Our mission is to create exceptional dining experiences that delight the senses, inspire minds, and foster community. Fostering community means many things, including understanding and teaching about different eating patterns.
In this three-part series, we explore halal and kosher dietary laws. While many people associate the two because they are both used by religious groups and forbid consuming pork, there are key differences that we'll explain. Here we explore halal.
What does halal mean?
An Arabic word meaning “permissible,” halal indicates that a food (or other object or action) is permitted under Islamic law. Some Muslims may choose to eat halal foods.
What are some of the laws?
No carnivorous animals are to be eaten (e.g., birds of prey). Even grazing animals like cows must be treated humanely and slaughtered according to dhabihah (a method of ritual slaughter) to maintain their halal status.
What do the halal labels and symbols mean?
A variety of symbols are used to designate a food as halal, and their use depends on the organization granting halal certification. The word halal might appear in English and/or Arabic, or a symbol might be used. The use of these symbols means an organization has certified the food to be halal.
Why do some Muslims eat kosher meats?
According to the Qur’an, meat can be halal if slaughtered by “People of the Book,” meaning Christians, Jews, or Muslims. Some American Muslims will eat commercial meats under the assumption that most Americans are Christians.
What are examples of non-halal (i.e., haram) foods?
Alcohol, animals dead before slaughter, blood, carnivorous animals, inhumanely treated animals, pork, and pork-derived ingredients are haram.
What about Ramadan and fasting?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a lunar-based calendar that isn’t adjusted for the Gregorian calendar. This means Ramadan moves back 11 days each year. During the month of Ramadan, observant Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset, excluding all food and drink. Fasting is expected of all individuals past puberty who are in good health.