Monday, October 3, 2011

Halal Meat (Islamic Version of Kosher, if you will)

My mother sends many emails my way which she thinks will interest me, or things that might cause me to be concerned, or any of a various number of reasons.  I really enjoy this aspect of our relationship, as it allows me to see some of her thoughts.  I don't often get to hear her thoughts, as my schedule is incredibly hectic, so this is an opportunity for me to 'see' what's on her mind.  Recently she sent me a forward which went on about how Halal meat is taking over at the grocer, and how we need to avoid it.  Initially, the writing felt like it was very fear-inspired, not logic-inspired. And I think most of you know me well enough to know that I'll dig into any topic.  If you want a copy of the email, mention so in the comments, along with your address, and I will send it your way.  For the sake of conserving space here, I will not include the text.

On the surface, I see what they are saying, and what the issue is.  I'm going to put my thoughts below in list form.

1 - We should in no wise support Islam.
2 - This is meat essentially offered to idols.
3 - There is nothing wrong with eating meat offered to idols.  (There is no such thing as an idol, only God is real.  1 Cor 8.)
4 - Politically I have issues with this happening.
5 - As a Christian I couldn't care less where my meat originates, as long as it is handled in a way which poses no threat to my safety.
6 - For the sake of my brother or sister who has a weaker conviction, I won't eat this halal meat if it would cause them to stumble. 

I will try to avoid it if I can, not out of religious obligation, but out of a two fold reason: to attempt to send the message to the grocers that they don't need to carry that product, and to not support financially the making of the meat.  That is where my conviction originates.  If a brother or sister would be uncomfortable knowing the meat was prepared by those actively worshiping a false god at the time of it's preparation, I will abstain from it as well.

A friend of mine who lived in Israel for a number of years had this to say when I chatted with him about this:
Besides, I had ground lamb and pork-free hard salami, both halal, that were INCREDIBLE

What are your thoughts about eating this meat?

1 Corinthians 8:4-7
1Co 8:4  Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
1Co 8:5  For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
1Co 8:6  yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
1Co 8:7  However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.


  1. I totally agree about the religious aspect, tho in my case ive never met anyone who my eating halal meat would cause to stumble so i see no reason to abstain even for that reason. What I don't get is why you see eating a meat halal as supporting islam any more than eating something labeled kosher is supporting judaism. Firstly, a lot of business do it just to keep their customer base, not because it's something the believe in. Secondly, even if it is an islamic business, don't those people still have the right to make a living?

  2. This meat is not "essentially" offered to idols, or offered outright. If it were you debunk that that as a reason to not eat it anyway.
    Idols are real, but the gods they represent aren't greater than our God. The One True God. Don't scoff at the power of the prince of the earth.

    I agree that supporting Islam is foolish as we, and our lifestyle is considered infidel to their holy book. Or worse we would be dhimmi's.

    Halal & Kosher are guidelines for food preparation. If you have an issue with one you are logically inconsistent for not taking issue with the other.

  3. @Angela - I don't have a problem with them making a living, I just don't want to support it. They have a right to do business, and I have a right to do business elsewhere. Also, as far as being like supporting Judaism, it's more in how it's prepared. When Halal meat is being prepared, they are required to face Mecca, and be audibly chanting 'Allah Akbar' (a simple Google search results in many hits for this). I don't much feel like paying someone to chant that while killing my food.
    @Superfast - See above regarding how it is prepared. The chanting while butchering is why I say 'essentially' offered. It's not an exact offering (in the sense of sacrificial offering) but it is prepared with an intention to be honoring their false god in the process. That's about as close to offering it to an idol as we see today. And relating to your 'Idols are real' statement, read 1 Cor 8:4 again. :)
    I would never want to discount the power of the ruler of this world, however any idol is only a creation of either him or man, and as such is not a 'real' god. And that is why I have an issue with Halal.
    As a friend pointed out though, they are contradictory to themselves...according to the Qu'ran anyway...
    'Quran actually okays kosher food as halal for Muslim - Surah 5:5 states: "This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful to you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them."'
    I wonder how the Orthodox Jewish community would feel about knowing that they can eat halal meat?

  4. You might just ask a Jewish person...but most Rabbi prefer that a more devout Jew be the food preparer.

    That is a weak link on the chanting being the same as sacrificing. Don't dilute the action by saying there isn't sacrifice to idols done today. There is no presentation of the end product, just a weak legalistic prayer that must be said. Over. And over. And over.

    Ephesians 6:12 & Daniel 3 disagree. Your reference is referring to the idol somehow defiling the meat and therefore affects the consumer in some way.

  5. OK SuperFast. I didn't say 'the same' I said 'essentially the same'. The essential part being that the preparation of the food is a religious experience, not a strictly food experience. It goes beyond typical food preparation and enters into the realm of false religion. Bringing false religion into food preparation is the spirit of what the 1 Cor passage is addressing. I never said the idol could affect or defile the meat in some fashion that would cause the consumer to be impacted by it, just the opposite. 1 Cor specifically indicates that it's not a real concern, as idols don't have any influence in the world.
    I think perhaps you're not quite understanding what I'm saying. I'm wracking my brain attempting to figure out how to better clarify this for you.

    I think the ultimate conclusion I'm attempting to make is best summed up as follows:

    No matter what false religion is brought into the preparation of food, it doesn't bother me, because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

  6. 1Cor is referring to accepting gifts given to gods, not about accepting meat that was prepared specially. Close, but not the same. Your "essentially" means the same, but it isn't. That is fine, as neither of us will go to hell for Disagreeing on this.