From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

For disambiguation of alternate spelling, see Hallal

Ḥalāl (Arabic: حلالḥalāl, 'permissible') or hallal[1] is any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates not only food and drink but also all matters of daily life.[2] The opposite of this word is haraam.

Generally in Islam, every object and action is considered permissible unless there is a prohibition of it in the Islamic scriptures.[2][3][4] Clarification is given below in detail as to what is considered to be a permissible object or action in Islam, along with the exceptions.


Main article: Islamic dietary laws

Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat or drink under Islamic Shariʻah. The criteria specify both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat and animal tissue.

The most common example of non-halal (or haraam) food is pork. While pork is the only meat that cannot be eaten by Muslims at all (due to historically, culturally, and religiously perceived hygienic concerns), foods other than pork can also be haraam. The criteria for non-pork items include their source, the cause of the animal's death, and how it was processed.

The food must come from a supplier that uses halal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must precede the slaughter by invoking the name of Allah, most commonly by saying "Bismillah" ("In the name of God") and then three times "Allahu akbar" (God is the greatest). Then, the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck, causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained.

Muslims must also ensure that all foods (particularly processed foods), as well as non-food items like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.

Explicitly forbidden[edit]

A variety of substances are considered as harmful (haraam) for humans to consume and, therefore, forbidden as per various Qurʼanic verses:

These verses also have information regarding halal foods: 2:173, 5:5, and 6:118-119, 121.

Meat from Christians and Jews[edit]

In Surah 5:5 of the Qurʼan, it is written: "The food of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] is lawful for you as your food is lawful for them." Interpretation of this verse cannot and should not be oversimplified to include any food of the People of the Book as lawful for the Muslims.[according to whom?] Just as pork offered by a Christian cannot be lawful for the Muslims, similarly seafood offered by a Muslim cannot be lawful for a Jew. Thus the lawful food prescribed for the People of the Book is lawful for the Muslims, subject to the express restrictions set up in v. 3 above and reiterated in 6:145 and 16:115, particularly about mentioning Allah's name at the time of slaughtering [according to whom?]. The word ṭaʻām is the verbal noun of the root ṭaʻama (lit. to eat, to feed) meaning food, including crops, fruits, meat, vegetables, etc. Since the permitted and prohibited food are connected to the manner that an animal's meat is prepared, evidently the word ṭaʻām refers to animals slaughtered by Jews or Christians, provided that during the time of slaughtering Allah's name is invoked (6:121). The requirement to invoke Allah's name is a must. In other words the word ṭaʻām refers to dhabīḥah meat; i.e., the meat prepared after slaughtering an animal by cutting the throat (ie, the jugular vein, the carotid arteries, and the trachea) and during slaughtering Allâh's name is invoked (Ibn ʻAbbās, Mujāhid, ʻIkrimah - all quoted by Ṭabarī, Ibn Kathīr).[citation needed]

Some scholars from the Muslim world[who?] agree that this verse speaks about the Christians of Muhammad's time and say that Christian methods of slaughtering and consumption have drastically changed over time as the diet played lesser importance in the daily practice of Christians.[citation needed] They also point to Deuteronomy, chapter 14, verse 8, in the Bible, which says "Thou shall not eat of the swine nor shall you touch its dead carcasses." Pork and pork related products, which are forbidden in Islam, are consumed by Christians and used widely in food and food products.[citation needed]

The renowned Islamic scholar Abū Bakr Muḥammad Ibn al-'Arabī, held that because "Christians are Scripturists, God grants them a greater degree of respect than others who revere multiple divine beings; that respect is expressed through the permission of Christian meat", and therefore proclaimed:[9]

I have been asked regarding the Christian who twists the neck of a chicken and then cooks it--may it be eaten with him or may one take it from him for food? ... I say: It may eaten, because this is his food and the food of his learned and pious authorities, even though this is not proper slaughter according to us. Nevertheless, God, exalted be He, permitted their food without restriction. Everything which they regard as permitted in their religion is permitted for us according to our religion, except for what God, praised be He, has shown to be their lies.[10]

Kosher meats, which are consumed by Jews, are permitted to be eaten by Muslims.[11] This is due to the similarity between both methods of slaughtering and the similar principles of kosher meat which are still observed by the observant Jews today.[12][13]

Exception if no halal is available[edit]

If there is absolutely no other halal food available and the Muslim is forced by necessity, then a Muslim is allowed to eat non-halal food.[5][14]

Dhabihah: method of slaughter[edit]

Main article: Dhabihah
An animal slaughtered by Dhabihah in Egypt

Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is the prescribed method of slaughtering all meat sources, excluding fish and other sea-life, per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering 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 to cause the least amount of suffering to the animal. The head of an animal that is slaughtered using halal methods is aligned with the qiblah. In addition to the direction, permitted animals should be slaughtered upon utterance of the Islamic prayer "in the name of God."


