Islamic dietary laws

Islamic dietary laws
This is a sub-article to Hygiene in Islam, Healthy diet and Food and cooking hygiene.

Islamic dietary laws provide direction on what is to be considered clean and unclean regarding diet and related issues.



Islamic jurisprudence specifies which foods are ḥalāl (حلال "lawful") and which are ḥarām (حرام "unlawful"). This is derived from commandments found in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, as well as the Hadith and Sunnah, libraries cataloguing things Prophet Mohammed is reported to have said and done. Extensions of these rulings are issued, as fatwas, by Mujtahids, with varying degrees of strictness, but they are not always widely held to be authoritative. According to the Quran, the only foods explicitly forbidden are meat from animals that die of themselves, blood, the meat of swine (porcine animals, pigs), and animals dedicated to other than God (either undedicated or dedicated to idols), but a person is not guilty of sin in a situation where the lack of any alternative creates an undesired necessity to consume that which is otherwise unlawful. (Quran 2:173) This is the "law of necessity" in Islamic jurisprudence: "That which is necessary makes the forbidden permissible", which, in the case of dietary laws, allows one to eat pork or carrion, or drink wine or ethanol if one was starving or dying of thirst (although the Shafi'i madhhab differs on the issue of ethanolic drinks).

Healthy diet

A healthy diet is considered important in Islam. Some Muslim scholars consider excessive consumption a sin, citing the following verses in the Qur'an, which they interpret as supporting that position:

O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters. (Qur'an 7:31)
It is He Who produceth gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters. (Qur'an 6:141)
O’ Believers! Eat of the good and pure (lawful) that We have provided you with and be grateful to Allah, if you truly worship Him. (Qur'an 2:172)
O People! Eat of what is lawful and good on the Earth and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitaan, for he is your open enemy. (Qur'an 2:168)

Prophet Mohammed is reported to have stated:

"Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5674).
"A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food), and a kafir (unbeliever) or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines (eats too much)." (Reported by Ibn 'Umar. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 306)
"The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food of three persons is sufficient for four persons." (Reported by Abu Huraira. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 304)

Food hygiene

Food hygiene is an important part of Islamic dietary law.


Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة)is a prescribed method of ritual animal slaughter; it does not apply to most aquatic animals. The animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim or by one of the People of the Book, generally speaking, a Christian or a Jew, while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic). According to some fatwas, the animal must be slaughtered specifically by a Muslim, however, other fatwas dispute this, ruling that, according to verse 5:5 of the Qur'an, an animal properly slaughtered by People of the Book is halal. Thus, many Muslims will eat kosher meat. Other relevant verses in Qur'an include 2:173, 5:3, 5:5, 5:90, 6:118, 6:145, 16:115.

Animals for food may not be killed by being boiled or electrocuted, and the carcass should be hung upside down for long enough to be blood-free.[citation needed] All water game is considered halal (although the Hanafi madhhab differs on this): Lawful to you is all water-game, and what the sea brings forth, as a provision for you [who are settled] as well as for travellers, although you are forbidden to hunt on land while you are in the state of pilgrimage. And be conscious of God, unto whom you shall be gathered. Quran 5:96

There are generally no restrictions on the consumption of vegetarian food as the restrictions pertain to slaughter.

Food certification

Halal India

Due to the recent rise in Muslim populations in the United States and Europe, certain organizations have emerged that certify that food products and ingredients met dhabiha standards. The Muslim Consumer Group is an example of an organization that employs certification labelling, using the H-MCG symbol, to identify the status of different edible and non-edible consumer products.

In Islam, Halal is an Arabic term meaning “lawful or permissible” and not only encompasses food and drink, but all matters of daily life. When it comes to halal food, most people think of meat products only. However, Muslims must ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, pharmaceuticals and non food items like cosmetics are also halal. Often these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslim consumption.

Since 1991, mainstream manufacturers of soups, grains, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, prepared foods, and other industries, as well as hotels, restaurants, airlines, hospitals and other service providers have pursued the halal market. Halal Certification tells Muslims that the ingredients and production methods of a product have been tested and declared permissible by a certification body. It also allows companies to export products to most Middle Eastern countries and South East Asian Countries. The oldest and most well known Halal Certifier in the USA is Islamic Services of America.

In Europe, several organizations have been created over the past 20 years in order to certify the halal products. A survey recently published by a French association of Muslim Consumers (ASIDCOM) shows that the market of halal products has been developed in a chaotic way in Europe.[1] The European certification organizations do not have a common definition of "halal" nor agreed upon control procedures and traceability. The controls implemented by individual agencies are all very different: it can go from an annual audit of the slaughterhouse to checking each production with permanent controls in place and on-going independent.

Prohibited food

Some animals and manners of death or preparation can make certain things haram to eat, that is, taboo food and drink. These include what are regarded as unclean animals.


In Islam, alcoholic beverages—or any intoxicant—are generally forbidden in the Qur'an through several separate verses revealed at different times over a period of years. At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend to prayers while intoxicated (4:43). Then a later verse was revealed which said that alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good (In Surah Al-Baqarah: 219, it states "They ask Thee concerning Wine and Gambling, Say: In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit."). This was the next step in turning people away from consumption of it. Finally, "intoxicants and games of chance" were called "abominations of Satan's handiwork," intended to turn people away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (5:90-91). In addition to this, most observant Muslims refrain from consuming food products that contain pure vanilla extract or soy sauce if these food products contain alcohol; there is some debate about whether the prohibition extends to dishes in which the alcohol would be cooked off or if it would be practically impossible to consume enough of the food to become intoxicated.[2][3] The Zaidi and Mutazili sects believe that the use of alcohol as always been forbidden and refer to this Qur'an Ayah (4:43) as feeling of sleepiness and not to be awake.


Blood and its by-products are forbidden in Islam, in the Qu'ran, surah 5 Al-Maeda, verse 3: "Forbidden to you is the dead, and blood...". This includes meats that have not been drained of blood.


Consumption of pork and products made from pork is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The origin of this belief is derived from the chapter of the Cow (Al Baqara) speaks of this: Quran 2.173[4] which states:"He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful." Gelatin made from porcine skin or bones, which makes up roughly 50% of the supply of gelatin on the market, is forbidden. Gelatin made from other halal animals, fish for example, is acceptable.

See also


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