What Is Halal?
The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful 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, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, and food contact materials. While many things are clearly halal or haram, there are some things which are not clear. Further information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.
1. Free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic law (Shariah).
2. Processed, made, produced, manufactured and/or stored using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that have been cleansed according to Islamic law.
- Alcoholic drinks and intoxicants
- Non-Halal Animal Fat
- Enzymes* (Microbial Enzymes are permissible)
- Gelatin* – from non-Halal source (fish gelatin is Halal)
- L-cysteine (if from human hair)
- Lipase* (only animal lipase need be avoided)
- Non-Halal Animal Shortening
- Pork, Bacon / Ham and anything from pigs
- Unspecified Meat Broth
- Rennet* (All forms should be avoided except for plant / microbial /
- synthetic – rennet obtained from halal slaughtered animal is permissible).
- Stock* (a blend of mix species broth or meat stock)
- Tallow* (non-Halal species)
- Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and certain other animals
- Foods contaminated with any of the above products
Islamic Halal Meat Preparation and Supervision
Life is sacred
- The slaughterer must be a sane adult Muslim.
- The slaughterer must say the name of God before making the cut.
- The name of God 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 the throat with one continuous motion of a sharp knife.
- The cut must sever at least three of the tracheae, esophagus, and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat.
- The spinal cord must not be cut.
- Animals must be well treated before being killed.
- Animals must not see other animals being killed.
- The knife must not be sharpened in the animal’s presence.
- The knife blade must be free of blemishes that might tear the wound.
- The animal must not be in an uncomfortable position.
- The animal must be allowed to bleed out and be completely dead before further processing.
The argument that halal slaughter is inhumane because animals are allowed to bleed to death is scientifically untrue. An animal’s throat is cut in one swift motion with a razor-sharp knife. Unconsciousness is achieved within seconds and death occurs due to cerebral hypoxia not blood loss.