Islam / Sharia /
In Islam, term designating what is accepted to the faithful, whether acts or food.
Ritual halal slaughtering. Photo: Tatiana Stanton.
Halal is taking over in Norway. This is from Rema 1000, a regular Norwegian shop, selling only halal chicken. In Norway, halal is the only meat in prisons too, since 1/3 of all inmates are Muslims, a growing percentage.
Halal has its regulations from Sharia, Muslim law. The opposite term is haram. The literary meaning of 'halal' is 'released'.
A narrower, but very common, concept of halal is used only with food regulations, covering permitted food and methods of slaughtering.
Halal food is specified according to what is not permitted; everything else is allowed.
All parts of pork is not permitted, as well as blood from any animal; and alcohol. Medicinal alcohol has been permitted in many cases.
Shellfish is permitted among Sunnis, but not Twelver Shi'is, who also prohibits fish without scales like shark and eels.
Modern understanding allows no deviation from eating halal, but the actual regulation allows a Muslim to eat other foods if that is all that is available.
Halal slaughtering is often done by professional butchers, but there are many traditions in which the head of the family butchers with great pride, then often in Id al-Kabir.
"In the name of God. God is greater" is uttered before the windpipe and the jugular vein is cut in one swift stroke.
The animal is let to bleed itself to death, emptying the flesh for most of the blood.
Game is halal if the same blessing is uttered in the moment of killing, fish is halal only by being caught alive.