A Muslim butcher opened recently in our neighborhood and they sell halal meat. We wondered, what exactly does "halal" mean?
Halal is an Arabic word that means "permissible." In terms of food, it means food that is permissible according to Islamic law. For a meat to be certified "halal," it cannot be a forbidden cut (such as meat from hindquarters) or animal (such as pork.)
The slaughter of a halal animal is called "zabihah" and there are certain guidelines to follow:
- Allah's (God's) name must be pronounced during slaughter.
- The instrument must be very sharp to ensure humane slaughter. The animal must be slit at the throat.
- The animal must not be unconscious
- The animal must be hung upside down and allowed to bleed dry. Eating blood is not halal.
- These steps must be accomplished by a Muslim or the People of the Book (Christian or Jew.) Many observant Muslims find kosher meat acceptable.
- The animal must have been fed a natural diet that did not contain animal by-products.