a huge doubt into the halalness of the animal as many could be killed by the stunning especially in the case of poultry. Furthermore, it prevents the drainage of entire blood resulting in it being retained in the animal and retained blood causes germs and bacteria, it deprives animals from the benefits of tasmiyah due to it being unconscious, it is inhumane to animals and causes unnecessary pain and suffering, it is in reality done not for animal rights purposes, but in order for the industry to kill more animals quicker so as to increase profits. According to the majority of the Ulama stunning is not accepted in Islam and stunning could render the meat Haram in many cases.”

It is Haram to stun an animal by striking it or giving it an electric shock etc. because that causes suffering to the animal and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade causing suffering and tormenting them, and he enjoined kindness and goodness in general terms, and with regard to slaughter in particular. Muslim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not take anything in which there is a soul as a target.” And Muslim narrated that Jabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade tormenting any kind of animal to death. Muslim also narrated from Shaddad ibn ‘Aws (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has decreed kindness (or proficiency) in all things. So when you kill, kill well, and when you slaughter, slaughter well. Let one of you sharpen his blade and spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.”

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-‘Daa’imah, 22/456-457. (

Only Allah SWT know best..


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