Duty and Steadfastness

40 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS the sensation of the pain. Acutes diffuse anoxia due to sudden loss of blood and oxygen supply to the cerebral hemispheres will lead to loss of consciousness and generalized and/or focal convulsion in less than ten seconds. The two vertebral arteries reach the base of the brain through the bony tunnel formed by the adjacent transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae. Vertebral arteries unite to form the basilar artery. The branches of the vertebral and basilar arteries supply the blood to the brain stem and the cerebellum. There are frequent variations in the size to the vertebral arteries, the right one is frequently hypoplastic. The respiratory and the cardiovasuclar centres are located in the floor of the fourth ventricle of the medulla oblongata and derives its blood supply from the branches of the vertebral and basilar arteries. Let us now apply these known anatomical and physiological facts of the brain towards understanding the Islamic way of slaughtering the animals. It is noteworthy that these commandments apply only to the slaughter of warm-blooded animals and not towards cold-blooded ones such as fish, shrimp, shellfish, etc. which clearly signifies that the main purpose is to get rid of as much of the animal’s blood as possible and to bleed the animal without commiting cruelty as outlined by A. R. Dard “All that is required is that the method be humane, convenient and effective. It should not involve unnecessary hardship, suffering and pain neither to the animal nor to man.” (Review of Religions, May 1985, page 31) I shall now discuss the merits and demerits of each method of slaughter in the light of the above quoted basic anatomy and physiology. In addition, I will answer the obvious question, i.e. does the severing cut applied to the ventral side of the neck subserve the objectives best or is it the severance of the neck with the cut applied to the dorsal surface that best achieves the purpose? If the cut is applied to the back of the neck it has to be oblique and on both sides of the neck as the vertebral arteries run in the openings in the lateral processes of the neck vertebrae. The cut also has to be deep and to be repeated vigorously in order to cut through the thick muscles at the back of the neck. It will be not only more time consuming but will lead to greater suffering and pain to the animal. Granted that the vertebral arteries are cut and a small amount of blood is shed, it should be borne in mind that these arteries only carry a small part of blood to the brain as compared to the much larger carotid arteries. Furthermore vertebral arteries supply the brainstem which harbours centres for heart and respiratory activities. With the stoppage of the blood to these vital centres in the brainstem the vital function, i.e. beating of the heart and respiration, will stop immediately. The cessation of the pumping of the heart will eventually lead to the pooling of the blood in the viscera and in the flesh of the animal. During this procedure the animal would be conscious of the great pain involved.- Many pain fibres are scattered diffusely throughout the anterior and lateral white columns of the spinal cord, called extralemniscal fibres and it is necessary to destroy the greater part of THE ISLAMIC WAY OF SLAUGHTER 41 this area before pain perception is abolished. Pain perception requires the participation of the cortex, not only the primary sensory cortex but also the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain which add emotional interpretation of the sensation of pain. If the cut is powerful enough to sever the spinal cord, the animal body will immediately go in to a state of spinal shock during which the whole body is flaccid and paralyzed. Since no blood is being received by the vital centres, the animal will die in this paralyzed state. This method fails utterly to achieve the goal of shedding the blood of the animal effectively. Itis inhumane, inconvenient and inefficient method. It requires unnecessary force and causes suffering and pain to the animal. By slaughtering the animal with a cut applied to the ventral side of the neck, only the skin, the loose connective tissue and the anterior edges of the sternomastoid muscles need to be cut before the carotid arteries and the jugular veins are reached by the edge of the knife. As mentioned earlier, jugular veins he alongside the carotids and a swift horizontal cut severs both these vessels in minimum time and effort. The arterial as well as venous blood gushes forth with each beating of the heart. The flow of the blood is thus impeded to the cerebral hemispheres including the primary sensory cortex, frontal and temporal lobes. The animal is quickly rendered unconscious and becomes insensitive to the pain. The functions of the heart and respiratory systems persist for a considerable length of time and it helps to suck the blood from the visceral organs and the muscles of the body and to propel it out of the system through the cut ends of the blood vessels. As the ischemia of the cerebral hemispheres sets in, the animal develops spontaneous myoclonic and generalized tonic-clomc movements. This rigourous muscular activity further enhances the return of the blood towards the heart and thus leads to a maximum blood letting. It is apparent from these briefly described physiological facts that the Islamic method of slaughter (viz. cutting the neck of the animal from the anterior side) is the best, most convenient, most efficient and the humane way to prepare the meat of the animal for human consumption. Book Review The World of Allah, David Douglas Duncan. Boston: Houghton. 