In Arabic, Halal means ‘lawful’ or ‘permitted’, a term used to describe what is authorized by Allah’s (God) Laws, which includes food matters. According to the Quran and Sunnah precepts – the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad ‘peace and blessings be upon him’ –, the Halal Slaughter aims at the welfare of the animal and cherishes food’s good quality.
Animals deemed Halal are those whose species consumption is lawful according to the Quran, such as cows, goats, camels, sheep, ducks and chickens, among others. Only healthy animals approved by the sanitary authorities and in perfect physical conditions shall be slaughtered.
There is a process to be followed in accordance with the requirements of the Islamic Countries Embassies: the animal to be slaughtered shall be headed to the Qibla and the sentence ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful’ shall be said before the slaughter, which shall be performed by a mentally health Muslim proficient in the fundamentals of the Islamic slaughter of animals. There are further proper equipment and fixtures to conduct the Halal Slaughter, which shall always be used in order to make the slaughter lawful. The used knife shall be very sharp, allowing a single bleeding, and minimizing the suffering of the animal; the cutting shall target the trachea, esophagus, arteries and the jugular vein, for all the animal blood to be drained leading to a death free of suffering.
Species not deemed Halal are forbidden, not only as a way to obey God, but also because they are animals that cause harm to human health and wellbeing. They are known as Haram species.
Halal preparation and slaughter of an animal of Haram origin – such as pork and its derivatives, dogs, cats, wolves, hyenas, birds of prey, as well as the carrion and blood of animals sacrificed in the name of other deities – does not make its consumption lawful. Similarly, adding a Haram element to a Halal food makes it fully Haram.