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Halal is an Arabic word that means allowed or permissible. It is the opposite of the word haram which means forbidden according to Islamic law. Islamic law governs all Muslims in the world and it outlines what behaviors and items including food that is mandatory to be used or performed, recommended, neutral, reprehensible, and forbidden altogether. Islamic scholars have had frequent disagreements on where halal applies among the five principles.
Halal meat is an animal protein that Muslims eat by Islamic laws. These laws are very specific when it comes to giving direction on how an animal ought to be slaughtered for its meat to be described as it. Muslims cannot eat meat just from any animal that they are not aware of the slaughtering process. Meat is considered halal when it comes from animals that are alive and healthy at the time of slaughter, they are killed by hand and all their blood is drained away.
The Quran details the foods that are considered halal (lawful) and haram (prohibited) in 2:173, 5:3, 6:145, and 16:115. These passages outline very crucial and well-detailed conditions that determine halal and haram meat.
According to today’s beliefs, the person who slaughters the animal must say the opening four words of the Quran also called the Basmalah. However, when you study the readings of the Quran there are differences in this belief expressing that all people can’t know if the butcher uttered those words before the slaughter. Therefore the Quran teaches that all Muslims should mention God’s name before they eat meat and any other food to sanctify it and thank God for the provision.
This difference has been a source of contention among Islamic scholars however looking further through the readings of the Quran it is evident that some of the practices held today are only some teachers’ interpretations and have not been directly supported by the Quran.
The question of halal and haram when it comes to food, especially meat is well defined in the Quran however there have been teachers who have created their interpretation of this condition to suit themselves.
Halal meat beliefs
According to modern-day beliefs, meat is considered halal if it is slaughtered according to the guidelines outlined in the Quran. However, according to the teachings of the Quran itself, meat and any other food are considered when the person eating it utters God’s word before eating it.
Unfortunately, many Muslims today have a fixation on the self-taught restriction of slaughtering, buying, and eating what is advertised as it, yet when they are eating other foods like fruits and vegetables they overlook God’s command in the Quran to utter His name on it. This type of ignorance has led to many people eating unlawful meat and foods.
Halal meat industry
There are about 2 million Muslims who only consume halal meats around the world so the halal foods industry has grown into a billion-dollar industry over time. Some of the top 10 suppliers in the world are countries whose majority population is not even Muslim. Some of them include;
- New Zealand, and
In conclusion, slaughtering is not the only lawful method of killing an animal and those who perpetrate this teaching are false prophets. They often talk about the restriction on eating blood. While that restriction is plausible it is quite impossible to determine if any meat bought at a halal butchery does not contain even one drop of blood, yet it was slaughtered in the Islamic way. Therefore, halal meat is lawful only when the person eating it mentions God’s name with thanksgiving.
Frequently asked questions
- Where does halal meat come from?
Halal meat is slaughtered and eaten the Islamic way. Several countries are known to export halal meats and foods.
- Are other foods considered halal too?
Yes. Any food that you mention God’s name as you eat is considered halal.
- Is halal meat labeled?
It often is labeled as ‘halal’ at the butcher or the stores.
- Is halal meat healthier?
There is no proof that halal meat has any differences in protein content compared to other meats. The only difference is the method of preparation and how it is eaten.
- Is it illegal to label non-halal as halal?
In most countries, it is illegal to label meat as halal when it is not and a court order can be used against the company or store that stocks such meats.