Halal: Wikis


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Part of a series on Islam
Usul al-fiqh

(The Roots of Jurisprudence)

Scholarly titles

Halal (Arabic:حلال, alāl, Halaal; means lawful or legal) is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. It is the opposite of haraam. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law (Sharia, الشريعة الإسلامية).



The use of the term varies between Arabic-speaking communities and non-Arabic-speaking ones.

In Arabic-speaking countries, the term is used to describe anything permissible under Islamic law, in contrast to haraam, that which is forbidden. This includes human behavior, speech communication, clothing, conduct, manner and dietary laws.

In non-Arabic-speaking countries, the term is most commonly used in the narrower context of just Muslim dietary laws, especially where meat and poultry are concerned, though it can be used for the more general meaning, as well.

Dietary laws

Islam has laws regarding which foods can and cannot be eaten and also on the proper method of slaughtering an animal for consumption, known as dhabihah. However if there is no other food available then a Muslim is allowed to eat non-halal food.[1] Surah 2:173 states:

If one is forced because there is no other choice, neither craving nor transgressing, there is no sin in him. Indeed, Allah is forgiving, merciful

Explicitly forbidden substances

A variety of substances are considered as harmful (haraam) for humans to consume and, therefore, forbidden as per various Quranic verses:

  • Pork meat (i.e., flesh of pig)[Qur'an 2:173]
  • Blood[Qur'an 2:173]
  • 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"[Qur'an 2:173] [Qur'an 5:3]
  • Carrion[Qur'an 2:173]
  • An animal that has been strangled, beaten (to death), killed by a fall, gored (to death), savaged by a beast of prey (except that which you may have slaughtered while it was still alive)[Qur'an 5:3]
  • Food over which Allah's name is not pronounced[Qur'an 6:121]
  • Alcohol and other intoxicants[Qur'an 5:090]

Dhabiha: Method of slaughter

Thabiha or Dhabiha (Arabic: ذبيحة‎), is the prescribed method of ritual slaughter of all animals excluding fish and most sea-life per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering animals consists of a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact. It is believed to kill instantly and painlessly by Muslims.[2].

Halal and Kosher

There is similarity between the laws of Dhabiĥa halal and kashrut. Whether Muslims can use kashrut standards as a replacement for halal standards is an ongoing debate, and the answer depends largely on the individual being asked.[3]

In non-Islamic countries

A package of halal-certified (see green label on the package) frozen food (steamed cabbage buns) from Jiangsu province, China
Halal certificate issued for dairy products by a German registered merchant
Australian halal certificate for chocolate.

In Dearborn, Michigan, the home of one of the largest Muslim and Arab populations in the United States, some fast food restaurant chains such as the McDonald's Corporation have introduced halal chicken nuggets.[4] In the United Kingdom and in the United States, halal fried chicken restaurants having thousands of outlets serve halal foods, such as the Chicken Cottage, Kennedy Fried Chicken, Brown's Chicken, and Crown Fried Chicken companies. As of February 2009, Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in the U.K. began to sell halal meals in several restaurants.

Also, in New York City there are numerous halal food carts in business which serve gyros, chicken platters, and other halal fast foods, whereas in the U.K. and continental Europe, there are many of the Muslim-owned Döner kebab shops.

A law passed by a county in Ohio in 2005 bans the sale, distribution, or production of food mislabeled "halal", when county authorities determine that the food does not meet Islamic dietary standards. Similar laws protect kosher foods in most of the United States, and in many other countries, states, or provinces.[5]

McDonald's restaruants intend to offer halal meals in the United States and some parts of the United Kingdom. (Two of the McDonald's restaurants currently offer these foods on a trial basis. Six McDonald's restaurants in Australia (two in Melbourne and four in Sydney) offer halal meals. McDonald's restaurants in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Africa, are halal certified.[citation needed] McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants have been declared to be halal in Sri Lanka by the Jamiyathul Ulama, the only authority able to give out the certification there.

While the introduction of halal meats in some American restaurants is still ongoing, for the first time in the United States, in early 2004, halal meats began to be offered in some chain grocery stores, in particular by the H.E.B. Grocery company. The Tex-Mex Beef Co. based in Houston, Texas, was the first halal meat and poultry distribution company to offer halal meats in the U.S. at the retail store level.

