Ash-Shirāzi, may Allah have mercy upon him in the Muhaźźab said:

It is mustahab (sunnah) that one slaughters with a sharp knife due to the narration of Shidād Bin Aws, may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet, Salutations of Allah and His Peace upon him, who said ” Allah has surely prescribed ihsān upon all things. So, when you kill, have ihsān in the qitlah. And when you slaughter, have ihsān in the źihbah. Let each one of you sharpen (walyuhidda) his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.”

If one slaughters with a sharpened stone or a līthah (a sharp piece of the exterior part of a cane or a reed), it is halāl due to what we mentioned of the hadīth of Ka’ab Bin Mālik with regard to the woman who shattered a stone and slaughtered a sheep with it and due what was narrated “that Rāfi’ Bin Khadīj said: Oh Messenger of Allah, we surely hope that we meet the enemy tomorrow, while we do not have with us mudā (knife), so do we slaughter with the qasb (reeds)? The messenger of Allah, Salutations of Allah and His Peace upon him said : whatever lets the blood flow and the name of Allah is mentioned upon it, eat. Do not use the tooth or nail. I will inform you with regard to that. As for the tooth, it is a bone, and as for the nail, it is the blade of the Habasha. If one slaughters using the tooth or the nail, then it is not halāl due to the hadīth of Rāfi’ bin Khadīj.


An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy upon him said in the commentary of the above:

The Hadīth

The hadīth of Shidād Bin Aws is narrated by Muslim. The hadīth of Rāfi’ is narrated by Bukhari and Muslim. The author’s narrating it with the śīghah (phrasing) of tamrīdh (considering the hadīth to be weak) is criticized, considering the fact that the hadīth is śahīh.

The Wording

And the Prophet’s saying, Salutations of Allah and His Peace upon him , “Have ihsān in your qitlah and źihbah” refers to the manner of killing (qatl) and slaughtering (źabh). And wal-yuhidda is said of a knife, haddada (to sharpen) it and wastahadda of it, all of it is of one meaning. al-mudā is the plural of mudyah which is a knife. It is called mudyah because it cuts the madā (extent) of the life of an animal. And the knife is also called sikkīn because it gives sukūn (motionlessness) to the movements of the animal. Linguistically, it could be both masculine and feminine (with the tā’ at-ta’nīth) considerations. And his saying līthah is the thin covering (al-qishrah ar-raqīqah) of the cane (al-qaśabah) and it is said the covering of the cane (qishrah al-qaśabah) without restriction. The plural is līth. And his saying, Salutations of Allah and His Peace, “As for the teeth, then it is a bone”, meaning, therefore it is not permissible to use it because it becomes najis with blood, and you have certainly been prohibited from making the dung (rauth) and bones (‘izhām) najīs with regard to istinjā’ because the both of them are provisions of your brothers from the jin. As for the nails then it is the knife of the Habashah, and they are kāfirs. And you have certainly been prohibited from tashabbuh (imitating) of the kafirs. And Allah knows best.

The Rulings

As for the rulings, then there are several issues discussed.

1. The sunnah is to sharpen the knife due to what is mentioned by the author. Passing it through with force and pressing it heavily forward and backward is mustahab so that it becomes quicker and easier. If one slaughters with a knife which is kāllah (does not cut), it is offensive, even though the slaughtered animal is halāl. Ibnu al-Munźir cited that it is also offensive to sharpen the knife while the sheep is looking at the knife and if one slaughters the sheep while the other sees it. That is what is mentioned by our aśhāb as well. They said: it is mustahab for it to be impelled to the maźbah (place of slaughter) with gentleness, and it is lied down with gentleness and to offer it water before slaughtering it.

2. Ash-Shāfi’ī and the aśhāb said the źakāh (slaughtering as prescribed by Islamic law) is not realized by a nail, a tooth or a bone. It is realized with anything other than that from all that is sharpened, whether it is made from iron such as sword, knife, arrow and spear or from lead, nuhās (copper and brass), gold, silver, sharpened wood, cane, glass, stone or others. There is no difference with regard to all these in our view. A hunted animal killed by any of these mentioned is halāl other than a nail, tooth or other bones. As for the nail, tooth and other bones, the źakāh and hunted animal is not made halāl by it, without khilāf, whether it is a nail or a tooth of a human or others. It is also the same whether it is attached, or separated and whether it is from an eaten animal or otherwise. This is the maźhab (relied upon), and affirmed by the jumhūr. The author of al-Hāwi said: ash-Shāfi’ī said I considered the źakāh with a bone to be offensive because it is not evident to me that I should consider it to be harām. This is because it is neither called a tooth or a nail. He said: Ash-Shāfi’ī made i’tibār (judging by comparison) of the name (i.e. tooth and nail) with regard to the prohibition. He thus considered it permissible to use bones as it is excluded in terms of name, while considering it to be offensive (makrūh) as it is included in terms of meaning. He said: with regard to this, in our opinion is a consideration. This is because the Prophet, Salutations of Allah and His Peace upon him gave the ‘illah (rationale) for the forbiddance for using a tooth is due to it being a bone. This is his quote and it is a shāź (strange) transmission which is dha’īf (weak). Ar-Rāfi’ī transmitted a shāź wajh (opinion of an aśhāb) which is bātil (unestablished considering the proofs) that the źakāh is fulfilled using the bone of an eaten animal. This is a mistake.

