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~ New to Islam ~
"Allah! None has the right to be worshipped, but He." Surat Al-Baqarah: 255

What in the World can a Muslim Eat?

December 03, 2005

Bismillah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem

I guess I should preface this post with the following comment - I'm not trying to be difficult or to make your journey as a Muslim difficult. I remember, however, that when I first became a Muslim I really wanted to do my best to follow Islam properly. I was keen to try to get all the foods out of our house that we were no longer allowed to eat and tried my best to read labels and be extra vigilant when purchasing items. Believe it or not - even many years after being a Muslim I would find out one way or another that I was consuming something that was not allowed - it had somehow slipped through. Anyway - I don't want to scare you off - thinking - "how in the heck am I going to survive without all of this?" It really is possible . . .

These days, trying to figure out what you can or cannot eat can be difficult. Sometimes ingredients are hidden - and often we overlook ingredients because we would never think they would put them in the products we are using. Things to easily overlook is vanilla extract (which has a large amount of alcohol in it) and even things like body soap and creams (some of which have gelatin in them). So, we do need to be careful - not only about what you eat - but what you use, in general. The good news is that they make immitation vanilla flavoring (without alcohol) and you can also buy vanilla powder from an International market (but the amounts would vary from the liquid kind). Also, there are body soaps and creams that do not use pork - so you just have to read the label. Usually - after I find something that works for me - I stick with it!

There are a few websites out there that give some detailed information about products and their ingredients. There have even been books written. While you should use them as a guideline - and they can be useful - don't solely rely on them! The thing about the books are - as soon as they are written - they are obsolete - companies change their formulas and recipes all the time - depending on what ingredients are more cost effective, what tastes better, etc. So, something that once did not have pork as an ingredient - may have it later. So, the best advice I can give you is ~ ~ ~ Read the Label ~ ~ ~ I can't emphasize this more.

To help you on this journey, I will provide you some links to websites that talk about different ingredients, different products, etc.

Halal & Haram in the Private Life of a Muslim

What's In It?

Muslim Consumer Group

Eat Halal.com

Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America

Here is a great Q & A area about food ingredients that is worth looking into: Eat-halal

Many Muslims make the mistake of assuming Kosher is the same as Halal - there can be differences.

What is Kosher?

Is Kosher Halal?

Here is an article that emphasizes why halal/haram lists do not work and why:

Halal Haram Lists

Last but not least (perhaps it should have been first) are links to information about what Muslims can/cannot eat. I should mention here that some Muslim scholars have said that you cannot eat any meat or anything that contains meat that is not slaughtered Islamically (by a Muslim - with specific conditions) - and there are some who say it is acceptable to eat food from the "People of the Book". I must mention that I am not going to mention my preference - as I want to provide you with the information and let you make the right decision for yourself and your family. So, I am just providing you with the information. If you are more interested in learning about the differences of opinion, search google or yahoo for "Muslims eat food People of the Book" (quotes not needed). Probably in the near future I will revise this post and put the links for you here (I ran out of time) - sorry!

What is Halal and Haram anyway? You can probably also find a lot of this information on the above websites as well, but want to make sure I have all the bases covered.

Dietary Customs

Information on Halal and Haram Foods in Islam

Check Your Labels

Introduction to Halal

Halal Food

What Constitutes Halal Meat?

Halal Food Authority

IFANCA (Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America)

I also found the following recipe substitutions for ingredients that are not halal. It is no a comprehensive list - but want you to know that in many cases if you are making a recipe - there is possibly a substitution.

Recipe substitutions

Now - I guess I will end by mentioning another controversial issue. You will find more information about it on my other blog - and I will leave you with the link here:

Is there Such Thing as Halal Food Anymore?

I highly recommend you look at this post - it is really enlightening (not just because it was written by me, lol). Just wanted to add one final note - in my other blog I mention my friend calling around to verify what companies could verify what the animals ate, etc. I should mention that those companies were "certified halal" - but really - were they halal? Here is an interesting article that talks about this:

If It's Not Organic, It's Not Halal

Have further questions? Check out the Halal Food Discussion Board

I hope, insha'Allah, that I have in some way made your journey easier with this information. I don't want to overburden you, but want to share any information I have used in the past to help me stay on the straight path. May Allah make this journey for all of us an enlightening one full of blessing and knowledge. Amin.

8:43 PM :: ::
  • Don't forget going to zabihah.com to find halal restaurants and markets in the West...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 PM  
  • To tell you the truth, most muslims these days go with the attitude "if you didn't know what you ate contained haram stuff, then don't worry about it." Ignorance is bliss attitude.

    You would be suprised how many items contain gelatin. Skittles and virtually all candies have gelatin.

    I highly doubt Allah will care about your dietary habits. You will not go to hell for Skittles. Whats more important is that were a good Muslim.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:23 PM  

    By Blogger sara, at 6:58 AM  
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