A major aspect of Muslim culture and life is understanding what is allowed and what is forbidden. Nowhere is this more important than with food. Muslims everywhere are concerned with ensuring they only eat halal food.
Of course, this brings up the questions: What is halal?
Halal in arabic means something that is good and permissible. This doesn't only mean food, but in common usage, it usually refers to food. So food that is halal is considered good, or permissible, according to Islam.
Understanding what is truly permissible is a very important aspect of the Islamic religion, hence it is also a vital part of Muslim culture.
Allah tells us that He has made the good things from the earth permissible to us in the following verse:
O People, eat of what is approved in the land, purified goodness. And do not make yourselves follow the footsteps of Satan (the one that moves you out of your natural place).
It should also be noted that this same verse signifies that following Satan takes us out of our natural harmony with Allah.
What Can Muslims Eat?
When it comes to food, Muslims must make sure they only eat food that is halaal, or permissible. Allah has also given us guidance in this manner as well.
Basically, Muslims can eat everything that Allah and His messenger have not forbidden. Therefore it is not really necessary to find out if something is permissible. It is actually more important to understand what is forbidden, and learn to avoid those things.
After all, the vast majority of edible things on this planet are permissible, or halal. There are only a few things that are haraam, or forbidden. So if Allah has not forbidden a certain item, it is generally safe to assume that it is permissible.
What Can't Muslims Eat?
Allah has also given us very clear directions on what is forbidden, or haram, as well. He says:
Was forbidden upon you (plural) the dead and the blood and pig’s meat and what was announced to other than Allah in it and the strangled and the physically abused and the fallen and the gored and what the animal of prey ate except what you slaughter/ finish off.
This verse lays the groundwork for what we cannot eat namely:
While these are the basics, there are other things that Muslims cannot eat that are not mentioned in the Quran such as:
Halal and Zabiha
Often Muslims confuse halal with zabiha. Halal simply means something that is permissible, and when it comes to food, that means food that is allowed.
But the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) details how we are to kill animals for meat.
Narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ordered that a horned ram be brought to him so that he could sacrifice it.
So for meat to be classified as Zabiha and slaughtered according to the Sunnah (tradition) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) it must:
The most important thing is to understand that Allah wants us to have ease, but also wants us to eat what is pure and good.
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