Interview with Dr. Khalid Hanafi: Halal vs. Non-Halal Meat Consumption in Europe
Al-Arab in the UK got the opportunity to ask Dr Khalid Hanafi, the Assistant Secretary-General of the European Council for Fatwa and the Head of the Fatwa Committee in Germany, about his opinion regarding the consumption of non-Islamically slaughtered meat in Europe.
He went on to explain how the different opinions on the matter suggest that consuming such meat may not be permissible according to Islamic principles; such as:
Uncertainty of the Source
Dr. Khalid addressed the matter that those who consume non-Halal certified meat and poultry argue that its origin is from Ahl Al-kitab (People of the Book), meaning Jews and Christians who follow the holy books.
This is of course based on what the Quran mentions. But Dr Khalid proposed the question: Are we certain that whoever slaughtered the livestock is Christian or Jew?
In the West, the percentage of atheism is actually on the rise. This is the first matter that contradicts what others have proposed.
Anesthesia and Electric Shock
The second point discusses the matter of anaesthesia, Both Halal and non-Halal slaughtering involves anaesthesia. However, anaesthesia for halal livestock is carried out by the Sharia supervisory bodies, taking into mind the exact permissible degree of electric current in a way that does not lead to the death of the animal – this proposes an issue of its own we will discuss later.
But in non-Halal cases, electrical shock leads to the death of animals if caution is not taken into mind, especially chickens.
The Sharia Supervisory bodies also monitor the production line and make sure nothing is mixed with the meat that may contain prohibited alcoholic substances.
Achieving the Objective of Halal Slaughter
The third point, speaks of the main objective of Halal slaughter. Islam focuses on two points when slaughtering meat, one is to be merciful, and the other is to ensure the food is healthy to consume.
Both of those points are not achieved in non-Halal slaughtering which includes anaesthesia, electrical shock, and other horrific methods.
Anaesthesia proposes two problems, The first is torturing the animal twice: once when anaesthetized and once when slaughtered, since it does not die from anaesthesia. The other problem is that the anaesthesia process reduces the movement of the animal after it is slaughtered, meaning that the blood does not gain drained. This results in health problems.
Dr. Khalid looked up the matter personally and discussed it with many non-Muslim Europeans. He found out during his research that the priority to them is economics, so they might consider the moral aspects.
When they slaughter in the European way, their production increases, their profits increase, and the meat prices decrease, but if we slaughter in the Islamic way, the cost will increase, and then the sale, production and profit will decrease.
So anaesthesia contradicts two matters, according to Dr Khalid. He went on to say: “I consider the scholars, sheikhs, and jurisprudential councils primarily responsible for this issue; For their leniency about it from the start and their saying that meat is permissible if it was previously anaesthetized, provided that the intensity of the electric current is not so high that it leads to the death of the animal.”
“This was also mentioned by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah, and other Fiqh academies followed it. From my point of view, this opinion is not acceptable, and they should not have allowed it. They should have adhered to the principle that legal slaughter is only done by avoiding complete anaesthesia.”
“And the first to fall into this confusion was Sheikh Muhammad Abduh and then his student Muhammad Rashid Reda, may God Almighty have mercy on them, as they said: The European method of slaughter is closer to Sharia than the Islamic method of slaughter; Because it leads to the comfort of the animal…etc.”
Adhering to the Local Laws and the Sharia
While Dr Khalid Hanafi advocates for maintaining Islamic principles, he also emphasizes the importance of Muslims adhering to local laws and regulations, even if they differ from Islamic practices
It’s important to note that this passage reflects Dr Khalid Hanafi’s viewpoint on the matter and is not a universal Islamic ruling. Islamic perspectives on halal meat consumption can vary among scholars and schools of thought. Muslims often seek guidance from their local scholars and religious authorities to make informed decisions regarding halal practices
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