Author: Ava Hale

Can Muslims eat beef?

Are you a foodie who loves to eat all types of food?

Here’s a type that could interest you – Beef!

Beef is the culinary name for meat from cattle. Humans have been eating beef since prehistoric times. It’s a source of high-quality protein and nutrients.

It can be cut into certain parts – roasts, short ribs or steak (filet mignon, sirloin steak, rump steak, rib steak, rib eye steak, hanger steak, etc.), while other cuts are processed (corned beef or beef jerky).

It sure tastes yummy when cooked properly.

Now here’s a question, can everybody eat beef? – like there are vegetarian who wouldn’t eat it for the world! Then there are the non vegetarians who would love to eat it. But some non vegetarians don’t eat beef according to their religion’s prophecy.

Many Hindus particularly Brahmins who are complete vegetarians – don’t eat meat but many of those who eat meat abstain from eating beef. Especially in north and west India as cow is known as sacred to them. The Christians eat all kinds of meat except for the ones who have adopted a policy of Christian vegetarianism. Christians of the Seventh-day Adventist tradition generally avoid eating meat and hence all these above categories refrain themselves from consuming beef.

Now can a Muslim eat beef?

Muslims say that eating beef is the essential part of their festival named Bakra-Id. For those who do not know the truth behind this festival, read ahead.

It was on one day that god decided to test the faith of Abraham and so God commanded Him to sacrifice his son. Abraham being a Prophet of God willingly accepted the command. He was shocked to see that where he expected to see His son’s body lifeless, he saw a dead ram instead. His son was standing hail and healthy for God delivered him back from death.

This is the origin behind the slaughtering of the animals in Muslim religion. It’s a way of showing their faith in The Almighty. Muslim performs animal sacrifice and offer prayers to mark this festival.

So yes a Muslim can eat beef.

But there are some ground rules for Muslims to enjoy their beef. In their religion if meat is slaughtered in accordance to Islam tradition – i.e. the slaughterer must kill the animal by cutting its throat in a swift, merciful way and the carcass must be bled completely, then they can consume beef. Letting the blood drain out results in less fluid in meat, which results in healthy meat having no or very less micro organisms in the product. The more the meat is better – the healthier it is!

In Islam healthier food is always advised and preferred. In the light of this fact let us look at the nutrient values of beef. A 3 ounce clean and properly cooked beef contains excellent source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus etc.

All of these nutrients have a large impact in our bodies. For example protein helps build bones stronger, muscles, cartilage and skin. Zinc boosts the immune system which helps us fight diseases. Phosphorus helps with the teeth and bone formation and etc.

Even with these benefits, it is important to select the lean cuts in redder and less of marbling. After removing excess fats, cook it in a healthier and tasty way like grilling, baking or broiling. This will result in a healthy and tasty meal.

If you are a Muslim and want to know good places in India to taste beef, read further.

Some places in India like Daman and Diu do not allow the slaughtering of cows and even if they do allow, they give the permission for old and sick cows and that too for medical purposes. Whereas, in states like Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal and Nagaland – the slaughtering of cattle is allowed with no certification required.

Kerala is known as a beef-friendly state. Beef is not banned and neither the slaughtering is banned. You will also enjoy the roadside dishes like beef-fry and beef-chili in this state.

So if you are a Muslim and want to have beef – then go ahead! There is nothing stopping you!

 

Examples of Halal Food

The concept of being born in this world in Islam is to pray and to devote oneself solely to Allah, to achieve transcendence. As Quran states, I have created humans and jinns for worshipping me.

In order to obey his orders Rasulullah brought such a religion (Islam) that counts all the everyday chores of a Muslim into worship (if done according to its laws). Similarly he manifested the concept of halal and haram, so that it becomes easier for the Muslims to fulfill their devotion towards Allah.

Islam has given permission for all kinds of fruits and vegetables and meat (if slaughtered by the Law). Everything is allowed which benefits the human body. For example:

In grain products:

Rice, pasta, any grain product such as bread, breakfast cereal, baked goods prepared without haram ingredients.

In vegetables and fruits:

All vegetable and fruits- raw, dried, frozen or canned.

