Islam and Hinduism, Two Methods of Slaughtering Animals for Meat, Halal and Jhatka

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The differences between Hindus and Muslims come to the fore even in the manner of slaughtering animals for meat

Islam and Hinduism are two great religions that have existed side by side for close to 1500 years in the sub-continent. The religions have beliefs and rituals that are diametrically opposed to each. Over the years this has generated into a conflict, with the Moslems being invariably the winners. The religious beliefs are so iconoclast that there is no meeting ground as the Moslems believe in one God and Allah is his prophet, while the Hindus believe in a pantheon of gods. Apart from praying the differences also come down to the method of slaughtering animals for meat and what animals to eat. This aspect brings out the irreconcilable differences between the Hindus and the Moslems.

The methods of slaughtering meat are Halal and Jhatka and each is distinct from the other. The method of slaughtering an animal for consumption of meat in Islam is called Halal, while the Hindu method of slaughtering meat is called Jhatka. What is the difference between the two? Halal involves making a slit with a knife in the neck of the animal. This involves the jugular vein being slit and the animal slowly bleeds to death. Care is taken that the spinal cord is not cut.

Jhatka on the other hand involves severing the head of the animal with one blow of the sword or knife. The spinal cord is severed and death is instantaneous.

Halal Meat

It is enjoined on all true Muslims and believers in Allah to partake of only Halal meat. Thus a Moslem will never partake of cooked meat that is Jhatka. In Halal as the animal bleeds to death a kalam or holy prayer is recited. To some people this method of ritualistic slaughter is quite inhuman, but to Moslems it does not appear so. This method of slaughtering an animal is also prevalent among Jews. The advent of the Moslem in India made Halal meat compulsory for all, till the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh revolted against this practice.

Method of Jhatka

In contrast the Hindus and Sikhs have a simple method of slaughtering the animal for meat, often referred to as Jhatka. In real terms this means that the head of the animal is severed from the body with one blow. As the spinal cord is cut with one blow the death would in all likelihood be instantaneous. These two methods of slaughtering animals for meat i.e. Jhatka and halal, sum up the essential difference between the two religions Hinduism and Islam and shows that even in the method of slaughtering animals for meats, the differences are irreconcilable.

The Sikhs, Hindus and Jhatka Meat

The Sikhs, who are the militant forms of the Hindus, are avid meat eaters. But the Sikh Gurus have enjoined on then not to eat halal. They will partake of only Jhatka meat. In fact even before partition the Moslem dominated Union party that was in power in the undivided Punjab had entered into an agreement with the Sikhs. This agreement stated that Sikhs would be allowed to have their own Jhatka shops for meat. Thus Jhatka is an essential part of Sikhism.

Guru Gobind Singh rejected the Moslem concept of Halal and laid down that the animals could not be eaten which had been killed in a ritualistic manner. In this connection the last Hukamnama (Religious Order) was issued by the Akal Takht in 1980.

The Hindus also will only partake of Jhatka and in festivals like Durga Puja, only Jhatka meat is served. After Independence this practice of separate Jhatka and halal meat shops has continued. The difference is not just confined to the manner of slaughtering the animals but also to what animals to eat. Moslems will not eat the meat of pigs as they are considered unclean and Hindus will not partake of Cow or beef.

Last Word

After independence the major manufacturers of packaged meat and chicken like Venkys, Safal and Godrej Foods in India clearly mention on their packages that only halal meat is used. This is a piquant situation in a country, where the Hindus are in a majority. These companies do not market Jhatka meat. One really wonders how these companies can get away with marketing only halal meat. In a country with an 80% Hindu population the meat packaging industries do not market Jhatka meat. In fact they mention boldly on their packages 'only Halal meat used’. It is difficult to understand how this is allowed in India. Perhaps some Hindu groups may like to take up this matter with the concerned meat packaging industries.