What is Halal?

Masjid Arrahman / Introducing Islam  / What is Halal?

What is Halal?

‘Halal’ means literally ‘allowed or permitted’, and its antonym is ‘Haram’ which means ‘prohibited or forbidden’. These concepts guide, and should be, the daily life of every Muslim to act and behave in the light of Islam.

The term ‘Halal’ is used by the food industry, particularly in non-Muslim countries or corporations, to point if Muslims can eat a certain food.

In Islam, every Muslim should eat and drink what deemed to be Halal. In this regard, Muslims are prohibited from eating, for example, the meat of dead animals (not fixed according to Islamic guidelines), or eating the meat of an animal before fixing it. Notably, there are meats of certain animals are not allowed to be eaten even if these animals fixed according to the Islamic guidelines, such as the pigs, dogs, cats…In addition, Muslims are not allowed to eat intoxicated or poisoned food, dirties, rubbish, soil… Similar to the rules that guide food, Muslims are not allowed to drink, for example, poison, intoxicated water or drink, alcohol (liquors), blood, etc.

On the other hand, there are rules for fixing the animals according to the Islamic guidelines. The animal should be offered food and water before fixing it. Thus, the animal should not be beaten. In the process of fixing the animal (cattle, cow, lamb, goat; or bird such as poultry), the Muslim butcher should prepare a sharp knife and direct the animal towards Qibla (Mecca). Then, the butcher must recite the name Allah at the beginning of this process which entails putting the knife on the neck of that animal to fix it swiftly in one continuous motion, aiming to cut altogether its throat, oesophagus, the artery and the vein (and not aiming to cut the neck).

The illustration of using a sharp knife is to fix the animal without undue suffering during this rapid process.

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