The Etiquettes of Slaughter Explained by Imam Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen
There are certain etiquettes one must abide by when slaughtering an animal for a sacrificial offering. However, these etiquettes are not conditional for the validity of a sacrifice. So the sacrifice is still valid even in their absence. Among these etiquettes are:
1. He should face the Qiblah with the animal at the time of slaughtering.
2. He must slaughter the animal in a good manner, which is by quickly and firmly passing a sharpened blade over the neck area.
Some scholars hold the view that this etiquette is obligatory based on the implication found in the Prophet’s saying: “Verily Allaah has prescribed proficiency in everything. So when you kill, kill proficiently. And when you sacrifice, sacrifice proficiently. Each of you should sharpen his blade and lessen the pain inflicted on his sacrificial offering.” [Reported by Muslim]
This opinion is the correct view.
3. The slaughter of a camel must be done by cutting the area just below the neck and above the chest. This is known as nahr. As for all other types of animals, their necks should be sliced.
A camel should be slaughtered while standing and with its (front) left leg tied. If it is difficult to do it this way, the camel can be slaughtered while kneeling.
As for all of the other animals, they are to be slaughtered while lying flat on their left side. However, if the one slaughtering is a lefty, he may use his left hand and lay the animal down on its right side. This is so long as doing it this way is easier upon the animal and more convenient for the one slaughtering.
It is also prescribed for him to place his foot on the collar of the animal to give him better control. As for making the animal kneel and tying its legs together, there is no basis for this in the Sunnah. Some scholars mentioned that one of the reasons why the legs should not be tied is so that the outflow of blood can increase as a result of the animal’s constant motion and instability.
4. The throat and esophagus of the animal should be cut in addition to its jugular veins. For more on this, refer to the discussion on this under the eighth condition of slaughtering.
5. The blade should be concealed from the view of the animal when sharpening it. This means that the animal should not see the blade until the time of the actual slaughter.
6. One should glorify Allaah (by saying Allaahu Akbar) after mentioning His Name (by saying Bismillaah) when slaughtering.
7. One should name the person whom the sacrificial offering (udhiyah) or ‘aqeeqah is being performed for after mentioning Allaah’s Name and glorifying Him. He should also ask Allaah to accept it from him.
So for example, he should say: “In the Name of Allaah, Allaah is the Greatest. O Allaah, this is from You and for You on behalf of me” if he is performing the slaughter for himself or “…on behalf of so and so” if the slaughter is being done on behalf of someone else. And he should say: “O Allaah, accept this from me” if he is performing the slaughter for himself or “…accept this from so and so” if the slaughter is being done on behalf of someone else.[i]
Islamic Slaughter Process Demonstrated by Mercy Slaughter LLC.
Narrated by Sam Kouka, Managing Member Mercy Slaughter LLC.