Islamic dietary laws
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Islamic jurisprudence specifies which foods are halāl (حَلَال "lawful") and which are harām (حَرَامْ "unlawful"). This is derived from commandments found in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, as well as the Hadith and Sunnah, libraries cataloging things the Islamic prophet Muhammad is reported to have said and done. Extensions of these rulings are issued, as fatwas, by mujtahids, with varying degrees of strictness, but they are not always widely held to be authoritative.
According to the Quran, the only foods explicitly forbidden are meat from animals that die of themselves, blood, the meat of pigs, and any food dedicated to other than God.
However, a person would not be guilty of sin in a situation where the lack of any alternative creates an undesired necessity to consume that which is otherwise unlawful. (Quran 2:173) This is the "law of necessity" in Islamic jurisprudence: "That which is necessary makes the forbidden permissible."
- 1 Regulations of food
- 2 Food certification
- 3 Availability of halal food in non-Islamic regions
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Regulations of food
Quranic verses which have information regarding halal foods include: 2:173, 5:5, and 6:118–119, 121. A variety of substances are considered as unlawful (haram) for humans to consume and, therefore, forbidden as per various Qurʼanic verses:
They question thee about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness. And they ask thee what they ought to spend. Say: that which is superfluous. Thus God maketh plain to you (His) revelations, that haply ye may reflect. (Al-Quran 2:219)
O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter, nor when ye are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till ye have bathed. And if ye be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have touched women, and ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving. (Al-Quran 4:43)
O ye who believe! Intoxicants and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed. (Al-Quran 5:90)
At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend prayers while intoxicated. In addition to this, most observant Muslims refrain from consuming food products that contain pure vanilla extract or soy sauce, as these food products may contain alcohol. There is some debate about whether the prohibition extends to dishes in which the alcohol would be cooked off or if it would be practically impossible to consume enough of the food to become intoxicated.
The Alevi Muslims of Turkey permit alcohol, unlike many other denominations. Ismaili Muslims are also noted for discouraging, rather than prohibiting, alcohol. The Zaidi and Mutazili sects believe that the use of alcohol has always been forbidden and refer to the Qur'an Ayah (4:43) as feeling of sleepiness and not to be awake.
A fatwa issued in November 2015 permitted the consumption of low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages provided that the given beverage contains an amount of 0.5% or the like of alcohol does not entail deeming its consumption unlawful as long as there is no effect of the alcohol upon consumption of the beverage and it does not intoxicate in large quantities.
Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, a Salafi scholar of Saudi Arabia, was once asked about the so-called (non-alcoholic) beer, given that some brands of non-alcoholic beer have a percentage of alcohol. The following was part of his reply:
As to percentage, do not think that any percentage of alcohol in a thing makes it unlawful; rather if the percentage of alcohol has an effect whereby when a person drinks this mix, he becomes intoxicated, then it is unlawful. But if the percentage is very small without effect, then it is lawful. For example, a percentage such as 1%, 2% or 3% does not make the beverage unlawful. Some people misunderstood the hadeeth that states, "Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is forbidden", to mean that if a small percentage of an intoxicant is mixed with a large amount of a substance that is not intoxicating, then it is unlawful. This is a misunderstanding of the hadeeth. "Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is unlawful" means that if a lot of something will cause intoxication, and a little of it will not cause intoxication, then a lot or a little are both unlawful, because you may drink a little that does not cause intoxication, then you may be tempted to drink more and become intoxicated. But if something is mixed with alcohol, while the alcohol content is a minute amount and does not have any effect, then it is lawful and does not come under the ruling of this hadeeth.
The Fatwa of the Permanent Committee of Islamweb.net reads,
If the beverage that contains a percentage of alcohol intoxicates in large quantities, then it is unlawful to consume any quantity of it, large or small. It is also deemed prohibited to sell or buy such a beverage and it is obligatory to dispose of it because it is considered khamr (intoxicant). However, if the consumption of a large amount of such a beverage does not intoxicate, then it is permissible to sell, buy, and consume it ...
