What is Halal? Why should you eat Halal even if you are not a Muslim!

Halal Image (Image from Google)
Halal Image (Image from Google)

Being a student for a summer exchange program at Seattle, I couldn’t complain about anything except for one thing, FOOD! I, being a Muslim, found it difficult in finding halal meat (raw meat) in the local grocery stores close to Alder. After hearing ample amount of “No, we don’t have halal meat” and “what is halal” from the grocery stores in the UW district, made me realize that people aren’t arrogant about Halal meat, they are just not educated about it. That thought helped me come to the conclusion about writing this article. Back in Sri Lanka, being a Buddhist country, people tend to eat halal meat.

Islamic Dietary laws gives a detailed account of the animals (along with bird, insect etc) that are permit able for Muslims to eat, all such animals are halal, the Arabic word meaning lawful, anything unlawful is known as haram. I.e Halal

A brief out line of Zabiha is as follows:

Zabiha slaughter is believed to cause the least amount of pain to animals. It is important to perform slaughter with respect and compassion. The slaughter is performed by an adult of sound mind, who may be a Muslim, Jewish or Christian (People of the book).

In order for a consumable product to be Halal, the Quran and Sunnah give guidance on how to slaughter. Zabiha, however, does not in any way substantially define or encompass what is truly Halal. It is only one specific element that relates to how or if an animal is slaughtered.  An example of this is that one can slaughter a pig or a human, but neither is permissible to consume in Islam.  Similarly ‘zabiha’ makes no reference to the consumption of blood, or meat that is contaminated with impurities, witchcraft, or dead carcasses; all of which are prohibited in the Quran and Sunnah.

Within the Muslim community, halal is used to describe what is permissible both in food and in actions. We typically associate halal with food, as do many non-Muslims. For purposes of this article, we explore why halal food, specifically meat and poultry, is good for everyone.

How does halal food fit into this parameter?

Halal encompasses more than just meat, or even the type of meat eaten, although it is the most discussed type of product consumed.

For an animal to go from farm to table as halal food, it must have lived a pure life from the very beginning, finishing a cycle of life that is permissible in accordance with Islamic standards. It must have eaten well, been treated well, and been sacrificed well. It may sound good in theory, but what does this all mean?

The kind of treatment and feed an animal receives during its life is important. It should be not be abused, mistreated or caused any pain. It should not be confined to an area where it cannot move or walk normally or get fresh air. It should be fed clean water and food that is appropriate and absolutely never fed another animal or products that contain the by-products of other animals.

As an animal should be treated well during its life, it should also be treated well at the time it is sacrificed for us. The slaughter should never be done in the presence of other animals and the animal should be made comfortable as it is positioned for the sacrifice. The act of the sacrifice should be done with a sharp object, so as to accelerate the process and reduce the pain suffered by the animal as much as possible.

After words, the blood should be completely drained from the animal. It is the blood that carries toxins, germs and bacteria and when left inside the body of the animal, could potentially make people sick. At the very least, it could make the cooked meat quite tough. An amazing result of cooking and consuming halal meat is a healthy meat in which the resulting texture is tender and the meat delicious. Some people say they can “taste the difference”.

On the flip side of halal is the haram (impermissible). The most commonly known haram consumables are alcohol and pork (and their by-products), both of which are the cause of numerous health issues. (This is backed by scientific data.) Although these two products themselves could constitute their own essay, for purposes of this article they are only briefly mentioned here.

Instead of seeing the impermissible as a closed door on food choices, one can embrace an entire world of exciting, delicious and healthy variety of foods. Islam enjoins us to treat our bodies well as it has a right over us and will testify against us on the Day of Judgment for any injustices we may have caused it during our lifetime.

Treating our bodies with wholesome foods free of harmful ingredients — pesticides, toxins, pollutants, filth, etc. — is not just a value desired by Muslims, it’s desired by all of humanity. It’s a common need, a common desire and a common right, and that means everyone can benefit from consuming halal foods and avoiding what is not.

If you truly care about animal rights and want to know which animals are healthier for consumption those that have died through Electrical Stunning/ Gas Stunning / Percussive Stunning or those that have been slaughtered in a halal way, then dig into the matter the scientific way even if you are not a scientist.

 

Halal Logo (photo by google)
Halal Logo (photo by google)

This story was produced by a student in the “Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI)” program, a collaboration between The Seattle Globalist and FIUTS, supported by the U.S. Department of State. The program brings 20 undergraduates from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal to Seattle. Participants study journalism and new media, and participate in volunteer and service activities, leadership workshops, and cultural excursions. The story is an example of student work and has not yet been through the Seattle Globalist’s standard editing and fact-checking process.

