Halal is an Arabic term pertaining to anything permissible or lawful in accordance to the Islamic law or Sharia. This includes attitude, behavior, speech, manner, conduct, clothing and dietary laws. However, it is most commonly used to refer to a much narrower context of food regarded as permissible according to Muslim dietary rules.
According to the law of Islam, food can be categorized into halal, meaning permissible, or haram, meaning forbidden. However, a product can sometimes be categorized as mashbooh, meaning doubtful. This includes processed or man-made food, in which further research is needed to distinguish whether it is a halal or haram.
As a rule, in order to find halal food products, you must first know the items to avoid or the haram. These include pork, meat from animals that are not slaughtered according to the Islamic ritual of dhabia, carnivorous animals and birds of prey, land animals without external ears such as snakes and reptiles, animals slaughtered in the name of other gods and not Allah, blood and blood by-products and alcohol and intoxicants. As much as possible, if you want to follow Islamic law, you should also not eat gelatin, enzymes and emulsifiers since their origins are still unknown and are yet to be classified.
But unlike before when the availability of halal products in the market was very limited, Muslims nowadays can enjoy healthy and delicious meals without compromising their beliefs. This is because your favorite foods such pasta, pizza, burgers, etc. can now be halal certified. Now, you need not need mortgage anything just to finance your search for halal products.
Today, it is estimated that the halal market around the world costs US$580 billion, and with the growing percentage of Muslims following the standards of halal food, which is currently at 70%, it is not as difficult as before to find halal food in the market. There are now a number of restaurants offering and serving halal food. Even in non-Muslim countries, it has been a trend to adhere to Islamic dietary laws.
To determine halal products, it is good that you consult a food guide. Halal standards permit poultry, beef and the meat of herbivores for as long as they are butchered and slaughtered correctly. Fish, shellfish and other seafoods are also permitted to be eaten. Fruits, vegetables, juices and natural ingredients and additives such as sugar and honey are also halal.
It has also become easy to identify halal products since they are now labeled when put on sale. Thus, when you buy food in grocery stores, be sure to check for the labels. When dining in restaurants and eateries, it would be good to first inquire about the ingredients used or request halal ingredients be included in the recipes. You can also check the Internet for stores and restaurants that offer and sell halal products, since there are now increasing efforts to create organizations that can certify food products as halal or provide listings for Muslim consumers.
Furthermore, with increase in demand, many businesses are now catering to Muslim consumers. Even popular fast food chains such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King, A&W, Dunkin Donuts and a lot more are offering halal foods that adhere to the standards of Islamic dietary standards.