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) is an Arabic term
designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or
engage in, according to Islamic law. It is the opposite of haraam. The
term is widely used to designate food seen as permissible according to
Islamic law (Sharia) - ( (الشريعة الإسلامية). It is estimated that 70%
of Muslims worldwide follow halal food standards and that the global
halal market is currently a $580 (U.S.) billion industry.
"Halal" the word
The use of the term varies between Arabic-speaking communities and
non-Arabic-speaking ones. In Arabic-speaking countries, the term is used
to describe anything permissible under Islamic law, in contrast to
haraam, that which is forbidden. This includes human behavior, speech
communication, clothing, conduct, manner and dietary laws.
In non-Arabic-speaking countries, the term is most commonly used in the
narrower context of just Muslim dietary laws, especially where meat and
poultry are concerned, though it can be used for the more general
meaning, as well.
Islam has laws regarding which foods can and cannot be eaten and also on
the proper method of slaughtering an animal for consumption, known as
dhabihah. However if there is no other food available then a Muslim is
allowed to eat non-Halal food. Surah 2:173 states:
If one is forced because there is no other choice, neither craving nor
transgressing, there is no sin in him. Indeed, Allah(SWT) is forgiving,
Explicitly forbidden substances
A variety of substances are considered as harmful (haraam) for humans to
consume and, therefore, forbidden as per various Quranic verses:
- Pork meat (i.e., flesh of pig)[Qur'an 2:173].
- Blood[Qur'an 2:173].
- All carnivores and birds of prey.
- Animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but Allah(SWT). All that
has been dedicated or offered in sacrifice to an idolatrous altar or
saint or a person considered to be "divine"[Qur'an 2:173] [Qur'an 5:3].
- Carrion [Qur'an 2:173].
- An animal that has been strangled, beaten (to death), killed by a
fall, gored (to death), savaged by a beast of prey (except that which
you may have slaughtered while it was still alive)[Qur'an 5:3].
- The fish must die out of water and because of natural suffocation in
the free air, on the ground or on the deck of the fishing boat.
Otherwise, it's not halal.
- Food over which Allah's name is not pronounced[Qur'an 6:121].
- Alcohol and other intoxicants[Qur'an 5:90-91].
All these substances may be consumed as last options in life-threatening situations.
Dhabiha: Method of slaughter
Main article: Dhabihah
Dhabiha is the prescribed method of ritual slaughter of all animals
excluding fish and most sea-life per Islamic law. This method of
slaughtering animals consists of a swift, deep incision with a sharp
knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of
both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact.
Halal in non-Islamic countries
In Dearborn, Michigan, United States, home to one of the largest Muslim
and Arab populations in the United States, a number of fast food chains
like McDonald's introduced halal chicken nuggets.  In the UK and
United States, halal fried chicken has become widely popular with both
Muslim and non-Muslim populations, and thousands of outlets serving this
fare, such as Chicken Cottage, Kennedy Fried Chicken, Brown's Chicken,
and Crown Fried Chicken have emerged. New York in particular is also
home to many Halal food carts serving gyros, chicken platters and other
fast food, while the UK and Europe more generally have many Muslim-owned
Döner kebab shops. In Canada halal is used everywhere.
A 2005 law passed in a county in Ohio, United States made it illegal to
sell, distribute, and/or produce food that has been mislabeled "halal,"
when it is determined that the food does not meet Islamic dietary
standards. Similar laws protect kosher foods . See Kashrut.
McDonald's is intending to offer Halal meals in the United States and
some parts of the United Kingdom with two of its franchises currently on
trial, offering this service. Six McDonald's Restaurants in Australia
(two outlets in Melbourne and four in Sydney) have Halal meals.
Restaurants in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, Singapore,
Malaysia and South Africa are Halal certified.
Mcdonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC have been made Halal in Sri Lanka by the
Jamiyathul Ulama of Sri Lanka, the only competent authority to give out
Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendys, Carls Jr, Burger King, A&W, Dunkin Donuts,
Subway stores in Islamic countries also serve halal foods.
While the introduction of Halal meats in local U.S. based restaurants is
still ongoing, in early 2004 for the first time in the United States
Halal meats began to be offered in local retail chain grocery stores, in
particular H.E.B.Grocery. Tex-Med Beef Co. based in Houston,Texas was
the first Halal meat/poultry distribution company to offer Halal meats
in the United States at the retail store level.
In 2008 and 2009 twelve stores in the Mary Brown's chain in Ontario and Alberta become 100% Halal. 
With Muslims making up around 1.79 billion of the world's population,
the rapid expansion in the Halal food sector has become a key area of
opportunity across the industry, according to senior executives from the
World Halal Forum (WHF).
The current estimated value of the total Halal market is USD150 billion,
but this has the potential to rise to USD 500 billion by 2010, driven
by the increasing value and diversity of the consumer market, combined
with strong demographic trends, according to global group HighBeam
Research. Commercially, the Islamic consumer market is the
fastest-growing in the world. Europe's Muslim population has grown by
more than 140% over the past decade to reach 25 million, while Australia
has grown by a significant 250% in the same period.
Once Asia's Muslim population of over one billion - including the
world's fast-growing populations of Bangladesh, China and Pakistan - is
factored in, the full potential of the Halal food market becomes
"The Halal marketplace is emerging as one of the most lucrative and
influential arenas in the world today, particularly as Muslim nations
reach the stage of development required to shape global markets, both as
producers and consumers," said Salama Evans, organiser of the Halal
Opportunities abound within and beyond traditional Muslim countries -
the UK Halal market alone is currently a USD 4 billion market, with
strong demand for specialised and healthy Halal food.
These factors are driving an increasing diversity of companies and
countries to incorporate Islamic food standards, endorsed by a Halal
authority, into the manufacture and preparation of food products.
Major food producing nations like Malaysia, Brazil and Turkey are
striving to ensure that Halal standards are introduced into every link
of the food chain. In addition, the majority of the world's meat
producing countries - including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada,
Bangladesh, New Zealand, UK and USA - are incorporating Halal slaughter
techniques across their operations.
Commenting on the strong growth of the Halal market, "It is definitely
the case that the global opportunities for specialists in Halal food and
food preparation are increasing, as higher numbers of consumers and
hotels look for Halal alternatives.
By the numbers …
— Halal’s share of global food industry
billion— Annual halal food market
billion— Worldwide Muslim population