Islamic Dietary Laws

Forbidden foods
Pork: a forbidden food in Islam

Islamic dietary laws dictate what foods are and are not fit for human consumption. These foods are termed clean or unclean. The guidelines for these foods are very specific and are set in place for both spiritual and health reasons.

Islamic Laws Regarding Food

There are many different aspects to Islamic dietary laws. Two of the most important aspects of these dietary restrictions include forbidden foods and the manner in which animals are slaughtered. This article goes into detail about these two particularly important elements of Islamic lifestyle.

Forbidden Foods

The following dietary guidelines are based on the Quran, the most prominent religious text of the Islamic faith. Thus, many individuals who follow the Islamic faith consider a healthy diet just another part of their religion. This stands in contrast to many Western faiths, which tend to separate faith from diet, though not always.

  • Pork - Perhaps the most well known of all Islamic dietary rules is the complete and total restriction of pork and pork products. Within the faith, swine are considered unclean and should not be consumed even as a by-product, such as gelatin.
  • Predators - Animals which die "of themselves," like such predatory animals as big cats, dogs, vultures, and others, are not to be consumed by those following Islamic law.
  • Blood - This includes drinking blood, but it also applies to meats that have not been drained of blood and blood by-products.
  • Alcohol - This rule is one of the more controversial, as there are some sects of Islam which do allow the consumption of alcohol. However, as a general rule of thumb, alcohol is prohibited.

Manner of Slaughter

This aspect of Islam focuses on the way in which approved animals can be slaughtered for consumption. Though this particular characteristic is drawn from ancient texts, it is very much in line with today's organic and eco-conscious movement. Many people are starting to push for more ethical animal slaughter standards outside of any religious context whatsoever.This list includes guidelines under which animals may be slaughtered for consumption by Islamic peoples.

  • Animals that have been mistreated and/or die by human hands are not to be consumed. This means animals should not be beaten, electrocuted, or gored.
  • The slaughter should be done by a Muslim. There are, however, provisions set that allow slaughters to be performed by Jews and Christians, as well.
  • Traditionally, animals should be killed in ritual slaughter called Dhabihah. This involves inserting a sharp knife into the neck of the animal.
  • Dead carcasses should not be consumed. This would apply to animals hit by moving vehicles or eaten by a wild animal.

Other Interesting Facts

As stated above, there are many facets involved in following this type of diet. Here are a few additional facts to remember.

  • Not all Islamic people consider it appropriate to eat Kosher food, but it is becoming more and more popular and accepted.
  • In Western societies, there has been an increase in Muslim populations, resulting in the development of organizations that help ensure these dietary traditions for Islamic individuals.
  • There are few restrictions on farming practices of fruits and vegetables within the Islamic faith.
  • Portion control is considered by many to be another important facet of the faith. Some believe over consumption of food is sinful.
  • In extreme conditions in which one has access only to forbidden foods, it is permissible to consume these foods and is not considered breaking the rules of Islam.

Achieve Balance Through Diet

Eating a healthful diet is considered an important facet of Islamic life and may help you to reach and maintain balance in health and spirituality.

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Islamic Dietary Laws