Muslims follow dietary laws that are similar to Jewish kosher regulations. Foods that Muslims can eat are called Halal. Prohibited foods are called Haram and questionable foods are called Mashbooh. Swine and pork products, as well as meat not properly slaughtered or slaughtered in any name other than Allah are Haram. Carnivorous animals and birds or prey are also Haram. Haram animals include pig, dog, donkey, carnivores, monkeys, cats, lions, frogs, crocodiles, turtles, worms, flies, cockroaches, owls, and eagles. Alcohol, coffee, tea and other drugs are Haram. Halal foods that have become contaminated by contact with prohibited foods are also Haram.
Fasting is also important. Fasting is a way to earn the approval of Allah, wipe out previous sins and understand the suffering of the poor. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan and voluntary fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is also common. Muslims are encouraged to only eat to two thirds of capacity.
What Is Halal ?
“Halal” is a Quranic Term, which means ‘Lawful’ or ‘Permitted’. Sometimes it is translated as ‘Acceptable’ or ‘Not forbidden’. Halal foods and drinks are permitted for consumption by Allah- the supreme lawgiver. In the Holy Quran, Allah commands Muslims and all of mankind to eat of the Halal things. Eating Halal is obligatory.
What Is Haram ?
The opposite of ‘Halal’ is “Haram”, which means ‘Unlawful’ or ‘Prohibited”. The other words used for Haram is ‘Unacceptable’ or ‘Forbidden’. Haram foods and drinks are absolutely prohibited for consumption by Allah. Eating Haram is forbidden for every Muslim. If a Muslim consumes Haraam foods, he would be sinful.
What Is Mushbooh ?
“Mushbooh” is an Arabic term which means ‘doubtful’ or ‘suspected’. If one does not know the Halal or Haram status of a particular food or drink, such a food or drink is doubtful. A practicing Muslims prevents himself from consuming doubtful things.
The terms Halal and Haram will be used strictly to describe food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, beverages and food contact materials. Which foods are Halal or which foods are Haram, is decided according to the Holy Quran and the Glorious Shari’ah (Islamic Law).Most diets and foods are considered to be Halaal unless Islamic Law specifically prohibits them.
The following products are definitely Halal:
Milk (from cows, sheeps, camels or goats).
Plants which are not intoxicant.
Fresh or naturally frozen vegetables.
Fresh or dried fruits.
Legumes like peanuts, cashew nuts, hazel nuts, walnuts, etc.
Grains such as wheat, rice, rye, barley, oat, etc.
Animals such as cows, sheep, goats, deer, moose, chickens, ducks, game birds, etc., are also Halal, but they must be Zabihah (slaughtered according to Islamic Rites) in order to be suitable for consumption. The procedure is as follows: the animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim by putting the animal down on the ground (or holding it if it is small) and slitting it’s throat with a very sharp knife to make sure that the main blood vessels are cut. While cutting the throat of the animal without severing it, the person has to recite “Bismillah Allah-u-Akbar”.
The following items have been categorically spelled out as being Haram:
Pig/Swine/Pork and its by-products.
Blood and and blood by-products.
Reptiles and insects.
Halal animals which are not slaughtered according to the Islamic Law.
Animals killed in the name of anyone other than God.
The bodies of dead animals or dead before slaughtering.
Alcohol and intoxicants such as Wine, Ethyl Alcohol, and Spirits etc.
The above mentioned items are Haram and should be strictly avoided by all Muslims.
Foods containing ingredients in the following are example of Mushbooh:
Muslim should avoid such foods containing Mushbooh or questionable ingredients. Before consuming such items, we have to confirm the source of these ingredients.
What is Halaal ?
Halaal means permitted, allowed, lawful or legal. In relation to food or drink it means that the food or drink is lawful, permitted or allowed for Muslims.
The Islamic dietary laws define what food and drinks are Halaal. These Islamic dietary laws are defined in the Holy Quran (the revealed book), the Hadith (sayings of the last Prophet, Muhammad, Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) and in the fiqh (jurisprudence) of the Muslim Jurists: Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali.
The opposite of Halaal is Haraam. It means prohibited, not allowed, unlawful, illegal.
The classification of food products as Halaal is a very serious religious matter and can only be carried out by a Muslim who is an expert in The Islamic Dietary laws.
The Importance of a Halaal Diet
In a Hadith Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said:
Search for Halaal (i.e. money or food) is also Fardh (obligatory) along with other Fardh things from Allah.
Here are a few important verses from the Holy Quran that very clearly describe the Islamic laws regarding Halaal and Haraam.
1. O Mankind ! Eat the lawful (Halaal) and good things from what is in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Surely he is an open enemy to you. (2: 168)
2. O believers ! Eat of the good things that We have provided you with and give thanks to Allah. (2: 172)
3. He has forbidden you what dies of itself (carrion), and blood, and the flesh of swine and that over which any name other than (that of) Allah has been invoked. (2: 173)
4. And eat of the lawful (Halaal) and good things that Allah has given you and keep your duty to Allah. (5: 88)
5. O believers ! Intoxicants, and game of chance, and idolatrous practices and divining (of the future through) arrows are abominations devised by the Satan. Shun it then !, so that you may prosper. (5: 90)
Our beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has taught us to be very careful about our food in terms of Halaal and Haraam. His sayings indicate that Haraam food makes our Faith terminally damaged and our soul and heart extremely weak. Here are a selection of meanings and extracts of his sayings:
1. A person after travelling a long distance, with dispersed hairs and covered with dust, raises his hands for the prayer and says O Allah !, O Allah! But his food is Haraam, his drink is Haraam and his dress is Haraam. So how can his prayer be accepted by Allah ? (Mishkat Sharif)
Note : It means that without Halaal food our Duas are not accepted at all.
2. Sadaqah (charity) from Haraam wealth is not accepted by Allah, and there is no Barakah (Blessing of Allah) in such things and the Haraam wealth will take one to Hell.
3. Those persons whose bodies are nourished with Haraam food will not enter paradise.
4. When Haraam is mixed with Halaal, it ruins the Halaal as well.
5. Salah (Ritual Prayers) of a person with Haraam clothes is not accepted by Allah.
6. One who drinks Sharab (Wine), Allah does not accept that persons Salah for forty days. (Tirmidhi)
Note: Muslim scholars say that whether a person takes Sharab directly or indirectly with other edible things in the form of an ingredient, his/her Salah is barred from acceptance for 40 days in the light of this Hadith.
Haraam foods: Unlawful
Haraam foods are those foods which are prohibited by Allah and the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).
All carnivorous (meat eating) animals and birds, e.g. lions, tigers, vultures, eagles, etc.
Any Halaal animal that has died due to natural causes, killed by some wild animal, by a fall, blow or slaughtered by a non-Muslim.
Flesh that has been sacrificed for some God or Goddess.
All forms of najasat (impurities).
Donkeys, monkeys, elephants, etc.
Food containing Haraam items to be avoided at all times e.g. fish prepared with wine, etc. cakes, ice-cream containing rum or brandy or any Alcohol or liquor.
Contamination of a Halaal item with non-Halaal will render it non-Halaal/Haraam and unacceptable.