“O you who believe! Eat of the wholesome and pure
(Tayyibat) that We have provided for you, and be thankful
To Allah if it is he alone whom you worship.”
(Al-Baqarah, 2:172)

The word Halaal means permissable, and it has informally entered the English language with that meaning. But halaal laws have their origin in the Bible, and are detailed in the Quran and the codes of Islamic faith. They have been applied through the centuries to ever-changing situations, and these rulings, both ancient and modern, govern halaal certification.

You may already be familiar with some of the more well-known requirements, but you may be surprised at the extent of the regulations with which you are not familiar.

The Bible lists the basic categories of food items which are not halaal / haraam. These include certain animals, fowl and fish (such as pork and rabbit, eagle and owl, catfish and sturgeon), most insects, and any shellfish or reptile. In addition, of meat and fowl being halaal it must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner.

Why do so many foods require halaal supervision? For example, shouldn’t cereals and potato chips be inherently halaal since they are not made from meat, fowl, fish or insects? The answer is that all units and subunits in a food item must be halaal as well. Thus, for example, a cereal may be non-halaal / haraam because it has raisins which are coated with a non-halaal/haraam, animal-based glycerin. Potato chips can be non-halaal/haraam if the vegetable oil used in the fryer has been refined and deodorized on equipment used for production. In fact, equipment used for hot production of non-halaal/haraam products may not be used for halaal production without undergoing a thorough cleaning procedure.

Interested in learning more? See our Halaal Guide.