When I discussed halal meat, I left out one very important part: the animal must be slaughtered in the name of Allah. Prior to the slaughter, these words should be said, “Bismillah. Allahu Akbar.” This means, “In the name of Allah. Allah is the Greatest.”
These words are said to acknowledge the fact that Allah has given us the gift of food. Allah created the cow, goat, lamb, and chickens as food. We are given the task of taking good care of the animals, treating them humanely, and meeting their basic needs. Even on the day of their slaughter, we are to treat them kindly. Animals are given water before the slaughter, and the slaughter itself must be quick and as painless as possible.
By uttering the words, “Bismillah. Allahu Akbar,” we are indicating that the animal’s life has come full-circle and he will be meeting his destiny. We are also offering thanks to Allah for the food.
[h]Where is Halal Meat Sold?[/h]
It can be difficult to find halal meat in non-Muslim countries. While it is difficult, it is not impossible. Many cities and towns, especially in rural areas, feature home based slaughter shops. These are usually small, family-owned farms in out-of-the-way places. Customers can visit and pick out the animal of their choice and then assist in the slaughter to make sure everything is done according to Islamic law. In cases like this, the customer can offer the supplication.
There are increasing numbers of halal grocers, too. Although the meat at these locations is generally brought in from another source, the seller certifies that it was, in fact, slaughtered Islamically.
It is also becoming more common for mainstream grocers to carry halal meat. Here in Houston, many of the HEB and Fiesta locations have halal sections in their meat departments.
If there are no halal meat markets in your area, most scholars agree that there is no sin in buying what is offered. Still, if halal is available, that is preferable.