The Scope of Halal Food and Drinks
One of the main objectives of the Shari'ah
(Islamic Law) is the protection of human beings. The rule
on "the basic of things of permissibility" (as
purported in the Quran), has greatly contributed to this
objective. This rule has also been contributive to the
flexibility and applicability of the Islamic Law throughout
the ages. The fact that permissible things are innumerable
and beyond limitations, permissibility (or halalness )
is truly God's gift for the good of mankind.
Three Major Categories of Sources
of Food - Minerals, Plants and Animals
Minerals are Halal (not prohibited) unless they are harmful
to the consumer. Many minerals are toxic and poisonous
to human beings and are therefore prohibited. Similarly,
clay has been prohibited because of its harmfulness to
the consumer. However, if a small portion of clay falls
into a food e.g. a sauce, it will not affect the halalness
of the food as it will not harm the consumer.
Fruits and vegetables are basically halal
and good for human consumption. Utilising or eating plants
is permissible except, of course, if it is harmful as
the Shari'ah forbids all harmful things.
Animals are classified into edible and
inedible. However, there are procedures to be followed
before inedible animals become Halal. Allah says: "Of
the cattle are some for burden and some for meat, eat
what Allah has provided for you, and follow not the footsteps
of Satan for he is to you an avowed enemy" [Al-An'am
(6), verse 142].
What are Halal
food and drinks?
Halal food and drinks can be described
"anything that man can eat or drink
and there is no legal evidence prohibiting it, and its
contituents are free from any unlawful or impure elements.
It shall be good and pure and its consumption brings no
harm. Animals' meat must be from animal slaughtered in
the Islamic manner and must not be dedicated to anyone
but Allah swt."
The conditions defining halal food and drinks, are the
essence of halal food and drinks and are briefly explained
No legal evidence prohibiting
Based on Quranic verses that permit utilising
what is in the heavens, on the land and in the sea which
are associated with the implementation of the rule "the
basic of things is permissibility", anything edible
or drinkable is Halal and beneficial as long as there
is no legal evidence prohibiting it. This is because,
in Islam, only the Legislator (Allah) has the absolute
jurisdiction to attribute Halal or Haram quality to things,
sources and deeds.
"But say not - false things your
tongues may put forth - this is lawful and this is forbidden,
so as to ascribe false things to Allah, for those who
ascribe false things to Allah will never prosper"
[Al-Nahl (16),verse 116).
Free from any unlawful or impure
Halal food and drinks must not contain
in their ingredients any unlawful or impure substance.
In other words, their matter and ingredients must be free
from any forbidden or filthy component.
Good and pure
The concept of Halal suggests that the
word 'Halal' is asociated with the word 'good' or is implicitly
presented in the context of the goodness of things.
"They ask you what is lawful to them
(as food), say lawful unto you are (all) things good and
pure and what you have taught your trained hunting animals
(to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah, eat
what they catch for you but pronounce the name of Allah
over it, and fear Allah for Allah is swift in taking account.
This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful to
you" [Al-Maidah (5),verse 4-5].
Consumption brings no harm
This condition is imperative in the Halalness
of food and drinks. Food or drinks must be safe for consumption
and must not contain any element that harms the human
body and health. Since one of the main objectives of the
Shari'ah is the protection of human beings, any food or
drinks which may cause harm to the human body and health
is forbidden even if there is no prohibiting legal evidence.
"And make not your own hands contribute
to (your) destruction"[Al-Baqarah (2), verse 195];
"Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves for verily Allah
has been to you most merciful"[An-Nisaa (4), verse
Slaughtered in the Islamic manner
For animals whose meat God permits eating
they must be slaughtered in the Islamic manner except
for marine life and locusts.
Must not be dedicated to anyone
Animals slaughtered with the invocation
of a name other than the name of Allah, such as the name
of idols, is an act of polytheism (Shirik) and are therefore
not acceptable in Islam.
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