For most of us, the decision to eat food or not is entirely in our hands. We do not follow a strict set of regulations except for those that are on a weight loss program or a lifestyle diet; these include vegans, vegetarians and all the multiple groups that belong under them. For the rest of the people, nothing stops us to consume food, other than of course, our different preferences.
In contrast to the vast majority of people around the world, the Islam culture only permits eating of food that are under the classification of “Halal”. These are foods that are permitted to be eaten by people practicing the Islamic belief. The Quran which is held sacred for the Muslim people mentions a set of rules in which practicing Muslims must follow.
If we translate “Halal” to English, it would literally mean allowed or permissible. Consequently, Muslims can only eat food that are labeled as Halal or has been processed In accordance with Halal principles. The Halal Food Authority has emphasized and dictated a few orders in the Quran in which food must be made. Only through following these rules are the sources of food labeled as Halal and are therefore, permitted to be eaten by Muslims. Here is a glimpse into some of the requirements of the Halal Food Authority for something to be considered as safe and permissible to be consumed. All these are followed by your favorite halal Chinese restaurant.
In accordance to passing the standards of making food Halal, Dhabihah must be observed in killing the animals that have been sources for the food that was prepared. As known by many, the slaughter of these animals must contain the least pain possible. This is done by using a very sharp knife in cutting the major arteries in the throat of the animal to ensure a fast and quick death, minimizing the experience of pain or discomfort.
Upon slaughter of an animal, the utterance of Bismillah or “in the name of God” is made. This is a prayer that includes giving thanks to their god for the blessings he has provided his people and the sustenance Muslims have received. If the animal has indeed been treated by the principles of Halal, this prayer is must be uttered by a Muslim. We can observe that through this principle, the Islam practice never fails to offer their gratefulness to their god.
Slaughter by a Muslim
In the case that an animal is decided to be killed in order to provide food for the many, its killing must be done by a Muslim. This rule just emphasizes that the person doing the killing must be aware of the multiple rules that must be followed in order for the animal to successfully provide food. Also, the Islam people who are going to eat the food afterwards would most probably trust a man that shares their beliefs to do the slaughtering rather than a man who has no idea why he is doing it the way they are telling him to. By this way, the people are sure that the killing is being done by a person that is fully knowledgeable of how things are supposed to be done which is by abiding by the Halal practice.
In another branch of Islam called Sunni Islam, if an animal has been killed and processed by halal practices has been done by Christians or Jews is still considered Halal. In this perspective, we can see that even if the killing has not been done by a Muslim, as long as the principles are still held up, then the meat is considered Halal. These includes the death of the animal being caused by quick jugular insurgency, the mentioning of thanksgiving for God’s blessings that have been brought upon the people and the utterance that the act is being done “in the name of God”.In this specific branch of Islam, if these rules are still followed even if it was practiced by a non-Muslim, it is still going to be considered as permissible.
Although quite complex, Muslims consider these practices very important and even sacred. This is due to the fact that these rules were mentioned in the Quran and that they want to stand firm in the dictates of their holy book, following whatever is mentioned in the name of faith. This means that a halal Chinese restaurant must follow these requirements as well.