What is halal? Food is man's basic need. Without food it is not only difficult but quite impossible to survive. Man must, therefore eat food in some form or another. Whatever man regularly eats can be divided into two broad categories, namely vegetables and meat, both of which are abundantly available.   As far a vegetables are concerned, there has never been any objection to the consumption by human beings of this Divine "creation". This is because vegetation around us does not appear to possess life. Yet there is some sort of life in it. Had it not been so, plants and trees would neither grown nor borne flowers or fruits. Whereas on the issue of consuming meat, there has been a difference of opinion everywhere and in every community. However, since the day the world came into existence, religion has been guiding man as to which animal is lawful and which is unlawful for his consumption. From the time of the prophethood of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), a guideline has been provided for all humanity, which will remain valid until the Day of Resurrection. It is up to human judgement to accept or reject it. But nowhere in the world can Muslims ever turn away from Islamic guidelines on the slaughtering of animals. Islam has described pure things as lawful. Allah says: O people: Eat what is lawful and good on earth. And do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. (The Holy Qur’an 2:168) Basically there are four things forbidden, as laid down in this Divine edict: "Believers! Eat the good things that We have provided for you. And be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship. He has only forbidden you dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name has been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced to this by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor the transgressing of due limits, then is he guiltless. For Allah is Forgiving, and Merciful." (The Holy Qur’an 2:172-173) These same four things have been described again in the chapter entitled Al-Maidah, and by way of elaboration six more times of animals have been mentioned in Surah Maidah. Forbidden for you (for food) are dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah, that which has been killed by strangling, or by violent blow or by a headlong fall, or by being gorged to death, that which has been partly eaten by a wild animal, unless you are able to slaughter in due form and that which is sacrificed on stone altars. (The Holy Qur’an 5:3)
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