If a bone is assembled on an arrow and an it is made as an arrowhead for it. Then, a hunted animal is killed by it, it is not halāl. This is the maźhab (relied upon) and affirmed by the jumhūr. Ar-Rāfi’ī transmitted a qaul that it is halāl. This is a shāź transmission that is rejected.

3. If one desires źakāh with a muthqal (a weighted object) and the muthqal leaves behind traces of daq (bruising) and khanq (strangling), by it’s heaviness, then it is not halāl. Similarly if it is a muthqal, and it kills the animal by its heaviness it is not halāl. Rather, a wound is inevitable. If one slaughters the animal with a hadīdah (sharpened knife or sword and its likes) which did not cut and then tahāmul (bearing its weight, pressing heavily) of the hadīdah upon the animal takes place until izhāq (causing of the animal to pass forth) occurs, it is not halāl. This is because the cut here took place because of the strength of the slaughtering instrument، it’s strong i’timād (leaning upon) and not as a tool. And Allah knows best.

Discussion on the Wording of ash-Shirāzi

Know that there has been inkār (declaration of disapproval) of the author’s saying in the tanbīh: “the slaughtering with all that has an edge that cuts except a nail or a tooth is permissible.” This wording implies the permissibility of sharpened bones other than a tooth. And this is not permissible without khilāf as mentioned previously. The correct phrasing is that one says: “except a bone or a nail.” or “except a nail, a tooth or bones in general.” And his ‘ibārah (expression) in the Muhaźźab is better. He disregarded any statement with regard to forbidding slaughter with a bone in it. And if it is said: Perhaps, it is restricted to consistency with the hadīth. We say: As far as the saying in the Muhaźźab is concerned, there is such ‘uźr with regard to it. However, as for his saying in the Tanbīh there is no ‘uźr nor counter argument for it. This is because he did not mention the hadīth until it was sought as dalīl. As for the hadīth, there is no īhām (dubiety) in it because there is nāś in it of it’s ‘illah with regard to the tooth, which is its being a bone. Thus, we understood from it, that for all that has intilāq (unrestriction) to be called a bone, źakāh is not halāl with it.

Slaughtering with a Corrupted Object

If one slaughters with a knife which is maghśūb (a thing taken unjustly, injuriously or by force) or masrūq (stolen) or kāll (blunt), and it cuts the hulqūm (windpipe) and the maryi’ (aesophagus), it is offensive (makrūh) but the slaughtered animal is halāl without khilāf in our opinion. Al-‘Abdārī said: ” this is the opinion of all the ‘ulamā’ without exception other than Daūd who said that it is not halāl. It is also a narration from Ahmad due to the saying of the Prophet, Salutations of Allah and His Peace upon him, ” One who performs an ‘amal (a good deed) which is not what we enjoined, then it is rejected”, narrated by Muslim with this wording fro ‘Ā’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. Thus, it becomes as if the slaughtering did not take place. Our aśhab made hujjah with the Saying of Allah Most High, “except what you made as a źakāh”, and the saying of the Prophet, Salutations of Allah and His Peace upon him, in the hadīth which we just mentioned “whatever let’s the blood flow”. The counter arguments against the hadīth “one who performs an ‘amal” is that it necessarily implies the prohibition of the act but it does not necessitates the invalidation of the źakāh. Consequently, if one slaughters with a halāl knife, on a ground which is maghśūb, then źakāh and wudhū’ (ritual purification) is accomplished by ijmā’ (consensus).

The Maźhab of the Scholars

With regard to the maźhabs of the ‘ulamā’ with what źakāh is accomplished with, we have earlier mentioned that our maźhab is it is accomplished by all that is sharpened other than nails, teeth and other bones in general. This is the opinion of an-Nakha’ī, al-Hasan bin Śaleh, al-Laith, the fuqahā of hadīth, Ahmad, Ishāq, Abu Daūd, Abū Thaūr, Daūd and the jumhūrs. It is also a narration from Mālik. Abū Hanīfah and his two disciples said: “Slaughtering with an attached tooth or an attached nail is not permissible but it is permissible if it is disattached. It is also a narration from Mālik. Ibnu Munźir transmitted from Mālik that he said źakāh with anything is accomplished even with a tooth or a nail. A similar narration was also transmitted from Ibnu Jurayj. Al-‘Abdāri narrated from Ibnu al-Qaśśār al-Mālikī that the Zhāhir (relied upon) from the maźhab of Mālik is the permissibility of źakāh with a bone and impermissibility with a tooth. Ibnu al-Qaśśār said: in my opinion, the źakāh is accomplished with both of them. And from Ibnu Juraij he said: One accomplishes the źakāh with the bone of a donkey (al-himār), and the źakāh is not accomplished with the bone of a monkey (al-qird). This is because you may pray on the himār, and you let it drink in your khuf (i.e boots, in other versions: bowl). This maźhab is fāsid (incorrect) and the manner the dalīl is sought is bātil (invalid). Our dalīl is the hadīth of Rāfi’. And Allah knows best.