1982. David Douglas Duncan describes Islam as the “World of Allah” which today “confronts the West and Japan as one of history’s great geographic and ethnic paradoxes. Its oil dominates our industry. Its people are, for the most part, television images: remote yet hospitable; barefoot-poor and Midas-rich; an aloof and fanatical Khomeini and a gregarious Sadat. Moslems, among the most photogenic people, represent the oldest of civilisations. The world of their religion spreads across deserts and mountains and jungles from the Atlantic to China and southward through Indonesia to the Philippines. Ironically, although it profoundly influences our lives, it is almost unknown.” This engrossing volume introduces the non-Muslim to the stunning panorama of Islamic daily living through photographic essays and text, an interpretation of Duncan’s view of the people in their world. An ex-Marine, he is the world famous and highly respected former photographer for Life magazine. This handsome and expensive offering is based on the many years which he spent living among Muslims, both professionally and personally. For this issue, he has culled the best of all of his photographs made during many journeys in the lands of Allah: from Spain, Morocco, Jerusalem, Cairo and Palestine to Istanbul and Indonesia. JrBs subtly searching lens, lyric pen and sympathetic tone blend easily with the warmth of his special memories of life among the Faithful, forming a harmonious whole. The one regrettable omission is the lack of specific reference to Hazxat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Madhi (peace be upon him) the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam at Qadian, India in 1889. The centrepiece and major theme of The World of Allah lies deeply hidden among its three-hundred or so pages, juxtaposed between extraordinary glimpses of the serenity of the Alhambra and other compositions of Moorish Spain . . . the fabled Mosque of Isfahan . . . bargaining in bustling market towns . . . abandoned street waifs. . .the opulent splendor of royal palaces. . . solitary shepherd boys on desolate desert terrain . . . stark, rock-strewn cemeteries . . . veiled beauties sequestered in cool mosque courtyards . . . military maneuvers on snowy Turkish plains . . . breath-taking views of Middle and Far Eastern fabled landscapes. . . and a multitude of methods of eking out a living from a difficult environment. As Duncan has it, “The roots and hallowed traditions of more than a thousand years strengthen and enfold all BOOK REVIEW 43 Believers whose Faith supports a world apart” and “For the nomad, every morning of all seasons fills life with a promise of future dreams.” This central theme is explored with sensitivity in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda; the resolute heroes are those dedicated, self-sacrificing Ahmadi Muslim missionaries who are teaching and preaching the Message of the Holy Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) in some of the most isolated places on earth. At Lagos, Duncan’s lens catches the Muezzin’s call, the mission news boy selling Truth, and teacher Hamzat Okunun and his students in class. His camera then focuses on an Ahmadi Muslim, Hakeem Mohammad Ibrahim, who travels “three thousand miles a year on his bicycle across mountains and jungles”, armed only with his briefcase filled with pamphlets and books. The photographs from pages 178 to 185 are carefully explained in the text in the back of the book, on pages 273 through 276. As one studies the faces of these devout teachers and their follower-converts, one is struck by the modesty of these people in the face of their tremendous service to the cause of Islam. Nowhere else in this book does one sense the true meaning of Islam as in these few pages. •» Maulana Hakeem Mohammed Ibrahim has the wonderful role of physician, teacher and Ahmadiyya missionary for all of the entire length and breadth of Uganda, which leaves him little time to practice medicine. He works alone, without benefit of printing press or a central office and a supporting missionary partner. His actual possessions are “his bicycle, books and literature and his Faith.” May Allah strengthen his hands. His wife and several children live on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital city, in a simple earthern floor house and rarely have opportunity to see him because he is “constantly in the back country trying to spread the word of the religion in which he believes.” Like most Ahmadi missionaries, he does not claim to have converted masses of people to Islam in Africa. “In a ‘good’ year, between April and October, he made thirty-five conversions which are authenticated at Ahmadiyya headquarters in Rabwah, Pakistan.” His noteworthy achievement is that he carries the True Islam to isolated places where it was relatively unknown or misunderstood. He is deeply convinced that in the near future millions of Africans will seek spiritual and social solace in Islam and his present efforts will help them and the missionary who will someday take over his duties. He observes that there are several reasons why Islam appeals to Africans, rather than Christianity or paganism. First of all, Islam “welcomes and recognizes” the equality of each human being. Secondly, Islam is the one agency which promises peace and stability to Africa after its turbulent history of vigourous nationalistic movements; the violence and moral insensibility of apartheid; the long and brutal years of humiliating colonialism; and the effects of the ideological conflicts between the two superpowers. Maulana Hakeem recalls that his earliest efforts in Uganda resulted in his being physically and verbally abused by pagans and Christians. In trying to protect himself by reasoning with them, he told them it was their duty to oppose him, based upon their religious beliefs, just as it was his duty to bring his message to them in a peaceful manner; depending only upon the protection of Almighty Allah. Now he goes about without hindrance to even the most isolated parts of Uganda.