All vegetables and fruit cooked or served with water, butter, or vegetable oils

All juices

In Milk and Milk Products:

Milk

Yoghurt, cheese and ice cream made with bacterial culture or microbial enzymes, e.g. microbial rennet.

In Meat and Alternatives:

Meat and poultry slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law (Zabihah)

Seafood

Eggs

Nuts, seeds

Peanut butter

Tofu

Halal deli meats

Dried beans, peas and lentils.

Other:

Beverages: carbonated drinks, fruit juice, punch, cocktails, tea and coffee

Fats and oils: butter, margarine, mayonnaise, vegetable oils and some salad dressings

Miscellaneous: chutneys, coconut milk, jam, pickles, spices Desserts made with agar and/or carrageenan base only

Sweeteners: honey, sugar, syrup, chocolate liquor (roasted ground cocoa bean syrup)

Combination Food:

Main dish entrées: any Zabihah meat or alternative dish, pizza, pasta or rice prepared without Haram foods and ingredients

Soups/sauces: any made without Haram foods and ingredients

Desserts and sweets: any made without alcohol, or without pure or artificial vanilla extract or any other Haram ingredient.

Chocolates are the most delicious thing one could ask for on this planet. It stimulates energy throughout the body, it makes the depression go away, and it brings people closer to one another, but even chocolates have certain ingredients that are forbidden for a Muslim to consume. Like vanilla extract, as the way of extraction is unknown.

The list is never ending; one could go on listing out halal products. The choice is on to a muslim, whether he chooses halal food or not.

The religion of Islam always thinks of ways to benefit humankind. It has permitted all the natural food that would in no way hurt human beings. The things or the goods that are not being permitted, in fact are prohibited will some way or the other harm a human’s body or its brain.

 

Coffee: the “Muslim Drink”?

Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold it brings the feeling of luxury and nobility for every person.

For many Americans, waking up and brewing coffee is as vital as breathing. But not everyone knows where that hot cup of joy originally came from.

The hot, caffeinated beverage that invigorates the Western world was born in Yemen. Back then coffee was called the Arabic name qahwa. It was drunk by Sufi monks who were the first ones to brew the drink.

For the pious Muslims over eight hundred years ago the night could not begin without a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Coffee was the power drink of the pious.

For the first 300 years after its discovery, coffee was closely associated with Muslims, in particular the Sufi’s. They consumed coffee to stay awake during the night in contemplation of Allah.

There are different stories regarding the discovery of coffee in Yemen. Some say, a shepherd discovered it when all of a sudden his goats started to work energetically right after they ate wild coffee berries. Another story says that some would use coffee as a medicine in the forest and that method spread across the land.

Arab historians agree that coffee drinking began in Yemen in the middle of the twelfth century. This was after Arab traders went to coffee-mecca the Ethiopia, where coffee beans were primarily used for medicinal purposes, and brought back coffee to cultivate for the first time.

It reached the port of Mocha about a thousand years ago. After this, all coffee plants around the world originated from Yemen. It became the most popular drink amongst Muslims, which helped them in their night prayers.

However in the 1400s when the Turks conquered Mocha, they were introduced to coffee. Later on they ordered to spread it in the Middle East and North Africa.

Many Muslims thought coffee as an evil drink and requested it to be banned. Fatwas were issued against coffee. Several reasons were given; it was intoxicant, it was roasted to the point of carbonization similar to fermented drinks, which are prohibited under the Law of Islam.

But coffee is NOT a fermented fruit beverage!!!

For hundreds of years Yemen was the sole trader of these precious coffee beans until in 1600s when coffee beans were smuggled to Europe and America.

By the end of 17th century, coffee drinking had spread all over Europe and coffee beans became the major cash crop till this day.

Yes, coffee is a Muslim drink, which helps them in their night prayers very efficiently, but its legacy has also shared throughout the world. Hence it is safe to say that ‘Coffee: a universal drink!’

Halal meat slaughter: How it’s done

Halal is an Arabic term which designates any object or any action permissible to use or engage in, (dietary consumption is included), accordance with the Islamic Law. In reference to food, it refers to the dietary standards, as prescribed in the Qur’an (the Muslim scripture).

