What is truly halal?

What is truly halal?

You are all probably familiar with the concept of halal and haram in regards to slaughter, animals and foods. Most muslims have an idea of hows the animal should be slaughtered in order for the meat to be halal, the common rules is that animals to be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter, since carrion is forbidden and, jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe have to be severed by a razor sharp knife by a single swipe, to incur as less a pain as possible. This happens to be exactly the same as the Kosher rules, apart from the person preforming this procedure need to recite “asmiya orshahada”

“There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth nor a being that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Rabb (Lord) in the end.”
(Surat al-An’am 6:38)

One big part of this whole thing that the majority of people have forgotten and has been mentioned along side the halal rules in the Quran strictly states that in order for the meat/foods to be permissible to eat it must also be “Tayyib” (‘good’, ‘pure’, ‘wholesome’, etc). In this day and age with all the mass factory farming of animals, vegetables and fruits where animals are caged, mistreated and live bleak lives and are fed terrible concoctions with dangerous ingredients, hormones and left over meats, what is truly halal. If we examine what halal and tayyib really mean then it would seem that 75% of meats and food are not halal. Not only are the farming conditions extremely bad but the side effect of all this factory farming is having a detrimental effect on the environment. The amount of pollution and waste is immense.

iii The Holy Qur’an enjoins over and over, “Waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters,” and, “Do not pollute the earth after it has been (so) wholesomely (set in order) …”
(Surat al-A’raf 7:56)

We have become conditioned to be comfortable eating anything with a “halal” sign on it and do not do any thinking for our selves about whether the food is truly halal and tayyib. It is clear that with todays industrialised climate a great many things are not tayyib. Even many of the halal rules are not being followed, there are many strict rules which have to be followed and as an example here are a few:

  • The animal must be raised in a humane and wholesome environment.
  • The animal must not be mishandled, stressed, or caused any discomfort during transport.
  • The animal must not feel stress or fear before death.
  • The animal must not be killed using continuous pain or injury.
  • The animal must be killed away from the view of other animals.

There are also many factories that play recitations on a continuous audio system as animals are being slaughtered on a conveyor belt system next to each other, prior to that many slaughter housed stun the animals which may seem humane from the outside but what really happens to the animal on the inside.

So What now?

It is nearly impossible for us to rear our own animals and farm our own foods although there are companies popping up that cater for these requirements such as Abraham Organics amongst others. Some individuals have come to the conclusion that no meat is halal and tayyib and have given up meat altogether but as I mentioned there are some options available to us and the more we demand good quality halal, tayyib and ethically reared meats and foods and stop buying and eating factory farmed produce the more options will become available.

I know that these options are considerably more expensive and harder to find but there is no reason that we need to eat meat every day (or multiple times a day), just because meat is permissible to eat it does not mean we have to. The factories and supermarkets main objective is profit hence the situation we are in today. It is lazy and wrong in my opinion to use the excuse that thinking about any of this is questioning Islam, in fact the rules are clear, what we need to be questioning is whether or not what your are buying follows those rules.


Since being a kid I have always been inquisitive about food and nutrition, always trying to find new halal foods and snacks and researching ingredients and health implications. I am a nutritionalist by trade. I enjoy eating out, travelling and whole range of sports.

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