Good halal practice is good practice – a female twist?

I have just left a Deen Institute conference in which attitudes of women, misogyny, in Islam were debated. One speaker, a women, aswere most speakers, made the point that in Islam great care is taken not to harm animals prior to slaughter yet some Muslim men treat women badly.

I am a Christian, just. I do not have a specific religious agenda except the promotion of greater understanding between and within the three Abrahamic faiths. I am not an expert in halal (or kosher,the two have the same roots) rules other than a recognition that they make sense. Islam seems to make sense.

To many non-Muslims the mention of the word “halal” invokes images of cruelty but how can this be? Islam is a very spiritual faith in which man’s relationship with nature is paramount. Mankind is expected to treat the environment and the life that it supports with respect. The origin of Islamic slaughter probably cannot be fully traced but a study of shechita, the Jewish term, teaches that the sharpness of the knife is critical. Why Jews in particular but Muslims and Christians in the Middle East and North Africa go to so much trouble to sharpen a knife, so as to minimise pain, if they wanted the animal to suffer? What would be the point?

The reality is that good Jewish and Muslim slaughter is designed to be quick and humane. Anyone with little more than a decent knowledge of first aid will know that after a sudden loss of blood unconsciousness is rapid. Many readers will know of people who, on receiving bad news, have fainted. The process is quick. The body’s fight and flight mechanism kicks in and redirects blood flow muscles. If the loss of blood pressure in the brain is sudden unconsciousness quickly ensues. No one remembers what happens when they are fully unconscious.

Without launching a debate on halal slaughter I ask that readers accept that good halal slaughter practice is good practice. I draw attention to the qualification – “good practice”. Conversely bad practice is not halal and is un-Islamic.

Just to recap I am unequivocal and am very sure that good halal slaughter, dhabiha, is humane. Islam requires good behaviour.

I follow anti-Muslim hate and rhetoric on Twitter and am now seeing pictures of extremist beheading and killing come into my time line. The point is that killings of this nature, like that of Drummer Lee Rigby in 2013, have probably not been performed in a humane manner. In effect these killings cannot possibly be construed as being “halal”. By definition they are un-Islamic.

And this brings me back to women in Islam. How can it be Islamic to treat women badly and as mere chattels, property or even as slaves? I do not claim any expertise here but how can brutal treatment and denial of rights be good halal practice?

Now here’s thought, and if I am wrong I will apologise without reservation, but does not Islam allow for a man to take more than onewife, presumably to take under his wing a brother’s widow with a family, PROVIDING he can care for them properly, that’s fairly, and equally. That suggests to me a caring responsibility. Need I say more other than to ask where does misogyny in Islam come from?

Oh! I referred to my Christian background. My Twitter bio describes as developing a grumpy old man syndrome. I am not on a hobby horse. In my lifetime the Christian marriage ceremony included an obligation on thebride “to … obey”. The Christian Church has an issue with woman priests and bishops. In the secular western culture equal pay for equal work for women I an issue. The issue of fair treatment of women is not just an Islamic issue.


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