Kosher V.S. Halal – Tale of the Tape – Islamic and Jewish Dietary Laws

 

kosher-halal

After seeing a lot of hate posts on Halal, especially with what’s going on in Gaza, Hamas and ISIS taking the headlines I decided to do my own research to see what exactly Halal is. I looked online and also admittedly found Wikipedia to be an invaluable resource, as almost everything that is of value is properly sourced.

I even had this proof-read with corrections made by a Rabbi as well as a devout Muslims where I work to ensure the accuracy. My hope is that in reading this post, peace and understanding between the two religions will be promoted.

Slaughter

Kosher

Halal

After slaughter

Both require that the animal be examined to ensure that it is fit for consumption.

Kashrut says that the animal’s internal organs must be examined “to make certain the animal was not diseased”

Both require that the animal be examined to ensure that it is fit for consumption.

Dhabiha guidelines generally say that the carcass should be inspected, (http://www.shariahprogram.ca/eat-halal-foods/islamic-guidelines-slaughtering-animals.shtml)

Unified Opinion?

Both sets of religious rules are subject to arguments among different authorities with regional and other related differences in permissible foodstuffs.

Both sets of religious rules are subject to arguments among different authorities with regional and other related differences in permissible foodstuffs.

Non-Kosher/Halal Restaurants

Strictly observant followers of either religion will not eat in restaurants not certified to follow its rules.

Strictly observant followers of either religion will not eat in restaurants not certified to follow its rules.

Who to eat Kosher/Halal From

Jews will only eat Kosher and not Halal done by a sane, God fearing Jew that knows the proper technique. Some Jews will also only eat a specific type of Kosher for ideological reasons (e.g. some Jews won’t eat Lubavitch or Beit Yosef Shechita due to differences in Halacha/Hashkafa).

Muslims will only eat meat slaughtered via dhabiha by a sane, Allah-fearing person that slaughters according to Sharia law.

Only if no such meat is available, Muslims will as a last resort eat meat slaughtered via dhabiha guidelines by any sane, Gd-fearing person that knows the proper technique as prescribed by Sharia law, save for any that has a trace of alcohol in it. However, if for example there is a piece of Kosher meat and Hallal sea-food, a Muslim must eat the sea food as he has that choice.

How to Clean from Blood

Kosher meat requires the usage of salt to drain out blood as blood consumption is forbidden.

The draining and release of blood makes all the toxins and arsenic out of animal body rendering meat very clean.

Halal meat requires blood to drain out naturally as blood consumption is forbidden. However, some soak it in vinegar to remove the blood taste and sort of pickle it.

The draining and release of blood makes all the toxins and arsenic out of animal body rendering meat very clean.

Holiday-Induced Restrictions

During the Jewish holiday Passover, an additional set of restrictions requires that no chametz (sour-dough starter or fermented products from the five species of grains) be eaten. This requirement is specific to the holiday, and nothing to do with the laws of Kashrut. (Rich, Tracey R. “Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws”. JewFAQ.org. Retrieved 2009-01-05.)

Muslims don’t have Passover, therefore this doesn’t apply.

Mixing of Milk and Meat

Kashrut generally prohibits the mixing of meat and dairy products; consumption of such products or profiting from their sale are also forbidden.  (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah – Laws of Meat and Milk). The source comes from the verse “Don’t cook a kid in its mother’s milk” three separate times, which the Rabbis interpreted to mean to not “cook” in a) the classical form, b) inside the body and c) via utensils. In general, Kashrut requires strict separation of dairy and meat products, even when they are kosher separately.

Halal has no such rules. (Also these proscriptions are not observed by Karaites.)

Secondary Factors Influencing the Foods’ Permissibility

In Judaism, the permissibility of food is influenced by many secondary factors. For instance, vessels and implements used to cook food must also be kept separate for dairy products and meat products. If a vessel or implement used to cook dairy products is then used to cook meat, the food becomes non-kosher and the vessel or implement itself can no longer be used for the preparation or consumption of a kosher meal. Depending on the material properties of the item (for example, if it is made of metal or of clay, or if it is made in one piece or has joints) it may be rendered permissible (“kashered”) by certain procedures or it may be considered irretrievably contaminated. In general, the same policy extends to any apparatus used in the preparation of foods, such as ovens or stovetops. Laws are somewhat more lenient for modern kitchen items such as microwaves or dishwashers, although this depends greatly on tradition (minhag) or individuals’ own stringent practices (chumrot). As a result of these factors, many Conservative and Orthodox Jews refuse to eat dishes prepared at any restaurant that is not specifically kosher, even if the actual dish ordered uses only kosher ingredients.  (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah – Laws of Koshering Utensils)

 

In Islamic food preparation, the permissibility of food is also influenced by many secondary factors. Apart from the prescribed foods that can be consumed, all food must be Halal. Halal utensils and kitchens require that these utensils or food preparation surfaces do not get in contact with non Halal items. For instance, cakes prepared using alcohol as an ingredient are considered non Halal. In fact, food cooked in any type of alcohol (even if the alcohol burns out during the cooking process) is also deemed non Halal. Kitchens which have been used to prepare non Halal food must be sanitized (samak) according to Islamic principles before they can be used to prepare Halal meals. Utensils previously used to prepare non Halal meals are required to be fully sanitized in an Islamic fashion before they can then be used for Halal food preparation. ( license2halal.com)

Treating an Animal Prior to Slaughter

Judaism does require an animal to be well fed and given to drink before Shechitah.