 

26 Comments

  1. I disagree with several points written in this text. I’m a Vet student, taking my last year in Vet school in Brazil. First of all, I would like to know a little bit more about these scientific papers that show that pork is bad to your health. Pork is the second most consume meat in the world (only behind fish). Do you really believe that if it was so bad to our health this meat would still be one of the most consumed in the world?

    What about blood contain toxins, bacteria, pesticides…?? First of all, this isn’t true. The blood can carry toxins and pesticides, yes, but all these “filth” (as you told) is concentrated in the animal’s muscle, AKA beef, that part that you eat. Second: even the animals that are HUMANE slaughtered (HUMANE is the opposite for halal) have their blood drained, right after being put unconscious. Percussive stunning that is the method most used in Brazil, doesn’t cause pain to the animal, but put it unconscious so it cannot feel any pain when its blood is drained.

    If you think that the animal suffer less with a halal death, you really don’t know anything about humane slaughter, or you haven’t seen an animal victim of a halal slaughter.

    1. Rafael, are you kidding me?! Have you read the scientific evidence behind how unhealthy pork is? Not only is it a filthy animal itself most if not all health nuts won’t come near pig because of its nasty nature. Furthermore muslims don’t eat pig because we believe what Allah has revealed to us as the truth. Considering Christianity to be the most believed religion today even in the Bible it states in numerous versus to not eat pork it’s unclean to you. So if the Christian’s actually followed there own religion correctly pork would not be the most popular eaten meat in the world. Majority of people who eat unhealthy don’t care what goes in there mouth and down there throats they’ll eat anything. Most unhealthy people eat pork. I have eaten both halal and non halal meat and in my opinion halal meat tastes way better is more tender and indeed stays fresher longer. You should go ahead and try to experiment for yourself you’ll come with the same conclusion.

      1. Mariam,
        You are right on this answer to Raphael .
        but try your utmost best to shun HARAM meat(or food) .
        May Allah continue to help us,

      2. There are a tonne of videos telling people how bad pig is for u but no one listens bc people love the taste. This is not just a religious thing, it’s a health thing.This is where cancers lie; in pig. They r the dirtiest animal and eat anything, bones, feces, fruit and people if it was in a pail for them. Gross.
        People need to be open and not label not eating pork as a religious thing and do what is best for health and living.

      3. animal feel more pain if the throat is cut slowly which u call halal. u muslims will understand the logic only if u born as an animal. also ban alcohol for the muslims as it is haram food

      4. If you have religious reasons for abstaining, by all means do. I will not judge you for your abstinence, just like I expect you won’t judge me for my bacon-loving ways

        God’s instructions about not eating unclean meat (including pork) were given to the Israelites (Law of Moses.) When Christ died on the cross He fulfilled the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ was established. Peter was one of those people who had a hard time accepting this change. Acts 10:9-16 tells of how Peter had a vision from God. In the vision Peter saw many unclean animals and God commanded him to “kill and eat” the animals. Peter objected because they were unclean. God’s response: “What God has cleansed, you must not call common” (NKJV).

        So as a Christian, I have absolutely no religious footing to say that we should not eat pork. So that leaves me to be responsible in general and make sure that my pork has been raised in a humane and healthy way, for the sake of God’s awesome handiwork, and for the sake of my family’s health.

        1. It’s all a round of cherry picking what one finds acceptable and what unacceptable Jesús pbuh did also warn of the fact you shouldn’t just blindly follow others if others choose to jump off a mountain and bring harm to themselves you shouldn’t do like wise the bible does clearly over and over again state that pork is impermissible people just find their own excuses to make it sound permissible for them with examples of Moses,Jesus and Mohammed pbuh in my opinion the mosaic law and Islamic law see eye to eye on the matter of pork and pig meat what changed was the biblical view or the modern Christianity in the middle which is very sad indeed

    2. wow your really ignorant. the prophet Mohamed peace be upon him said “God has ordained kindness (and excellence) in everything. If the killing (of animals) is to be done, do it in the best manner, and when you slaughter, do it in the best manner by first sharpening the knife, and putting the animal at ease.” he also said “If someone kills a sparrow for sport, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgment, “O Lord! That person killed me in vain! He did not kill me for any useful purpose.” which highlights the humane sense that islam is all about. and to respond to your point that pork is the second most consumed meat, tht isnt due to its nutritional value but for its reletive cheapness compared to all the alternative red meats in the market meaning beef. also your way of thinking is wrong, just because a majority of people are doing something doesnt mean it is right. for example, slavery was practiced in the us for a long time by a majority of people if not all doesnt mean its right. this is my educated opinion as a white canadian.

      1. If you are killed for some useful purpose , do you agree?
        You don’t complain on the day of judgement.cock and bull stories.
        You can kill animals and eat but don’t drag some imaginary God Allah.is Allah so stupid to keep quiet when you kill for your selfishness?
        In order to overcome guilty consciousness,we need some stupid allah or whatever God.Probably someday there will be nuclear wars due to your Allan.
        Get over allah and follow west developed science not some Arabic religion

        1. This is coming from a guy who said “stupid Allah” while using “guilty consciousness” in a sentence?

          But back to your point, if eating and killing meat is selfish then that’s okay because you can have your own opinion however the emphasis on Ismael’s context is that Allah ordered humans to slaughter the animal with kindness.

