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"O you who believe! Eat of the good things (Halal) that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah (swt) if Him it is that you serve" (Quran 2:172)  Halal is an Arabic word which means lawful or allowed. Halal with regards to food and drink means that it is permitted for Muslims under the Islamic Law (Shari'ah). Haraam is an Arabic word which means unlawful or forbidden. Haraam with regards to food and drink means that it is not permitted for Muslims under the Islamic Law (Shari'ah). It is considered a sin for a muslim to knowingly consume haraam food. There are many rules regarding halal and haraam with regards to food and drink. It is important to note that the rules may vary depending on necessity. Each individual should follow a Mujthahid and obtain a copy of his rulings. In the meantime please note the following very general points: Anything from a pig, meat and by-products etc, are all haraam. Drinking alcohol is haraam. Halal animals should be slaughtered according to Islamic law. Many towns now have a halal butchers shop. If a halal animal, eg cow, is not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law then the meat becomes haraam for Muslims. Carrion is haraam A few rulings from Islamic Laws by Ayatullah Seestani: 2633. All birds, like eagle, vultures and wild falcons having a claw and talon, are haraam to eat. And all such birds whose gliding is more than flapping the wings, and have talons, are also haraam to eat. Those whose flapping of the wings while flying, is more than gliding, are halal to eat. Thus, one can identify halal birds from haraam ones by observing how they fly. And if the style of any bird's flight cannot be determined, that bird will be considered halal for eating, if it has a crop or a gizzard or a spur on the back of its feet. In the absence of all these, the bird will be haraam. As an obligatory precaution, one should refrain from eating the meat of all types of crows. Other birds like the hens, the pigeons, the sparrows including the ostrich and the peacock are halal to eat, but it is Makrooh to kill birds like swallows and hoopoes. And the animals which fly, but are not classified as winged birds, like the bats, are haraam; similarly, the bees, the mosquitoes, and other flying insects are, as an obligatory precaution, haraam. 2634. If a part which possesses life is removed from the body of a living animal, for example, if the fatty tail or some flesh is removed from the body of a living sheep, it is najis and haraam to eat. 2635. Certain parts of the halal animals are haraam to eat. They are fourteen: Blood Excrement Male and female genitals Womb Glands Testicles Pituitary gland, a ductless gland in the brain The marrow which is in the spinal cord The two wide (yellow) nerves which are on both sides of the spinal cord, (as an obligatory precaution). Gall bladder Spleen Urinary bladder Eye balls These parts are haraam in all halal animals other than the birds. As for the birds, their blood and excrement is definitely haraam, and apart from these two, the parts enumerated in the above list are haraam, as a measure of precaution. 2639. It is haraam to eat an absolutely harmful thing, or anything which may cause death. 2641. If the kid of a goat or a lamb sucks the milk of a female pig to such an extent that its flesh and bones grow from it and gain strength, itself and its offspring become haraam, and if the quantity of milk sucked by it is less, it will be necessary that it is confined (Istibra) as prescribed in Shariah and thereafter, it becomes halal. And its Istibra is that it should suck Pak milk for seven days, or if it does not need milk, it should graze grass for seven days. As an obligatory precaution, this law applies to the calves, and all the young ones of halal animals. Also, it is haraam to eat the meat of an animal which eats najasat and it becomes halal when its Istibra is fulfilled. The manner of observing Istibra has been explained in rule 226. 2642. Drinking alcoholic beverage is haraam, and in some traditions (Ahadith), it has been declared as among the greatest sins. Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A.S.) says: "Alcohol is the root of all evils and sins. A person who drinks alcohol loses his sanity. At that time, he does not know Allah (swt), does not fear committing any sin, respects the rights of no one, and does not desist from committing evil openly. The spirit of faith and piety departs from him and only the impure and vicious spirit, which is far off from the Mercy of Allah (swt), remains in his body. Allah (swt), His angels, His prophets and the true believers curse such a man, and his daily prayers are not accepted for forty days. On the Day of Judgement his face will be dark, and his tongue will come out of his mouth, the saliva will fall on his chest and he will desperately complain of thirst". 2643. To eat at a table at which people are drinking alcohol is haraam and similarly, to sit at that table where people are drinking alcohol is haraam, as a precaution, if one would be reckoned among them. 2644. It is obligatory upon every Muslim to save the life of a Muslim, who may be dying of hunger or thirst, by providing him enough to eat or drink. Eating manners 2645. There are certain Mustahab rules to be observed while taking a meal; they are as follows: Washing both the hands before taking a meal. After taking a meal, one should wash one's hands, and dry them with a dry cloth. The host should begin eating first, and should also be the last to withdraw his hand. Before starting to take a meal, the host should wash his own hands first, and thereafter, the person sitting on his right should do so. Then the other guests should follow him, till it is the turn of the person sitting on the left side of the host. After finishing the meal, the person sitting on the left side of the host should wash his hands first, and thereafter other persons should follow him till it is the turn of the host. One should say Bismillah before starting to eat, and if there are several dishes, it is Mustahab to say Bismillah before partaking of each of the dishes. One should eat with one's right hand. One should eat using three or more fingers and should not eat with two fingers only. If several persons are sitting together for their meals, everyone of them should partake of the food placed in front of him. One should take small bits of food. One should prolong the duration of taking a meal. One should chew the food thoroughly. After taking one's meal one should praise and thank Allah(swt). One should lick one's fingers clean after taking food. One should use a toothpick after taking a meal. However, the toothpick should not be made of sweet basil (a fragrant grass) or the leaves of date-palm. One should collect and eat the food which is scattered on the dining cloth. However, if one takes meal in an open place, like a desert etc, it is better to leave the food which has fallen aside, so that it may be eaten by the animals and the birds. One should take one's meal in the earlier part of the day, and in the earlier part of the night and should not eat during the day or during the night. After taking one's meal one should lie on one's back, and should place one's right foot on one's left foot. One should take salt before and after the meal. When eating a fruit, one should first wash it before eating. There are many scientific proofs for the above rules on eating. In due course we hope to cover them on the science page Insha'Allah. Some Quranic Ayats regarding Food and Drink O you people, eat of what is on earth lawful and good, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. 2:168  O you who believe, eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to God, if it is him you worship. 2:172  He has only forbidden you carrion, blood, the flesh of swine and that on which any other name has been invoked besides that of God. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience or transgressing due limits, then is he guiltless. For God is Oft- forgiving Most Merciful. 2:173   Forbidden to you for food are: Carrion, blood, the flesh of swine and that on which has been invoked the name of other than God, that which has been killed by strangling, by violent blow, by a headlong fall or by being gored to death; that which has been partly eaten by a wild animal unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form), that which is sacrificed on stone (alters); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. this day have those who rejected faith given up all hope of your religion: So fear them not, but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, God is indeed Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful. 5:3  They ask you what is lawful to them (as food) say: Lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by God; eat what they catch for you but pronounce the name of God over it; and fear God: For God is swift to account. 5:4  O you who believe: Make not unlawful the good things which God has made lawful for you but commit no excess for God love not those given to excess. 5:87  Eat of the things which God has provided for you, lawful and good; but fear God, in whom you believe. 5:88  So Eat of the (meat) on which God's name has been pronounced if you have faith in His Signs. 6:118   So eat of sustainance which God has provided for you lawful and good and be grateful for the favours of God if it is he whom you serve. 16:114  He has only forbidden you carrion and blood and the fesh of swine and any (food) over which the name of other than God has been invoked, but if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits then God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 16:115