Ḥalāl (Arabic: حلال ḥalāl, 'permissible') is any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates not only food and drink as permissible according to Islamic law, but also all matters of daily life. The opposite of this word is haraam.
What is considered Halal
Generally in Islam, every object and action is considered permissible unless there is a prohibition of it in the Islamic scriptures. Clarification is given below in detail as to what is considered to be a permissible object or action in Islam, along with the exceptions.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning "lawful" or "permissible." Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat or drink under Islamic Shariʻah. The criteria specify both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat and animal tissue.
The most common example of non-halal (or haraam) food is pork. While pork is the only meat that cannot be eaten by Muslims at all (due to historically, culturally, and religiously perceived hygienic concerns), foods other than pork can also be haraam. The criteria for non-pork items include its source, the cause of the animal's death, and how it was processed.
The food must come from a supplier that uses halal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must precede the slaughter by invoking the name of Allah, most commonly by saying "Bismillah" ("In the name of Allah") and then three times "Allahu akbar" (God is the greatest). Then, the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck (while the animal is conscious), causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained.
Muslims must also ensure that all foods (particularly processed foods), as well as non-food items like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.
A variety of substances are considered as harmful (haraam) for humans to consume and, therefore, forbidden as per various Qurʼanic verses:
- 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".
- Carrion (carcasses of dead animals).
- An animal that has been strangled, beaten (to death), killed by a fall, gored (to death), savaged by a beast of prey (unless finished off by a human).
- Food over which Allah's name is not pronounced.
- These verses also have information regarding halal foods: 2:173, 5:5, and 6:118-119, 121.
Meat from Christians and Jews
In Surah 5:5 of the Qurʼan, it is written: "The food of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] is lawful for you as your food is lawful for them." Interpretation of this verse cannot and should not be oversimplified to include any food of the People of the Book as lawful for the Muslims. Just as pork offered by a Christian cannot be lawful for the Muslims, similarly carrion offered by a Muslim[disputed (for: Carrion is Haram) ] cannot be lawful for the People of the Book. Thus the lawful food prescribed for the People of the Book is lawful for the Muslims, subject to the express restrictions set up in v. 3 above and reiterated in 6:145 and 16:115, particularly about mentioning Allah's name at the time of slaughtering [according to whom?]. The word ṭaʻām is the verbal noun of the root ṭaʻama (lit. to eat, to feed) meaning food, including crops, fruits, meat, vegetables, etc. Since the permitted and prohibited food are connected to the manner an animal meat is prepared, evidently the word ṭaʻām refers to animals slaughtered by the People of the Book, provided that during the time of slaughtering Allah's name is invoked (6:121). The requirement to invoke Allah's name is a must. In other words the word ṭaʻām refers to dhabīḥah meat; i.e., the meat prepared after slaughtering an animal by cutting the throat (jugular vein, carotid arteries, and trachea) and during slaughtering Allâh's name is invoked (Ibn ʻAbbās, Mujāhid, ʻIkrimah - all quoted by Ṭabarī, Ibn Kathīr).
Some scholars from the Muslim world agree that this verse speaks about the Christians of Muhammad's time and say that Christian methods of slaughtering and consumption have drastically changed over time as the diet played lesser importance in the daily practice of Christians. They also point to Deuteronomy, chapter 14, verse 8, in the Bible, which says "Thou shall not eat of the swine nor shall you touch its dead carcasses." Pork and pork related products, which are forbidden in Islam, are consumed by Christians and used widely in food and food products. Kosher meats, which are consumed by Jews, are permissible if no halal meat is available. This is due to the similarity between both methods of slaughtering and the similar principles of kosher meat which are still observed by the observant Jews today.
Exception if no halal is available
Dhabihah: method of slaughter
Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is the prescribed method of slaughtering all meat sources, excluding fish and other sea-life, per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering animals consists of using a well-sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, windpipe, and jugular veins. The head of an animal that is slaughtered using halal methods is aligned with the qiblah. In addition to the direction, permitted animals should be slaughtered upon utterance of the Islamic prayer "in the name of God."
|This section relies on references to primary sources. (November 2013)|
According to Islamic law, sex is permissible and limited to between those who are married, between a man and his female slave, and between a man and a female captive in wars even if she is still married at the time of the war and her husband is still alive.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2013)|
Generally, killing is not permissible without a legitimate cause and is considered as one of the major sins in Islam. However, there are cases where killing is regarded as permissible or lawful (Halal) according to the Islamic law.
Generally, killing animals in Islam is permissible for two main reasons:
In Islam, killing a human being is not permissible without a legitimate cause, especially killing a Muslim, since this has been stressed and explicitly mentioned many times in both the Quran and Sunnah. According to the Islamic law, the legitimate reasons that make a Muslim's blood (life) permissibleand so could be killed, can be mainly categorized into two groups:
- Reasons that don't annul Muslim's faith (still a Muslim).
- Reasons that annul Muslim's faith (becomes non-Muslim).
Reasons that annul Muslim's faith
Apostasy from Islam, whether explicit or by committing any act that annuls Muslim's faith and hence becoming an apostate e.g. disparaging or disrespecting Islam's prophet Muhammad, abandoning or denying the Salat, etc.
- Quran 7:157
- Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1726, Book:24, Hadith:7
- Quran 6:119
- Quran 2:173
- Quran 5:3
- Quran 6:121
- Quran 5:90
- "Islamic ruling on Christian food". islamqa. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- "What Muslims can eat". Kalamullah. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris (2004). Islam. Teach Yourself World Faiths. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-340-60901-9.
- Quran 23:5-7
- Quran 4:24
- Sahih Muslim 1456 a, Book 17, Hadith 41
- Sahih al-Bukhari 2766, Book:55, Hadith:29
- Sunan an-Nasa'i 4349, Book:42, Hadith:87
- Quran (40:79)
- Sahih al-Bukhari 3314, Book:59, Hadith:120
- Quran (17:33)
- Quran (4:92)
- Sahih al-Bukhari 6878, Book:87, Hadith:17
- Quran 9:61-66
- Sunan an-Nasa'i 463, Book:5, Hadith:16
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