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South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)


Mechanical Slaughter of Poultry

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No. 31

Ramadaan: September 2009


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Q. What is SANHA’s position on this?

The central code for existence in a Muslims’ life is the Shari’ah.
Divine and sacred, it is the law of Allah, the Creator of all and permeates the life of Muslims. The sources of this law are:-

A. Primary Sources

(i) The Noble Quran.
The primary source as revealed to the final Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) over one thousand four hundred years ago, preserved unchanged and without corruption in its original and pristine form.

(ii) The Sunnah
This is the second primary source of the Shari’ah (law) and consists of the sayings and deeds of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). It is regarded both as explanatory and complementary to the text of the Quran.

B. Secondary sources

Juristic opinion of learned Ulama (Theologians)
Through a measured and meticulous process, decisions arrived by Ulama through consensus, analogical deduction, personal reasoning, public interest, legal presumptions and customs with final sanction which cannot go contrary to the Divine primary sources above.

Today, after fourteen hundred years, Islam has spread to almost every country on earth, and Muslims are of all hue and nationalities, speak many languages and account for a quarter of mankind.

Without a single cohesive institution such as the Rightly Guided Caliphate of previous times, it progresses by adherence to the Shari’ah.

With the Noble Quran immutable and the Sunnah sacrosanct, it is this secondary source of Juristic opinion that sees differences in opinions and rulings in various part of the world. This in no way implies a “holier that thou attitude”, and that one’s rulings are superior to others but are accepted with humility, in a spirit of brotherhood and unity on the premise that the inheritors of the knowledge of the Prophets (Peace be upon them), the esteemed Ulama of that locality have made the decisions in the best interest of Islam for their respective communities.

Dietary laws are not exempt from this and rulings differ on issues such as the use of gelatine from Halaal and non-halaal slaughtered animals, methods of slaughter etc. In the case of poultry there are discrepancies with some accepting machine slaughter, others accepting slaughter by the "People of the Book" and some who accept a single recitation of the Tasmiyah (incantation) at the start of the process. Then there is the question of supply and demand where stocks are imported from various countries with reliance on a certificate issued by a certifying body or an individual of the exporting country.

In keeping with the decision of its pious predecessors SANHA, does not accept mechanical slaughter of poultry. A member of a group who are under the patronage of the Majlis who themselves oppose all commercial slaughter, in a document to Rainbow Farms stated that “you can by all means boost your production by even introducing machine slaughtering” and that “the majority of Muslims will be happy”. Any such moves will be opposed.



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