Sharḥ ʿUmdatul Aḥkām
Kitāb al-Aṭʿimah – The Book of Eating
Translated Abu Ubaydah
Translated, Checked & Additional Notes
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari
The permissibility of slaughtering with anything that makes the blood flow, except teeth and other bones
 Rafi’ Bin Khadij (Radi Allahu Anhu) said,
“We were in the company of the Prophet (Sallalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam) at DhulHulaifa, and the people suffered from hunger. We got some camels and sheep (as booty) and the Prophet (Sallalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was still behind the people. They hurried and put the cooking pots on the fire. (When he came) he ordered that the cooking pots should be upturned and then he distributed the booty (amongst the people) regarding ten sheep as equal to one camel then a camel fled and the people chased it till they got tired, as they had a few horses (for chasing it). So a man threw an arrow at it and caused it to stop (with Allah’s Permission). On that the Prophet (Sallalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, ‘Some of these animals behave like wild beasts, so, if any animal flee from you, deal with it in the same way.” My grandfather asked (the Prophet (Sallalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam)), “We hope (or are afraid) that we may meet the enemy tomorrow and we have no knives. Can we slaughter our animals with canes?” Allah’s Messenger (Sallalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam) replied, “If the instrument used for killing and causes the animal to bleed profusely and if Allah’s Name is mentioned on killing it, then eat its meat (i.e. it is lawful) but don’t use a tooth or a fingernail and I am telling you the reason: A tooth is a bone (and slaughtering with a bone is forbidden), and a fingernail is the slaughtering instrument of the Ethiopians.”
Bukhari, Book of Jihad, Chapter: Not to slaughter the camels and sheep of the booty (before distribution) [no. 5503, 5509]
Muslim, Book of Sacrifices, Chapter: The permissibility of slaughtering with anything that makes the blood flow, except teeth and other bones [no.1968]
[UNDERSTANDING FROM THE HADITH]
1. Halfahu is said to be called a (medicinal) herb, that is predominantly found in this area and because of this relevance it is named dhul hulayfa.
2. The army of Muslims encamped in this valley which had the (spoils of war or) war booty wealth of camels. When they became hungry they hastily slaughtered them and started to cook them. Since they did this without permission of the prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Salam), he (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) commanded them to overturn the cooking pots in order to correct their manners and teach them a lesson. The cooked meat was wasted and they listened to the command.
3. Essentially this was to teach a lesson that it is not correct to use the war booty wealth used before it is distributed.
4. Afterwards the Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) distributed it. On this occasion a companion asked that if you can’t find a knife to slaughter the animal then can we use a cane instead or something else. He (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) replied by saying that anything that can cut and is sharp enough to shed blood profusely can be used. However teeth or fingernails are not allowed because teeth are bones and fingernails are a type of bone and they are the knives of the Abyssinians.
5. The Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to travel at the back of the Muslim army.
6. The leader for his people (citizens) or general (for his army) can immediately make a decision in order to reconcile and rectify the issue.
7. The reason why the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) told the companions to over turn the cooking pots and waste the meat is that so they wouldn’t make the mistake of getting ahead of themselves without permission again.
8. It is necessary for the leader to be just and fair with his people.
9. You should be just and fair whilst distributing the spoils of war.
10. If a camel, cow, goat etc. runs away and you can’t catch it and someone shoots it with an arrow, it is permissible to eat it.
11. Whichever tool causes bleeding can be used to slaughter an animal.
12. It is necessary to say bismillah Allahu Akbar meaning the Takbir at the time of slaughtering otherwise the meat will not be halal.
13. It is not allowed to slaughter an animal using teeth or fingernails.
14. It is not allowed to slaughter an animal using a bone no matter how sharp it is.