Friday, January 27, 2012

Islamic Food

We probably all enjoy good food, but we must make sure the food we eat is permissible and safe for us. That means making ourselves familiar with what is allowed and what is not allowed according to Islam.

The Qur'an makes it quite clear as to what is halal and haram. Basically, all food is halal except for the following:

Meat from swine

Pork-based products and by-products

Animals improperly slaughtered, or already dead before slaughtering is due to take place

Animals killed or sacrificed in the name of others than Allah (swt)

Most carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears (i.e., snakes, reptiles, worms, insects etc.)

Blood and blood by-products

Foods contaminated with any of the above products
{foods which are forbidden}: The Holy Qur'an, 5:3 - Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah (swt); that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars)...

{prohibition of intoxicants): The Holy Qur'an, 5:90 - O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.

(permissibility of seafood): The Holy Qur'an, 35:12 - Nor are the two bodies of flowing water alike,- the one palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink, and the other, salt and bitter. Yet from each (kind of water) do ye eat flesh fresh and tender, and ye extract ornaments to wear; and thou seest the ships therein that plough the waves, that ye may seek (thus) of the Bounty of Allah (swt) that ye may be grateful.

Ingredients to look out for:

Haram (prohibited) ingredients are those ingredients whose source are from pork, pork by-products, alcohol and alcoholic beverages, human body such as human hair.

BONE PHOSPHATE - E542 An anti-caking agent made from the degreased steam-extract from animal bones.

COCHINEAL/CARMINE - E120, E122 A red dyestuff consisting of dried bodies of female cochineal insects. Note: E124 Ponceau 4R is acceptable although it is sometimes known as Cochineal Red A.

GELATINE Gelatine is an odourless, tasteless, protein substance like glue or jelly, obtained by boiling the bones, hoofs, and other waste parts of animals. Vegetarian alternatives such as Agar Agar and Gelozone exist.

GLYCERINE - E422 May be produced from animal fats, synthesised from propylene or from fermentation of sugars..

L-CYSTEINE A flavour and improving agent manufactured from animal hair and chicken feathers.

MAGNESIUM STEARATE May be made from animal fat. Often found in medicines.

RENNET (ANIMAL) An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf used in the cheese making process. Vegetarian cheese is produced using microbial or fungal enzymes, or chymosin.

VANILLA EXTRACT Vanilla is a plant product. It is extracted with alcohol as the solvent of choice, from the vanilla bean and is normally kept in a solution containing alcohol. If you examine at a bottle of vanilla extract, you will find it lists alcohol as an ingredient, along with the percentage of alcohol.

WHEY During cheese making, a coagulum is formed by clotting milk with rennet. When the coagulum is cut, a watery liquid known as whey is released and drained off leaving the curd to be salted and further processed into cheese. Whey contains water, fat, protein, lactose, minerals and lactic acid. Cream, butter, cheese, drinks, syrups and powder are some of the products made from whey.

SHELLAC E904: a resin from the lac insect

EMULSIFIERS (E470 to E483) - haram if obtained from pork or non-halal sources.

Apart from haram things there is also a 'grey area' called mushbooh. Mushbooh is an Arabic term which means suspected. If one does not know the Halal or Harm status of a particular food or drink, such a food or drink is doubtful. A practicing Muslims prevents him/herself from consuming doubtful things.

Let me remind you that just because a packaging says 'suitable for vegetarians' it doesn't mean it is halal, as there could very well be alcohol etc. on the list of ingredients of those items.....better check to be safe.

Quran 16:115: "He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and any (food) over which the name of other than Allah (swt) has been invoked. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."


No comments: