Why Does Halal Matter?
Islam is collectively a set of guidelines and rules: “a way of life,” modeled by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Muslims are practitioners of the Sunnah; this practice is for our benefit alone. We are Muslims because we believe Islam provides the mandates. Muslims pray 5 times a day, because that is the commandment from Allah. Similarly, Muslims pay Zakat (almsgiving) because that too is a commandment from Allah. Hence, the following commandment must be given due analysis as well, “O humankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful and pure” (Quran 2:168). Hence consuming Halal is an essential commandment of Allah The Exalted and is a crucial part of the Islamic faith. If one wishes to become closer to Allah The Exalted and engage in spiritual progression, then it all starts with eating Halal.
“Whoever prays as we [Muslims] pray and faces the Ka’ba[during prayer]
In this hadith, ritualistic prayer is associated with eating Halal. It is now apparent that this is a distinguishing feature of Muslims; Islam gives importance to an act others perceive as insignificant. The necessity of a Muslim slaughterer as default is proof itself that food of Halal origin has a special place in Islamic Law. Muslims are required to eat Halal as a testimony of one’s identity, love and submission to Allah The Exalted.
Ka`b Ibn Ujrah relates that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, “A body nourished with Haram will not enter Jannah.” (Tirmidhi)These assertions all point to the same simple, yet profound conclusion: eat Halal to perform Halal acts. This notion is reinforced in the Quran, “O Messengers, Eat of pure things and do good deeds.” (Quran 23:51)
Muslims are designed to be followers of the Prophets. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the fundamental role model to emulate. Hence, it is no surprise that the Last and Final Messenger emphasized the importance of Halal food:
S'ad (RA) relates: Allah's Messenger (SAW) said “O S'ad purify your food (and as a result) you will become one who's supplications are accepted. I swear by He in whose hands the soul of Muhammad (SAW) lies, verily a servant (of Allah) tosses a Haram morsel in his stomach (due to which) no deed is accepted from him for 40 days.” (Tabarani)
This hadith not only highlights the importance of Halal food, but reveals the dire consequences of eating impermissibly. This conclusion is further evident in the following Hadith…
The Prophet (SAW) made mention of a man who undergoes a lengthy journey in a state that he is dishevelled and dusty. He spreads his hands towards the sky (calling), “O my Lord, O my Lord”, however his food is Haram, his drink is Haram, his clothes are Haram and he has been nourished with Haram! So how will his call be answered?” (Sahih Muslim)Eating Halal is something most people pass off as insignificant but rather it is a fundamental attribute of the Prophetic teachings, the premise to being a Muslim. We as Muslims must unconditionally love the Prophet (SAW) and strive to emulate his lifestyle and embody his teachings. The Prophet (SAW) was very particular in what he ate and we too, out of love for Allah and his Prophet (SAW), should also be particular in what we consume. As Muslim, we are fundamentally obliged to eat Halal in order to ensure a righteous lifestyle in following the footsteps of the Prophet (SAW). In summary: Eat Halal, Live Halal.
1 As highlighted by Uthmani, Muhammad Taqi. Translation Toft, Amir. ”The Islamic Laws of Animal Slaughter” California: White Thread Press, 2006.