Halal / Haram / Zabiha
Permissible or allowed according to Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
That which Allah and the Prophet have completely and specifically forbidden.
The process of slaughtering a halal animal according to the Islamic method. The following should be observed:
The name of God (Allah) is to be pronounced as a reminder that we do not have the right to take the animals life except by the permission of God to meet our need for food.
A sharp blade and skill in slaughtering is required to minimize pain and unnecessary suffering for the animal. This is accomplished by a quick cut to sever the veins and arteries of the neck of the animal, without cutting the nervous system or spinal cord. The massive bleeding makes the animal unconscious in seconds. Leaving the spinal cord intact allowing for convulsions that result from the contraction of the muscles in response to the lack of oxygen in the brain cells. This will allow for the maximum drainage of blood, carrying away in part the waste and micro-organisms, thereby improving the meat's taste, shelf-life and healthiness.
Many Muslims in North America do not have convenient access to Muslim-prepared meats and meat-products in order to ensure that they are eating Halal. This is a result of most domestic Muslim businesses being small operations and not having the ability to mass produce and market Halal products on a large scale.
There are many non-Muslim owned businesses involved in large scale processing, packing, marketing and distribution of meat products. Some of these businesses have realized the commercial potential of products carrying a label that says "Halal" and attracting the growing Muslim populace as customers.
As with other businesses, the meat-processing industry is a competitive one. Profit margins and market share are improved by keeping costs low. Generally, the slaughtering methods required to make the meat of the animals Halal to Muslims according to Islamic requirements increase the cost of processing compared to non-Zabiha methods. The increased cost is attributed to the additional labour to bless the animal and ensure that the initial cutting is done properly.
The problem should be evident. How can Muslims ensure that the meat they are buying, even it is labeled "Halal" or "Zabiha", is really genuinely Zabiha Halal?
If Muslims were buying directly from Muslims who could attest with first-hand knowledge that the food is Zabiha, then this could solve the problem.
However, if Muslims are buying from non-Muslim sources (supermarket, distributor or wholesaler) then how can they be certain? The fact is that they can not have confidence in these sources unless they are "certified" to be providing Zabiha Halal from credible, reliable and trustworthy organization like ISNAŽ Canada internationally known and recognized for its service to the North American Muslim community.
The need for certification of Halal food by and an organization like ISNAŽ Canada is even more important when there are Muslims as individuals and small organizations jumping into this field for Halal certification competing with one another for business.