The purpose of this information is to help non-Muslims to better understand the term “Halal” and its importance for Muslims.
One Islam – Many Muslims
Although Islam is a single religion, it is important to recognize that Muslims are not a single homogeneous group. There are approximately 400,000 Muslims in Australia, who have come from more than 70 countries worldwide: from Europe (ie Albania, Bosnia and Turkey), Africa, Asia (including Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia), Islands Pacific, and North and South America.
Muslims believe in the one God. Allah is the Arabic word for God, and Muslims believe in all Prophets, including Jesus, Moses, Abraham and others, including Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him).
Halal is a term for any object or action that is permitted to be used or involved, according to Islamic law. It is the opposite of haraam. The term is used to designate foods viewed as permitted under Islamic law.
What is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word that means legal or permitted. In reference to food, it is the food pattern, as prescribed in the Holy Quran (the Muslim scripture). The opposite of halal is Haram, which means illegal or prohibited. Halal and Haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. These terms are commonly used in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients and food contact materials.
While many things are clearly halal or Haram, there are some things that are not so clear. More information is needed to classify them as halal or Haram. These items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.
In general, all foods are considered halal in Islam, unless prohibited by the Holy Qur’an or Hadith (Sayings). By official definition, halal foods are those that are:
Free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming under Islamic law (Sh’ariah).
Processed, prepared, produced, manufactured and / or stored using utensils, equipment and / or machines that have been cleaned in accordance with Islamic law.
Muslims eat to maintain a strong and healthy physique in order to contribute their knowledge and efforts to the well-being of society. Muslims must make an effort to obtain the best nutritional quality. It is mentioned in a Hadith (Sayings) that a person’s prayer is rejected by God if the food consumed is forbidden (Haram).
All foods are considered halal, except the following (which are Haram):
- Alcoholic and intoxicating drinks
- Non-Halal Animal Fat
- Enzymes * (microbial enzymes are allowed)
- Gelatine * – non-halal source (fish gelatine is allowed)
- L-cysteine (allowed if human hair)
- Lipase * (only animal lipase needs to be avoided)
- Fat from non-Halal animals
- Pork, bacon / ham and anything pork
- Meat broth, unspecified
- Coalho * (All forms must be avoided, except plants / microbial / synthetic rennet and obtained from halal slaughtered animals is allowed).
- Broth * (a mixture of vegetable or meat broth mixture)
- Tallow or Lard * (non-Halal species)
- Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and other animals
- Food contaminated with any of the products mentioned above (* Can be consumed if derived from Halal animals).
Halal / Haram
Foods that contain ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers and flavors are questionable, because the origin of these ingredients is not known.
In the meat and poultry food industry, animals such as cows, calves, lambs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, game birds, bison, deer, etc., are considered halal, but must be prepared according to the laws Muslims to make their meat suitable for consumption (see below).
Fish and seafood (with the exception of crocodiles, alligators and frogs) are generally acceptable to Muslims, but you should always check first, as there may be a personal preference or allergy. The preparation of fish or seafood should not include alcohol (ie pasta or wine, or anything considered Haram).
In cases of need, forbidden things can become permissible (halal) for the duration of the emergency or need, since Islam places a priority on life throughout death. Refer to the Holy Quran in Chapter 2: 173 (Al Baqarah).
Islamic Preparation and Supervision of Halal Meat
In Australia, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC – the peak of the Muslim body) certifies and trains Islamic slaughterhouses for the meat and poultry industry. AFIC’s Halal Service Manager travels across Australia to various slaughterhouse, farm, meat and other food companies, medicines, cosmetic establishments to carry out Islamic supervision, audit / inspection and halal preparation.
Halal products are derived from animals and / or poultry that were prepared according to Islamic law under the following statement: “In the name of God – God is the greatest / Bismillah Allahu Akbar”.
Halal products and production are properly separated and clearly identified from non-halal products.
Life is Sacred
Islam places great emphasis on how an animal’s life ends, which must be in accordance with Islamic regulations. Life is a sacred blessing from God for creation, both for animals and for humans.
If an animal’s life is to be ended for human survival, its life must only be taken in the name of God. For this reason, the phrase bismillah (“in the name of God”) must be uttered immediately before killing an animal.
Muslims cannot consume the meat of animals that are sacrificed in a different name than from God. Any animal slaughtered in the name of a living or dead person, any deity or idol will be considered as Haram and therefore Muslims are not allowed to consume that meat.
The Way to Sacrifice Animals in Islam
Muslims can only eat meat that has been prepared according to Islamic law. This method is often challenged by animal rights activists as “causing unnecessary suffering to the animal”. Muslims disagree and say that Islamic law on killing animals is designed to reduce the pain and suffering that the animal suffers.
AFIC has strict rules regarding Islamic slaughter. These rules establish:
- The slaughterer must be a healthy adult Muslim.
- The slaughterer must say the name of God before making the cut.
- God’s name is said to emphasize the sanctity of life and that the animal is being killed for food with God’s consent.
- The animal must be killed by cutting its throat with a continuous movement of a sharp knife.
- The cut should cut at least three from the windpipe, esophagus and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat.
- The spinal cord must not be cut.
- Animals must be treated well before they are killed.
- Animals must not see other animals being killed.
- The knife must not be sharpened in the presence of the animal.
- The knife blade must be free of defects that can tear the wound.
- The animal must not be in an uncomfortable position.
- The animal must be allowed to bleed and be completely dead before further processing.
Some experts say that the animal that is killed in this way does not suffer if the cut is made quickly and cleanly, because it loses consciousness before the brain can perceive any pain: “the Islamic way of slaughter is the most humane method of slaughter and that stunning captive, practiced in the West, causes 3 severe pains to the animal ”
Schulze W, Schultze-Petzold H, Hazem AS, Gross R. Promotes experiments for the objectification of pain and awareness during conventional (stunning) and religiously mandated (“ritual cutting”) slaughter procedures for sheep and calves. Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift 1978 5 February; 85 (2): 62-6.
The argument that halal slaughter is inhumane because animals are allowed to bleed to death is scientifically false.
An animal’s throat is cut in quick motion with a sharp knife. Unconsciousness is achieved in seconds and death occurs due to cerebral hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and not blood loss.
Islam is not just a religion, it is a way of life with protocols, rules and ways that govern all facets of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws have a special meaning. Muslims are expected to eat for survival, to maintain good health and not to live to eat. In Islam, eating is considered a matter of worshiping God as is prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other religious activities.