Animal who dies of itself i.e., carrion
Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is most-Forgiving, most-Merciful.— Qurʼan, Surah 5 (al-Maʼidah), ayah 3
Consumption of pork and products made from pork is strictly forbidden in Islam. The origin of this prohibition is in Surat al-Baqarah:
He has only forbidden you what dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that over which any other (name) than (that of) God has been invoked; but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him; surely Allah is most-Forgiving, most-Merciful.— Qurʼan, Sura 2 (Al-Baqara), ayat 173
Animals dedicated to other than God
Animal dedicated to or slaughtered at the name of a human being or saint is prohibited.
He has only forbidden you what dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that over which any other (name) than (that of) God has been invoked; but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.— Qurʼan, Sura 2 (Al-Baqara), ayat 173
Beast of cattle
Beast of cattle I.e., grazing beasts are lawful except those that are explicitly prohibited.
O ye who believe! Fulfil your indentures. The beast of cattle is made lawful unto you (for food) except that which is announced unto you (herein), game being unlawful when ye are on the pilgrimage. Lo! God ordaineth that which pleaseth Him.(Al-Quran 5:1)
Hunting during Pilgrimage
Hunting during Pilgrimage is prohibited.
O ye who believe! Fulfil your indentures. The beast of cattle is made lawful unto you (for food) except that which is announced unto you (herein), 'game being unlawful when ye are on the pilgrimage.’ Lo! God ordaineth that which pleaseth Him. (Al-Quran 5:1)
However hunting of game of water (angling) is permitted during pilgrimage
To hunt and to eat the fish of the sea is made lawful for you, a provision for you and for seafarers; but to hunt on land is forbidden you so long as ye are on the pilgrimage. Be mindful of your duty to Allah, unto Whom ye will be gathered. (Al-Quran 5:96)
Game of Sea
Game of water is permitted.
To hunt and to eat the food of the sea is made lawful for you, a provision for you and for seafarers; but to hunt on land is forbidden you so long as ye are on the pilgrimage. Be mindful of your duty to Allah, unto Whom ye will be gathered. (Al-Quran 5:96)
Food hunted by hunting animals and bird
Animals hunted by trained birds and animals is permitted.
They ask thee (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah's name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account. (Al-Quran 5:4)
Food of People of the book
Food of Jews and Christians is lawful for Muslims and food of Muslims is lawful for Jews and Christians.
This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. (Al-Quran 5:5)
Prohibited methods of slaughtering
An animal slaughtered by following methods is prohibited.
- strangled to death
- beaten to death
- died due to falling
- killed by being smitten by horn
- eaten by wild beast
Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.— Qurʼan, Surah 5 (al-Maʼidah), ayah 3
Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is a prescribed method of ritual animal slaughter; it does not apply to most aquatic animals. The animal must be slaughtered while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic). According to scholarly consensus, the animal must be slaughtered specifically by a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian. The animal slaughtered must be killed quickly with a sharpened blade.
It must not suffer. It must not see the blade. It must not see or smell the blood from a previous slaughter. The main logic given by Islamic clerics is the significance of life. Many clerics argue that the life, given by God, is not an insignificant gift therefore no entity except God has the right to take this valuable gift away and by mentioning the name of God, one implies the command of God.
Animals for food may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down for long enough to be free of blood. All water game is considered halal (although the Hanafi madhhab differs on this. The Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence forbids consumption of seafood other than "fish" with scholars in disagreement about whether prawns/shrimp are "fish", but in agreement that crocodiles, crabs, lobsters, mollusks are not. al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/289–291, Bada’i al-Sana’i, 5/35–39 and Radd al-Muhtar, 304–308. Moreover, certain lower animals are considered haram, including land animals without blood, such as a hornet, insects, spiders, scorpions, with the singular exception of locusts. Surah al-A’raf, V: 157; Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 3806. Most reptiles are also considered haram, including chameleons, lizards, and snakes, as are most pests (hasharat al-Ardh) such as mice and rats. Surah al-A’raf, V: 157. A difference of opinion remains on whether consumption of horse, mule, and donkey are permitted. In the Quran, one finds this verse: “And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which you have no knowledge.” Surah al-Nahl, V: 8. Which some scholars have interpreted as limiting these animals for riding and show and not permitting their consumption. Musnad Ahmad, 4/89, Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 3790, Sunan Nasa’i and Sunan Ibn Majah; Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5202, 5205, and 5208. Predatory animals, such as lions and tigers, and birds of prey, such as falcons and hawks are forbidden to consume. Sahih Muslim, no: 1934.
