Posted on 07/22/2012 by __socrates

ZABH. ذبح zebakh.
Arabic lexicographers define the sword to mean the act of cutting the throat. In time language of the law, it demotes the act of slaying an animal agreeably to the prescribed forms, without which its flesh not lawful For the food of man. See Qur’an, Surah ii. 167, 168:-
“Eat of the good things wherewith we have provided you, and give thanks unto God, if ye are His worshippers. He has only forbidden for you that which is dead, and blood, and flesh of swine, and whatsoever has been consecrated to other than God; but he who is forced, neither revolting nor transgressing, it is no sin for him for verily God a is forgiving and merciful.”
The injunctions in the Traditions are more explicit (Mishkat, book xviii. cii. i.), for example: Abu Tufail relates that ‘Ali was once asked, ‘Has the Prophet ever told you anything with regard to religion which he bas not told others?” And ‘Ali replied.” Nothing. unless it be that which I have in the scabbard of my sword.” Then ‘Ali brought out of his scabbard a piece of paper, and thereon was written: “May God curse those who slay without repeating the name of God, in the same manner as the polytheists did in the names of their idols; may God curse those who remove their neighbours’ landmarks; may God curse those who curse their fathers may God curse those who harbour innovators in matters of religion.” According to Sunni law, zabb is of two kinds: 1) Ikhitiyari, of choice; and (2) Iztirari, of necessity.
The first is effected by cutting the throat above the breast and reciting the words Allahu akbar, “God is most great”; and the of second by reciting these words upon shooting an arrow or discharging a gun.
The latter act, however. is merely a substitute for the former, and accordingly is not of any account unless the former be impracticable; for the proper zabh is held to be by the shedding of blood, and the former method is most effectual for this purpose.
It is absolutely necessary that the person who slays the animal should be a Muslim or a kitabi (i.e. a Jew or a Christian), and that he should do it in the name of God alone; it signifies not whether the person be a men or a woman, or an infant, or an idiot, or an uncircumcised person.
An animal slain by a Magian is unlawful as also that slain by an idolater or an polytheist. Zabh performed by an apostate from the Muslim faith (who us worthy of death) is also unlawful; but, according to Abu Hanifah, if a Jew or a Christian become an apostate from his own creed, his zabh is lawful, for the Muslim law still regards him, with respect to zabh, in the same light as formerly.
If the slayer willfully omit the invocation, “in the name of the most great God,” the flesh of the animal is unlawful; but if he omit the invocation through forgetfulness, it is lawful, although there is some difference of opinion on this subject amongst the Sunni doctors. ‘Ash-Shafa’i is of opinion that the animal is lawful in either case, but the Imam MaIik maintains that it is unlawful in both.
Abu Yusuf and all the Hanafi doctors have declared, that an animal slain under a willful omission of the invocation is utterly unlawful, and that the magistrate must forbid the sale of meat so killed.
It is a condition of zabh ikhtiyari that the invocation be pronounced over the animal at the time of slaying it; but in the case of zabh iztirari (i.e. when a person slays an animal in hunting), the condition is that the invocation he pronounced at the time of letting loose the hound or hawk, or of shooting the arrow or gun, or casting the spear.
It is a condition of zabh that nothing but the invocation Bismi ‘llahi Allahi akbar, “In the name of God, God the most great,” should be said. That is, no prayer or other matter must be mentioned.
The place for slaying is betwixt the throat and the head of the breast-bone (Arabic labbah), and the vessels it is requisite so cut are four, al-hulqum, “the wind-pipe,” al-mari’, “the gullet.’ and al-waridan, or al-wadajan, tithe two jugular veins.”
Ash-Shafi’i holds that if a man slay an animal with a nail or horn or teeth, the flesh is unlawful, but this is not the opinion of other doctors. (See Durru ‘l-Mukhtar and Hidayah, in loco.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam