What is Halal?

halal

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, we will use these terms only in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, and food contact materials.

While many things are clearly halal or clearly haram, there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.

All foods are considered halal except the following, which are haram:

  • Swine/pork and its by-products
  • Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering
  • Animals killed in the name of anyone other than ALLAH (God)
  • Alcohol and intoxicants
  • Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears
  • Blood and blood by-products
  • Foods contaminated with any of the above products

Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, etc. are questionable (mashbooh) because the origin of these ingredients is not known.

 

What is Zabihah? 

zabihah

Animals such as cows, sheep, goats, deer, moose, chickens, ducks, game birds, etc., are also Halal, but they must be Zabihah (slaughtered according to Islamic Rites) in order to be suitable for consumption. The procedure is as follows: the animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim. The animal should be put down on the ground (or held it if it is small) and its throat should be slit with a very sharp knife to make sure that the 3 main blood vessels are cut. While cutting the throat of the animal (without severing it), the person must pronounce the name of Allah or recite a blessing which contains the name of Allah, such as “Bismillah Allah-u-Akbar”. 

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