As Eid al-Adha is fast-approaching, many of us are researching the rules of Qurbani and refreshing our knowledge about the spiritual and practical aspects of this annual sacrifice. With that in mind, this article will answer all your questions about halal, tayyib and organic meat, specifically in the context of the United Kingdom.
What is halal meat?
The Arabic word 'halal' literally means 'permissible'. For Muslims, many animals - such as cows, sheep and chickens - are permissible to eat, but only if the animal is sacrificed in a certain way.
Firstly, the animal must be treated with dignity and compassion throughout the process. For example, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said 'every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably' [Muslim]. As well as reducing the physical pain of the sacrifice, we should also refrain from sharpening the knife in front of the animal, to make sure they are not emotionally distressed.
The animal must be killed through a cut to the jugular veins, windpipe and oesophagus and all the blood must be drained from it [Halal Monitoring Committee]. The name of Allah (swt) must be recited over the animal during this process. (During the annual Qurbani, Muslims will also say the name of the person who gave the sacrifice for the sake of Allah).
What is halal and tayyib food?
The word 'tayyib' means 'good' or 'pure'. When meat is labelled as halal, we can trust that the animal was sacrificed in the correct way, with name of Allah recited over it. But tayyib extends beyond meat being technically permissible. To use a modern word, tayyib essentially means ethical meat.
The sacrificial animal should be treated well throughout its life, according to Islamic teachings. For example, it should be raised in a pleasant environment and fed good food. Modern factory-farming (where animals have no space to move around, are given additives and growth hormones for the sake of profit and are not treated with dignity and compassion) is at odds with a 'tayyib' practice, which should be a 'good' and 'pure' process.
There is also a vast difference between the meat quality from a factory-farmed chicken and a free-range chicken, or between a cow which is solely grass-fed and a cow which has been given growth hormones.
Many Muslims are thus researching ways to consume tayyib meat in a modern context.
What is organic meat?
While organic meat is often more expensive than non-organic meat, it is an excellent way to get tayyib meat in today's society, where we are often unable to raise our own animals and must rely on farmers.
The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that:
‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation'.
Organic meat thus comes from animals which are treated well, and it is also 'pure' in the sense that the meat itself is more natural and free from additives. Organic meat contains less saturated fat and more omega-3 fatty acids, meaning that it lowers the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Organic halal meat is thus truly 'tayyib' - it is good and pure in the way that the Qur'an teaches us to prepare our food.
Therefore, many Muslims are seeking ways to bring organic meat into their diet - even if it means paying slightly more.
Ordering an organic halal Qurbani in 2022
This year, Muslim Hands has partnered with Hill Farm Finest to give more UK Muslims the option of enjoying their own high-quality, organic Qurbani meat. Here's how it works:
- Hill Farm Finest was set up in 2016 with the sole purpose of supplying Muslims with the highest standard of halal and tayyib meat.
- All the animals are grass-fed and free-range and everyone is welcome to visit the farm to witness this first-hand.
- When you order your UK Qurbani, we will deliver two-thirds of the meat to your doorstep for free, vacuum-packed for your convenience.
By ordering a UK Qurbani, you will be following the tradition of enjoying your own Qurbani meat and personally sharing it with loved ones. As the Prophet (saw) said, '…eat some, give some in charity and store some'. [Nasa'i]
Moreover, one-third of the meat will go to The Open Kitchen in London. Over the last two years, the importance of this community kitchen has massively increased - as a place where people can get free, nutritious, cooked meals, no questions asked, and build relationships with staff and volunteers who are always welcoming and helpful.
From refugees to rough sleepers, families coping with domestic abuse to people who are struggling with disability and illness - this community hub is committed to feeding our vulnerable neighbours all year round.
By ordering your Qurbani in the UK, you can be a part of tackling hunger during the days of Eid al-Adha and beyond.
Finally, you can rest assured that this is a truly worthy sacrifice for Allah: your animal will be given the highest standard of care and your meat will be pure and premium quality. This is truly a halal and tayyib Qurbani: ethical, organic and completely Shariah-compliant.
Whether you are in Birmingham, London, Manchester or Yorkshire - we will deliver the meat to your doorstep for free during the days of Eid al-Adha! Please bear in mind that we have a limited quota of Qurbanis - so do order your sacrifice as early as possible to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions, you can call us at 0115 911 7222.
We pray Allah (swt) accepts your Qurbani from you and puts barakah in it, amin.