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Halal (حلال, ḥalāl, halaal) is an Arabic term meaning “permissible”.
In the English language, it most frequently refers to food that is permissible according to Islamic law. In the Arabic language, it refers to anything that is permissible under Islam. It is estimated that 70% of Muslims worldwide follow Halal food standards and that the Global Halal Market is currently a USD 580 billion industry. Its antonym is haraam.
Adherents to this philosophy maintain that in order for food to be considered halal, it must not be a forbidden substance and any meat must have been slaughtered according to traditional guidelines set forth by the Sunnah, known as Dhabiĥa (Alternatively spelled “zabiha”). This is the strictest definition of Halal.
For example the consumption of a sheep is halal according to the Quran, it is based on the condition that it be slaughtered according to the rules of Dhabiĥa. Otherwise, the consumption is forbidden (haram). The consumption of pork can never be halal (unless under very extenuating circumstances such as fear of losing one’s life), even if it is slaughtered according to the rules of Dhabiĥa.
There is a great deal of similarity between the laws of Dhabiĥa halal and kashrut, and there are also various differences. Whether or not Muslims can use kashrut standards as a replacement for halal standards or vice versa is an ongoing debate, and the answer depends largely on the individual being asked.