Termfor Moslem "Kosher"?

I’ve been wondering about this for years. We all know that “Kosher” is food that is correct for Jews to eat according to Judaic laws. But is there a term to describe what Moslems can eat? From what I’ve seen, the laws are similar (no pork, etc).


John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. That’s my name too.
Wait, no it isn’t.

I work with a Pakistani muslim, and over dinner one night, we discussed which one of us at the table we would eat first, were we all stuck on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Knowing that Safdar kept kosher in some sense, I asked him about the status of human meat, and he said that, under extreme circumstances, the rules were relaxed, and he’d be free to make shish-kebabs out of me, the unfortunate choice of the group.

The muslim term for Kosher is pronounced ha • LELL; I didn’t ask about spelling.


Never attribute to an -ism anything more easily explained by common, human stupidity.

I’ve usually seen it spelled “halal”.
See Also: Ital - Rastafarian.

Another intersting thing about food for Muslims is that the Koran permits Muslims to eat “the food of the People of the Book” when they’re traveling outside of “Muslim Lands.” That’s been interpreted in Hadith (the Muslim equivalent of the Talmud) as only Kosher food. So a devout Muslim traveling in central California could eat at a halal restaurant if he could find one or at a Jewish Kosher restaurant.

What are the significant differences between kosher and halal rules?

Ridiculously simplified short version of kosher laws:

  1. Certain animals (pork, shellfish, many others) are totally banned, as is anything derived from them.
  2. Permitted animals have to be killed in a special way, by an observant Jew trained in that manner, and then the meat has to be prepared a certain way also (e.g., certain parts are forbidden, and the blood is removed a certain way).
  3. Meat products (even if it is kosher) cannot come into contact with milk products (even if kosher).
  4. All the above applies not only to major food items, but even to extracts and derivatives, and even to the pots such items are cooked in. (Example: If a pot is used to cook a non-kosher gelatin dessert (gelatin is derived from animal bones and skins), and that pot is later used to boil plain water, the water will become non-kosher.)

I am certainly no expert in the laws of Halal (any Muslims around?), and I’m sure there are lots of details that I’ve never heard of, but the two main laws that I do know of are:

  1. Pork is forbidden. (I don’t know about other animals.)
  2. I don’t know if there is any specifically prescribed method of killing the animal, but it does have to been done by a person who believes in God. My understanding is that a believing Jew will meet that requirement.

Here is some rudimentary information from the internet on halal and haram foods.

Halal Helpline


Quand les talons claquent, l’esprit se vide.
Maréchal Lyautey

My wife and I are Muslims, and on the odd chance we find a Kosher restaurant (not many here in Texas) we would not hesitate to eat there.

Also, given that the number and quality of halal meat shops is disappointing, we sometimes buy Kosher meat from the grocery store when we can find it at a less-than-rediculous price.

Raza, there are several supermarkets (Pathmark and Shoprite) in NJ which have recently started selling Halal beef, packaged by some company in Canada. I don’t know the exact brand name, nor have I any idea how the quality and price are, but if you contact those stores’ websites, they might be able to put you in touch with the manufacturer or distributor.

Naturally, we have different stores here (Randalls, HEB, Albertsons); I think if one of the stores would start carrying a small sampling they would find it profitable, and drive business for other items into their stores. As an example, the price for imported frozen halal turkey can top $3US per pound!

It should be made clear that, while most Muslims would consider Kosher as halal, the opposite is not true: halal is not necessarily Kosher. Halal provisions do not require the separation of meat and dairy, and shellfish is halal but not Kosher.

Now lets through some fog onto the roadway just for fun: “halal” is probably not the best word, as it is a bit general. “Zabeeya” (pardon the clumsy transliteration) loosely means slaughtered according to Islamic law, and is what most Muslims are really after when they visit a halal meat shop.

There are two camps (at least in the U.S.) today, and neither is clearly right or wrong (IMHO). One camp will eat meat from “the People of the Book”, meaning both Jews and Christians, arguing that the Qur’an clearly says it is OK. This group has no problem with eating a Big Mac, so long as it is bacon-free.

The other camp says that yes, the Qur’an does make lawful the food from “the People of the Book”, but that Christians in particular no longer slaughter their animals in the same manner nor in the name of God as they did 1400 years ago. Ergo, since their slaughtering practice is no longer similar to that of Muslims and Jews, their meat (well, the meat of their animals) is no longer zabeeya, and hence no longer halal.

My WWWAG is that 30% of Muslims will refuse any meat that is not zabeeya or Kosher; 50% eat zabeeya when available, but will eat non-zabeeya meat as long as it is not haraam (pork, leopard); and 20% don’t really pay all that much attention.

Jews are similarly imprecise with the lingo. Meat of a forbidden species is called “tamay”; meat of a permitted species but improperly slaughtered is either “nevelah” or “t’refah”, depending on various factors. But colloquially, they’re all called “trayf”.