Halal is Kosher:
Similarities and Differences in Jewish-Muslim Dietary Laws Explained
Table of Content:
a. In General
b. In Detail
4. How and Why
Judaic and Islamic dietary laws have and do bring Jews and Muslims together. Both the Kosher and Halal signs and symbols have given solace to both minorities living in a majority secular or Christian society.
In this research, we explain what, why, and how our dietary laws are similar. Any difference in our dietary laws is analyzed and discussed to conclude that Muslims are equally observant to the Divine Kosher (Kashrut) Laws.
1. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Scriptural Law.
2. All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
3. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
4. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food.
In both Judaism and Islam, we have a wide variety of identical dietary laws:
“..any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud. Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6The Quran:
"O ye who believe! fulfil (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all cattle four-footed animals, with the exceptions named: But animals of the chase are forbidden while ye are in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb: for Allah doth command according to His will and plan.” Surah 5:1
Of the things that are in the waters, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9
”Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food,- for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel” Surah 5:96
The mammals and birds that may be eaten must be slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law. (Deut. 12:21).
"Eat the meat of the animals on which name of Allah has been invoked, if you are believer" (6 :118).
"Do not eat meat of animal on which the name of Allah has not been invoked because this is an act of sin" (6 : 121).
We may not eat animals that died of natural causes (Deut. 14:21)
"Forbidden to you (as food) are dead animals” (5 : 4).
birds of prey or scavengers (Lev. 11:13-19; Deut. 14:11-18)
Sayings of Prophet Muhammad:
Similarly, someone in ihram should not kill any predatory birds..” Malik's Muwatta, Book 20:, Number 20.26.92.
prohibits consumption of blood. Lev. 7:26-27; Lev. 17:10-14
Forbidden to you (for food) ……..blood (5:3)
“And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. “ Le 11:7
The Quran:” He has only forbidden you ….. the flesh of swine…” (16:115)
“Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations” Le 10:9
The Quran:"They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider” 2:219
Therefore, the essential and core harmful substances have been preserved as forbidden in the Quran as it has been in the Torah.
Regarding the slight differences, we see that un-harmful substances which may have been inflicted or self-inflicted rules in the Torah, are cured by the Holy Quran.
We find that the foods that have been forbidden in the Torah yet allowed in the Quran are the ones that do not cause harm or illness according to medical tests. Health, is the central theme in both the Torah and Koran. Forbidden foods are labeled as “unclean” substances. The aspect is stated in the Holy Quran:
"(And it is said unto them): Eat and drink in health (as a reward) for what ye used to do” (52:19)
With the Monotheist’s health and well being a priority, nutritional foods which were previously forbidden such as shrimp, rabbit, (parts of a camel), sea food such lobster and as shell fish in proportion, are today allowed in Islam.
4. How and Why
The Holy Quran explains two main reasons why a few of the dietary laws are different. The reasoning is based on inflicted and self inflicted dietary laws in the Bible both of which are cured in the Koran.
Meaning that some of the food restrictions were placed on the Israelites as a form of punishment rather than a health issue because of some mis-behavior, hence, “inflicted on the Jews”.
Another explanation stated in the Holy Quran is that the Rabbis made some foods un-lawful that God in the Bible never restricted Jews from eating, hence “self inflicted prohibitions” which the Quran revives both with Love and Truth.
a. Love, removing the infliction
There are proven healthy laws in the Torah. God in the Torah is a loving God who cares for His people, unless His people rebel…
“because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes and had polluted My Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.Therefore I gave them also statutes (Laws) that were not good and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all who openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 20:24-26
This Biblical commandment was in reference to various Laws for Israelites being made stricter and even life threatening, including dietary laws because the Israelites disobeyed God.
An opposite example of this abrogation is when Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son, when Abraham was obedient, God changed His commandment mercifully with the substitution of the ram.
When God sent the Holy Quran as a mercy to humans, God reminds us of the Ezekiel 20:24 event in Sura 6:146:
“And to those who were Jews We made unlawful every animal with undivided hoof, and of oxen and sheep We made unlawful to them the fat of both, except such as was on their backs or the entrails or what was mixed with bones: this was a punishment We gave them on account of their rebellion, and We are surely Truthful.” (see also 3:93 and 4:160).
Such a restriction in the desert of Israel and Arabia, would surely kill the follower through starvation and make the number of followers small in number as God had promised to make Israelites desolate.
For example, God forbade both nutritional and non-nutritional foods for the Israelites while forgiving those who repented and returned to Allah.
To the best of our modern scientific knowledge, there is no reason why rabbit or camel meat is any less healthy than cow or goat meat. With the scarcity of food in the desert, being forbidden from eating healthy meat meant death.
Therefore God sent down the forgiving message in the Holy Quran, for the Israelites who repented, their dietary laws were kept kosher, but with mercy rather than a curse:
“We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe: to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss.” Surah 17:82
“ ..This (Qur'an) is insight from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy for a people that believe.” Surah 7:204
An example of this dietary mercy is recorded in the Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad:
"The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the symbols from Allah: in them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter), eat ye thereof, and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment, and such as beg with due humility: thus have We made animals subject to you, that ye may be grateful.” Surah 22:36
God reveals in this verse that camels actually are nutritional, whereas in the Torah they were forbidden not because of health reasons like pork, but because of disobedience of Israelites. God also explains that we were mercifully allowed to eat previously forbidden meats so that we can be content and not beg.
In Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), the elements of starvation and mercy are also recorded:
“Once the journey food diminished and the people were reduced to poverty. They went to the Prophet and asked his permission to slaughter their camels, and he agreed.” Volume 3, Book 44, Number 664
Rather than begging for food or starving to death because of a Biblical law placed on ancient Israelites because of some ancient disobedience, today’s Monotheists are forgiven and allowed to eat all healthy foods while still restricted from unhealthy foods.
b. Self inflicted
There are Jewish dietary laws which were created by Rabbis, rather than recorded in the Torah. We categorize such laws as self inflicted laws, forbidding foods on yourself that God has made lawful.
An example of this Rabbi created food restriction is the Separation of Meat and Dairy.
Because of such human made laws forbidding the bounty and blessings from God, the Quran was sent by God and states:
“All food was lawful to the children of Israel except that which Israel had forbidden to itself, before the Torah was revealed. Say: Bring then the Torah and read it, if you are truthful.” (3:93)
Hallal (permissible in Islam), is Kosher (permissible for Jews) as a blessing and mercy from Allah. Jewish lives have been saved by the mercy sent by God in the Quran, Jewish children and adults are allowed to live again enjoying the healthy bounty God has provided for us.
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