What is Halal Meat and Where Does It Come From?

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Halal is an Arabic word which means lawful or permitted. With food especially meat, it is a dietary standard as set by the Holy Quran, the Muslim scripture. Halal does not only refer to food however, it refers to all permissible acts in Islam. Haram, which means unlawful or prohibited, is the opposite of halal. Halal and Haram are commonly associated with food products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals even sometimes clothes.

What might make a product ‘haram’ is the ingredients used to make it. If a product contains alcohol, substances from a pig, enzymes, emulsifiers might be considered haram and unfit for consumption by Muslims.

What is the Difference Between Halal and Haram Meat?

The most basic difference in halal and haram meat is how the animal is slaughtered. In Islam, for the animal slaughtered to be considered halal for consumption has to meet certain requirements. The most basic one is to be slaughtered by cutting through the jugular vein, the carotid artery and the wind pipe. At the time of slaughtering, a recitation has to be read such as known as the shahada. All the blood has to be drained out of its body. Haram meat is any meat that is prepared in a different manner or slaughtered in the name of any other deity.

Other conditions include the animal being well treated before slaughter. It should not be slaughtered in front of other animals. The knife used to slaughter it should not be sharpened in front of it. The animal should be treated with respect before and after its slaughter.

What Are The Types of Halal And Haram Meat?

Even though the difference between haram and halal meat is how it’s prepared, meat or animals are considered to be haram even before that.

A popular meat is pork, Muslims cannot consume pork because it is considered impure. However, Muslims cannot consume cats, dogs, monkeys and even horses and donkeys. Muslims cannot consume carnivorous animals or birds of prey either. All by-products of these animals are also considered haram. Of course it dire situations where survival is on the line, Muslims may consume these meats.

Halal meats are domesticated animals such as chickens, cattle, cows. Though can be considered haram if slaughtered the wrong way. Fish on the other hand is considered to be halal either way and does not need to be slaughtered the Islamic way either. Fish is universally halal.

How Easily is Halal Meat Available?

Halal meat, especially in the UK is widely available at super markets such as Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Morrison’s and the Co-op. In Ireland, several shops in Dublin including the shop of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland or the Al-Barakah Halal Shop stock halal meat and poultry. It is estimated that 15% of all of the meat prepared in the UK is halal.

In the US, big chains such as Walmart and Costco stock halal meats and it is easy to find.


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