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Halal is an Arabic word, which means permissible, In connection with food, it means food that Muslims are permitted to consume under Islamic Shariah Law. In addition to this lexical and technical meaning the word is loaded with overtones of provided by God, Tayyab (wholesome, good); as the opposite of Haram, which means prohibited by God, (unwholesome, foul). Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, in this article the term will be used only in relation to meat and food products. This means that any meat that has not been rendered Halal by Islamic slaughter or any food that is liable to cause ill health, (e.g. decomposing meat, or food unfit for human consumption) cannot be considered Halal, wholesome or good Tayyab.

Islamic Shariah Law considers all foods Halal unless it is specifically prohibited in the Quran. By official definition Halal foods are those that are free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic Law, except the following, which are haram:


Following are basic definitions of important dietary terms in Islam. Select the links to read more comprehensive definitions and guides.

Meaning: lawful
Meaning: unlawful
It is halal, but must be slaughtered according to Islamic Rites
  • Pork/swine and its by-products
  • Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering,
  • Carrion or dead animals.
  • Animals killed in the name of anyone other than Allah (God), and lawful animals not slaughtered according to Islamic rites. (Fish is exempt from slaughtering
  • Carnivorous animals, and animals with fangs such as tigers, lions, cats ect,
  • Birds that have talons with which they catch their prey such as owls, eagles, etc.
  • Land animals without external ears
  • Animals which Islam encourages to kill such as scorpions, centipedes, rats etc,
  • Animals which Islam forbids to kill such as bees etc
  • Animals, which have toxins, poison or produce ill effects when eaten such as some fish etc.
  • Amphibian animals such as crocodiles, turtles, frogs etc.
  • Blood and blood by-products, faces and urine and placental tissue
  • Almost all reptiles and insects, considered ugly or filthy such as worms, lice, flies, etc.
  • Wine, ethyl alcohol, spirits and intoxicants such as poisonous and intoxicating plants.
  • Foods contaminated with any of the above products
  • Foods not free from contamination while prepared or processed with anything considered Najiis (filthy).
  • Foods processed, made, produced, manufactured and /or stored using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that have been not cleansed according to Islamic Shariah Law.

Food made from the following substances is Halal unless containing or come into contact with a haram substance:

  • All plant and their products
  • Halal slaughtered meat, poultry, game birds and Halal animals ingredients
  • All water creatures, fish, crustaceans and mollusks.
  • Egg from acceptable birds only
  • Non Animal rennet (NAR, culture) or rennet from Halal slaughtered calves
  • Gelatin produced from Halal beef bones or skins


  • The slaughtering (dhabh in Arabic) rules for Halal, which are based on Islam teachings, ethics and jurisprudence require:
  • The abattoirs or factory must be under the close and constant supervision of an Islamic religious organization.
  • The premises, equipment and machinery must be classed according to Islamic Shariah (Law) before any production takes place.
  • A trained Muslim man to slaughter the animal in a Licensed Slaughter House with the implementation of all the Hygiene and Animal Welfare Regulations.
  • The slaughterman must be mature and pious Muslim of sound mind who understands fully the fundamentals and conditions relating to Halal slaughter and be approved by the religious authorities and the Meat Hygiene Services
  • The animal /bird is alive permissible to eat, feed and grow up on natural vegetarian diet.
  • The animal /bird is alive, healthy and free from any disease or injury at the time of slaughter, certified and checked by the Veterinary Surgeon.
  • The animal skin or fur and bird feather s to be clean prior to slaughter and free from faeces, dirt or other unhygienic substances
  • The animal is fed, not hungry or thirsty before slaughter
  • Not slaughtered in front of other animals and no blood seen
  • Handled gently and individually, and the knife should not be sharpened in front of any animal before slaughter
  • No stress or discomfort to any animal
  • No stunning is allowed before slaughter
  • The knife is to be very sharp and clean
  • The Muslim slaughterman says first: in the name of Allah, Allah is greater(Bismillah, Allah Akbar)
  • The cut to be done in the right anatomical site, in the neck by cutting the two carotids, the two jugulars, the windpipe and the gullet, but without gutting the spinal cord
  • All blood should be allowed from the carcass
  • A specific time should be allowed till the animal ceases any movement
  • De-feathering, de-skinning and evisceration can be done afterwards
  • Any unlawful meat like pork should not contaminate Halal meat. Separate knives, equipment and utensils should be used for Halal meat.