ORIGIN OF THE TERM Ḥalāl
The term Ḥalāl (حلال, ḥalāl, halaal) is an Arab word that means “licit”.
In the Arab language , this term is used to classify what is allowed in Islam, in opposition to what is forbidden.
This concept is employed for the behaviour, the way of talking and eating habits.
In the eastern world it is linked to food prepared in a good way according to Islam law.
In Muslim world, many people from different religions and Islamic communities have different ideas of “halāl”.
People who employ the food philosophy believe that ḥalāl is every thing that doesn’t contain a forbidden substance, and if meat has been slaughtered according to the tradition and the Islamic rite, written in the Sunna also know as dhabīḥa.
According to this rite animals must be aware conscious while they are killed. They must kill them cutting trachea and oesophagus, killing animals by loss of blood.
This is the most severe interpretation of ḥalāl and it is also very common Muslim way of thinking, because it follows Islamic laws.
We deduce that food is a very important topic of the Islamic Shari°ah.
HOW IS CLASSIFIED FOOD ACCORDING Halāl PRECEPTS
Food can be classified in two main sectors:
PLANTS, FRUIT, VEGETABLES, SEEDS
Unless food doesn’t contain dangerous substances for the human being (poison, narcotic substances) it can be eaten.
They can be divided in 3 categories:
a) Water creatures;
b) Earth creatures;
c) Flying creatures, such as birds.
It is allowed (ĥalāl) eat every type of fish with scales such as: trout, salmons, pikes, surmullets, codfishes, striped mullets, carps, hakes, anchovies, herrings, basses, grey mullets, groupers, snappers, tunas, gilthead bream, soles, sardines and shrimps.
The following creatures are forbidden: turtles, whales, crabs, lobsters, eels, morays, swordfishes, rays, octopuses, squids, clams, oysters and seafood.
In order to be considered ĥalāl, so edible, the water creature must be caught alive, but fishing methods aren’t mentioned. Fish eggs are forbidden if the fish is forbidden.
This category includes every animal living in the mainland .
Among domestic animals are allowed: cows, camels, goats, sheep; these animals have cloven-hoofed , divided in two parts.
Among wild animals are allowed: wild cows, mountain sheep, gazelles, muttons, deer, and are considered (makruh), eating mule, donkey and horse meats.
It is not allowed to eat animals with:
- paws and canine teeth such as: rabbits, dogs, monkeys, elephants and pigs;
- reptiles, snakes and turtles;
- insects, flies, parasites, locusts are licit;
Also if an animal is killed by the Islamic rite some parts are forbidden: spleen, penis, testicles, blood, bladder, placenta, bile, vagina, vertebral muscles from neck to coccyx, marrow, pupils, glands, and small gland under the brain.
Are licit flying animals with the body covered with feathers, or non predatory birds (without claws). To these rules are added new criteria that we don’t cite in order to simplify we can sat that:
- chicken, turkey, goose, capon, duck, partridge, guinea-fowl, pigeon, lark, woodcock, ostrich, pheasant, thrush are licit, so ĥalāl;
- predatory birds such as hawks, vultures, eagles, peacocks, crows, bats, and their eggs are forbidden; hoopoes, swallows, and swans are not recommended.
In order to eat licit animals, it is important to slaughter animals with the Islamic rite, cutting at the same time internal jugular vein, carotid and trachea, with a sharp knife. The requirements for a correct slaughter are:
- The butcher must be Muslim and he has to know what is licit or not;
- It is better if the knife is made of iron;
- At the moment of the slaughtering the animal must be placed with the snout to the Saint Ka’baa;
- The butcher must pronounce the saint name of Allah;
- It is important to check that the animal bleeds regularly;
- The animal must be alive and healthy at the moment of the slaughter.
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND GAMBLING
It is illicit to drink alcoholic beverages, also in modest quantity, participate in the preparation of these beverages, supply and sell them, because alcoholicbeverages decrease or cancel the rational capacities of the human being, which is the difference between humans and animals. Alcoholic beverages facilitate also unclean behaviours. Gambling is illigal.
WHY HALAL CERTIFICATION IS IMPORTANT
Halal certification is important for Italian companies that aim to export their products in Muslim territories, where there are Islamic rules for food and slaughtering which are called “islamically correct”.
The Islam population is composed of almost 2 billion people, 2 million in Italy and 25 million in Europe. According to experts forecasts they will be 70 million in 2025, this is way having the Halal certification is vital.
This certification is essential both for export slaughtered animals such as bovine and other licit animals., and for food that may contain parts of slaughtered animals. For this reason there is a procedure and a list of food that require the Halal certification and other that don’t need it.
Halal Italia and Halal Italy are two certificate authorities for excellence “Made in Italy” products that follow licit rules (halal) in agri-food, healthcare, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, insurance and financial sectors.
The certification is added very often to already existing procedures such as ISO and HACCP, indeed the Halal certification considers product chains, hygiene norms, in order to ensure to large-scale distribution consumers Muslim or not, a high quality product with high quality standards.