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Halāl (Arabic: ḥalāl, 'permissible') or halaal is any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates not only food and drink but also all matters of daily life. It is one of five (al-ahkam al-khamsah) — fard (compulsory), mustahabb (recommended), halaal (allowed), makruh (disliked), haram (forbidden) — that define the morality of human action in Islam. Mubah is also used to mean "permissible" or "allowed" in Islam.

Generally in Islam, every object and action is considered permissible unless there is a prohibition of it in the Islamic scriptures. Clarification is given below in detail as to what is considered to be a permissible object or action in Islam, along with the exceptions.


Halaal is often used in reference to foods and drinks, i.e. foods that are permissible for Muslims to eat or drink under Islamic Shariʻah (law). The criteria specifies both what foods are allowed, and how the food must be prepared. The foods addressed are mostly types of meat and animal tissue.

The most common example of non-halaal (or haraam) food is pork (pig meat). While pork is the only meat that cannot be eaten by all Muslims at all (due to religious -as Quran forbids it - and hygienic concerns), foods other than pork can also be haraam. The criteria for non-pork items include their source, the cause of the animal's death, and how it was processed. It also depends on the Muslim's madhab.

The food must come from a supplier that uses halaal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must precede the slaughter by invoking the name of Allah, most commonly by saying "Bismillah" ("In the name of God") and then three times "Allahu akbar" (God is the greatest). Then, the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck, causing the animal's death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained.

Muslims must also ensure that all foods (particularly processed foods), as well as non-food items like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are halaal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.

Foods that are not halaal for Muslims to consume as per various Qurʼanic verses are:

  • Pork
  • Blood
  • Intoxicants and alcoholic beverages
  • Animals killed incorrectly and/or without Allah's name being pronounced before slaughter
    • Animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but "Allah". All that has been dedicated or offered in sacrifice to an idolatrous altar or saint or a person considered to be "divine"
    • Carrion (carcasses of dead animals, i.e. animals who died in the wild)
    • An animal that has been strangled, beaten (to death), killed by a fall, gored (to death), savaged by a beast of prey (unless finished off by a human) or sacrificed on a stone altar.

Quranic verses regarding halaal foods include: 2:173, 5:5, and 6:118-119, 121.

Meat offered by Christians and Jews
In Shia Islam, meats slaughtered by Christians and Jews are haram at all times. However in Sunni Islam, In Surah 5:5 of the Qurʼan, it is written: "The food of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] is lawful for you." Whether this verse refers to any food of the People of the Book is disputed. Thus the lawful food prescribed for the People of the Book is lawful for the Muslims, subject to the express restrictions set up in v. 3 above and reiterated in 6:145 and 16:115, particularly about mentioning Allah's name at the time of slaughter. The word ṭaʻām is the verbal noun of the root ṭaʻama (lit. to eat, to feed) meaning food, including crops, fruits, meat, vegetables, etc. Since the permitted and prohibited food are connected to the manner that an animal's meat is prepared, evidently the word ṭaʻām refers to animals slaughtered by Jews or Christians, provided that during the time of slaughter Allah's name is invoked (6:121). The requirement to invoke Allah's name is a must. In other words the word ṭaʻām refers to dhabīḥah meat; i.e., the meat prepared after the slaughter of an animal by cutting the throat (i.e., the jugular vein, the carotid arteries, and the trachea) and during slaughter Allâh's name is invoked (Ibn ʻAbbās, Mujāhid, ʻIkrimah - all quoted by Ṭabarī, Ibn Kathīr).

According to some scholars from the Muslim world this verse speaks about the Christians of Muhammad's time and say that Christian methods of slaughter and consumption have changed over time as the diet played lesser importance in the daily practice of Christians. They also point to Deuteronomy, chapter 14, verse 8, in the Bible, which says "Thou shall not eat of the swine nor shall you touch its dead carcasses." Pork and pork related products, which are forbidden in Islam, are consumed by Christians (with the exception of the official teachings of The Seventh-day Adventist Church which also teaches Scriptural dietary instruction), and used widely in food and food products,

According to Islamic scholar Abū Bakr Muhammad Ibn al-'Arabī, because "Christians are Scripturists, God grants them a greater degree of respect than others who revere multiple divine beings; that respect is expressed through the permission of Christian meat", and therefore proclaimed:

I have been asked regarding the Christian who twists the neck of a chicken and then cooks it--may it be eaten with him or may one take it from him for food? ... I say: It may eaten, because this is his food and the food of his learned and pious authorities, even though this is not proper slaughter according to us. Nevertheless, God, exalted be He, permitted their food without restriction. Everything which they regard as permitted in their religion is permitted for us according to our religion, except for what God, praised be He, has shown to be their lies.

Kosher meats, which are consumed by Jews, are permitted to be eaten by Sunni Muslims. This is due to the similarity between both methods of slaughter and the similar principles of kosher meat which are still observed by the observant Jews today.

Exception if no halaal is available
If there is absolutely no other halaal food available and the Muslim is forced by necessity, then a Muslim is allowed to eat non-halaal food in order to prevent death due to starvation.

Dhabihah: method of slaughter

An animal slaughtered by Dhabihah in Egypt

Dhabīḥah is the prescribed method of slaughter for all meat sources, excluding fish and other sea-life, per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering animals consists of using a well-sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, windpipe, and jugular veins. The head of an animal that is slaughtered using halaal methods is aligned with the qiblah. In addition to the direction, permitted animals should be slaughtered upon utterance of the Islamic prayer 'Bismillah' "in the name of God."

Generally, killing animals in Islam is only permissible for two main reasons:

  • To be eaten.
  • To eliminate their danger, e.g., a rabid dog.


Globally, halaal food certification has been criticised by anti-Halaal lobby groups and individuals using social media. These critics argue that the practice results in added costs, a requirement to officially certify intrinsically-halaal foods, leads to consumers subsidising a particular religious belief. Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Keysar Trad told a journalist in July 2014 that this was an attempt to exploit anti-Muslim sentiments.

The British Veterinary Association, along with citizens who have assembled a petition with 100,000 signatures, have raised concerns regarding a proposed halaal abattoir in Wales, in which animals are not to be stunned prior to killing.

Concern about slaughtering, without prior stunning, has resulted in the religious slaughter of animals being banned in Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

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