Muslims eat to maintain a strong and healthy physique in order to be able to contribute their knowledge and effort for the welfare of the societyand to pray their prayers. Muslims are supposed to make an effort to obtain the best quality nutritionally.

In Islam, when an animal is slaughtered, it is for its own benefit. Some accuse Islamic way of slaughtering to be harmful for the species and secondly that slaughtering is helping in the depletion of certain species. However Islam places great emphasis in the way in which an animal’s life ends, which has to be in accordance with Islamic regulations.

If the life of an animal has to be ended for human survival, then its life should only be taken in the name of God. Hence, the phrase bismillah (‘in the name of God’) must be uttered just before slaughtering an animal.

Muslims cannot consume the meat of animals that are sacrificed in a name other than Allah. Any animal slaughtered in the name of a person alive or dead, any deity or idol will be considered as haram and therefore it is not permissible for Muslims to consume that meat.

Islam has its own unique way of slaughtering animals, through which they don’t feel pain and death occurs instantaneously. Also it has its own rules, and only by abiding to them a muslim can consume the meat.

Firstly, this action should be done by an adult Muslim. Secondly, the name of Allah is to be spoken in the beginning of the slaughter. It is very significant.

Thirdly, the animal must be killed by cutting the throat with one continuous motion of a sharp knife.The cut must sever at least three of the trachea, esophagus, and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat.

Animals are treated well before the slaughter. The Law states that it should be given salty water to drink so that its throat gets wet which will make the cut smoothly. Also the blade is sharpened so that it doesn’t cause any pain to the animal.

Some experts say that the animal killed in this way – if the cut is made quickly and cleanly – does not suffer pain or at least suffers minimal pain – because it loses consciousness before the brain can perceive any sensations related to pain:

This is a line from an expert: “the Islamic way of slaughtering is the most humane method of slaughter and that captive bolt stunning, practiced in the West, causes severe pains to the animal”.

Halal Vs Kosher: What’s the difference?

Every religion has its own norms and values regarding the consumption of food.

Halal and Kosher are two words that are very familiar but at the same time foreign. Some would relate them with strict rules and religious regulations, but they simply list out specifications regarding the consumption of meat.

Halal is an Arabic term which designates any object or any action permissible to use or engage in, (dietary consumption is included), accordance with the Islamic Law. Kosher on the other hand is specifically used for the consumption of meat. It means suitable and/or pure, thus ensuring fitness for consumption, accordance with the law of Torah. Both of the laws direct its followers towards the specifications of meat consumption.

According to the Law of Torah, the only types of meat that can be eaten are cattle and game that have “cloven hooves” and “chew the cud”. For example: bulls, cows, sheep, veal, lambs, and springbok.

Furthermore these kosher species must be slaughtered by a “Schochet”, a ritual slaughterer in order to consume. It is slaughtered in such a way that unconsciousness is instantaneous and death occurs almost immediately.

In Islamic Law animals such as cows, veal, lamb, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, game birds, etc. are considered halal, but they must be slaughtered according to Islamic Law in order for their meat to be suitable for consumption.

The animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife and in one swift motion on its throat by taking Allah’s name. This motion cuts three of the animal’s trachea, esophagus, and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat. This way the animal loses consciousness before the pain reaches its brain and the death is caused by cerebral hypoxia and not blood loss.

According to Islamic Law animals should be well treated before they are slaughtered. Likewise the Jewish Law prohibits causing any pain to animals.

Halal, according to Islamic Law, and Kosher, according to the Jewish Law both consider the well fare of the living.

Islam indicates towards the refinement of the laws by Islam. Muslims believe in Musa and all the other prophets. Islam has been built on all the previous religions; it strengthens all the laws and binds them together in just one religion. Therefore the slaughter in Islam helps in maintaining a healthy physique for its followers.

With some differences both of the laws aim for their followers to help maintain a strong and healthy physique, by consuming the best food available, and these specifications does not stop an individual from consuming the meat, instead it helps him to achieve fitness.