The animal should be well fed and given water and not shown knives or ostensible signs that it will show it will be slaughtered (so that it doesn’t get stressed).

Washing

Judaism hasn’t specified that.

The animal should be washed (performed with ablution) before slaughter.

Slaughtering in Front of Other Animals

An animal must not be slaughtered in front of other animals. Moreso, a mother and child to be slaughtered on the same day, nor may a mother animal see the child slaughtered, or the child see the mother slaughtered.

An animal must not be slaughtered in front of other animals.

Sharpness of the Knife

The knife should be razor-sharp and the neck stretched. After each slaughter the knife needs to be re-checked so that there are no nicks in the blade that might cause the slightest amount of pain.

The knife should be very sharp and the neck stretched. There’s no specification on re-checking the blade after each time.

Speed and Number of Knife Motions

The action should be very quick and in one clean attempt for the non-serrated knife to reach the spinal cord, severing jugular veins, carotid arteries, trachea, oesophagus. This results in very quick flow of all blood to brain leaving animal unconscious and feeling-less. At the same time the spinal cord needs to be avoided.

The action should be very quick and in one clean attempt for the non-serrated knife to reach the spinal cord, severing jugular veins, carotid arteries, trachea, oesophagus. This results in very quick flow of all blood to brain leaving animal unconscious and feeling-less. At the same time the spinal cord needs to be avoided.

Number of Blessing Prior to Slaughter

A Berachah is only recited on the first slaughter a shochet does in that day or that sitting. As a result, some Muslims only consider the first animal slaughtered in a particular sitting to be Halal, because the Berachah is recited only over the first animal. Some Torah authorities discuss (and permit) reciting “Allah Hu Akbar” over each shechitah to make it Halal for Muslims as well, as Jews and Christians who speak Arabic also call God by the Name Allah when speaking in Arabic.

Name of Allah must be spoken before each individual slaughter and can be in any language as well as a prayer/blessing of any monotheistic religion. Muslims therefore accept a Jewish berachah to be good enough to make an animal Halal, but only where it’s said in God’s/Allah’s name.

Forbidden Parts of the Animal

Kashrut prohibits eating the chelev (certain types of fat) and gid hanosheh (the sciatic nerve), and thus the hindquarters of a kosher animal must undergo a process called nikkur (or, in Yiddish, treyberen) in order to be fit for consumption by Jews. As nikkur is an expensive, time-consuming process, it is rarely practiced outside of Israel, and the hindquarters of kosher-slaughtered animals in the rest of the world are generally sold on the non-kosher market.

There are no restrictions on what organs or parts of the carcass may be eaten from a Halal-slaughtered and -dressed animal; as long as it was slaughtered and prepared according to the rules of Halal, the entire animal, with the exception of[citation needed] blood, bones, fat not attached to meat, and wounded parts, is fit for consumption by Muslims.

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Foods

Kosher

Halal

Forbidden Animals

Swine is prohibited.

Kashrut forbids the consumption of amphibians such as frogs.

Swine is prohibited.

Halal forbids the consumption of amphibians such as frogs.

Animals that are Kosher/Halal

Many animals permitted in kashrut are also halal, such as animals with split hooves that chew their cuds (multiple stomachs).

The list of animals forbidden by kashrut is more restrictive, as kashrut requires that, to be kosher, mammals must chew cud and must have cloven hooves. (http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm)

Animals that are halal aren’t necessarily Kosher. Halal requires animals to graze the fields. Hence, camels may be consumed by Muslims.

Halal requires that an animal survive on grass and leaves. Thus some animals such as the camel are permissible under halal. (http://www.central-mosque.com/index.php/General-Fiqh/the-fiqh-of-halal-and-haram-animals.html)

Insects

Practically all insects are not kosher. The few kosher insects are specific types of locusts and grasshoppers (see Kosher locust) which are not eaten today in most communities, since it is unknown which species is permitted (the exception being the Yemenite Jews, who claim to have preserved this knowledge).

Practically all insects are not kosher. (more research required on this).

Sea Creatures

To be kosher, aquatic animals must have scales and fins. According to Jewish oral law all fish that have scales have fins, thus making all fish with scales kosher and rendering the law essentially the same as the more restrictive interpretations of halal. Kashrut prohibits shellfish, such as crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, and oysters.

Most Muslim schools of thought adhere to the interpretation that all creatures from the ocean or the sea or lake are considered halal.

Hence all kinds of food from the sea are permissible, whether they are plants or animals, alive or dead. (I need to take a look about crocodiles, etc…)

Shi’ites also follow this, but make an exception with some crustaceans; shrimps and prawns are halal.

Gelatin

Gelatin is only permissible if it comes from a permissible animal (usually kosher gelatin comes from the bones of kosher fish, or is a vegan substitute, such as Agar). As well, home-made kosher gelatin from cow hooves is an old Jewish delicacy known as Ptcha or Galaretta/Gala (this is actually also eaten in some Sephardic communities, but it is primarily an Eastern European food, today mainly eaten among Hasidic communities)

Gelatin is only permissible if it comes from a permissible animal.

Grape Juice/Wine and Alcohol

Except for “cooked” grape wine and grape juice (which must be manufactured under Jewish supervision), kashrut allows the consumption of any sort of alcohol, as long as it has kosher ingredients (excluding any unsupervised grape extracts).

For a substance to be halal, it must not contain alcohol of any kind. However, there is a difference drawn between the addition of alcohol to foods which is absolutely forbidden.  (see http://www.food-management.com/article/13386/ and http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_101_150/contemporary_world.htm)

 

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