Halal simply means permitted or lawful. So when we are talking about halal foods it means any foods that are allowed to be eaten according to Islamic Sharia law.
This means that for any food to be considered halal it must comply with the religious ritual and observance of Sharia law.
What is halal certification?
This means that food has been subjected to approved certification systems, which guarantee to consumers that nothing in the food has any forbidden components. Halal certificates are issued, for a fee, by a certifying body.
The opposite of halal is haram (forbidden).
Food can be forbidden in Islam if it includes:
▪ Meat or any products from a forbidden animal, including pigs and any carnivorous animals or birds of prey
▪ Meat or any products of an animal which has not been slaughtered in the correct manner in the name of Allah
Under Islamic law (sharia) it is permissible (halal) to consume items that would otherwise be termed haram so long as it is a matter of survival and not just an act of disobedience.
Here at Halal Choices we are concerned with the halal slaughter of animals such as beef, lamb and poultry. To be halal certified the animal must be facing Mecca, have its throat cut while still alive and then ritually sacrificed by a Muslim who recites a prayer dedicating the slaughter to Allah. Because the animals must be slaughtered alive, stun guns are often not an option as they can kill an animal before the heart pumps out all the blood.
Sharia means the ‘way’ or ‘path’. Islamic sharia law refers to the whole system of principles and rules, which a Muslim is required to live by. It relates to both criminal and civil justice, and it also regulates personal and moral conduct.
The sharia is based upon the teachings of the Koran as well as the teaching and example of Muhammad: the rules of sharia exist because Muhammad either commanded or actually did what the rules require.
Sharia goes way beyond food and halal but the point we want to make here is that all of the halal certification organizations are operating under sharia law and desire for sharia law to be accepted as a part of our mainstream society.
The following products are definitely Halal:
1. Milk (from cows, sheep, camels, and goats)
4. Plants which are not intoxicant
5. Fresh or naturally frozen vegetables
6. Fresh or dried fruits
7. Legumes and nuts like peanuts, cashew nuts, hazel nuts, walnuts, etc.
8. 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 (or a Jew or Christian – click here for more). The animal should be put down on the ground (or held it if it is small) and its throat should be slit with a very sharp knife to make sure that the 3 main blood vessels are cut. While cutting the throat of the animal (without severing it), the person must pronounce the name of Allah or recite a blessing, which contains the name of Allah, such as “Bismillah Allah-u-Akbar”.
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