Donkey meat is prohibited by Muhammad, according to hadith.
Narrated Ibn `Umar:
The Prophet prohibited the eating of donkey's meat.
Predator animals possessing fangs are prohibited (e.g. cats, dogs, bears, etc.).
Narrated Abu Tha`laba:
Birds having talons are prohibited. e.g. Owl.
Ibn 'Abbas reported that Islamic Prophet prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey, and all the birds having talons (claws).
Lizard is prohibited.
Narrated AbdurRahman ibn Shibl:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade to eat the flesh of lizard.
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “Who eats crows? The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) called them vermin, By Allah, they are not from among the good and permissible things.” 
Likewise snakes, scorpion, and mice are prohibited.
It was narrated from ‘Aishah that the Islamic Prophet said:
“Snakes are vermin, scorpions are vermin, mice are vermin and crows are vermin.”
Islamic prophet prohibited eating of eel and donkeys. Muhammad prohibited the use of horses and mules for food. Metamorphosed (animals to which a disobedient, irreverent, or arrogant pre-Islamic nation was converted as a punishment, such as apes and monkeys) animals are prohibited by Muhammad.
Since the turn of the 21st century, there have been efforts to create organizations that certify food products as halal for Muslim consumers in the USA. Since 1991, some 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. This can allow 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.
In 2011, the Halal Products Certification Institute was established in California and became the first worldwide corporation that certified halal consumer products such as cosmetics, personal care products, and perfumes and fragrances. The institute was established by Islamic intellectual scholars and Muslim scientists to assure the dissemination of halal consumer products.
In Europe, several organizations have been created over the past twenty years in order to certify the halal products. A survey recently published by a French association of Muslim Consumers (ASIDCOM) shows that the market of halal products has been developed in a chaotic way in Europe. The European certification organizations do not have a common definition of "halal" nor agreed upon control procedures and traceability. The controls implemented by individual agencies are all very different: they can go from an annual audit of the slaughterhouse, to checking each production with permanent controls in place and on-going independent monitoring.
Some animals and manners of death or preparation can make certain things haram to eat, that is, taboo food and drink. These include what are regarded as unclean animals such as swine, or animals that are sick.
In South Africa, most chicken products have a halal stamp. The South African National Halal Authority (SANHA) issues certificates and products bearing this logo range from water, snacks, and even meat-free products (which may contain non-halal ingredients). The South African National Halal Authority also licenses the usage of the Halal logo in restaurants where the food is halal, in addition to no alcohol or pork products being served.
Availability of halal food in non-Islamic regions
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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 difficult to avoid such additives when eating out since they are usually not listed on restaurant menus. Some Muslim organizations compile tables of such additives.[promotional language]
The halal market is now estimated to be 20% of world food trade and is growing. Companies from Europe and North America that would like to access the growing Halal market must get their consumable products Halal certified. The Global Halal Institute has a list of Halal certifiers that are approved by most Muslim countries with dietary import restrictions.
The first USDA approved Halal Food Company in the USA is Midamar Corporation. The company began producing halal beef, chicken, lamb and turkey products for domestic and international consumption in 1974 and is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa which is home to the one of the oldest Muslim communities in America and the longest standing mosque in America. 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 and chicken sandwiches.
Popeye's Chicken in Ontario is mostly not halal-certified (depending on location); however, in 2012 a legal dispute broke out between a group of 14 Muslim franchisees and the chain over the company's decision to use machine-slaughtered birds. The fourteen Toronto area outlets are instead using hand-slaughtered halal birds, and are suing the company so that they can continue to do so.
Halal Food is generally available in Trinidad and Tobago, however not all fast food outlets and poultry shops are halal certified.
Europe and Asia
In the United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Singapore, halal fried chicken restaurants having thousands of outlets serve halal foods, such as the Adenya Beach Halal Resort, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Nando's, 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.
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- Islam Prohibits Alcohol
- Common Misconceptions About Islam, Muslims and The Quran: Alcohol is forbidden in all forms
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- World Health Organization Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care
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