The dilemma of halal food.

The term ‘Halal’ is one commonly used word in the Islamic community. It has now become so popular that the halal logo is stamped on any food item stupidly enough. Recently I received a pamphlet of some local eatery— the menu consisting of pizzas, spicy fried chicken, burgers, fries and then the highlight was pepperoni and bacon pizza. Every item on the menu was stamped halal. MashaAllah halal pepperoni and halal bacon!!!. That’s one of a kind. Pepperoni— an American variety of salami made from a mixture of cured pork and beef is what Wikipedia defines it as. Bacon— cured meat from the back or sides of a pig, is what Google defines it as.  And here this eatery is selling halal pepperoni bacon pizza. I surely should go see those halal pigs. This nonsensical fashion of printing the halal logo on each and every food-item is really ruining the true meaning of the word.

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What does ‘halal’ truly mean???
The word ‘Halal’ is of an Arabic origin. In Arabic language Halal means ‘Permissible’. And this word is not concerned only to the areas related to food. In its true sense the word halal is related to the entire sphere of human existence. Anything Allah(swt) has made permissible for mankind is halal. And that which Allah(swt) has asked us to refrain from or has made impermissible is termed as “haram”. A few simple instances— gambling, usury( interest), murder, suicide to name a few are all what Islam terms as haram. These things are not allowed in Islam. Yet such a shame, Muslims are so obsessed with halal food that the concept of halal acts pertaining to life, have all gone into complete oblivion.

What does ‘halal’ relate to in food???
Well I think even a Muslim kid might be well aware that pig or swine is a haram animal in Islam. Rest is, you eat what Allah has made permissible to mankind but in matters of meat Islam has certain rules. There are foods that are halal and haram, and in matters of meat the term halal pertains to the method adopted for slaughtering the animal. Let us explore what the holy Quran has to say about foods permissible in Islam.

“He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced(by necessity), neither desiring(it) nor transgressing(it’s limit), there is no sin upon him. Indeed Allah is forgiving and merciful”.
Quran 2:173 (Surah-al-Baqarah).

“Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and (those animals), killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you are able to slaughter before it death, and those which are sacrificed on stone altars”.
Quran 5:3(Surah-al-Maidah)

Haram foods mentioned in Quran:
• Dead animals
— carcasses, carrion or any animal that has died naturally before being slaughtered, or animals killed or gored to death by other animals.
• Blood— of any animal is prohibited.
• Flesh of swine— meaning flesh of pig. (be it halal pepperoni or halal bacon) :lol:. Even if the pig is slaughtered in a halal way its meat shall remain haram.
• Meat of any animal that has not been dedicated to Allah when slaughtering it— this includes meat sacrificed and offered to idols or any other being or for any other cause.

But then again Allah says in the noble Quran that if you are driven by necessity and have been forced to consume anything haram, it is no sin and InshaAllah he shall surely forgive. But that necessity should be a genuine one. Nothing like you are famished and you see a KFC outlet and are not sure of its halal status, but still consume it. That is not necessity. That is Satan humming in your head and testing your emaan.

Halal way of slaughtering (dhabihah):
Whilst most meats are permissible to eat except for a few like pigs, boars, dogs and other clawed animals, the method adopted to slaughter the permissible meats is also important. Islamic slaughtering is what is known as ‘dhabihah’(pronounced zabeehah). This process of halal slaughtering excludes aquatic life. There are certain necessary conditions for the halal slaughter of an animal. A few main ones include.
⇒ The slaughter should be done by a Muslim most preferably but certain sects of Islam also agree on slaughters done by people of the book— Jews and Christians.
⇒ Name of Allah should be recited while slaughtering the animal. Or rather one should recite Bismillah.
⇒ The animal should be slaughtered in one sharp swipe which severe its arteries and jugular vein draining out all blood.
⇒ The head of the animal should not be decapitated until the animal is dead.

What science says about halal slaughtering:
It has been scientifically proven that the halal method of slaughtering the animal is better, where the animal feels little to no pain as the arteries are cut and hence oxygen flow to the brain is stopped. The animal shakes and writhes not due to pain but due to muscle spasms where the body is draining out blood. And once the blood is drained out there is not a chance of disease spreading through the meat.

So on a larger scale the term halal comprises of food and the manner in which this food is prepared or slaughtered. Many Muslims specially the youth of today in Western countries is  easily carried of when one says “Yay! it is halal”. And as I mentioned earlier about the halal pepperoni pizza— even if really they do serve halal slaughtered poultry or meat in a restaurant that even serves pork, does not your brain ring a bell? that the halal meat might be in some way contaminated?. And there are surely few eateries out there that serve real halal meat. All it takes is patience and dedication to one’s own religion to put into practice what has been prescribed for us.

Meats that are permissible and slaughtering the animals for meat in a permissible way are two completely different concepts. And the entire concept of ‘Halal’ is does not just apply for non-vegetarian food. It even applies to our non-vegetarian thoughts. 😆

 

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3 thoughts on “The dilemma of halal food.

  1. Halal is not just about eating meat that was once a live animal slaughtered in dedication to Allah. It goes beyond that. Was the animal treated with kindess. Was it fed well . Had it ,enough sufficient water. People are not eating meat dedicated to Allah. They eat it because of nafsu. True Islamic dietary was near vegetarian like, where once upon a time,they ate meat once or twice a year for Eid celebrations. And the animal slaughtered that day was dedicated to Allah and the technique they used was the least painful way to end its life. Nowadays , meat industry are cruel way of celebrating animal sacrifice. We have been conditioned to eat meat because of nafs. The high demand of meat has resulted in claustrophobic cages housing animals that was reared just so it would end up on our table. From its birth up to its death, the animal didn’t experience freedom and kindness. Even after u dedicate the slaughtered animal to Allah, the meat is still haram.

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