I have collected some authentic information about Halal Meat and some problems relating to that; because in recent days there are many discussions about this controversial issue. Everybody should know that religious rules in private life cannot be prevented by any way. The halal meat problem is a religious problem and Muslim cannot make any concession from their religion. The religion is one of the five basic values in Islam which must be protected and cannot be abandoned.
1. Halal and Haram Definitions
Halal is derived from Arabic which means allowed or permitted, while haram is Arabic for not allowed or forbidden. Halal as:
· Not constituting or not containing any parts or matter derived from animals forbidden to Muslims for consumption by Islamic Law or not slaughtered in compliance.
· Not containing anything considered as unclean according to Islamic Law
· Not prepared, processed or produced with equipment tainted by anything unclean according to Islamic Law.
· Not coming into contact or close proximity to any food which does not comply with anything considered unclean according to Islamic Law during preparation, processing or storage.
Muslims (in predominantly non-Muslim countries) are faced with problems in eating and drinking because they don’t find foods that familiar and desirable to them nor are their ingredients known to them. This is so because the host community is not Islamic. It has it own values, customs and habits which naturally do not abide by the laws of Islam. So when a Muslim desires to eat any food in a restaurant, he is faced with the problem of whether or not the food is permissible and pure.
A variety of food exists in the market, nicely presented to consumers. However, a more critical factor to the Muslim consumers is the halal or haram status of the food. Muslims are raised to eat clean and safe food. Islamic Law takes into consideration the source of the food, its cleanliness, the manner it is cooked, served and eaten, and finally the method of its disposal. Solution should be enlightened the obscure and clarified the ambiguous about halal food.
2. Questions about Halal Meat
With regard to the status question, a number of relevant sub-questions crops up:
1. What is the judgment of Qur’an about slughter of cattel in the slaughterhouse?
2. What is the demand for halal food?
4. What are the methods which promote and protect the interests of consumers of Islamic food and nutrition in general?
5. What is the way which control and inspect the ritual slaughtering according to Islamic rites, as well as for the processing of food products?
6. What is the meaning “people of the book” in Islamic Law?
There are many prerequisites for halal meat to be attractive, profitable and lucrative in a market. First, halal meat must clearly be of the highest quality. There must also be a clear system to properly authenticate that the meat is actually halal. The transportation of halal meat is also an issue since the transporting and packaging methods must themselves be halal. For example, the meat must be transported free from the contaminants or non-halal substances such as pork. Also, the timely supply of halal meat is necessary. For many Muslim families, halal meat is a major portion of their diets and meat must be available at all times to meet this need and at a constant quality and price. Today, one can get good quality of meat from a butcher or local grocery store, but when one goes there again the next week the meat will be of inferior quality. There is a strong need to stabilize and standardize the halal trade. Besides just butcheries selling meat directly, there must also be a sufficient availability of establishments to distribute prepared halal meat specialties. More restaurants are needed. There has been a major increase in the occurrence of halal meat restaurants in European and Dutch cities. There is a great need for diversification of these restaurants to include not just traditional Turkish, Moroccan, Indian and Pakistani foods, but many other types of oriental or European cuisines.
3. Concepts of halal and haram Foods from an Islamic perspective
Muslims use two major terms to describe food: Halal and haram. Halal is an Arabic word which means permitted or lawful. There are no restrictions on consumption or use of halal food. haram is an Arabic word which means forbidden or unlawful. There are prohibitions on consumption and use of haram food. Other terms used are makrooh, mashbooh and dhabiha. makrooh is an Arabic word meaning ‘religiously discouraged’ or ‘disliked’. It covers any food and liquid which are disguised or harmful to the body. Mashbooh is also Arabic word meaning ‘suspected’. it covers the gray area between halal and haram. Dhabiha is another Arabic word meaning ‘slaughtered’ according to Islamic method. Halal is the most important and integral part of Islamic life. This is a god given standard for a Muslim to live by. Most Americans and Europeans have at least a rough idea that Kosher refers to Jewish dietary laws. But almost unknown to Americans and Europeans is the meaning of halal—the Islamic counterpart of Kosher. The rules of halal are similar to kosher requirements: no pork or its by-products, no carrion; no blood (and carcasses must be thoroughly bled after slaughter). In addition the name of Allah must be pronounced at the moment of slaughter; certain forms of death are unacceptable; and intoxicants of any kind, including alcohol, are forbidden (Chaudry, 1992).
It is incumbent on every Muslim to ensure he/she consumes only what is Halaal and pure and to ensure that all the requirements of Thabeehah have been strictly adhered to when purchasing meat. Unfortunately, the Muslim Community is so gullible, whenever any sign or label is attached to a product as Halaal, even if the Company is non-Muslim they will accept and purchase the product.