Scientific facts about Halal meat

Meat, since the beginning of Human beings has played an important role for them, to nurture them, and became a central point in survival. As the years went by humans became more efficient in hunting animals and benefiting from them. In doing so, we came to know that many diseases are also tied with the very thing that plays a vital role in keeping us alive and healthy. Hence, as we became more modern and the acquiring of food became easier and easier day by day, a new question surfaced – as to how an animal should be killed in order to minimise not only hurting the animal, as it is also a living being, but to minimise the problems it has with it too.

The CBS method was introduced, and was publicised widely that it causes the least amount of pain to the animals and it is the healthiest way. Islam, on the other hand which has been spread by the Prophet Mohammed 1400 years ago has taught a different way, which due to reasons unknown have blatantly rejected by many.

Due to this age being the modern era with hundreds of breakthroughs and discoveries paving the way for a more better and healthier life for all, scientists have discovered that the way of the halal meat is much more healthier in many ways and is less painful to the animals. The German Constitutional Court has permitted the “Dhabiha slaughtering technique” in Germany for these reasons.

Halal meat is of very light colour due to the fact that this method allows all the blood to be drained form the animal and hence is much healthier than the CBS method. This method also makes the meat more soft and tasty.

As scientists and nutrition experts say for the meat to be tender and juicy the pH level ideally should be around 5.4, but when an animal struggles it releases fear hormones which leads to an increase in the pH level and is also harmful. In the Islamic method of halal meat the struggle is lesser by at least 20 percent. The halal meat involves a swipe with a sharp blade across the animal’s neck, severing the windpipe, jugular vein and carotid artery, which in turn helps to remove the maximum amount of blood, whereas in other methods there are chances of blood clotting.

Islam’s way focuses on expelling all the blood from the animal’s body, and when an animal is stunned it creates a barrier in removing of blood, as due to no brain activity the flow of blood is stopped and the blood is harder to be flushed out.

1400 years ago this way was approved for all muslims, and today the experts in their respective fields are discovering its benefits.

What can Muslims drink?

According to Islamic Law, anything that is beneficial for the human body is permitted.

Water – which is the king of all drinks (stated in hadith) can be drunk by the Muslims. It is an important drink in a human’s life because it supports life, and is very beneficial in the biological workings of human body. An average human’s body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

Coffee and tea – Long ago, Muslims discovered coffee beans from which they created a drink. Muslims were fascinated by the brewed coffee that it became a habit for them. It also helped them in their nightly contemplation of Allah. Coffee in the beginning was cultivated in Yemen, and through Yemen it spread throughout Europe and other parts of the world.

Although the Muslims of old drank coffee akin to what we know as Turkish coffee today, modern Muslims(myself included) always enjoy a nice espresso or cappuccino brewed at home or at a cafe!

Aerated Drinks – Likewise aerated drinks are permissible for Muslims to drink until it does not reach the fermentation process. Islam prohibits the consumption of alcoholic drink or any fermented drinks, but it is not advisable to consume a lot of it as it does have its own drawbacks. Such as, consumption of a lot of aerated drinks can lead to dehydration, high-sugar intake, and weight gain and calcium depletion.

Juices – Moreover the drinking of healthy fruit and vegetable juices are the best drink a Muslim can enjoy, as all the fruits and vegetables are permissible to consume in Islam, except for the wild ones. Their juices are a perfect and healthy option for a Muslim. Experts say that they are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Cranberry juice is considered an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. It’s known to help prevent kidney stones, cavities and fend off urinary tract infections.

Intoxicants – Intoxicants in Islam are strictly prohibited. Alcohol is one of the intoxicant drinks that is forbidden for a Muslim. Rasulullah states in one of his hadith, when a Muslim consumes alcohol, his prayers do not count for 40 days. Many debates are there on the consumption of alcohol for a Muslim. Some say that it is allowed in certain circumstances but Quran clearly states in one of its verse that, alcohol is one of the devil’s works and it is forbidden for Muslims. Also it distracts a Muslim from the contemplation of Allah, which clearly misleads one from the righteous path.

Experts say Alcohol consumption is one of the most dreadful habits. It leads to various problems in life- from health to family problems and in society. Skin problems, anxiety, memory loss, depression, dehydration are some of the problems alcohol causes. Hence it is forbidden for a Muslim to drink alcoholic drinks.