Halal food | Masjid Tsukuba

The Halal And The Haram In The Private Life of Muslim

Resource: The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, by Yusuf al-Qaradawi


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Islam Permits What Is Wholesome

Allah addressed all human beings saying, O mankind! Eat of what is permissible and good on earth, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan; truly he is an open adversary to you. (2:168)

Thus He speaks to all the people on this globe, calling on them to eat of the good things which He has provided for them on this vast, outspread table, the Earth, and not to follow the ways of Satan, who has made it alluring to some people to prohibit for themselves various wholesome things which Allah has made halal, thus leading them toward the pitfalls of self-destruction. Then Allah addressed the Believers in particular saying, O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be thankful to Allah if it is He alone whom you worship. Indeed, what He has forbidden to you is the flesh of dead animals and blood and the flesh of swine, and that which has been sacrificed to anyone other than Allah. But if one is compelled by necessity, neither craving (it) nor transgressing, there is no sin on him; indeed, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (2:172-173)

In this particular message to the Believers, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala tells them to eat of the good things of His providing and to give thanks to Him for His favors. He then explains that no food is haram to them except the four kinds mentioned in the ayah. The same four kinds, with some further details, are mentioned at other places in the Qur’an: Say: I do not find in what is revealed to me anything prohibited to an eater in his food unless it be (the flesh of) that which is dead, or flowing blood, or the flesh of swine, for that is indeed foul, or the abomination which has been dedicated to anyone other than Allah. But if one is compelled by necessity, neither craving (it) nor transgressing, then, indeed, thy Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. (6:145)

And in even greater detail: Forbidden to you are the flesh of dead animals and blood and the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to any other than Allah, and that which has been killed by strangling or by beating or by falling or by being gored, and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild beast except that which you make lawful by slaughtering (before its death), and that which has been sacrificed to idols…. (5:4 (5:3))


The Prohibition of Eating What Is Dead and Its Wisdom

The first thing mentioned in these verses concerning prohibited foods is the flesh of “dead animals,” that is, the beast or fowl which dies of natural causes, without being slaughtered or hunted by men. There are obvious reasons for this prohibition:

  1. Eating the flesh of a dead animal is repugnant to civilized taste and is considered by thinking people in all societies to be contrary to human dignity. We also observe that all peoples possessing a revealed scripture have prohibited it and that they do not eat the flesh of an aunless it is slaughtered. However, the methods of slaughter may vary.
  2. In whatever he does, the Muslim acts with a set purpose and; intention; he does not use a thing nor reap its benefit without directing his intention, aim, and effort toward it. The significance of slaughtering, which is a purposeful act, the intention of which is to take the life of the animal in order to use it as food, is to remove the slaughtered animal from the category of “dead animals.” Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala does not desire that man should eat of what he did not intend or think of eating, as is the case with the dead animal; conversely, slaughtering an animal or hunting it as game both require an intention followed by effort and subsequent action.
  3. If the animal died a natural death, it is quite likely that it died of some acute or chronic disease, through eating a poisonous plant, or other similar causes; hence eating its flesh would probably be harmful. The same is the case when the cause of death is old age or starvation.
  4. By prohibiting the flesh of a dead animal to human beings, Allah in His Mercy provides source of food to animals and birds, who, in the words of the Qur’an, constitute an ummah (nation) like themselves. The truth of this is demonstrated by the fact that the carcasses of animals lying out in the open are devoured by birds and animals.
  5. This prohibition encourages the owner of an animal to guard it from disease and malnutrition lest it die and be wasted. Accordingly, in the case of disease, he will be quick to seek a cure for it or will hasten to slaughter the animal.

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