HARAAM ANIMALS The following categories including any product derived from them or contaminated with them have been prohibited.
· Meat of dead animals [carrion].
· Meat of strangled animals, preventing their blood from flowing
· Meat of dead animals through beating
· Meat of dead animals through falling from a height.
· Meat of dead animals killed by [the goring of] a horn
· Meat of animals devoured by wild beasts
Blood that flows forth as distinguished from blood adhering to flesh or organs food on which any other name has been invoked beside that of Allah Meat of swine [pig] including all its by-products. Intoxicants including all types and varieties of alcohol or intoxicating drugs. Carnivorous animals, like lions, wolves, dogs, cats. Birds of prey, such as eagles, vultures, falcons. Reptiles, like snakes, crocodiles, turtles. Mules and Asses. Pests such as rats and scorpions. Procreative organs of animals.
HALAAL ANIMALS: Halaal animals for Muslims are cattle, calves, sheep, goat, camel, deer, poultry, rabbit, game-birds, fish, etc. These animals will only be considered Halaal when slaughtered according to the Islamic method.
Thabah, the Islamic method of slaughtering animals
The Islamic system of slaughtering is a system ordained by Allah Ta’ala, the Creator of the animal being slaughtered. The Qur’aan mentions:
So eat of [the meat] on which Allah’s name has been pronounced [slaughtered by invoking His name] if you have faith in his signs [Surah Ma’idah: Verse 18]
Islam has adopted many measures to ensure humane treatment to animals.
· The animal should not be cruelly transported, handled and dragged to the place of slaughter.
· The animal should preferably be fed before slaughter.
· The animal should be laid down as calmly as possible and not be blindfolded during slaughter nor slaughtered in the presence of another animal.
· When bringing the second animal for slaughtering the blood of the first animal should be washed away from the spot
· The knife should not be sharpened in the presence of the animal while it has been laid down ready for slaughter.
· The animal should not be stunned before slaughter.
· The animal should be slaughtered as quickly and professionally as possible. The animal should not be skinned or dismembered while there is some movement in the body.
This humane system can never satisfy the demands of commercial enterprise. The Islamic System is too slow to make money. Way must be made for an easy mechanical or electrical system conducive to material gain labeling Islamic Thabah as inhumane.
Objection to Stunning
Stunning entails the shooting of a 10cm [4 inch] steel pin or bolt into the skull or head of an animal. This causes brain hemorrhage and sometimes results in blood oozing out of the animals mouth, if the voltage is high. On occasions more than one bolt is fired into the animals head to bring about unconsciousness. Over time this causes death to the animal before slaughter, whilst stunning, brutally renders the animal immobile, Thabah brings about immediate unconsciousness followed by death within seconds.
Method of Thabah
The animal is slaughtered with a sharp, prepared knife. The person doing Thabah must be an adult well versed with the laws and method of Thabah. He invokes the name of Allah [Takbir] verbally before each slaughter and with each uninterrupted movement cuts the Hulqum [trachea (windpipe) and oesophagus (gullet)] and thw Wudjaan [both the jugular veins], immediately causing death to the animal. The combined circumference of the jugulars, the two major blood vessels make the neck the ideal place to cut and bleed the animal, which is thereafter skinned and dressed. Whilst ostensibly it may appear cruel as many animal rights group claim, it is painless and this is to be considered for the welfare of animals. The process of bleeding is pain-free and can be confirmed by any blood donor.
Cutting and cleansing of Halaal animals.
All equipment used for cutting, hanging, and slaughtering the animal need cleansing in the Islamic way. These items should not be contaminated with Non-Halaal items, if this happens they need to be re-cleaned.
Storage of Halaal meat at Suppliers, Slaughters, and Site Freezers
Halaal meat needs to be stored separately from other meat. This can be achieved in a number of ways;
· Separate storing facility.
· Meat is stored in a separate compartment within the same facilities.
· Loose meat should be packed and stored in an isolated corner of the facilities so that no kind of contact is made with other meat or anything Non-Halaal.
· Label, where appropriate, all Halaal meat when stored in the same facility.
· Ensure that handlers are versed in contamination and understand Halaal.
Contamination of meat
Once the meat is slaughtered in the Halaal manner this does not certify that this same product will be consumed Halaal. The Halaal diet entails that the product, whether from the slaughter house or any other source, remains Halaal throughout the processing, storing, cooking and serving stages. An item can become Haraam if during these procedures it is contaminated by Haraam items.
Certification and site appraisal
The certification for Halaal meat supplied by slaughterers and suppliers, although sufficient for governmental institutes as proof of authenticity, can easily be misused. Any site Appraisal for Halaal suppliers needs to be done by an expert on Halaal procedures and should be done without prior notice and open access.