Is it Permissible to Slaughter Using a Guillotine?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

I have my farm, and I own a couple of sheep and lambs for consumption, along with close friends. I recently bought a guillotine-like contraption. 

Is it permissible to slaughter an animal using a guillotine?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide every dimension of our lives to that which pleases Him.

If the cut is from the back of the neck, it is sinful to do so. If the cut happens from the front, it is disliked (makruh) to slaughter in this manner. Still, the meat would be lawful for consumption if you do so, and Allah knows best.

Minimum Slaughtering Requirements

The necessary condition for slaughtering any animal within one’s capacity to slaughter (domesticated or wild) is to cut both the windpipe and the gullet (windpipe meaning the channel of breathing, and gullet meaning the channel of food and drink which lies beneath the windpipe.

It is not required for the validity of slaughtering to cut the carotid arteries, which are two blood vessels on the sides of the neck encompassing the windpipe. If the slaughterer neglects to cut any part of either the windpipe or gullet and the animal dies, it is considered a non-slaughtered dead animal. The same applies to an animal with nothing but purely reflexive movement left when one finishes cutting a part of the windpipe or gullet that was previously missed. 

If the slaughterer cuts from the back of the neck until he severs the windpipe and gullet, it is a sin because of the excess pain caused (though it is valid as slaughtering. Chopping off heads with a hatchet is offensive, though the meat is lawful). [Misri, Umdat Al-Salik]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.