Airlines offer a variety of meal choices to meet passenger needs. There are low-salt meals, vegetarian meals, seafood meals and others. Some airlines even offer Muslim meals. In general, the Muslim meals are not certified by a qualified halal certifying agency. This means it is not known if the meat and other ingredients are derived from Zabiha animals and are free of pork products and alcohol. Airlines will provide certified halal meals when they see sufficient demand to justify it. Every Muslim traveler should request a halal meal and, if unavailable, the traveler should make sure the request is recorded so it can be considered by the airline in the future. Ask for a letter from the head of the food service section in response to your request for a halal meal. That way, you can be sure your request has reached the decision-maker. After registering your request, you may have to opt for the seafood or vegetarian meal. Don't be surprised by ordering a kosher meal, only to find it has been prepared in wine.
And ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, knows best.
IFANCA assumes the question concerns restaurants in predominantly non-Muslim societies.
There are three basic considerations: one is the meat or poultry itself, another is the method of preparation and segregation of halal versus haram meat in the same preparation area and the third is the other items that combine to make up the meal. Let us consider the meat and poultry itself. There are some who interpret the ayah about the food of the People of the Book (Ahlul Kitab) to mean Muslims can eat the meat of halal animals slaughtered by Christians and/or Jews. Others take the ayah about not eating meat that has not been slaughtered with the recitation of the name of ALLAH to mean if Ahlul Kitab do not recite the name of ALLAH during slaughter, thereby making their methods of slaughter unacceptable for consumption by Muslims. There does not seem to be a consensus. Still others add the hadith that what is halal is clear, and what is haram is clear, and that between these two ends are unclear things. The hadith tells us that whoever avoids these unclear matters protects himself from committing sin, and whoever does not avoid them may fall into sin unknowingly. These individuals feel that if a food item is not clearly halal, then it is best to avoid it.
After all this is said, it may still leave room for personal consideration. At IFANCA, we have decided that we shall not certify meat that is slaughtered without Tasmiyyah – the recitation of the name of ALLAH - so we would not certify the meat and poultry used in most of these fast food restaurants.
As to the final matter of preparation and segregation, most restaurants serve pork products as well as beef and chicken. The degree to which a particular restaurant keeps these products segregated and the manner with which employees handle the products has a paramount impact on the final meal product. Unless preparers use clean gloves to prepare each sandwich or wash their hands after touching haram items and before touching non-haram items, preparers would inevitably contaminate the non-haram items. In addition, common grills are sometimes used, as well as common utensils, fryers, etc.
In conclusion, IFANCA would not certify the majority of meals found in these restaurants. For IFANCA to certify them, the restaurants would have to do the following:
We are some distance from achieving this at present, however; as more Muslims and non-Muslims demand halal certified products, more food providers and restaurant owners will start to accommodate them.
Chocolate liquor is a viscous liquid obtained by the grinding of cocoa nibs from the cocoa bean*. It is used in making candy, drinks and other chocolate-flavored products. It does not contain any alcohol, so it is not haram.
*Source: Halal Food Production, Mian N. Riaz & Muhammad M. Chaudry, CRC Press
This is a question that comes up once in a while. Let us take the time to provide a thorough analysis. In Islam, halal means 'lawful' or 'permitted' and refers to all matters of life, not just food. So, Islamically, it is proper to refer to pure foods, marriage to a person whose bloodline is sufficiently far from one's own bloodline, and having marital relations during the nights of Ramadan as being halal. In the same light, it is proper to refer to pork, marriage to your sister or brother, and marital acts performed between dawn and sunset - a.k.a., the fasting hours – during the month of Ramadan, as haram. In fact, any knowingly shameful deed is considered haram.
When it comes to meat and poultry, Muslims also use the term zabiha (dhabiha) to refer to meat from a halal animal slaughtered by a Muslim in the prescribed Islamic way. (Meat from haram animals does not become halal, even if it is slaughtered in the prescribed Islamic way and a Muslim would never slaughter a haram animal.) Conversely, kosher is a term associated only with food. It has a similar meaning as halal does in the context of food, but there are also many differences. Some of the differences are listed below:
· Islam prohibits all intoxicants, including
alcohols, liquors and wines, whereas Judaism regards alcohol and wines as
kosher. Hence kosher foods may contain alcohol. If they do, they are considered
haram in Islam.
· Gelatin is considered kosher by many Jews
regardless of its source of origin. For Muslims, if gelatin is prepared from
swine it is haram. Even if gelatin is prepared from cows that are not zabiha, many scholars consider it haram.
· Kosher practice does not require Jews to
pronounce the name of God on the animals while slaughtering, but Muslims must
pronounce the name of ALLAH on all animals while in the act of slaughtering.
There are other differences between halal and kosher that make some kosher products haram or questionable with respect to Muslim consumption.
These differences may seem minor to some. However, indulging in acts or cuisine that is haram is a very serious offense against ALLAH. Consuming alcohol or pork is a clear violation of ALLAH's commandments and should not be taken lightly. The pronouncement of the name of ALLAH at the time of slaughter is an act of worship and obedience in its own right. Not only is this pronouncement an act of worship of the most high unto itself, it also is the key to many blessings and bounties. Muslims and non-Muslims alike can taste the difference in meat slaughtered in a benign, humane manner and meat slaughtered while foregoing the rite's inherent compassion to the animal.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life but this discussion will be limited to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, and food contact materials.
While many things are clearly halal or haram, there are some things which are not clear. Further information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.
All foods are considered halal except the following sources:
Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, and flavors are questionable (mashbooh), because the origin of these ingredients or components there of, may be haram
Meat and poultry should be processed according to Islamic requirements. This is commonly referred to as Zabiha or Dhabiha. Zabiha refers to slaughtering of an animal or bird by a Muslim according to Islamic requirements. In USA and Canada, Halal meat must also meet all federal and/or state meat inspection laws before it can be sold. The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA®) (www.ifanca.org) is the leading halal-certifying organization in the United States. Products certified by IFANCA normally display the registered Crescent-M service mark on the label.
The benefits of IFANCA Halal Certification are many and include the following:
· IFANCA’s expertise in reviewing the products, the ingredients,
the preparation and processing, and the hygiene and sanitation procedures in
· Implementation of IFANCA’s documented procedure for producing
halal products. The procedure is continually refined as new techniques and new
ingredients are developed, and it is consistent with HACCP, ISO and other
quality and safety standards.
· Halal training for key personnel, who pass on this training to
the other staff, ensuring broad-based knowledge of proper methods of handling
· Consultation on product development, marketing, and quality
assurance to help roll out new products targeted to the halal consumer.
· The IFANCA Halal Certificate, which is accepted around the world.
· Permission to display the IFANCA certification logo, the
Crescent M, on the halal-certified product label.
· Listing of halal-certified products on the IFANCA website, www.IFANCA.org.
· Publication of halal-certified products, halal-certified
ingredients, and companies producing them in the Halal Consumer © magazine. The
magazine is published twice a year and has a circulation of 40,000.
· Referrals to seekers of halal products or ingredients worldwide.
· Reduced fees at the IFANCA-sponsored Halal Food Conferences,
held annually since 1999.