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Halal, Kosher, and Biblical Food is Beneficial to One’s Health (Holy Book Cuisine)

Posted on December 29 2014

Halal, Kosher, and Biblical Food is Beneficial to One’s Health (Holy Book Cuisine)

Define Halal. Describe the concept of Halal.

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful. It refers to things or actions permitted by Shariáh law without punishment imposed on the doer.  Halal describes something that a Muslim is permitted to engage in i.e. eat, drink, use, behavior, speech, dress, conduct, and manner etc.  The word halal is derived from the Arabic verb ‘Halla,’ which means to be or become ‘lawful, legal, legitimate, permissible, allowed, admissible, un-prohibited, or unforbidden’.   Halal is that which Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) have allowed to be done in a lawful manner.  Food is halal if it does not contain or come into contact with anything regarded as filth i.e. carrion, alcohol, pork, blood, feces, and urine.  It must also be prepared, processed, or manufactured using equipment untainted by anything unclean.

In terms of meat and poultry, firstly, the animal must be halal.  Secondly, the animal must be sacrificed after pronouncing the name of Allah.  The animal must be sacrificed by a sane Muslim with a sharp knife with which the Muslim uses to sever the jugular veins, carotid arteries, trachea, and esophagus, and the blood must be drained out completely.  The spine must not be snapped.  Dismemberment must not occur until the animal is completely deceased.



What is Haram?  Also describe the rationale for the prohibition of Haram food in Islam.

Haram is an Arabic term meaning ‘forbidden’.  In Islam, it refers to anything that is prohibited by the word of Allah in the Qu’ran or the Hadith Qudsi.  It means unlawful or unallowable.  In general, all harmful things are haram.  For example, the meat of dead animals and birds, flesh of swine, and intoxicating drugs and alcohol are haram. 

  • Carrion and dead animals are unfit for human consumption because the decaying process leads to the formation of chemicals, which are harmful to humans.
  • Swine serves as a vector for pathogenic worms to enter the human body. Infection by Trichinella spirals and Taenia sodium are not uncommon. Fatty acid composition of pork fat has been mentioned as incompatible with the human fat and biochemical systems.
  • Intoxicants are considered harmful for the nervous system, affecting the senses and human judgment. In many cases, they lead to social and family problems and even loss of life.

Another prohibited category of meat refers to an animal, which is dedicated to anyone other than Allah.  The Islamic method of slaughtering is based on two important principles: (1) Tasmiyah and Tazkiyah.  Tasmiyah refers to invoking the name of Allah when slaughtering so as to ask His permission while Tazkiyah means purification and the cleaning the meat of blood through slaughter.  Mentioning the name of Allah while slaughtering the animal is a declaration of Divine permission.  It is as if the person killing the animal were saying, ‘This act of mine is not an act of aggression against the universe nor of oppression of this creature, but in the name of Allah I slaughter, in the name of Allah I hunt, and in the name of Allah I eat.’

Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is the prescribed method of slaughter for all meat sources, excluding fish and other sea-life, per Islamic law. This method of sacrificing animals consists of using a well-sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, windpipe, and jugular veins.  The head of an animal that is sacrificed using halal methods is aligned with the qiblah. In addition to the direction, permitted animals should be sacrificed upon utterance of the Islamic prayer “in the name of God.”

The Prohibition of Pork

Pork is prohibited in Islam for various reasons including that it is associated with filth, high in cholesterol, and transmits various diseases to humans including worms and trichinosis.  It is also believed that pigs contain viruses built into their genes, which would not disappear merely through clean breeding conditions.  It has also been reported that pork has a high likelihood of containing trichinae worms and that it can bear microbes, which may lead to meningitis. 

The Prohibition of Intoxicants

The Arabic word ‘Khamr’ signifies any alcoholic drink, which causes intoxication.  Intoxicants have a harmful effect on the mind, health, religion, work, and family life.  Intoxicants may also cause families to break up, communities to dissolve, and the social fabric of the state to weaken.  Mankind has not suffered any greater calamity than the brought about by the use of alcohol and intoxicants.


What are the general principles of Lawful Food?

