Sunday, February 08, 2015

Meaning of Halal

Halal is often used in reference to foods and drinks, i.e. foods that are permissible for Muslims to eat or drink under Islamic law. The criteria specifies both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat and animal tissue. 

The most common example of non-halal [or haraam] food is pork. While pork is the only meat that cannot be eaten by Muslims AT ALL [due to historical, cultural, hygienic concerns and simply because Allah said not to], foods other than pork can also be haraam. The criteria for non-pork items include their source, the cause of the animal's death, and how it was processed. 

The food must come from a supplier that uses halal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must precede the slaughter by invoking the name of God, most commonly by saying "Bismillah" ["In the name of Allah"] and then three times "Allahu Akbar" [Allah is the greatest]. Then, the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck, causing the animal's death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained. 

Muslims must also ensure that all foods [particularly processed foods], as well as non-food items like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies. 

Foods that are not halal for Muslims to consume as per various Qurʼanic verses are: 



 Intoxicants and alcoholic beverages 

 Animals killed incorrectly and/or without Allah's name being pronounced before slaughter 

 Animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but "Allah". All that has been dedicated or offered in sacrifice to an idolatrous altar or saint or a person considered to be "divine". 

 Carrion [carcasses of dead animals, i.e. animals who died in the wild] An animal that has been strangled, beaten [to death], killed by a fall, gored [to death], or savaged by a beast of prey [unless finished off by a human]. 

Quranic verses regarding halal foods include: 2:173, 5:5, and 6:118-119, 121 


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