Chicken-out on Allah’s standards?

By Iman Mazloum

Maple Lodge Farms Zabiha Halal: Chicken-out on Allah’s standards?

There may be a debate about certain companies and their degree of Halal efficiency. Though this article presents an opinion, it also does not compel the reader to anything.

On July 24th 2011, in Mississagua there was a celebration called Muslim Fest. I attended, and had the chance to speak to a sponsoring company of the event, Maple Lodge Farms Zabiha Halal. Having heard rumors about the company’s failure to meet the Halal standards, it was necessary to speak with someone about the process.

I met with Mr. Salman Faisal, marketing of Maple Lodge Farms Zabiha Halal department, who told us honestly, “I’ll tell you, and you decide”.

Paraphrasing, with some of his exact words, he has said to us; there are two types of Halal and different scholars that have their opinions. Some believe it must be done hand slaughtered, and some believe it can be machine killed. At MLFZH the chickens are on a line and their necks are cut leaving the spinal chord intact. At three different points on the line, there are Muslim men reciting tasbih consistently, and if a chicken is missed one of the men will take care of it. There are two lines, one faces the Qiblah, the other does not. “When we were building the plant there were some houses on this side.” The blade is stainless steel. According to Syed Sistani, he has two problems with MLF, of which one is the facing of the  qibla, which again is only one line and the second issue is that the blade must be iron, which MLF cannot do, due to rust buildup on an iron blade.

Mr. Salman Faisal added that nowadays, the only difference between Canadian standards and Muslim standards is the blessing. At which point my dad is excited and says, “So we’ve influenced them?!” Mr. Salman Faisal responded that the Canadians have made it so that the chicken’s neck be cut until a certain point so that the chicken bleeds out. The chicken must be alive before the machine reaches it, and whist the animal is alive it must be treated humanely.

He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [2:173]

As for meat, he was not sure of it as he works for the Brampton plant dealing with chicken. He knows that the meat is imported to their plant from three locations, Australia, Calgary or Saskatchewan, but the meat is hand slaughtered. The Islamic extent to which the animal is slaughtered is unknown.

As a family, we decided not to purchase their chicken, as a mechanical process is simply that, mechanical. There is no full appreciation as to the animals death. Some may believe that it is all the same as the najasat has left the animal, however, consider the manual that Allah has given us.

Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah , and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [5:3]

Consider your Halal options and decide how important your taste buds are in comparison to your stomach, but most importantly your soul. “Do not let your stomach be a graveyard to the carcasses of animals” – Imam Ali

Indeed, they who conceal what Allah has sent down of the Book and exchange it for a small price – those consume not into their bellies except the Fire. And Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them. And they will have a painful punishment. [2:174]