According to Islamic law, sex is permissible and limited to between those who are married, between a man and his female wife and between a man and a female captive in wars; but female captive has to be lawfully married in front of witnesses before engaging in an intimate act. If she is still married at the time of the war and her husband is still alive, the owner can choose to release her or keep her.[15][16][17]



Generally, killing is not permissible without a legitimate cause and is considered as one of the major sins in Islam.[18]


Main articles: Islamic dietary laws and Dhabihah

Generally, killing animals in Islam is permissible for two main reasons:


In Islam, killing a human being is not permissible without a legitimate cause,[21] especially killing a Muslim, since this has been stressed and explicitly mentioned many times in both the Quran and Sunnah.[22] According to the Islamic law, the legitimate reasons that make a Muslim's blood (life) permissible and so could be killed, can be mainly categorized into two groups:

Reasons that annul Muslim's faith[edit]

Apostasy from Islam,[23] whether explicit or by committing any act that annuls Muslim's faith and hence becoming an apostate e.g. disparaging or disrespecting Islam's prophet Muhammad,[24] abandoning or denying the Salat,[25] etc.


The Quran and the hadith accept slavery as an exceptional condition that can be entered into under certain limited circumstances:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hallal", Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  2. ^ a b Quran 7:157
  3. ^ Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1726, Book:24, Hadith:7
  4. ^ Quran 6:119
  5. ^ a b c d Quran 2:173
  6. ^ a b c Quran 5:3
  7. ^ Quran 6:121
  8. ^ Quran 5:90
  9. ^ Freidenreich, David M. (2 July 2011). Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law (in English). University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 9780520253216. "The most strident argument for permitting meat over which a Christian has invoked Christ is articulated by Abū Bakr Muḥammad Ibn al-'Arabī (d. 1148, a Mālikī of no relation to the famous Sufi known by the same patronymic). In the course of taking Sunni insistence of the permissibly of Christian meat to its logical extreme, Ibn al-'Arabī expresses most clearly the logic that underlies this stance. "God praised be He, permitted their food even though He knew that they invoke a name other than God's over their slaughter. Nevertheless, greater respect is accorded to them than to idolaters because they adhere to God's Book and cling to the coattails of prophets." Because Christians are Scripturists, God grants them a greater degree of respect than others who revere multiple divine beings; that respect is expressed through the permission of Christian meat. Ibn al-'Arabi proceeds to offer what he calls "an original statement" on this matter." 
  10. ^ Freidenreich, David M. (2 July 2011). Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law (in English). University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 9780520253216. 
  11. ^ "Lawful Foods" (in English). Just Islam. Retrieved 2 May 2014. "Now in the case of Jews this is very easy. As long as the Jew is a practising Jew and the meat is slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law (Torat Moshe) then this meat and other Kosher food is lawful ( Halal) and can be eaten by Muslims." 
  12. ^ "Islamic ruling on Christian food". islamqa. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  13. ^ "What Muslims can eat". Kalamullah. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  14. ^ Maqsood, Rubaiyat Waris (2004). Islam. Teach Yourself World Faiths. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-340-60901-9. 
  15. ^ Quran 23:5-7
  16. ^ Quran 4:24
  17. ^ Sahih Muslim 1456 a, Book 17, Hadith 41
  18. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari 2766, Book:55, Hadith:29
  19. ^ Sunan an-Nasa'i 4349, Book:42, Hadith:87
    • Quran (40:79)
  20. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari 3314, Book:59, Hadith:120
  21. ^ Quran (17:33)
  22. ^ Quran (4:92)
  23. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari 6878, Book:87, Hadith:17
  24. ^ Quran 9:61-66
  25. ^ Sunan an-Nasa'i 463, Book:5, Hadith:16

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]