What is Halal and Haram?

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. In reference to food, it is the dietary standard, as prescribed in the Qur’an (the Muslim scripture). The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. These terms are commonly used in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, and food contact materials.

In general every food is considered halal in Islam unless it is specially prohibited by the Qur’an or the Hadith. By official definition, halal foods are those that are:

  • Free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming according to Islamic law.
  • Processed, made, produced, manufactured and/or stored using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that have been cleansed according to Islamic law (Shariah).
  • Halal products are derived from animals and/or poultry that have been prepared according to Islamic law under the following statement, “In the name of God, God is the Greatest” (Bismillahi, Allahu Akbar).
  • In the meat and poultry food industry, animals such as cows, veal, lamb, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, game birds, bison, venison, etc, are considered halal, but they must be prepared according to Islamic laws in order for their meat to be suitable for consumption by Muslims.


The following kinds are Haram and prohibited in Islam:

  1. The dead animal
  2. Blood
  3. Pork
  4. Animals that have been dedicated to anyone other than Allah, that is those which are slaughtered with the invocation of a name other than that of Allah Almighty —for example, the name of an idol.
  5. The animal (or bird) that dies because of being strangled
  6. The animal (or bird) that dies because of being beat with something.
  7. The animal (or bird) that dies because of falling down from a height
  8. The animal that dies because of being gored by another animal.
  9. The animal (or bird) that dies because of being killed by a wild beast
  10. Animals that have been immolated to idols.


Accordingly, all the kinds of food that Halal except what contains any of the prohibited kinds of food that we have mentioned above. Still, any food that contains any intoxicating substance, whether little or much, is absolutely Haram (unlawful).

What does Halal certification mean?

For a product to be Halal, it must be as a whole, and in part: free from any substance taken or extracted from a Haram animal or ingredient; made, processed, manufactured and/or stored by using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that has been cleaned according to Islamic law ;and free from contact with, or being close to, a Haram substance during preparation, manufacture, processing and storage ;Halal certification means that a product’s contents and manufacture have been endorsed by an accredited religious authority as meeting these standards.

Why do manufacturers seek Halal certification of food and drinks?

Many food manufacturers seek Halal certification of their facilities and processes, in order to label their products as Halal and ensure they are able to be enjoyed by Muslim and non-Muslims worldwide. In the same way that food labelled as gluten-free is suitable for consumption by a broad range of consumers, Halal certified foods are commonly enjoyed by non-Muslims.

Can non-Muslim people consume Halal-certified food and drinks?

Yes. Halal certified foods are commonly enjoyed by non-Muslims.

How do I find out whether a product is Halal certified?

The best way to know if a product is Halal certified is to check the label. As Halal certification generally applies to production sites and processes rather than brands per se, the same food or drink manufactured at different sites around the world may vary in terms of its Halal certification status.

Is it Haram to use balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar?

Any type of Vinegar is Halal unless it contains alcohol or any other Haram ingredients.

Is it permissible to take medicine containing alcohol which is used to preserve it.

There are certain conditions that must be fulfilled in order to take a medicine containing haram ingredients. Such conditions may be classified as follows:

  1. The medicine containing haram ingredients (alcohol as stated in the question) must be necessary for the life of the person who takes it.
  2. A knowledgeable and trustworthy Muslim physician should recommend such type of medicine containing alcohol.
  3. The person is not allowed to take this particular type of medicine while there are other lawful medicines available.

What is the ruling on eating lobsters, crabs and shrimps?

The basic rule is that all sea food is halal, according to the hadith of the Prophet about the sea: “Its water is pure, and its meat is halal.” And also in the Qura’n: “It is He Who has made the sea subject, that ye may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender….” (An-Nahl 16: 14)

These texts are general and we don’t have any evidence that modify them. So, eating these see foods is allowed.

What is the Islamic ruling on wearing perfumes that contain alcohol?

It is forbidden to drink alcohol. In the perfumes usually denatured alcohol is used. This alcohol is not unclean (najas). According to some jurists even natural alcohol is not najas. According to the Shari`ah, there is nothing wrong in using alcohol based perfumes.

I want to ask if the lottery is Halal according to Islam, and can we get money in this way? What about Gambling?

The best way to earn money in Islam is to work hard and employ thought. Islam prohibits a Muslim from earning vast amounts of money without making any effort. Allah Almighty says: “O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:90)

What is known as the lottery or raffle is likewise a form of gambling. It is Haram.