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Many taboo foods in Islam exist, thanks to the religion’s strict dietary laws. Practicing Muslims who adhere to these laws are not permitted to consume pork and its by-products, alcohol or food prepared with alcohol, meat not slaughtered according to Islamic law and foods containing blood or blood by-products.

These dietary laws, many of which are similar to Jewish kosher dietary restrictions, help Muslims determine what foods are considered clean and unclean.

Islamic Custom: Halal and Haram
All foods and dining behavior in Islamic dietary law are described as halal or haram. Halal foods are lawful and safe to be eaten. Haram foods are considered unclean and therefore unlawful and forbidden.

What Is Zabihah?
Meat from animals, except for pigs, is permitted under Islamic dietary law as long as the animal was slaughtered according to Zabihah, the Islamic rites regarding animal slaughter.

In order for meat from a cow, sheep, goat, duck, chicken or other creature to be considered halal, the animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim and its throat must be slit with a very sharp knife to ensure a quick death.

The person slaughtering the animal must pronounce the name of Allah as well.

Food Taboos: What Can’t be Eaten in the Muslim World?
Many food taboos exist in Islamic culture, and the level to which a Muslim adheres to religious dietary law depends on his community and personal beliefs.

Some of the most common food taboos in Islam include:
• Alcohol is banned according to Islamic dietary laws, as are any foods prepared with alcohol, such as vanilla extract.
• Birds that hunt with talons and prey on animals or other birds cannot be consumed. Birds who eat seeds and vegetables like chickens and pigeons are halal.
• Blood products that contain, or are made from blood are forbidden.
• Insects are haram foods except for locusts.
• Other forbidden meats include that of a donkey, mule, dog, cat, monkey, mouse, rat, elephant and fanged predators. Meat cannot be eaten from any animal that has died by any other means that Zabihah slaughter.
• Pigs are always haram, proving that similar food taboos among different cultures often occur. Like Judaism, Islam has strict laws forbidding pork products. Islamic dietary law goes beyond kosher restrictions and explains that a Muslim can’t have anything to do with a pig.

Leather from pigs is banned and Muslims can only sell pork if in an infidel land and to avoid grave hardship. No common taboos pertaining to vegetables exist in Islamic dietary law.

 Posted on : September 18, 2013