Mechanical Slaughter

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Q: I have a question in regards to the machine operated knife which is used to slaughter animal. One method is the common type of machine slaughter that a rotating knife/mechanical blade is used. This machine is turned on and cuts the necks of the chickens continuously until it is turned off.  Most Muftis have given fatwa regarding this type of machine slaughter. There is another type of machine which is also used at some slaughterhouses and is different from the machine commonly used. This machine has a button which is pressed down by a Muslim slaughterer who says Bismillah. The machine will only operate when the Muslim holds down the button. The Bismillah is recited by the slaughter man continuously as long as he is holding the button and this method is only applied on the missed chicken which happens only on 1 or 2 in 100 chicken separately because missing more than 1 chicken at one time is rare or impossible. The actual slaughtering is done by Muslim men holding the chicken’s neck and using the regular knife along with reciting the Bismillah. What is the ruling for using such a machine for Halal slaughter? Are the chickens which are slaughtered in this manner permissible to consume?
A: The method of machine slaughtering as described in your question is permissible provided the following is adhered to:

1. The operator of this machine must cut only one chicken at a time. He should not hold down the button and allow the blade to run continuously, thereby cutting two or more chickens. Each chicken should be cut separately by the machine operator pressing the button once and then stopping the blade before repeating the process with the next chicken. The reason for this is to exercise complete control over the machine, for it is a requisite that the slaughterer must have full control over the instrument used for slaughtering. It is precisely for this reason that normal machine slaughter, which you referred to in your question, has been declared unlawful.
2. The operator should fulfil Tasmiyah (Bismillah – Allahu Akbar) exactly at the time of pressing the button, not before nor after. If this is not done, the chicken will be Haraam, unless he forgot to recite the Tasmiyah.
3. The operator of the machine must be a Muslim.

Mufti Siraj Desai