Is Kosher Halal?

Hanukkah dishes

Often times Muslim consumers tend to assume 'Kosher' is similar to 'Halal'. Although the slaughtering rituals of Jewish people resemble those of Muslims; kosher and halal are two different entities carrying a different meaning and spirit. Muslims, therefore, are provided with the following basic information about Kosher so they can exercise care in distinguishing halal from kosher.

Kashrut (in Hebrew) is the system of Jewish dietary laws. Kosher (kashur in Hebrew) means 'fit, or proper for use' according to Jewish law. Examples of kosher are: the meat of the 'fore quarter*' of the cattle slaughtered ritually, fruits, vegetables, all fish that have fins*, Kosher wines*, Kosher cheeses*, Kosher gelatin*.

The opposite of Kosher, as applied to food in Treif (in Yiddish), or trefah (in Hebrew) meaning 'not suitable for use', or 'forbidden'. Trefah literally means 'torn by a wild beast' (Exodus 22:30). Examples of Trefah are: blood, swine, rabbit*, all shell fish*, wild birds such as wild hen*, wild duck*, and the birds of prey.

(*) These food items exhibit a marked difference between kosher and Halal as well as trefah and haram. The differences are explained elsewhere in this section.

Caution to Muslim Consumers:

Halal is a comprehensive Islamic term encompassing not only the matters of food and drink, but all other matters of daily life. Islam being the final and perfect way of life for humanity, it supersedes all the previously revealed religions including Christianity and Judaism. The rituals in all matters were perfected by God (al-Quran 5:3)

According to Islamic Jurisprudence, no one except God can change forbidden (Haram) things into lawful (halal) for vice-versa. It is forbidden for people to change the lawful (Halal) things into unlawful (Haram), or vice-versa.

Halal is a unique Islamic concept and eating zabiha (Islamically slaughtered) meat is a distinguishing part of a Muslim's identity as expressed by Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

Salient differences between kosher and halal are:

Islam prohibits all intoxicating alcohols, liquors, wines and drugs. kashrut regards their wines kosher. Hence food items and drinks showing the kosher symbol containing alcohol are not halal.

Gelatin is considered Kosher by many Jews regardless of its source of origin. If the gelatin is prepared from non-zabiha, Muslims consider it haram (prohibited). Hence foods items such as marshmallows, yogurt, etc., showing kosher symbols are not always halal.

Enzymes (irrespective of their sources even from non-kosher animals) in cheese making are considered mere secretion (pirsah b'almah) according to some kashrut organizations, hence all cheeses are considered kosher by many Jews. Muslims look for the source of the enzyme in cheese making. If it is coming from the swine, it is considered haram(forbidden). Hence cheeses showing kosher symbols may not be halal.

Jews do not pronounce the name of God on each animal while slaughtering. They feel that uttering the name of God, out of context, is wasteful. Muslims on the other hand pronounce the name of Allah on all animals while slaughtering.

The salient differences between kosher and halal have been illustrated so that Muslim consumers can distinguish halal from kosher.

Muslims in non-Muslim countries should strive to follow the Islamic injunctions in their diet (as well as in every walk of life) and establish their own businesses and institutions to cater to the needs of the Muslim Ummah. By doing so, not only the identity of the Muslims will be preserved, but they will be recognized and respected for their beliefs and practices.

Differences within Kosher:

There are different sects within Judaism and there are several hundred Jewish Kosher authorities in the US who certify Kosher based on extremely liberal to extremely conservative rules. Therefore it is difficult to come up with one uniform opinion regarding Kosher practices. A symbols "k" for kosher is not governed by any authority. Any manufacturer can use it at will. A website guiding Jews about Kosher states "it may take a great deal of detective work to ascertain the standard that a particular rabbi is using." For this reason many Muslims when buying anything kosher look for "u" in a circle which are more conservative Kosher symbol.

 

"Hanukkah dishes" by Ms Jones from California, USA - Happy Hanukkah!. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hanukkah_dishes.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Hanukkah_dishes.jpg

Comments

There are several issues with Kosher:1. In Judaism, the rules and methods of slaughtering are not open and published. Unlike in Islam, where any adult sane Muslim can slaughter an animal by following the rules prescribed by Shariah, in Judaism only one kind of Rabbi, known as the Sachet, may slaughter Kosher animals. The Sachet is specially trained for this purpose and no other Jew can slaughter an animal.Although Jews say that they slaughter in the name of God, we do not know what else they say in Hebrew while slaughtering. Their prayers and methods of slaughtering are in the hands of a few people and are not generally known.2. The Sachet does not say prayers on all animals he slaughters at a time. Instead, he only says prayers on the first and last animals he slaughters. For example, if a Sachet has to slaughter ten cows, he will only say the prayer on the first and tenth cow while slaughtering, saying nothing on the cows in between.This method of slaughtering is not similar to the method prescribed by Sharia for Hanafi sect, nor is it similar to the practice of Ahle-kitab at the time of our beloved Prophet Mohammed Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallum. Meat slaughtered by Ahlekitab was considered halal because of similarity in the slaughtering method and in the Niya at that time.These are the reasons why most Ulama do not consider Kosher meat halal.

