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The word ‘halal’ literally means permissible- and in translation it is usually used as lawful.
The Halal food Authority rules for halal are based on Islamic Shari’ah. The antonym to halal is haram, which means unlawful or forbidden.
It is well known in the meat trade that Muslims consume halal meat. However, at times questions are asked, what is halal? In Arabic it simply means permissible or allowed. Opposite to it is haram, which means forbidden or not allowed. Arabic is the language of the Qur`an, a scripture revealed to the Holy Prophet of Islam by the Almighty Allah to be followed in its entirety by the Muslims.
Now to make meat halal or permissible, an animal or poultry has to be slaughtered in a ritual way known as Zibah or Zabihah. To make it readily comprehended halal is somewhat like Jewish kosher and, Zibah is with some exception similar to Shechita. The Qur`an gives following underlined injunctions in chapter al-Maida 5:3 that
What now becomes abundantly clear for halal purposes is that:
Since pork is forbidden, halal slaughtering must not be done where pigs are slaughtered or in the vicinity of pigs slaughtering area. There are a few more edicts and rules that have to be followed in the interest of animal welfare. For example, animal has to be fed as normal and given water prior to slaughter, one animal must not see the other being slaughtered, knife should be four times the size of the neck and razor sharp, and as far as possible the slaughterer and the animal should face the Qibla or Mecca and the animal must not be suffering from any ailments or any lacerations.