In 2008 and 2009, twelve stores in the Mary Brown's chain in Ontario and Alberta become 100% halal.[6]

Dhabiĥa Halal

Dhabiĥa halal is relatively difficult to adhere to in a non-Muslim country:

  • The abundance of pork and non-dhabiĥa meats at restaurants presents a rather-difficult problem to overcome. While a Muslim will not order a non-dhabiĥa halal dish, there is a concern about cross-contamination. This is likely to occur when the dhabiĥa halal dish is prepared with the same cooking tools and in the same kitchen as other non-dhabiĥa halal dishes. Food particles and juices from the two dishes are likely to be exchanged, technically rendering the dhabiĥa halal dish as haraam.
  • Many apparently meat-free dishes, and even some desserts, contain pork, such as most kinds of gelatin, or other non-conforming substances. There is some disagreement about food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) that may use enzymes derived from pig fat in the production process. It is very difficult to avoid such food additives since they are widely used in many countries, and they are usually not listed on restaurant menus. Some Muslim organizations compile tables of such additives that are considered by them to be halal.[7]
  • Alcoholic beverages, including wine and whiskey, are used in many sauces and cakes, and alcohol is used as ingredient (a solvent and apreservative) for the safe production and storage of food flavorings such as vanilla and other extracts. Alcohol in such food flavorings will definitely evaporate if used in baked products or boiled products. One Moslem scholarly opinion is that food which is cooked with wine or other alcoholic beverages is forbidden, since doing so involves paying for the wine, distilled spirits, etc., and some believe that the alcohol does not completely evaporate in some meats.[8] Some Islamic scholars do not consider a food to be halal, even if it is made with all-halal ingredients, but with food flavorings in which ethyl alcohol is used as a solvent and preservative. However, other Islamic scholars sanction food products made with all-halal ingredients, even if food flavors containing ethyl alcohol as a solvent. This is supremely logical for thoroughly-cooked foods, given that cooking food evaporates and disperses all alcohols contained in them.[9]

Since the turn of the 21st century, there have been efforts to create organizations such as the Muslim Consumer Group that certify food products as halal for Muslim consumers.

In Muslim regions, "halal" is an Arabic term meaning "lawful" or "permissible", and the term not only covers food and drink, but also to all matters of daily life. When it comes to halal food, most people think of meat foods only. However, Muslims must ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, pharmaceuticals, and non-food items like cosmetics, are also halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Moslems to eat or use on their bodies.

The leading North American halal food producer and distributor in the United States is the Midamar Corporation.[citation needed] This company has been in operation since 1974, and it is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the home of the oldest mosque in the Americas still standing. The children of Muslims who settled in Iowa around 1900 discerned a need to start producing halal beef and chicken catering to the tastes of American Muslims.

Since 1991, mainstream manufacturers of soups, grains, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, prepared foods, and other products, as well as hotels, restaurants, airlines, hospitals, and other service providers have pursued the halal market. These companies purchase halal-certified products. Halal certification tells Muslims that their ingredients and production methods have been tested and declared permissible by a certification body. It also allows companies to export products to most Middle Eastern countries and South East Asian Countries. The oldest and most well-known halal certifier in the United States is called the "Islamic Services of America". For more information its history see the Web site www.isaiowa.org. Something that companies which intend to export halal products must keep in mind, when choosing a certifier, is whether or not the certifier is recognized by foreign governmental bodies. Islamic Services of America

  • In 1986, the "Islamic Meat & Poultry Company" was founded in Stockton, California. Islamic Meat & Poultry is a halal-only, U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspectedy, hand-slaughtering and meat-processing facility. This company follows the principles of slaughtering and meat-processing according to the Islamic Shariah.
  • In 1993, Mr. Ahsan Mohyuddin founded the "Halal Meat & Food Corporation" in Bladenboro, North Carolina. Contrary to popular belief, this Halal Meat & Food Corporation is not the first halal meat company to operate in the United States.