          Maybe for you, any kind of slaughtering is inhumane and you are not wrong for thinking that. Unless you yourself eats hamburger then that just makes your hypocritical.

        2. You must not use such harsh words epecially for the Creator whatever the name is used for Him if you respect Him by whatever name you use for Him

        3. Kps Rao.
          Western developed science?

          Huh! Wow. my oh my.
          Without arab Muslims you would NOT have algorithms. And without Algorithms you would not be able to achieve this so called western developed science..

          With all due respect, if one has to be critical or one disagrees with a certain way of life/ ideology or opinions.. Then one should do some research at the very least, simply to get some facts.. Preferably from literature (for and against) on any subject..

          Your words show hatred and above all, absolute ignorance in this matter.

          I take it the pork is working.
          Wink wink.

    3. there are so many things in this world that are consumes in spite of it being unhealthy. just because pork is consumed on a larger basis doesn’t necessarily mean that its healthy and there’s nothing negative about it. And being a vet idk how you do not have any idea about the impacts of consuming pork. wow.

    4. You tell people don’t some and you publish on the packets all sorts of photo depicting, as a result of smoke, tobacco related illnesses, people still smoke, there is plenty of evidence that smoking damages your health. As far as halal is concerned you have to let the blood drain, and indeed a halal slaughter with sharp knife and the right place it is the minimum an animal feels. As to putting animal to sleep first before slaughter is akin to dead animal. If the creator of you and me says that this is best way who are we to argue? Allah knows best.

    5. Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, making up about 38 percent of meat production worldwide. It’s especially popular in East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, South America, and Oceania. (1) If you’re at all familiar with the Bible, you probably remember that in it God specifically instructed His people not to eat pork and shellfish. Many people are surprised to find this out, but in the Old Testament God warned us that the pig was an unclean animal.
      No matter how you think about it, pigs are rather dirty animals. They’re considered the garbage and waste eliminators of the farm, often eating literally anything they can find. This includes not only bugs, insects and whatever leftover scraps they find laying around, but also their own feces, as well as the dead carcasses of sick animals, including their own young. At least one farmer has gone out to feed his pigs and never returned. On that morning in 2012, he literally became the pig’s breakfast. (2)

      Just knowing what a pig’s diet is like can explain why the meat of the pig can be so dirty or at the very least not so appetizing to consume. And while being ‘”grossed out” may or may not be a valid reason not to eat something, it’s vital to understand a bit more about pork before reaching your own conclusion. Let’s talk about this popular yet seriously questionable protein source.There are reasons that the meat of the pig becomes more saturated with toxins than many of its counterpart farm animals. The first reason has to do with the digestive system of a pig. A pig digests whatever it eats rather quickly, in up to about four hours. On the other hand, a cow takes a good 24 hours to digest what it’s eaten. During the digestive process, animals (including humans) get rid of excess toxins as well as other components of the food eaten that could be dangerous to health. Since the pig’s digestive system operates rather basically, many of these toxins remain in its system to be stored in its more than adequate fatty tissues ready for our consumption.

      Another issue with the pig is that it has very few functional sweat glands and can barely sweat at all. (3) Sweat glands are a tool the body uses to be rid of toxins. This leaves more toxins in the pig’s body. When you consume pork meat, you too get all these toxins that weren’t eliminated from the pig. None of us needs more toxins in our systems. In fact, we should all do what we can to eliminate and cut down on toxin exposure. One vital way to do this is by choosing what you eat carefully, and for me, that definitely includes completely avoiding pork products of any kind.

      According to the World Health Organization, processed meat like ham, bacon and sausage causes cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer actually classifies processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. Researchers found that consuming 50 grams of processed meat each day raises your risk of colorectal cancer by a very significant 18 percent. (4)

      Processed meat is considered to be food items like ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and some deli meats. Noticing a theme there? Those are mainly pork-derived food products. How much processed meat is 50 grams? That’s about four strips of bacon. Maybe you’re thinking that you only eat two pieces of bacon regularly. According to this research, that would likely equate to a 9 percent increase of cancer likelihood.

      the swine flu is another virus that has made the leap from pig to human. Influenza or flu viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to humans, from humans to pigs and from humans to humans. (5) Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely when humans are physically close to infected pigs.

      Swine influenza virus infections in humans are now being called “variant virus infections in humans.” I wonder why the authorities removed the word “swine.” Was it scaring people away from eating pork? Probably.

