Forbidden Food

Food24 delves into the many questions surrounding Halaal food.

by: Nurahn Ryklief | 13 Apr 2007

The Arabic word Halaal (Halāl, halal) means permissible. Many non-Muslims often assume that the word only refers to meat, but it is actually used to describe things that are not allowed in the Muslim religion, those things that are Harram (not allowed) under Islamic law.

In determining whether a food is Halaal or Haraam (forbidden), various verses of the Quran (ayat) are frequently referenced, here is such a verse:

He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, or transgressing due limits – then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful
~Quran 2:173

Unhalaal or Haraam meat is any animal that has not been slaughtered in the name of Allah (God), but rather killed with a stun gun or killed for idols or other Gods, as everything done in Islam, must be done in the name of Allah.

In Islam, animals are not shot but rather slaughtered, with a quick slit of the animals' neck causing minimal pain. There are strict rules when slaughtering animals when it comes to Islam. Examples of these rules are that the animal must receive minimal pain when being slaughtered, the blade used must also be as sharp as possible (to reduce the pain of the animal) and the blood must be drained completely before the head is removed.

This purifies the meat by removing most of the blood that acts as a medium for micro-organisms, this also means the meat remains fresh for longer.

The Islamic method of slaughtering has come under fire from animal rights groups and at the same time has been proven to cause minimal pain to the animal.

Other Haraam items under Islamic law are:
• Alcohol or liquor,
• Animal gelatine
• Animal fats or rennet (an enzyme having the property of clotting or curdling milk).
• Pork and pork products are totally forbidden because it cannot be slaughtered as it has no neck and because pigs are more at risk for various diseases as the pig is found to be a host for many parasites and potential diseases.
• The utensils should be separate for Muslims. There should be no contamination of Halaal and non-Halaal.
• Any item marked or stamped with any form of Halaal certification must be verified by appointed the Muslim theologians, who are well versed with the Islamic requirements regarding Halaal.

Consumption of any morsel of Haraam, affects the acceptance of Ibaadat (worship), towards Allah (God).

Nurahn Ryklief is one of the Food24 team members and is a practicing Muslim. For queries and question on Halaal food please contact us.

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