Halal food and animal welfare

The ritual method of slaughter as practiced in Islam and Judaism has been described as inhumane by animal welfare organisations in the U.K. and the U.S.A., who have stated that it "causes severe suffering to animals."[10][11]

In 1978, a study incorporating EEG (electroencephalograph) with electrodes surgically implanted on the skull of 17 sheep and 15 calves, and conducted by Wilhelm Schulze et al. at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany concluded that "the slaughter in the form of a ritual cut is, if carried out properly, painless in sheep and calves according to EEG recordings and the missing defensive actions" (of the animals) and that "For sheep, there were in part severe reactions both in bloodletting cut and the pain stimuli" when captive bolt stunning (CBS) was used.[12] This study is cited by the German Constitutional Court in its permitting of dhabiha slaughtering.[13]

In 2003, an independent advisory group - the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) - concluded that the way halal and kosher meat is produced causes severe suffering to animals and should be banned immediately. FAWC argued that cattle required up to two minutes to bleed to death when such means are employed. The Chairperson of FAWC at the time, Judy MacArthur Clark, added, "this is a major incision into the animal and to say that it doesn't suffer is quite ridiculous."

Halal and kosher butchers deny that their method of killing animals is cruel and expressed anger over the FAWC recommendation.[11]

Majid Katme of the Muslim Council of Britain also disagreed, stating that "it's a sudden and quick haemorrhage. A quick loss of blood pressure and the brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain."[11]

In April 2008, the Food and Farming minister in the United Kingdom, Lord Rooker, stated that halal and kosher meat should be labeled when it is put on sale, so that members of the public can decide whether or not they want to buy food from animals that have been bled to death. He was quoted as saying, "I object to the method of slaughter ... my choice as a customer is that I would want to buy meat that has been looked after, and slaughtered in the most humane way possible." The RSPCA supported Lord Rooker's views.[14]

For the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Humane Society International, "the animals that are slaughtered according to kosher and halal should be securely restrained, particularly the head and neck, before cutting the throat" as "movements (during slaughter) results in a poor cut, bad bleeding, slow loss of consciousness, if at all, and pain."[15]

See also

  • Al-Jamia, Shia text which contains all the details of halal things.


  1. ^ World faiths, Teach yourself - Islam by Ruqaiyyah Maqsood. ISBN 0-340-60901-X. Page 204
  2. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Halal and Kosher slaughter 'must end'
  3. ^ http://www.oneummah.net/content/view/17/40/1/1/
  4. ^ http://islam.about.com/library/weekly/aa072901a.htm
  5. ^ Religious food gets protection - 08/05/05
  6. ^ Mary Brown's Website http://www.marybrowns.com/halal.html
  7. ^ Food additive numbers
  8. ^ IslamonLine.net
  9. ^ Muslim Consumer Group
  10. ^ Halal killing may be banned | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited
  11. ^ a b c BBC NEWS | UK | Halal and Kosher slaughter 'must end'
  12. ^ Schulze W, Schultze-Petzold H, Hazem AS, Gross R. Experiments for the objectification of pain and consciousness during conventional (captive bolt stunning) and religiously mandated (“ritual cutting”) slaughter procedures for sheep and calves. Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift 1978 Feb 5;85(2):62-6. English translation by Dr Sahib M. Bleher
  13. ^ Das Bundesverfassungsgericht
  14. ^ Halal and kosher meat should not be slipped in to food chain, says minister
  15. ^ Guideline for Humane Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Livestock, Religious or ritual slaughter, [1][2]

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Simple English

Halaal (حلال, halāl, halal) is an Islamic Arabic term meaning "permissible". It has both a general and specific meaning.

When people use the word in Islamic countries, they usually mean to say what is allowed by Islamic Law.

In non-islamic countries, the word usually means fit to be eaten by a Muslim.

Muslims have strict rules of what they can and cannot eat:

  • Animals need to be killed in a special way. (by saying Bismillah and Allah hu Akbar on each animal, and the animal should be slaughtered by hand so that all the blood be drained from the slaughtered {dead} animal before they can eat the animal. It is called "Zabah Halal" in Arabic language meaning "Hand Slaughtered"
  • They also should not eat the meat of carnivores or omnivores. This includes pork.
  • All seafood is halal. fish that has scales is ok, but animals that live both in the water and on land are not permissible (for example, frogs may not be eaten). There is a debate about shellfish, but most think it is not halal
  • They should not drink alcohol or consume other intoxicating substances (for example, narcotics).

When Jewish people say something is Kashrut (or Kosher), they mean a similar thing except Jewish people are allowed to have alcohol which is made from grapes(made in a certain way of course).

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