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Islamic dietary laws

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Islamic dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet and other areas.

Overview

Islamic jurisprudence specifies which foods are halāl (lawful) and which are harām (unlawful). This is based on rules found in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. Other rules are added to these in fatwas by Mujtahids with various degrees of strictness, but they are not always held to be authoritative by all. According to the Quran, the only foods explicitly forbidden are meat from animals that die of themselves, blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than God.(Quran 5:3) Stated in the Qur'an is an exception in case of hardship or lack of alternatives.

Healthy diet

A healthy diet is considered important in Islam, although what constitutes such might not be necessarily in consideration of Western standards. Some Muslim scholars consider an excess of eating is a sin due to an interpretation of the following verse in the Qur'an:

It is He Who produceth gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters. (Qur'an 6:141)

The following hadith (saying of the Prophet) also states: Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave to one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air. (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5674).


Food and cooking hygiene

Food and cooking hygiene is an important part of Islamic dietary laws.

Slaughter

Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة)is the prescribed method of ritual slaughter of all animals excluding fish and most sea-life per Islamic law. For such a method the animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim or by People of the Book (Christians or Jews), while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic). According to some fatwas, the animal must be slaughtered only by a Muslim. However, some different fatwas dispute this, and rule from the Qur'anic position, according to verse 5:5 of the Qur'an, that an animal properly slaughtered by People of the Book (Jews, Christians or Sabians) is dhabiha. Thus, many observant Muslims will accept kosher meat if dhabiha options are not available. Other main references in Qur'an include 2:173, 5:3, 5:5, 5:90, 6:118, 6:145, 16:115.

If there is doubt to anything being regarded as halāl or haram, Muslims are generally advised to refrain from consumption until clarification or permissiveness is given by another Muslim learned in Fiqh.

Animals for food may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down for long enough to be blood-free. All water game is confirmed halal by the following Quranic verse: 5:96 Lawful to you is all water-game, and what the sea brings forth, as a provision for you [who are settled] as well as for travellers, although you are forbidden to hunt on land while you are in the state of pilgrimage. And be conscious of God, unto whom you shall be gathered.

There are no restrictions on vegetarianism or veganism, as all Vegetarian/vegan food is argued to be inherently Halal. In an essay called Live Ital, Muslims affiliated with the Hardline straight edge doctrine having promoted veganism from an Islamic perspective ("Ital" reflects the syncretic nature of the doctrine).

Food certification

Due to the recent rise in Muslim populations in the United States and Europe, certain organizations have emerged that can certify dhabiha food products and ingredients for Muslim consumers. The Muslim Consumer Group is an example of an organization that places certification labels such as the H-MCG symbol to identify the dhabiha status of different edible and non-edible consumer products.

In Islam, Halal is an Arabic term meaning “lawful or permissible” and not only encompasses food and drink, but all matters of daily life. When it comes to halal food, most people think of meat products only. However, Muslims must ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, pharmaceuticals and non food items like cosmetics are also halal. Often these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslim consumption.

The North American Halal food pioneer in the USA is Midamar Corporation. It has been in operation since 1974. It is based in Cedar Rapids Iowa, home to the oldest surviving mosque in America. The offspring of Muslims who settled in Iowa around the turn of the century discovered a need to begin producing halal beef and chicken products catering to the tastes of American Muslims.

Since 1991, mainstream manufacturers of soups, grains, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, prepared foods, and other industries, as well as hotels, restaurants, airlines, hospitals and other service providers have pursued the halal market. They purchase halal certified products. Halal Certification tells Muslims that their ingredients and production methods have been tested and declared permissible by a certification body. It also allows companies to export products to most Middle Eastern countries and South East Asian Countries. The oldest and most well known Halal Certifier in the USA is Islamic Services of America.

Prohibited food

Some animals and manners of death or preparation can make certain things haram to eat, that is, taboo food and drink. These include what are regarded as unclean animals.

Alcohol

In Islam, alcoholic beverages—or any intoxicant—are generally forbidden. Intoxicants were forbidden in the Qur'an through several separate verses revealed at different times over a period of years. At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend to prayers while intoxicated (4:43). Then a later verse was revealed which said that alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good (In Surah Al-Baqarah: 219, it states "They ask Thee concerning Wine and Gambling, Say: In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit."). This was the next step in turning people away from consumption of it. Finally, "intoxicants and games of chance" were called "abominations of Satan's handiwork," intended to turn people away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (5:90-91). In addition to this, observant Muslims refrain from consuming food products that contain pure vanilla extract or soy sauce if these food products contain alcohol. [1][2]

However, there are no prohibitions on using alcohol for scientific, industrial or automotive use (either as a biofuel, solvent or a coolant, for instance).

Blood

Drinking blood and its by-products is forbidden. This includes meats that have not been drained of blood. However, this does not apply to blood transfusions or organ transplants because they are not eaten and digested.

Pork

Consumption of pork and products made from pork is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The origin of this belief is derived from the chapter of the Cow (Al Baqara) speaks of this: Quran 2.173[3] which states: He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful.

Gelatin made from porcine skin or bones, which makes up roughly 50% of the supply of gelatin on the market, is forbidden.

Gelatin made from other animals, for example, fish is acceptable. Kosher gelatin, according to more stringent authorities, comes from certain fish to avoid the Kashrut (Jewish) prohibition of eating impure animals, which include pigs. While all kosher foods in the United States follow this position, in Israel, there are more lenient positions that allow pig gelatin, arguing that it has been so deformed, it is no longer pig. Therefore, gelatin in food items certified as Kosher in the United States are halāl, as they are from fish, although in Israel, it depends on the level of stringency of the kosher certificate on the food. However, it is typical to use algal sources of thickeners, in the home or in commercial products, to ensure they are halāl.

See also

References

External links

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Islamic dietary laws. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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