The term halal may be used for foods, which are considered halal.  Under Islamic law, all sources of food are lawful, except the following sources including their products and derivatives, which are considered unlawful.  The guidelines are the following: (1) Halal food refers to food that is allowed for Muslim consumption.  For Muslims, it is important for them to ensure that their diet conforms to the guidelines laid down by Islam.  The Halalness of food is generally determined by Internal and External factors.  Internal factors refers to the constituents or ingredients of the food and External factors refers to the manner at which the food is being processed.  (2) A food is deemed halal if the ingredients used are from halal sources.  In this case, the source of the ingredients, as well as the manner at which the ingredients are being processed play an important role in determining the halalness of the end product.  (3) With regards to the external factor, it is critical that halal food is completely segregated from any non-Halal food and Nijis items.  Halal food becomes non-halal when it comes into contact with any known non-Halal or Nijis substance.  (4) The concept of halal food is linked to hygiene and nutrition.  Food must be halal, safe for human consumption, and carry a high nutritional value.


Highlight the Halal Requirements for Lawful Food.

The production of halal food and products requires certain raw materials, additives, process, handling, and transportation to meet the criteria of being halal.  The five components of the Halal Assurance System (HAS) proposed by Apriyantono (2001) should be followed.  (1) Halal Management and Halal System – Halal management is managing the functions and activities necessary to determine and achieve halal products.  Halal system is defined as the organizational structure, responsibilities, procedures, activities, capabilities, and resources that together aim to ensure that the products, processes, or service will serve stated or implied aims.  (2) Standard Audit of Halal System – The standard audit of the halal system is conducted in order to determine the conformity of halal system elements with specified requirements; determine the effectiveness of the implemented halal system in meeting specified objectives; and to verify that non-conformities identified in a previous audit have been rectified as agreed.  (3) Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) – This is a system, which points out where haram or nijis materials may contaminate halal materials as well as acts as a preventative measure to prevent haram materials from being used in the production of halal foods.  There are six elements to HACCP: (a) Identify and assess all haram and nijis materials; (b) Identify the critical control points; (c) Establish the monitoring procedures; (d) Establish corrective actions; (e) Establish a record-keeping system; (f) Establish verification procedures.  (4) Halal Guidelines: This consists of general regulation of halal foods and standards as well as the standards and procedures of halal food production.  (5) Halal database – This is a database of materials used for food production.  Information about the source and preparation of each material is listed as well as its halal status and other important information.

It is general practice that a halal certification organization will audit and certify the products, raw materials, additives, production facilities, administration, and management of the halal production process and product.


Cattle are lawful for consumption.  ‘

Chicken and lamb are also permissible sources of meat as long as they are sacrificed and prepared in a halal manner.

Seafood is permissible except for lobster, crab, fish without scales, mussels, crustaceans, sea snakes, otters, turtles, calamari, clams, squid, octopus, swordfish, catfish, oysters, shark, and sturgeon.  Please refer to table below for a more comprehensive listing of halal and non-halal sea foods.


Common Halal and Non-Halal Sea Foods

“Eat any fish that has scales, and do not eat what does not have scales.” Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.)

[Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, Vol.6, p. 219]

no. Halal non-Halal
1 Anchovies Basa 
2 Barramundi Calamari
3 Bass  Catfish Eels
4 Carp / bream Clams
5 Cod / hake Eastern Cleaner- Clingfish 
6 Dory Crab Cray Fish
7 Flathead Flake
8 Flounder Grayfish
9 Herring Leather Jacket
10 Hoki – Blue Grenadier Lobster
11 Jew fish Marlin
12 Kingfish Muscles
13 Ling Octopus
14 Mackerel – except for snake mackerel Oyster
15 Perch Snails
16 Prawns  Snake Mackerels
17 Red fish Squab
18 Salmon  Squid
19 Sardines Shark
20 Shrimp Sturgeons
21 Snapper  Swordfish
22 Tailor  
23 Trevally  
24 Trout – But not including: European turbot (Scophthalmus maximus or Psetta maximus Trevally).  
25 Tuna except for Dogtooth Tuna also known as Peg Tooth Tuna & Scaleless Tuna.  
26 Whitefish  
27 Whiting  
28 Yellow tail  

Milk and eggs from halal animals are halal.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are halal.  Processed fruits and vegetables may be haram if produced in processing plants using non-halal oils, fats, preservatives, flavorings, colorings, etc.



State the rulings on beverages and land animals.

All mammal land animals are halal with exceptions.

All marine animals are halal, except poisonous marine animals, unless the poisons have been removed.

All amphibians are haram.

All birds are halal except poisonous birds, birds of prey, and carrion.

Makrooh means that which the Lawgiver asks us not to do, but not in a definitive manner. 

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