When mentioning lawful food and drink in Islam, there are two words that you’ll find them recurring: Halal and Haram. Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted.
The opposite of Halal is Haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and Haram are in fact universal terms that apply to all facets of life.
As far as food is concerned, the Qur’an makes it clear as to what is Halal and Haram. Basically, all food is Halal except for the following:
•Meat from swine – pork, ham.
•Pork-based products and by-products – sausages, gelatine etc
•Animals improperly slaughtered, or already dead before slaughtering is due to take place
•Animals killed in the name of anyone other than Allah (for example, by anyone other than a Jew, Christian or Muslim, or as part of a pagan sacrifice)
•Blood and blood by-products
•Foods contaminated with any of the above products
You’ll find that many things are clearly Halal or clearly Haram, but there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categories them as Halal or Haram. Such items are often referred to as Mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable. Food falling into this category should be considered as Haram until proven otherwise.
Also it is noteworthy that the Qur’an specifies intoxicants, as being Haram. An intoxicant is, by definition, a substance eaten, drunk or smoked with the sole intention of becoming intoxicated, or a substance created with that purpose in mind. This basically means alcoholic drinks and narcotic drugs.
Any food which was made with an alcoholic drink is Haram because, although the food itself probably couldn’t get you drunk, its alcoholic ingredient was made for that purpose. So make sure you check the ingredients label carefully!
In contrast, alcohol can be found in some Halal foods, such as bread, soy sauce and vinegar (even cider vinegar or wine vinegar). These sometimes contain minute amounts of alcohol as a result of a natural reaction between certain chemicals during the manufacturing process (as opposed to alcoholic drinks being deliberately added to food to add flavour), and so couldn’t be classified as Haram.
Some medicines and mouthwashes contain alcohol. Generally these are Halal for the same reason, but it is preferable if you can find an alternative and start using it instead.
A note for Muslims in Britain – some fish and chip shops cook their food in pork fat. You shouldn’t eat them, they’re Haram. Some medicines and supplements (especially Cod Liver Oil) also use gelatine as part of their capsules. It can be permissible to use these, but ONLY if there are no suitable alternatives.
Moreover, the Qur’an states that everything creature from the sea is Halal, including sharks.
And here are evidences from the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith asserting the importance of eating only Halal food, and stating what is Halal to eat and what is Haram to avoid:
“O you who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if indeed He is The One you worship”Qur’an (2:172).
“But certainly what God has forbidden to you are dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has had other than name of God invoked upon it, but whoever is constrained by necessity, not out of insolence, nor with the intention of repeating it, then no sin is on him. Surely God is All-Forgiving, All- Merciful.”Qur’an (2:173).
“O you who believe! Fulfill the pledges. All kinds of cattle-like animals have been made lawful to you, except those which are now recited to you; you should make hunting lawful when you are in pilgrim sanctity. Indeed God ordains whatever He pleases”.Qur’an (5:1)
“Prohibited to you are dead meat, blood and flesh of swine, that which has had other than the name of Allah invoked upon it, that which has been killed by strangling or by violent blow, or falling, or by being butted to death by horns, or that which has been devoured by beasts of prey, except that which you have duly slaughtered while it was still alive. Also unlawful to you is that which is sacrificed to idols and divided by raffling with arrows, this is impiety. Today the unbelievers have despaired of your religion, so do not fear them, but fear Me. Today I have perfected for you your Religion and completed My Grace on your Religion. But whoever is compelled by hunger, and not inclining purposely to sin, then God is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful. They ask you what is permitted for them, say, “Permitted to you is all that is good and pure, and what the hunting animals catch and hold for you, which you have trained to hunt according to the knowledge God has given to you, so eat from what it catches and holds for you, and you should invoke the name of Allah over it.” And fear Allah, surely God is swift at reckoning”.Qur’an (5:3,4)
“And eat not of that whereon Allah’s name has not been mentioned, for it is abomination, the devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if you obey them, indeed you would be polytheists”.Qur’an (6:121).
From the Hadith:
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: “Allah the Almighty is good and accepts only that which is good. Allah has commanded the Faithful to do that which He commanded the Messengers. Allah the Almighty said:“O you Messengers! Eat of the good things, and do right…” (Qur’an 23:51). Allah also said: “O you who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you…” (Qur’an 2:172). Then he mentioned [the case of] a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky [saying]: O Lord! O Lord!-while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing unlawful, and he is nourished unlawfully, so how can he be answered!” (Muslim).
On the authority of Abu Ya’la Shahddad ibn Aus, Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said: “Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters”. (Muslim).
In an incident narrated by Rafi’ bin Khadij, Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) told Muslims who wanted to slaughter some animals using reeds, “Use whatever causes blood to flow, and eat the animals if the Name of Allah has been mentioned on slaughtering them…” (Bukhari).
Narrated Ibn Umar: Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) cursed the one who did Muthla to an animal (i.e. cut its limbs or some other part of its body while it is still alive (Bukhari).
Published on: August 6, 2004. From Link: islamonline.com