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What is Halal?

اعوذ باالله من الشيطن الرجيم    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم    الحمد لله  رب العالمين . الرحمن الرحيم . ملك يوم الدين . اياك نعبد و اياك نستعين . اهدناالصراط المستقيم . صراط الذين انعمت عليهم ' غيرالمغضوب عليهم ولاالضالين
   


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What is Halal?

 

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of Halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, we will use these terms only in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, and food contact materials.

While many things are clearly Halal or clearly haram, there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorize them as Halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as Mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.

All foods are considered Halal except the following, which are haram:

  • Swine/pork and its by-products

  • Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering

  • Animals killed in the name of anyone other than ALLAH (GOD)

  • Alcohol and intoxicants

  • Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears

  • Blood and blood by-products

  • Foods contaminated with any of the above products

Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, etc. are questionable (Mashbooh) because the origin of these ingredients is not known.

 

  1. Alcohol
    • Alcohol is a colorless liquid, produced by the fermentation of sugar or starch, that is the intoxicating agent in fermented drinks and is used as a solvent. Also called ethanol and ethyl alcohol.
  2. Animal Shortening*
    • Shortening is a type of fat such as lard that is solid at room temperature, and is used for making pastry.
    • Vegetable shortening is halal.
  3. Animal Fat*
    • May be consumed if from Halal, Zabihah, animals.
  4. Bacon
    • Meat from the back and sides of a hog that has been salted, dried, and often smoked.
  5. Broth* (from animals)
    • A liquid made by cooking vegetables, meat, seafood, or poultry in water for a long time, used as a base for soups and sauces.
  6. Enzymes* (Microbial Enzymes are okay)
    • A protein substance produced in living cells, that influences a chemical reaction within a plant or animal without being changed itself; an organic catalyst. Enzymes help break down food so that it can be digested. Pepsin is an enzyme.
  7. Ethanol
    • Alcohol is a colorless liquid, produced by the fermentation of sugar or starch, that is the intoxicating agent in fermented drinks and is used as a solvent. Also called ethanol and ethyl alcohol.
  8. Ethyl Alcohol
    • Alcohol is a colorless liquid, produced by the fermentation of sugar or starch, that is the intoxicating agent in fermented drinks and is used as a solvent. Also called ethanol and ethyl alcohol.
  9. Gelatin*
    • An odorless, tasteless, protein substance like glue or jelly, obtained by boiling the bones, hoofs, and other waste parts of animals. It dissolves easily in hot water and is used in making jellied salads and desserts, camera film, and glue.
  10. Gin
    • A strong colorless alcoholic drink distilled from grain and flavored with juniper berries.
  11. Ham
    • Meat cut from the thigh of the hind leg of a hog after curing by salting or smoking.
  12. L-cysteine (if from human hair)
    • L-cysteine is an ingredient which is used in bakery products as a dough conditioner. It is often used in pizza crusts, pita breads and in bagels. It is made from human hair, chicken/duck feathers and synthetic materials. L-cysteine from human hair is Haram and must always be avoided. Synthetic and chicken/duck feather L-cysteine is Halal and may be consumed.
  13. Lard
    • The fat of pigs or hogs, melted down and made clear. Lard is made especially of the internal fat of the abdomen and is used in cooking.
  14. Lipase* (Only animal lipase should be avoided)
    • An enzyme produced by the liver, pancreas, or stomach, or by plant seeds, that breaks down fats.
    • Animal lipase should be avoided.
  15. Pepsin
    • An enzyme in the gastric juice of the stomach that helps to digest meat, eggs, cheese, and other proteins.
  16. Rennet* All forms should be avoided except for plant/microbial/synthetic.
    • Substance containing rennin, obtained from the stomach of a calf or other ruminant, used for curdling milk in making cheese and junket.
  17. Rum
    • An alcoholic liquor made from sugar cane or molasses. It can be clear but is usually colored brownish-red by storage in oak casks or by the addition of caramel.
  18. Stock* (from animals)
    • A liquid made by simmering meat, fish, bones, or vegetables with herbs in water, used in soups, stews, and sauces.
  19. Wine
    • Alcohol fermented from grapes: an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the juice of grapes.
    • Alcohol fermented from other fruit: an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the juice of fruit other than grapes, or the juice of other plants.
  20. Tallow*
    • A hard fatty substance extracted from the fat of sheep and cattle.
  21. Vanilla Extract/Flavour
    • A flavouring extract made from the vanilla bean and used in candy, ice cream, and perfumes.
    • The flavour extracted from vanilla beans is most commonly dissolved in alcohol. Documentation from a distributor of vanilla extract showed that the ingredient contained 50% alcohol.
  22. Whey (Should be avoided unless the rennet used in its production is plant/microbial/synthetic.)
    • The watery part of milk that separates from the curd when milk sours and becomes coagulated, or when cheese is made.
    • Rennet is used to curd the milk. Whey should be avoided because the rennet used to curd the milk could be from a haram or non-Zabihah animal.
*May be consumed if from Halal or Zabihah animals.


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HALAL GLOSSARY
 
 
 
 
 
A term from the Quran. It refers to the People who received Divine Scriptures and is a reference to the Christians and the Jews.
 
