What is Halal? – Halal Food

With an Arabic origin, the word Halal means 'lawful' or 'permitted,' the opposite of what is forbidden. Various Qur'anic verses and Hadiths by Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) substantiate and emphasize Halal and Halal food consumption.

Halal is actually a broader term and does not account for food only. It is basically the right way or the permissibility of something according to what Allah the Greatest has said in His Book. For instance, Islam stresses treating animals with respect and teaches how to slaughter them kindly and make them lawful for consumption.

What is Halal in Islam?

Halal refers to all that is allowed under Islamic laws. In Islamic Shariah, some things are clear-cut halal or Haram, considering their benefits and harms one way or another now and in the life Hereafter. The divine laws of Islam are undoubtedly perfect regardless of the aspects they apply to.

Islam cares for the human health and welfare of society and hence proposed an ethical food and non-food ecosystem. That is a must-have for all Muslims to obey. 

So observant Muslims must learn more about the Halal and Haram to stay obedient to these Islamic Shariah rules.

However, in the fold of Islam, the interpretation of Halal does not revolve around meat and poultry products only. Instead, it enfolds the entire range of products from food to pharmaceutics, additives to preservatives, preparation to storage, and transportation to the consumer. So Halal is simply the most ethical way of living life.

What is Halal Food?

So for food, Halal is an Islamic dietary standard for how the food is raised, slaughtered, and prepared. Halal food is the foodstuff that meets all the dietary rules advocated by Islamic laws, from food to meat, dairy products to beverages, etc. In Quran, Allah Almighty said,

"O mankind! Eat of what is permissible and good on earth, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; truly he is an open adversary to you." (Surah Al-Baqarah – 168)

Therefore, every food will be Halal except for the ones for which Quran and the Islamic teachings mention prohibition.

For example, animals raised and slaughtered according to the Islamic discipline are Halal. However, the flowing blood, genitals parts, testicles, bladder, gallbladder, and glands of even Halal animals are Haram to eat. 

Similarly, according to Islamic discipline, when what is Haram is mixed with what is halal, Haram prevails. Therefore, food items and the meat of halal animals cultivated or raised with a haram diet/ farm/additives will not be Halal food anymore. With the same course, all the utensils and equipment used for food should not have any contamination with Haram substances to ensure its permissibility. 

Several Halal certification organizations have been formed and are in action to help people eat what is approved to be halal.

Similarly, Mustakshif also encourages and strengthens Halal consumption by assisting Muslim consumers with a halal scanner. This scanner will thoroughly check the ingredients' permissibility status by scanning the product label and consuming Halal food.

Criteria For Meat To Be Halal

In supermarkets, people can find meat labeled as Halal because of its preparation in a particular way – the humane method of animal slaughter. This humane method of animal slaughter, also called Zabiha, is what Allah Almighty has taught in Quran.

In Quran, Almighty Allah said:

"Prohibited for you are: carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and those upon which (a name) other than that of Allah has been invoked (at the time of slaughter), animal killed by strangulation, or killed by a blow, or by a fall, or by goring, or that which is eaten by a beast unless you have properly slaughtered it; and that which has been slaughtered before the idols, and that you determine shares through the arrows. (All of) this is sin." (Surah Al-Ma'idah – 3)

Also, in Quran, Almighty Allah clearly mentions the obligation of pronouncing the name of Allah while slaughtering to make the animal Halal. 

"Do not eat what is not slaughtered in Allah's Name. For that would certainly be ‘an act of’ disobedience. Surely the devils whisper to their ‘human’ associates to argue with you.1 If you were to obey them, then you ‘too’ would be polytheists." (Surah al-An’am – 121)

So disregarding the "Zabiha" rules and eating what has been forbidden displeases Almighty Allah. Therefore, for meat to be lawful to eat:

The animal should be from species allowed by Islam and must be alive and healthy before slaughter.

The animal should be from species allowed by Islam and must be alive and healthy before slaughter.

The animal should be from species allowed by Islam and must be alive and healthy before slaughter.

The animal should be from species allowed by Islam and must be alive and healthy before slaughter.

Is stunned animal meat Halal?

According to Quran and Sunnah, tormenting and doing anything that causes suffering to animals is forbidden. Stunning means making the animal lose consciousness by striking (blow to the head) or giving an electric shock to the animal. Stunning with a Captive bolt (penetrative) is simply unacceptable from a Halal perspective. Also, stunning the animals falls under making the animal suffer. Further, in some cases, stunning can cause injury and animal death before slaughtering.

