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Halal diet Health Article

Synonyms

Halal, Haraam, Islam, Koran, Muslim, Quran, Zabihah.

Background

The term Halal is an Arabic word that is used as an adjective; directly translated, the word means "permissible." The dietary restrictions observed, to varying degrees, by Muslims are called Halal. In Arabic-speaking countries, the term Halal is a word that describes any behavior that is permissible under Islamic law, including behavior, speech, dress, manner, conduct, and dietary laws. Outside of the Middle East, the term Halal most frequently refers to a specific set of Muslim dietary laws that forbid the consumption of alcohol (even as a flavoring ingredient) and some animals (especially pigs), and designate permissible foods such as chicken, provided that they have been slaughtered according to Islamic law. The rules concerning what is acceptable to eat for Muslims are a fatwa, or an opinion on an official manner according to Islamic law, which is put forth in religious texts and interpreted by experts within the individual's Muslim community.

When a food is forbidden for consumption, it is called Haraam. The term for slaughtering an animal according to Islamic law is "Zabihah." The specific procedures of slaughtering an animal according to Zabihah are included in the diet section of this monograph.

There are many verses in the Koran (Quran), one of the earliest Muslim holy books written by the prophet Mohammed, emphasizing the importance of observing Halal in honor of Allah. These verses are numbered so that the reader can find the specific part of a text (similar to the system used for locating Bible verses) and include Koran 2:173, Korann 5:3, Koran 5:5, Koran 6:145, and Koran 16:115. These citations are frequently cited as Allah's instructions to his people for the importance of observing a Halal diet.

Halal is observed, in varying degrees, by most Muslims. In primarily non-Muslim countries, Halal products are usually purchased at a store specializing in these products. In general, these stores contain only Halal products. In areas with a large Muslim population, many mainstream grocery stores include meat that has been certified Halal. Every Halal meat product has a symbol on the packaging to designate its acceptability to Muslims. This symbol assists adherents in easily locating products that were prepared in observance of their religious beliefs. People who observe the Halal diet tend to know the non-meat foods (cookies, for example) that are Halal, so the labeling of these is less common.

Muslims believe that eating is part of worship, good health, and survival. Overeating and self-indulgence are not permitted. Individuals who follow a Halal diet have another additional and unique yearly restriction in their eating patterns during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. During Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic holy year, people who consume a Halal diet fast from dawn to dusk in celebration of Allah's (God's) revelations to the prophet Muhammad. This is significant because observance of Ramadan and a Halal diet may result in misleading lab test results for healthcare practitioners who are not aware of their patient's eating patterns.

Within the diverse Muslim community, there are differing opinions as to the acceptability of consuming various foods. For instance, Muslims who do not strictly observe Islamic law may find it more acceptable to consume meat and other meat-containing products, which have a questionable Halal status. Most products contain food ingredients and additives that may come from animals that may not be Zabihah (slaughtered according to Halal guidelines), and individuals differ as to the acceptability of eating foods with such ingredients and additives.

Many restaurants have recently begun to prepare Halal foods in order to attract a Muslim clientele. Some fast food chains have begun offering Halal chicken nuggets on their menu, and the Outback Steakhouse® obtained national certification for its menu, which is now entirely Halal.

The term Halal is an Arabic word that is used as an adjective; directly translated, the word means "permissible." The dietary restrictions observed, to varying degrees, by Muslims are called Halal. In Arabic-speaking countries, the term Halal is a word that describes any behavior that is permissible under Islamic law, including behavior, speech, dress, manner, conduct, and dietary laws. Outside of the Middle East, the term Halal most frequently refers to a specific set of Muslim dietary laws that forbid the consumption of alcohol (even as a flavoring ingredient) and some animals (especially pigs), and designate permissible foods such as chicken, provided that they have been slaughtered according to Islamic law. The rules concerning what is acceptable to eat for Muslims are a fatwa, or an opinion on an official manner according to Islamic law, which is put forth in religious texts and interpreted by experts within the individual's Muslim community.

When a food is forbidden for consumption, it is called Haraam. The term for slaughtering an animal according to Islamic law is "Zabihah." The specific procedures of slaughtering an animal according to Zabihah are included in the diet section of this monograph.

There are many verses in the Koran (Quran), one of the earliest Muslim holy books written by the prophet Mohammed, emphasizing the importance of observing Halal in honor of Allah. These verses are numbered so that the reader can find the specific part of a text (similar to the system used for locating Bible verses) and include Koran 2:173, Korann 5:3, Koran 5:5, Koran 6:145, and Koran 16:115. These citations are frequently cited as Allah's instructions to his people for the importance of observing a Halal diet.

Halal is observed, in varying degrees, by most Muslims. In primarily non-Muslim countries, Halal products are usually purchased at a store specializing in these products. In general, these stores contain only Halal products. In areas with a large Muslim population, many mainstream grocery stores include meat that has been certified Halal. Every Halal meat product has a symbol on the packaging to designate its acceptability to Muslims. This symbol assists adherents in easily locating products that were prepared in observance of their religious beliefs. People who observe the Halal diet tend to know the non-meat foods (cookies, for example) that are Halal, so the labeling of these is less common.

Muslims believe that eating is part of worship, good health, and survival. Overeating and self-indulgence are not permitted. Individuals who follow a Halal diet have another additional and unique yearly restriction in their eating patterns during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. During Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic holy year, people who consume a Halal diet fast from dawn to dusk in celebration of Allah's (God's) revelations to the prophet Muhammad. This is significant because observance of Ramadan and a Halal diet may result in misleading lab test results for healthcare practitioners who are not aware of their patient's eating patterns.

Within the diverse Muslim community, there are differing opinions as to the acceptability of consuming various foods. For instance, Muslims who do not strictly observe Islamic law may find it more acceptable to consume meat and other meat-containing products, which have a questionable Halal status. Most products contain food ingredients and additives that may come from animals that may not be Zabihah (slaughtered according to Halal guidelines), and individuals differ as to the acceptability of eating foods with such ingredients and additives.

Many restaurants have recently begun to prepare Halal foods in order to attract a Muslim clientele. Some fast food chains have begun offering Halal chicken nuggets on their menu, and the Outback Steakhouse® obtained national certification for its menu, which is now entirely Halal.

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