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Purpose and Concept of Halal Food

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Author Topic: Purpose and Concept of Halal Food  (Read 1019 times)
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« on: April 26, 2007, 03:56:03 am »


Believers are not permitted to eat pork. Even concerning animals that are allowed to be consumed as food, such as cattle, sheep, camel and poultry, there is a rule to be followed - mentioning the name of Allah while slaughtering a beast for food.

During the days of polytheism in the Arabian peninsula, the idolaters sacrificed animals in the names of other deities which they worshipped instead of Almighty Allah or which they associated with Allah. Such food is not permissible. Sacrifice must be made only in the name of Allah, the One and Only. Therefore, as a confirmation of discontinuing this old polytheistic tradition, it is incumbent to mention the name of Allah Almighty (alone) before slaughtering an animal for food.

It's also necessary to remember that animals are living beings and they too have souls like humans. At the same time, Allah has made animals subservient to humans. Thus, when an animal is being slaughtered for food, it is dying to serve us. As a gesture of respect toward the soul of the dying animal, it is mandatory to mention the name of Allah.

"And for every nation have We appointed a ritual, that they may mention the name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He hath given them for food; and your God is One God, therefor surrender unto Him. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the humble," (22:34) Al-Hajj

I quote the reflections of Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall on the above verse.

In order that they may realize the awfulness of taking life and the solemn nature of the trust which Allah has imposed on them in the permission to eat animal food. Thus, must mention the name of Allah before slaughtering.

The following Verse from Surah Al-Anum is further evidence to respect the rights of animals.

"There is not an animal in the earth, nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are peoples like unto you. We have neglected nothing in the Book (of Our decrees). Then unto their Lord they will be gathered." 6:38

It is for this reason that we are not allowed to eat the meat of animals that have been killed by beating, strangulating, goring by horns or falling from heights. Only those are Halal that are slaughtered in the name of Allah by the 'death stroke,' that is, as quickly and painlessly as possible. Please check the following verse.

"Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swineflesh, and that which has been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which has been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which you make lawful (by the deathstroke), and that which has been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that you swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination." 5:3

'divining arrows' (azlam which is plural of zalam), were thin wooden arrows having no heads. In the pre-Islamic period the idolaters would write on these arrows, what they considered permissible or otherwise, and then used the divination method associated with it to decide their affairs. 'divination' refers to the act of foretelling future events by means of augury - a very common practice among all pagans. Allah Almighty prohibits engaging in such an activity. It is a transgression.

From verse 22:34 it is also clear that prior to revealing the Glorious Quran, Allah had similarly commanded the Jews and Christians to mention His name over animals being slaughtered for eating. Though many of the Jews do adhere to kosher which is somewhat similar to Halal for Muslims, the Christians do not follow any dietary regulations based on Faith.

Besides, the sacrifice of animlas for food for the poor which is one of the ceremonies of Hajj "is not a propitiary sacrifice, but it is in commemoration fo the sacrifice of Abraham which marked the end of human sacrifices for the Sematic race, and which made it clear that the only sacrifice which Allah requires of man is the Surrender of his will and purpose i.e.  Al-Islam" as explained by Pickthall.

"And for every nation have We appointed a ritual, that they may mention the name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He hath given them for food; and your God is One God, therefor surrender unto Him. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the humble, (Al-Hajj - 22:34)

Their flesh and their food reach not Allah, but the devotion from you reacheth Him. Thus have We made them subject unto you that ye may magnify Allah that He hath guided you. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the good." (Al-Hajj - 22:37)
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