So, in that case, the animal simply will not be permissible even slaughtered following other Zabiha rules because it will be 'killed by a violent blow,' which is forbidden in Islam.

However, according to some Muslim scholars, stunning can be permissible where necessary, for example, when the slaughtering is not easy unless the animal is stunned. So according to them, the meat of an animal that is 'stunned but not killed' will be considered halal.

However, in some stunning cases, the animal being alive before slaughter cannot be guaranteed to make it one of the doubtful things. Therefore, it is better to avoid stunned animal meat or ensures that the animal is alive before slaughtering for it to be permissible.

What is Halal diet?

Islam has forbidden certain foods. Therefore, Muslim dietary strictures are relatively different from other communities. For example, Muslims are prohibited from consuming Haram animals, their derivative products, and alcohol. Similarly, meats of pigs, boars, swine, donkeys, mules, reptiles, and meats of carnivorous; lions, tigers, cheetahs, dogs, and cats, and birds of prey; eagles, falcons, ospreys, kites, and vultures are not Halal. Therefore, a halal diet doesn't include these items. Instead, the following are Halal.



Fruits & Nuts 

Seafood (Fish) 






Other than these bread products, pastry items, desserts, cereals, jams and jellies, dairy products, cheese and cheese products, and Milk, as long as the sourcing and preparation are lawful, will be Halal.

Eating a healthy diet containing Halal products provide many benefits. It is more about cleanness and healthy handling and preparation of food. In terms of meat, Halal meat ensures complete blood drainage and eliminates the risk of foodborne illnesses. So the Halal diet will be any food and drink free from pork, alcohol/intoxicants, poisons, harmful ingredients, or unhygienic elements.

Is vegan/ vegetarian food a Halal diet?

Vegan and Vegetarian food can be Halal but not always. Vegan food refers to food containing no animal product. So most Vegan food can be the Halal diet. However, vegan-styled food can include alcohol. Alcohol is among the forbidden products. In addition, some processed food can also have animal byproducts such as gelatin and rennet. So with the exception of alcohol-containing products and animal byproducts, practicing Muslims can have vegan food.

 Similar to Vegan, Vegetarian Food is also Halal, excluding alcohol and alcohol-containing products. A vegetarian diet does include eggs and dairy. Therefore, the same rule of halal food (animals should not be raised with a haram diet) applies to those Vegetarian dishes.

Are Halal and Kosher the same thing? 

Kosher (pertaining to Jewish dietary laws) has some guidelines similar to Halal. Such as, kosher diet guidelines forbid the consumption of carrion, pork meat, and blood.

However, it is not the same as Halal.

The most important difference is the Jewish diet law allowing alcohol, gelatin, and other enzymes (with Haram animal origin). Another difference is Jews do not speak the name of God while slaughtering each animal.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, alcohol and other non-halal animal products are clear-cut Haram. Similarly, it is mandatory for Muslims to say Tasmiyah/ Shahada (name of Allah S.W.T) while performing slaughter to make the meat Halal. 

So Muslim scholars don't count Kosher as Halal (permissible).

Where to Find Halal Foods?

The Halal food industry has flourished over the years. Many food products and brands are Halal, and various restaurants provide Halal foods. Similarly, you can get Zabiha from Halal butchers and find Halal foods in various online stores.

However, finding Halal can be challenging, especially in Western countries and non-Muslim communities. Foods packaged/ printed as Halal, carrying a Halal-Certified logo, count as Halal. However, some foods don’t have signs, and foods carrying vegetarian signs might have alcohol. So it is better to double-check the source and ingredients to ensure the food’s Halal status. The best solution is to have a Halal scanner right beside you.

So Mustakshif helps Halal-conscious consumers find Halal food from processed to semi-processed food items wherever they are with the Halal checker app. Consumers can now scan the food ingredients when they buy from online stores or in-person supermarkets.

What is Halal in Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals and other general items?

Similar to food, products containing unlawful ingredients will not be permissible to use. Thus, Halal interpretation for cosmetics, pharma, and other industries is product manufacturing with allowable ingredients according to Islamic principles. That also means products having ingredients derived from blood, pigs, human body parts, predatory animals, reptiles, insects, and alcohol, will not be Halal.

Consumers can find certified halal products by verifying the ingredients' permissibility and forbidden status with an authentic halal checker.