In the Muslim fraternity, Halal is mostly used to describe what they perceive as acceptable which apply to both food and actions. Now Halal is mostly associated with food (mainly meat) by the Non-Muslim community. Halal is more than one eat or even the type of meat that they eat. Halal nutrition starts from the farm to the cooking table. At the pure base, the animal should live a pure life from the start to the end of its life cycle. In simple terms, it must be well fed, treated well and sacrificed in the good way (Halal way).
How animals are treated before being slaughtered in ‘Halal’ – Halal Nutrition?
In Islam and the Muslim world, an animal should receive good treatment throughout its life cycle. This means, no abuse, no mistreatment or no harm done that may cause it any kind of physical pain. It should also be kept in an area where it has enough space to walk and get fresh air. The nutrients it ingests also must be clean such as clean water, food (usually vegetarian food). As such it should not be fed food that derives from other animals, especially pork since it is forbidden in Islam. It is agreed that the animal should be treated well during its lifespan, thus, have also to be tread well at the time of the Halal Slaughter for our needs (food). What should also be done is that the animal should not be slaughtered among or in the presence of the other animals of the farm since it might not be comfortable for both of them. It should really be done with a sharp object so as to reduce as much pain as possible.
Foods which are Halal (Halal Nutrition):
- Plants (not intoxicant ones)
- Dried fruits or fresh
Sometimes Halal is confused with the term Haram. Let’s see what some of the differences. Haram is a term within used within the Arabic world as being ‘forbidden’. In simple terms it is anything that is forbidden by the Muslim faith. The opposite of Haram is Halal. The religious term Haram is applied to certain food ingredients and food, such as pork or alcohol. It is also applied to people, objects in a way that it is ‘tarnished’. Behaviors or actions such as adultery or abuse is also considered haram. The last things that Haram is applied to is stealing, cheating, murder and any harm to another human being.
Examples of Haram food:
Animals already dead before slaughtering
Animals sacrificed for any other gods other than Allah
Animals without external ears (snakes, insects. etc.)
Blood and its derivatives
Any food that has the mentioned above.
Benefits of Eating Halal (Halal Nutrition):
Although not proved, Halal nutrition is safer that other types of nutrition since one knows how the animals were raised, fed till the moment of their death (slaughter). Most people don’t know where their meat comes from and thus may ingest some germs and bacteria even if the meat is fresh. Apparently animals raised and slaughtered Halal counters all the risks mentioned making it safer to eat and have peace of mind. All Halal meat are fresh right from the butcher, meaning you can get fresh meat at any time of the day or night if you shop at a Halal certified butcher. In addition to that, fresh meat has a lot of benefits. So before buying your meat, make sure you look for the Halal logo and check if the butcher is Muslim and certified.
Since all the blood is drained from the animal body and organs means that it will me harmful substances-free as blood is the source of contamination among cattle and slaughtering. Although not proved too, apparently eating Halal only food which is advertised as being “free from toxic substances”, the brain get all the benefits that boosts the metabolism and fight depression (not proved or researched). Halal food, considered as the only healthy food within the Islamic community is believed to boost the immunity system as a result of eating ‘safe and healthy food’. Well as a whole, you cannot guarantee any meat is healthier than other meats because of the tag, but if you are a Muslim or eat only Halal, you can take a look at those benefits and research done about them (if any) to see if those benefits apply to you.
Like everything to do with religion, Halal comes with controversy. Even though it advertises “painless slaughtering” and treating animals well, some butcher don’t respect that. All animals are required to be stunned before being slaughtered in most countries. A research made said that chicken and other animals are conscious up to 20 seconds after a cut is made across their neck. A cut large as this will most likely trigger the sensory pain centre in the brain. So Halal does not assure that the animal is not feeling pain. Many European countries decided to remove exemption of Halal slaughtering with the quote ‘Animal rights before religion’.
Well just to recap a bit. Muslims are allowed to eat Halal meat from any of the permitted animals in the Quran as long as it is slaughtered the Halal way. People should not confused Halal with Haram since there are both the polar opposite of each other’s. Halal is considered healthier than other types of food by the Muslim world although it has never been proved or researched so we take that as an assumption. Halal does not apply only to food, it applies also to people and objects as a manner to say tarnished. One of the most important things about Halal that connects the Muslim belief is that pork is a no go, and any of its product derivatives such as gelatin and ham among others. So better make sure you take all these in mind before doing your food shopping.