You Are What You Eat. Are They Halal??
Taken from http://www.afic.com.au/Halal.htm
HALAL is a Quranic word meaning lawful or permitted. In reference to food, it is the dietary standard, as prescribed in the Quran the Muslim scripture. General Quranic guidance dictates that all foods are Halal except those that are specifically mentioned as Haram (unlawful or Prohibited).
Islam is the natural way of life. Its economical system is just; its social system is based on cooperation and brotherhood; its political system is based on consultation and its dietary laws are very simple and beneficial for the entire humanity.
The life of a Muslim revolves around the concept of Halal. A Muslim must earn income from Halal sources, be involved only in Halal transactions and consume Halal food and drink.
Within the Islamic religion, a strong emphasis is placed on cleanliness – both spiritually and in the context of food and drink. For a food or drink product to be approved for consumption it must conform to the Islamic dietary laws as specified in the Qurâ€™an, the Hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad, his Sunnah (tradition) and in the Fiqh (understanding) of the Islamic Jurists: Hanafi, Shafiâ€™, Maliki and Hambali. The Qurâ€™an has numerous injunctions instructing Muslims to choose and consume good and wholesome foodstuffs.
In the selection of food and drink, Islam has laid down three very important guidelines, namely;
1. Whether the consumption of the foodstuff is prohibited by Allah,
2. Whether the foodstuff is obtained through Halal or Haram means, and
3. Whether or not the material is harmful to health.
Islam is not a mere religion. It is a way of life with rules and manners governing every facet of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws carry a special significance.
Muslims are expected to eat for survival, to maintain good health and not to live for eating. In Islam, eating is considered to be a matter of worship of God like prayer, fasting, alms-giving and other religious activities.
Muslim eats to maintain a strong and healthy physique in order to be able to contribute his knowledge and effort for the welfare of the society. Muslims are supposed to make an effort to obtain the best quality nutritionally.
The concept of Halal in Islam has very specific motives;
1. To preserve the purity of religion
2. To safeguard the Islamic mentality
3. To preserve life
4. To safeguard property
5. To safeguard future generations
6. To maintain self-respect and integrity.
Islam encourages its followers to choose Halal foods. This awareness is always propagated in Muslim societies and is strengthened by the widespread knowledge extolling the virtues of consuming clean and Halal foods.
In general every food is considered lawful in Islam unless it is specially prohibited by the Quâ€™ran or the Hadith. By official definition, Halal foods are those that are:
* Free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic law.
* Processed, made, produced, manufactured and or stored using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that have been cleansed according to Islamic law.
There are several factors that determine the Halal/Haram status of a particular foodstuff. Amongst others, it is dependent on its nature, how it was processed and where it originated from.
As an example, any pig product is considered Haram because the material itself is Haram. Whereas beef from an animal that has not been slaughtered according to Islamic rites would still be considered Haram.
Also Haram is food that has been stolen or acquired through unethical means. Islam also prohibits the usage of any materials that are detrimental to the spiritual or mental well-being of a person, such as alcoholic drinks and drugs.
Due to advancements in food technology and distribution, Muslims are more exposed to various ingredients and manufactured foods imported into Muslim countries.
To determine the Halal-Haram status of foodstuffs and other material, Islam has laid general guidelines on this matter, namely:
1. All raw materials and ingredients used must be Halal.
2. Naturally Halal animals such as cattle, goats etc., must be slaughtered according to Islamic rites, the rituals specify that the act must be performed by a mentally sound Muslim, to sever the blood and respiratory channels of the animal, using a sharp cutting tool such as knife.
3. The Halal ingredients must not be mixed, or come into contact with haram materials such as products from pig or dog during storage, transport, cooking, serving etc.
It must be understood that the production of Halal food is not only beneficial to Muslims, but also to food producers, by means of increased market acceptance of their products.
Manufacturers and exporters of Halal products can receive Halal certification for their products from MUI (country Indonesia).
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