Q: What does Halal/Haram mean?
Halal is an Arabic term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is widely used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law.
In contrast to Halal, Haram means forbidden. Haram designates prohibited objects such as food products and actions.
The following food products or nutritional elements are Haram:
- Pork meat and all food products which contain elements of pork meat.
- Alcohol and food products with alcoholic components.
- Meat from animals which died of natural causes.
- Meat from carnivorous animals.
- Blood and its by-products.
- Meat from animals not slaughtered according to the Islamic norms.
- Meat and meat products from predators with fangs.
- Meat and meat products from raptors with claws.
Examples of Quran verses concerning nutrition:
“Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and those animals killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you are able to slaughter before its death, and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and prohibited is that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience.” (5:3)
“He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah.” (2:173)
“Satan only wants to cause between your animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So, will you not desist?” (5:91)
“O you who have believed, fulfil all contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you - hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends.” (5:1)
Q: What is the difference between Halal-slaughtering and the common slaughtering?
The main difference is the usage of anaesthetics in common slaughtering. That is not accepted by the majority of Muslims. The criteria for Halal-slaughters are as noted above.
Q: What are the rules to follow during the slaughter of an animal?
A: The rules are the following.
- The aim of the Islamic regulations regarding the slaughter is to end the animal’s life in a sympathetic, quick and painless manner.
- The slaughter always has to be in the name of Allah, since the animal is also god’s creature. In this way, we ask God for his permission.
- The knife needs to sharpening before the act.
- During the slaughter of the cervical arteries, one incision must cut through the jugular veins and the trachea of the animal. The aim is to let as much blood as possible flow out of the body. After removing the skin, the body is to be open and the spinal column cut out.
- Every practising Muslim trained in Halal slaughter and knowledgeable of the Islamic law can carry out the slaughter.
- Islamic slaughter is a purification process. Therefore, only those animals allowed according to Islamic law go through purification in the name of Allah.
- Sea animals are pure already and, thus, halal. Slaughter is not necessary for this kind of animal.
- Some European countries Forbid Islamic slaughter (Zabiha).
- The majority of Muslims approve of the usage of stunning that does not lead to the death of the animal nor affect the bleeding.
- Muslims must treat the animal with respect and dignity. During the slaughter, there's much emphasis on ensuring that an animal is not able to see other slaughtered animals nor blood. The knife is not sharpened in front of the animal. Also, the animal should be well-rested and well-fed before the slaughtering.
These ensures that the purification process that is Halal slaughtering produces proper Halal meat.
Q: What is the difference between Halal-meat and Kosher-meat?.
A: The differences between Halal meat and kosher meat are small. The regulations for the Jewish as well as the Islamic slaughtering are very similar. Basically, the differences lie in the processing of the meat. Judaism strews the meat with a brine of salt in addition to removing the remaining blood. Moreover, Judaism ditches some fats and the hip tendon of the animal and, therefore, doesn’t consume them. Because of the slightly stricter requirements in Judaism, Muslims can consume Kosher-meat if the animal died in the name of god. On the other hand, Jews are not allowed to consume meat slaughtered according to Islamic rites.
Q: Are non-Muslims allowed to perform Halal-slaughters?
A: No. A sane, practising, and trained Muslim slaughterman performs the Halal slaughtering.
Q: Are non-Muslims allowed to own Halal-slaughterhouses?
A: Yes, they are. Actually, only the person performing the slaughter has to be a practising Muslim.
Q: How can one ensure that a slaughterhouse sticks to the Halal-standards throughout the whole year?
A: To make sure that the slaughter-house does not deviate from the Halal standards, unannounced audits take place during the year. However, there is no way a certification body can supervise the slaughterhouse during the whole year. In this case, we rely on the integrity and sincerity of the customer.
Q: Why does a prayer take place for each animal?
A: Every living creature is a living creature of God. Therefore, a prayer takes place before the slaughtering of every animal to ask for God’s permission for it. This is a crucial step of the Halal slaughtering and, thus, for the proper production of Halal meat.
Q: What does a slaughterhouse have to do in order to get certified?
A: First, the decision-makers must declare a clear intention towards Halal production. The process of Halal-slaughtering and meat processing might be an additional effort for the company. Either the whole slaughterhouse or a certain part of it becomes dedicated to Halal slaughtering. This requires detailed planning and implementation for Halal traceability through the production cycle.
Before the first Halal slaughtering starts the cleaning of all utensils (e.g. knives), machines, and processing lines takes place. The removal of all remains of the previous non-Halal slaughtering also happens. Only then the first slaughtering will go forward.
The planning and cleaning staff receive training on the requirements of Halal slaughtering as well.
The second option is much more complicated in the implementation. There has to be a complete physical separation of the preparation, slaughtering and processing area. Thus, no mixing of the utensils, machines can occur during the whole slaughtering and processing process. Different colour marks for the utensils help avoid any possible mistakes in these cases.
If the whole slaughterhouse produces Halal-meat, there's no possibility of cross-contamination. Thus, it makes it easier to certify the abattoir.
Q: What does a certification look like?
A: HAQ will determine if the company has the intention to produce Halal products, based on supplied documents. The supplied documents shall include a health and a birth certificate of the slaughtered animal. Also, a document that provides information about the breeding condition (e.g. source of feeding) of the animal.
It is also important to check the veterinarian report. If the veterinarian determined any diseases or organ damage, the animal is unfit for slaughter.
To verify the Halal-compliance of the production site, the facility undergoes a very strict review.
It is thoroughly checked that the trained abattoir personnel and their supervisor are Muslims. Also, a check for the sharpness of the knife takes place. This to prevent unnecessary delays and injuries to the slaughtered animal.
If the slaughterhouse employs stunning, they must prove that the slaughtered animal does not die due to the stunning. The period of time between the slaughtering and the skinning is important too. The skin is only removed after the animal is dead and the blood flow has stopped.
Non-Halal exclusive slaughterhouses must separate used materials and the slaughtered animals correctly. This to avoid cross-contamination with the non-Halal meats and by-products.
To create consciousness about the global viability of the Halal industry, we offer Halal training.
HAQ trains prospective customers and enterprisers who are either already active in the Halal industry or are planning to be.
The purpose of these is to strengthen the understanding and trust in the Halal slaughtering and Halal Meat. To expand the global awareness by the clarifying the unique qualities of Halal products. And, finally, to raise the knowledge within the main targeted group, the Muslim community.
HAQ will conduct on-site training of the supervisors and every Muslim slaughterman. All so that they are regularly trained in the in-depth knowledge of Halal slaughtering and meat processing.