Location

Attock, Pakistan

AsSalaamu-alaykum,Wildly inaccurate details regarding Judaism and laws of Kashrut. Brother Ben explained most of the issues regarding the inaccuracies in the article, but I would like to add for further clarification that Kashrut laws regarding food and drink only have one unhalal aspect... that is alcohol. As for gelatine being from any animal and marshmallows bearing the Kosher sign having Haram ingredients... Never..No way.. in fact the laws of Kashrut often go above and beyond Islamic laws for halal... for example.. Halal butchers do not inspect the food that the animal was raised on before buying an animal, they do not inspect the carcass for signs of disease or ill treatment/ ill health. In fact Kosher food is more than Halal (except for Kosher alcohol products of course). There is in fact no doubt and an Ijma (consensus) amongst mainstream Sunni scholars that Kosher meat products in the absence of Halal availability is a valid food and completely permissable.The sad thing about all of this is that anyone can just Google these concepts and get lots of information at the click of a button instead of having to raise controversial arguments in forums.Aanyways. have a great day InshaAllah.. and Salaam to all.

Location

London

I understand where Ben is coming from. I too share his concens about the passage. I dont think the passage adds anything to what otherwise is an informative and balanced article. In my view the passage should be removed or as a minimum clarified and footnoted with a source. As a Muslim I find it fustrating when the views of a minority group are presented as mainstream, so if the passage is drawn from similar circumstances, I strongly urge that it is completely removed. I have only just discovered the website and I am finding it very informative. Great work brothers and sisters.

Location

Sydney

Thank you for the article.It was interesting. Although you clearly have good intentions, your description of the Jewish Kashrut is often inaccurate. The Kashrut (Jewish Dietary Laws) is very strict and detailed with regard to enzymes in cheese, slaughter technique, and parts of an animal deemed fit for consumption. In fact, the requirements for Cheese are so severe, that it is very difficult for Cheese producers to attain Kosher certification.This next line was my least favorite: You said, "They feel that uttering the name of God, out of context, is wasteful." Aside from being offensive, this claim is exceedingly inaccurate.The Kashrut requires a very tedious ritualistic process that includes a prayer to the God in an effort to gain God's blessing for the slaughter of acceptable animals (God's creation) which God has generously provided for our consumption. The exact details of this process certainly vary from the Zabihah process, but the intent (as well as the slaughter technique) is essentially the same. After all, Judaism is an Abrahamic religion. We are not that different.Thanks for for your effort in trying to educate people about this issue. I do not intend to criticize. I just wanted to correct what I believed was inaccurate information.God bless you,Ben

Location

Los Angeles, CA, USA

Thank you so much for this Article........Though we are very careful about Halal and Haram,But This is very common that Muslim use Kosher things,assuming them Halal.Now I can at lest tell my friends as well as Non-Muslims the difference between Halal and Kosher.Jasieakh Allaha

Location

Naugatuck Ct

I’ve been living in Sydney as a student from last couple of years and working in a big supermarket as a sales assistant. Alhamdulillah, in Sydney we Muslim people get Halal meats from different boucher shops. As my working experience with that supermarket I learned about kosher food. This is because in our store we have kosher section and buyer is Jews customers. One of the Turkish guy informed me Kosher is Halal so Muslim people can have those food, that’s bring me searching on this web site and Alhamdulillah I got real good idea about kosher foods from your writing. And it is really interesting that wine(any alcohol ) is not halal for Muslim whereas kosher keep it on the list. This point makes me clear it can’t be Halal for Muslim as foods concept. In addition to, also Halal is a greater sense of leading a good life with other daily activities. I really appreciate your writing, it clears my understanding.

Location

Sydney

I visited your site because I wanted to understand the similarities between Halal and Kosher cheese. I was disappointed with your presentation of what is considered Kosher. I was raised Muslim, but subsequently converted to Orthodox Judaism as an adult. Your explanations about what foods are Kosher is incorrect.It is true that "Kashrut (in Hebrew) is the system of Jewish dietary laws. Kosher (kashur in Hebrew) means 'fit, or proper for use' according to Jewish law. Examples of kosher are: the meat of the 'fore quarter*' of the cattle slaughtered ritually, fruits, vegetables, all fish that have fins."* Not all wines are Kosher, only wines which have been boiled and prepared only by Jews and which are marked with a Hechsher are Kosher.* Not all cheeses are Kosher, they too have to be supervised during the processing and cannot use any Animal Rennet. Very few cheeses are Kosher.* Gelatin from a "PIG or SWINE" whatever you want to call that filthy creature, is NEVER, NEVER eaten by an observant Jew as with an observant Muslim. You do a disservice to the community to make such an assertion. There are more similarities than differences between Muslims and Jews, and I would hope that you could use this valuable resource to accurately portray this. I would like to conclude by saying, that I liked the summation of this post. There is a website that is devoted to what symbols are acceptable, but you are correct that these vary according to the religious stream. As an Orthodox Jew, I agree that you cannot go wrong with "OU" which is as you stated is a "U" inside an "O". Thank you and be well,Ayannawww.ayannanahmias.com

Location

Washington

Thank you so much for this article. I am about to marry a muslim man and very much want to please him. He will have to teach me so much more, I am sure. I didn't know there was a differnce between kosher and halal. Will be difficult in the US to find these foods but we will.

Location

satsuma

eating the right foods have everything to do with the relationship you have with God because your body is the temple of God and he lives in there. If you have been eating swine all your life then the whole chemistry of your body is built from swine protein and your body starts to think you are the swine,.....but its not,...your body is the temple of God and should be made hospitable !!!

Location

Marshmallos and gelatine can made of anything. I've had seaweed gelatine. It's hard to find good kosher cheese because of the enzyme issue...so i believe you enzyme comment is incorrect. Furthermore, jews do say a bracha or prayer before they slaughter. I have some muslim friends that do eat kosher and other get very mad at them!

Location

ny, ny

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