      According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, H1N1 and H3N2 are swine flu viruses that are “endemic among pig populations in the United States and something that the industry deals with routinely.” Outbreaks can occur year-round. H1N1 has been observed in pig populations since at least 1930, while H3N2 began in the United States around 1998. (6)

      According to the CDC, swine flu has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork. Properly prepared means cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degreesF, which is supposed to kill all viruses and other foodborne pathogens. But what if you consume pork from a pig that had influenza and it wasn’t cooked to that temperature guideline — then what? I certainly wouldn’t want to roll the dice and find out.

      Did you know that pigs carry a variety of parasites in their bodies and meat? Some of these parasites are difficult to kill even when cooking. This is the reason there are so many warnings out there about eating undercooked pork. One of the biggest concerns with eating pork meat is trichinosis or trichinellosis. This is an infection that humans get from eating undercooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinella worm. (7) In some countries and cultures, they actually consume pork raw.

      This worm parasite is very commonly found in pork. When the worm, most often living in cysts in the stomach, opens through stomach acids, its larvae are released into the body of the pig. These new worms make their homes in the muscles of the pig. Next stop? The unknowing human body that consumes this infected meat flesh.

      Similarly to what these worms do to the pig, they can also do to humans. If you eat undercooked or raw pork that contains the parasite, then you are also swallowing trichinella larvae encased in a cyst. Your digestive juices dissolve the cyst, but that only unleashes the parasite into your insides. The larvae then penetrate your small intestine, where they mature into adult worms and mate. If you’re at this stage of trichinosis, you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Approximately a week after eating the infected pork, the adult female worms now inside your body produce larvae that enter your bloodstream and eventually burrow into muscle or other tissue. Once this tissue invasion occurs, symptoms of trichinosis include:

      Headache
      High fever
      General weakness
      Muscle pain and tenderness
      Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
      Sensitivity to light
      Swelling of the eyelids or face
      And while no one particularly wants to consume worms, trichinosis is a serious illness that you should do virtually anything to avoid. Abdominal symptoms can occur one to two days after infection while additional symptoms usually start two to eight weeks after infection. According to Mayo Clinic, the severity of symptoms typically depends on the number of larvae consumed in the infected meat.

      The CDC recommends thorough cooking of pork as well as freezing the pork meat prior to cooking to kill off any worms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel good about eating anything that I first have to kill off its worms to eat.

      It’s actually been theorized that trichinellosis is the exact cause of Mozart’s rather sudden death at age 35. An American researcher theorized this after studying all the documents recording the days before, during and after Mozart’s death. This research published in Archives of Internal Medicine’s June 2001 issue found that Mozart suffered many of the above listed symptoms and he, himself, had recorded in his journal the consumption of pork just 44 days before his own death.

      Pigs are primary carriers of:

      Taenia solium tapeworm
      Hepatitis E virus (HEV) — In developed countries, sporadic cases of HEV genotype 3 have occurred in humans after eating uncooked or undercooked pork. (9)
      Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, aka blue-ear pig disease
      Nipah virus
      Menangle virus
      Viruses in the family Paramyxoviridae (10)
      Each of these parasites and viruses can lead to serious health problems that can last for years to come.

    6. I’m sure you all have done your research in your own convenient way..
      But, when an animal is killed in Halal way.. the animal is killed slowly..
      When animal is killed slowly, cortisol is released.. which gets mixed with the meat which makes the meat poison…
      And it’s a inhumane way to kill an animal

  2. Halal is for Muslims only. Non muslims don’t eat halal just because they aren’t Muslims.As simple as that. . Halal versus Non halal means : Muslims versus Non muslims.End of discussion

  3. halal food is much better than conventional food,。
    because it make by some animals always put there fingers into there anus which made the food fragrant and sweet.

  4. i feel so sad for the animals that are cut and eaten. Each day i think about the pain animals in slaughter houses go through. Imagine being dragged here and there to be cut and eaten. If someone did that to us how will we feel. Its so sad that people think meat eating is ok. DISGUSTING in fact. Give back their life and go find your choices in humane foods.

  5. Many people today are getting tumours, cancers, strokes and vast health issues…the young and the old. For the sake of our families and loved ones it’s best we do as much RESEARCH as possible as most definitely food affects our health…n there is absolutely nothing more precious than our health…we tend to take our health for granted until even the use of one limb is compromised.
    Excluding meat from the diet is BEST most definitely…but human nature is WEAK…so therefore the need for precautions …which comes in the form of advise from the Almighty
    Research Hamza Yusuf n eating healthy….an ex Catholic…very learned personality

  6. “If you truly care about animal rights and want to know which animals are healthier for consumption those that have died through Electrical Stunning/ Gas Stunning / Percussive Stunning or those that have been slaughtered in a halal way, then dig into the matter the scientific way even if you are not a scientist.”

    If you truly care about animal rights, then the single best thing you can do is not eat them.

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