بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
I eat Halal, meaning that often times, I can not eat meat depending on where I’am eating, and places like McDonald’s and Burger King are considered out of network for me, since the only thing I can eat there is their salads and fish sandwiches.
Actually, most places, are out of network for me. As a result I often have friends, both Non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t eat halal, end up feeling bad for me. And often times my Muslim friends who don’t eat Halal will try to tell me there’s no point in eating Halal and that there isn’t a difference, and that if I just say “bismiLah” (In the Name of God) before eating, then it’s all good. But is it?
It’s great that they’re advising me, yet I don’t find saying “bismiLah” a good enough reason to consume Non-Halal meat when there’s plenty of Halal.
It doesn’t suck to eat Halal. Yes, not a lot of places cater to that, and yes, sometimes I can not eat that burger from the 24 hour McDonald’s by my house and have to opt for something else that might be an extra 2 or 3 mile drive, sometimes even more. But in all honesty, I feel great about eating Halal.
Eating halal is the same as opting for the healthier choice of meat. If I were to say “I only eat healthy meat” nobody would feel bad for me and would respect my dedication to this clean eating style, however when I substitute that phrase with “Halal”, suddenly I’m a recipient of pity and advice as I opt for a vegetarian option in a Non-Halal restaurant. Why is that. Is it because of the religious connotation associated with the phrase?
Is it really that bad for me to do something based on religion more than the worldly benefits it entails? Because the reality is, if eating Halal wasn’t something I found a valuable part of my religion, I would not have had the discipline to follow through on it. Just as I can not diet but then when Ramadan comes around suddenly I can stop eating for 12 hours and cook at home.
Additionally, I want to add that some people don’t think Halal and Non-Halal are much different, they think the only difference is that Halal meat is slaughtered by someone who mentions Allah’s name before killing it, and that’s not the case.
Before I continue let me elaborate on what Halal meat is: “Halal meat is meat that has been slaughtered according to Islamic law, as laid out in the Qu’ran. This particular type of slaughter is called dhabiha, it requires that an animal’s throat be slit swiftly with a sharp blade to ensure as little pain and suffering as possible.”
Okay so by reading this you might think that’s terrible, but in the end eating meat means you have to kill the animal, and there’s no nice way of doing that. The nicest thing you can do is make it fast and as painless as possible.
Here are some differences between Halal meat and Non-Halal meat:
1. Has to be killed by an actual person and can’t be machine killed. A machine can slaughter 200,000 chickens in one day, where as a butcher can only do a fraction of that in the same amount of time.
A recent study by the USDA estimates that we waste 18.4% of the chicken in the retail and consumer market, meaning that 36,800 of those 200,000 chickens will ultimately go to waste. It won’t be used to feed or nourish anybody, and will be dumped, and that’s just per day, per machine. I find this so wrong, and at least with a butcher the numbers don’t become meaningless since there is an actual person taking responsibility and thinking about the life he is about to take. Yes animals are a way for us to nourish our bodies, but we shouldn’t take the matter of killing them so lightly, and carelessly toss around their lives into machines not caring about the throats that are about to
e slit. I find that having an animal killed by an actual person a more honorable way of killing an animal than tossing it to die in some warehouse.
2. The animal has to be drained from the blood so the meat lasts longer and is less susceptible to bacteria. I do not know much about the biological aspect of this, but it has to do with the jugular vein being cut so that most of the blood comes out orsomething.
3. The animal is not allowed to see another animal being slaughtered or the sharpening of the blade. This has part to do with the aspect of “tayyib” in killing the animal,
“…meat should not only be halal, it should also be tayyib. To be tayyib is to be ‘good,’ it has to do with how the animal is raised, and it also carries the meanings of wholesomeness, healthiness and safety.” -Alicia Miller
4. It tastes better according to one of my friends who has tried both. Not sure how since I haven’t tried the latter but I like to believe that it does lol.
And I do realize that not all Halal certified products adhere to this since some of them are stunned beforehand and what not. Additionally I can only know so much about how the chicken or beef I’m eating was slaughtered, and what aspects of the process the butcher followed, but its better than buying the meat that I know was made only with profit in mind.
By eating Halal I’am refusing the consumption of animals that are treated poorly and killed unethically* and voicing a change for these businesses, and in the end the animals benefit and I receive a little benefit too. All for consuming my burger in a different location, it’s not hard, and no, it doesn’t suck.
“He only prohibits for you the eating of animals that die of themselves (without human interference), blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than God. If one is forced (to eat these), without being malicious or deliberate, he incurs no sin. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” 2:173
As a reward of reaching the end of this blog post, you get some delicious pictures 🙂
*(an ethical way of killing an animal ranges from person to person)
**I do not intend to offend anybody with this and if any of the information I have stated is wrong feel free to correct me!
Icon credits to thenounproject.com
Things you should checkout:
Zabihah.com -find places to eat halal in many different countries
halalgems.com -places to eat halal in the UK