The proper name of GOD, The Creator. ALLAH is a single being with no partners.
 
Compounds that delay or prevent oxidation of foods. Examples are BHA, BHT and citric acid.
 
Butylated Hydroxy Anisole. It is an antioxidant. BHA is Halal.
 
An extract from Irish Moss, which forms a gel in food systems. It is used as a food ingredient. Carrageenan is Halal.
 
The major protein in milk. It is used in the manufacture of most cheeses. It may be Halal or haram, depending upon the enzyme used to produce it.
 
A semi-viscous sweet syrup containing chocolate, sugar and other ingredients. It is used in making candy, drinks and other chocolate flavored foods. Chocolate liquor is not alcoholic and is Halal, unless haram ingredients are added to it.
 
A group of chemical compounds used in liquid foods to remove cloudiness due to suspended matter.
 
A white crystalline chemical called potassium bitartarate.
 
Several bacteria and other microbes used singly or in combination to bring about fermentation in several foods. They are used in the manufacture of fermented milks, cheeses and fermented meat products.
 
Fatty substances containing glycerol and two fatty acids. Diglycerides can be made from animal or vegetable fats and they are used as an emulsifier in food products. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way or from plant sources, they are Halal. Otherwise they are haram. Currently, it is best to look for products using only 100% vegetable diglycerides.
 
A chemical substance that keeps fats (or oils) dispersed in water or water droplets dispersed in fats (or oils). Emulsifiers are used in foods containing both fats (or oils) and water. Examples of emulsifiers are lecithin and mono and diglycerides. Emulsifiers can be made from animal or vegetable sources. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way or from plant sources, they are Halal. Otherwise they are haram.
 
Protein substances found and formed in all living cells. They bring about chemical reactions inside and outside the body, without being consumed themselves. They are extracted from animals or microorganisms and are utilized in the food industry to manufacture cheese and other products. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way, from plant sources or from microorganisms, they are Halal. Otherwise they are haram. Currently, it is best to look for microbial enzymes.
 
A derived protein of animal origin. It is made from the skins, bones and connective tissues and used in desserts and as an additive in a variety of food products. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way, it is Halal. Otherwise it is haram. Unless a product containing gelatin is certified Halal or says Halal gelatin, it is most likely haram and should be avoided.
 
An Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. Halal certification indicates a product is lawful or permitted.
 
An Arabic word meaning unlawful or prohibited.
 
A saturated fat derived from pork. It is used in frying oils and bakery products. Lard is haram and any products containing lard are haram.
 
An emulsifier comprised of glycerol, two fatty acids, phosphoric acid and choline. It is extracted from egg yolks, soybeans or animal fats. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way, from plant sources or egg yolks, it is Halal. Otherwise it is haram. It is best to stick to products that are Halal certified or contain vegetable lecithin or soya lecithin.
 
An Arabic word meaning suspect or questionable. Mashbooh items can be produced from Halal or Haram sources. When the specific source is not known, the items are suspect or questionable.
 
Fatty substances containing glycerol and one fatty acid. Monoglycerides can be made from animal or vegetable fats and are used as emulsifiers in food products. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way or from plant sources, they are Halal. Otherwise they are haram. Currently, it is best to look for products using only 100% vegetable diglycerides.
 
An enzyme extracted from animal stomachs, especially pig stomachs, and used in the production of cheese. Pepsin is haram.
 
The Divine revelation to the Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him. The Quran was revealed through he Archangel Jibril, may peace be upon him, and is the direct words of ALLAH. It was memorized by the Prophet and his followers and continues to be memorized by thousands of Muslims. The Quran is the source of wisdom and law for Muslims.
 
An enzyme extracted from the 4th stomach of calves and used in the production of cheese. If the calves are slaughtered in the Islamic way, it is Halal. Otherwise it should be avoided. Microbial rennet is Halal.
 
A blend of fats and/or oils used in baked products. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way or from plant sources, it is Halal. Otherwise it is haram. Currently, it is best to look for products using only vegetable shortening.
 
A long chain fatty acid found abundantly in most saturated fats. It can also be synthesized. It is used to make functional chemicals and metallic stearates (sodium stearate, potassium stearate, etc.) for a variety of food applications. If made from Halal animals slaughtered in the Islamic way or from plant sources, it is Halal. Otherwise it is haram. Currently, it is best to look for products using only vegetable stearates.
 
A white solid fat obtained from cattle, sheep or goats and used in making shortenings and frying oils. If made from animals slaughtered in the Islamic way, it is Halal. Otherwise it is haram. Currently, it is best to avoid edible products containing tallow unless they are Halal certified.
 
The watery part of milk that separates from the curd during cheese making. It is used as an ingredient in many products. If the enzyme used to produce the whey and cheese is Halal, the whey is Halal. Otherwise it is not. It is best to avoid products containing whey unless they are Halal certified.
 
 
 
 
Definitions and descriptions were extracted from the book Islamic Dietary Laws and Practices, by Mohammad M. Hussaini, M.S. and Ahmad H. Sakr, Ph.D.

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