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Faithandfood Fact Files - Muslim

“…and he makes pure / right / good things lawful to them and forbids them from what is wrong / evil / harmful.”
Qur’an 7:157

Forbidden ingredients
Main food beliefs
Vegetarianism
Eating in restaurants
Feasting and fasting
Links
Contact
About the writer

The Faithandfood Fact File bookmarks are the same for each religion. Compare this religion with the dietary beliefs of another faith by clicking on the name of the religion on the toolbar on the left.

Which ingredients are forbidden?

  • Pork, lard or any porcine substance
  • Gelatine from animal source which is not halal
  • Meat that is not slaughtered in the prescribed Islamic way
  • Meat coming from a lawful animal which died before slaughter
  • Blood (direct or indirect)
  • Any food or drink with alcohol in it (all intoxicant and hazardous drinks)
  • Any human substance or part
  • All carnivorous animals and birds of prey
  • Some non halal additives (E numbers like E120, E441, E542 etc)

What are the main laws or beliefs relating to food?
Eating is a matter of faith in Islam. Muslim dietary practise is fundamentally about obeying God. All practising Muslim believers obey God Almighty by eating the allowed foods (halal) and avoiding the forbidden foods (haram) which are mentioned in the Qur’an and in the sayings of the final prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The following are a list of Muslim dietary practises. Muslims follow these because it is God’s word in the Qur’an. The health benefits (which are now apparent with the development of science) of the Muslim diet merely qualify the wisdom of God’s word and shed light on God’s benevolence. It is God’s commandments that are crucial; the health benefits are secondary.

Recite the name of God (Allah) before eating and thank God after finishing. It is a good thing to eat by the right hand and in company. Muslims must pronounce the name of Allah on all animals while slaughtering.

Think and contemplate in every item of food you eat by remembering God the creator the Designer, The Organiser and the Provider. A prayer-like state may be achieved in this way.

It is important to eat only when you are hungry. When you do eat, you should not eat in excess. As advised by the Prophet, one should divide his / her stomach into 3 parts - a third each for food, fluid, and respiration. Remember the hungry when you eat. One could avoid going to hell by feeding a hungry dying person or animal.

Halal pure healthy meat, chicken, fish, milk, olive oil and honey are highly recommended in Islam

Is there a link with vegetarianism?
All types of fruit and vegetable (when grown naturally and not genetically modified) are recommended to consume in Islam. Grapes, dates, figs, pomegranate, pulse and cereal are also commended. Honey and olive oil are prescribed as medicinal.

Having said all this, the Prophet said “the master of all foods is the meat” Meat is a highly nutritious diet, as doctors testify. There is no prohibition to be vegetarian in Islam, but any practising Muslim will come across meat on many Islamic occasions when meat is provided. For example, the sacrifice of sheep and distribution to the poor at the end of Hajj (pilgrimage). It should also be noted that it is not obligatory to eat meat in Islam.

In general, will people of this faith eat in a food outlet that serves food or drink that does not conform to their beliefs?
It is very discouraged in Islam to eat in a restaurant which serves forbidden food and alcohol or to buy anything from it. Sitting at a table where alcohol is served is forbidden too. Restaurants with smokers are to be avoided too (this is the result of a new fatwa that states smoking is haram).

When and why do people of this faith feast and fast?
Feast days (dates vary according to the lunar calendar) include Eid al-Fitr (after finishing the fasting months of Ramadan), Eid al-Udha, and Maulud n'Nabi (the birthday of the Prophet Mohummmad – some Muslims do not celebrate this).

Fasting is considered an opportunity to earn the approval of Allah, to wipe out previous sins, and to understand the suffering of the poor. Fasting is also partly to be in control of appetite and to avoid food addiction. It is the fourth ritual observance in the Five Pillars of Islam.

Fasting includes abstention from all food and drink from dawn to sunset. Voluntary fasting is common on Mondays and Thursdays (it is undesirable to fast on certain days of the months and on Fridays). Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, is a mandatory fasting period that commemorates the period when the Qur'an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink (and sex) from before the break of dawn until sunset. Muslims are encouraged to fast 6 days during the month of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan), on the 10th day of Muharram (the first month in the Islamic calendar), and on the 9th day of Zul Hijjah (the month of Hajj - pilgrimage).

Links to websites with further information:
www.islamonline.net/discoverislam

If you have any question about the dietary practises or beliefs in this faith, you may contact

Dr A. Majid Katme
31 North Circular Road
Palmers Green
London
N13 5EG
Tel num: 07944240622
email: akatme@hotmail.com

Written by Dr A. Majid katme
Dr A. Majid Katme is a qualified medical doctor, with a MBBCh, DPM (London). He is a Muslim spokesman on Halal meat and food, and spokesman for the Islamic medical association. Dr Katme is a radio broadcaster every Friday on an international Muslim radio station. He works closely with the Food Standard Agency and many of its departments. He is also a speaker in medical ethics and the health value of the teachings in Islam.

Note: Some people who are Muslims may not observe the dietary laws stated above. Restrictions even within a particular faith may change between denominations or branches. This page is meant as a guide only.

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