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For the 2016 film, see Halal (film).
A halal (حلال) sign at a butcher's shop in Paris, France.

Halāl (Arabic: حلال‎‎ ḥalāl, "permissible"), also spelled hallal or halaal, is any object or action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates food and drink as well as matters of daily life.[1] It is one of five Ahkamfard (compulsory), mustahabb (recommended), halal (allowed), makruh (disliked), haram (forbidden)—that define the morality of human action in Islam.[2] Mubah is also used to mean "permissible" or "allowed" in Islam.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce estimates Halal foods consumer purchases global industry value of USD $1.1 trillion in 2013 accounting for 16.6 per cent of the global food and beverage market with an annual growth of 6.9 percent.[3] Growth regions include Indonesia ($197 million market value in 2012) and Turkey ($100 million).[4] The European Union market for halal food has an estimated annual growth of around 15 percent worth an estimated $30 billion USD.[5]


Main article: Islamic dietary laws
A halal sign in Chinese (清真) at a restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan.

Several food companies offer halal processed foods and products, including halal foie gras, spring rolls, chicken nuggets, ravioli, lasagna, pizza, and baby food.[5] Halal ready meals are a growing consumer market for Muslims in Britain and America with retailers such as ieat Foods and Saffron Road.[6]

The most common example of non-halal (or haram) food is pork (pig meat products). While pork is the only meat that cannot be consumed by Muslims (the Quran forbids it[7] Sura 16:115 [8]), other foods not in a state of purity are also considered haram. The criteria for non-pork items include their source, the cause of the animal's death, and how it was processed. It also depends on the Muslim's madhab.

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. Foods that are not considered halal for Muslims to consume include blood[9] and intoxicants such as alcoholic beverages.[10]

If there is no halal food available and a Muslim is forced by necessity, then a Muslim is allowed to eat non-halal food in order to prevent death due to starvation.[8][11]

Food certification[edit]

Globally, halal food certification has been criticized by anti-Halal lobby groups and individuals using social media.[12] The critics argue that the practice results in added costs, a requirement to officially certify intrinsically-halal foods, leads to consumers subsidising a particular religious belief.[13] Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Keysar Trad told a journalist in July 2014 that this was an attempt to exploit anti-Muslim sentiments.[14]

Dhabihah: method of slaughter[edit]

Main article: Dhabihah

The food must come from a supplier that uses halal practices. Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is the prescribed method of slaughter for 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, trachea, and jugular veins.[15] 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 'Bismillah' "in the name of God".

The slaughter must be performed by a Muslim. Blood must be drained from the veins. Carrion (carcasses of dead animals, such as animals who died in the wild) cannot be eaten.[8] Additionally, 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), or sacrificed on a stone altar cannot be eaten.[9]

The animal may be stunned prior to having its throat cut. The UK Food Standards Agency figures from 2011 suggest that 84% of cattle, 81% of sheep and 88% of chickens slaughtered for halal meat were stunned before they died. Supermarkets selling halal products also report that all animals are stunned before they are slaughtered. Tesco, for example, says "the only difference between the halal meat it sells and other meat is that it was blessed as it was killed."[16] The British Veterinary Association, along with citizens who have assembled a petition with 100,000[17] signatures, have raised concerns regarding a proposed halal abattoir in Wales, in which animals are not to be stunned prior to killing.[18] Concern about slaughtering, without prior stunning, has resulted in the religious slaughter of animals being banned in Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.[19][20]

Generally, killing animals in Islam is only permissible for two main reasons, to be eaten[21] and to eliminate a danger, e.g. a rabid dog.[22]

Meat offered by non-Muslims[edit]

In Sunni Islam, animals slaughtered by Christians or Jews is halal (only if the slaughter is carried out by jugular insurgency and mentioned before slaughter that the purpose is of permissible consumption and the slaughter is carried out following the name of the God {indicating that you are grateful for God's blessings}), unless explicitly prohibited, like pork. 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 the slaughter of an animal by cutting the throat (i.e., the jugular vein, the carotid arteries, and the trachea) and during slaughter Allâh's name is invoked (Ibn ʻAbbās, Mujāhid, ʻIkrimah‍—‌all quoted by Ṭabarī, Ibn Kathīr).[15]

Kosher meats, which are consumed by Jews, are permitted to be eaten by Sunni Muslims.[23] This is due to the similarity between both methods of slaughter and the similar principles of kosher meat which are still observed by the observant Jews today.[24]

Lifestyle and tourism[edit]

Halal lifestyle can include travel, finance, clothing, media, recreation, and cosmetics as well as halal food and diet.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quran 7:157
  2. ^ Adamec, Ludwig (2009). Historical Dictionary of Islam, 2nd Edition. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-8108-6161-9. 
  3. ^ "Dubai Chamber Report shows increasing preference for halal food as global market grows to USD1.1 trn | Zawya". www.zawya.com. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  4. ^ "REPORT: Consumer Demand for Halal is On the Rise". www.fdfworld.com. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  5. ^ a b "USDA Foreign Agricultural Service – Halal Food Market" (PDF). Retrieved Aug 30, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Halal la carte". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  7. ^ "Pork (لَحم الخنزير) From the Quranic Arabic Corpus – Ontology of Quranic Concepts". Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "Surah Al-Baqarah – The Noble Qur'an - القرآن الكريم". 
  9. ^ a b Quran 5:3
  10. ^ Quran 5:90
  11. ^ Maqsood, Rubaiyat Waris (2004). Islam. Teach Yourself World Faiths. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-340-60901-9. 
  12. ^ Hansen, Damien (7 March 2012). "Halal Certification Stamp – Today Tonight (Australia)". Today Tonight. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Chris (28 December 2014). "Why halal certification is in turmoil". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Masanauskas, John (18 July 2014). "Halal food outrage from anti-Islam critics". Herald Sun. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  15. ^ a b www.halalcertification.ie. "Islamic Method of Slaughtering – Department of Halal Certification". halalcertification.ie. 
  16. ^ Eardley, Nick (12 May 2014). "What is halal meat?" – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  17. ^ Wilkinson, Ben (30 January 2015). "Millions more animals are slaughtered for halal food: Numbers rise 60 per cent amid calls for them to be stunned before death". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  18. ^ Rahman, Khaleda (25 January 2015). "Fury over plans to use taxpayers' money to fund halal abattoir that refuses to stun its animals before killing them". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Sekularac, Ivana (28 June 2011). "Dutch vote to ban religious slaughter of animals". Reuters. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "Comment: Danish halal, kosher ban leaves religious groups with nowhere to turn". Special Broadcasting Service. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  21. ^ Sunan an-Nasa'i 4349, Book:42, Hadith:87;Quran (40:79)
  22. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari 3314, Book:59, Hadith:120
  23. ^ "Lawful Foods". Just Islam. Retrieved 2 May 2014. Now in the case of Jews this is very easy. As long as the Jew is a practising Jew and the meat is slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law (Torat Moshe) then this meat and other Kosher food is lawful (Halal) and can be eaten by Muslims. 
  24. ^ "Islamic ruling on Christian food". islamqa. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  25. ^ "Halal Lifestyle in Indonesia – UN World Tourism Organization" (PDF). Retrieved Aug 30, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Yungman, Limor, "Food", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I.

External links[edit]