How Halal Restaurants Abide Islamic Dietary Laws

By Rachel West

A lot of us have read the word "halal" on food tags and restaurants, but not all of us know what it really means. Our Muslim bpals depend their choice on this word because it signifies what is permitted for them to purchase or eat. For a country that has inhabitants with mixed religious groups, that term is just as significant.

For Muslim-populated countries, seeing halal on food products and restaurants is no problem at all since they are run by Muslims who follow Islamic rules. But for states that have citizens exercising different faiths, then halal is not that easy to come by. Fortunately, more and more establishments are becoming conscious of their consumers' preferences.

The word halal simply means lawful, which implies that if a restaurant declares they are halal-certified or a food product has this term on its label, the preparation of their items is in accordance with the Islamic law. Muslims, therefore, are permitted to use or consume the product.

So what is allowed in Islamic law? There are a number of guidelines, but let's start with how a meat should be prepared. An animal should be butchered by cutting its windpipe and gullet quickly. This method of ritual slaughter is believed to kill instantaneously and painlessly.

And because there are halal or permitted items, there are also haraam or forbidden products. To start with, Muslims are forbidden to eat pork and take alcohol. So a product or a restaurant must not add those ingredients to their menu. There should also be no contamination of the items, meaning, if a utensil has been used to prepare a pork meal, it should not be used anymore to prepare a halal-approved item.

Other prohibited items include blood, carnivores or birds of prey, animals slaughtered in the name of any other god but Allah or have been sacrificed to another idol, and corpse of an animal.

There are Muslim groups who state food products as halal and give halal authentication to eateries. Products that have halal authentication are the ingredients used by halal restaurants to make sure that they observe the Islamic dietary law carefully.

Nowadays, more and more food establishments not run by Muslims still make great effort to follow Islamic dietary laws. Those restaurants show that they value and respect all their clients, regardless of their religious orientations. - 31805

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