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Halal originates from an Arabic phrase that means allowed or permitted by Islamic Law. The opposite of Halal is Haram / non-Halal that means forbidden and prohibited. Any food or drink which lies within the grey area and does not fall clearly under the Halal or non-Halal category is classified as Syubhah’, alternatively called questionable or dubious. In this category, until the status becomes clear, Muslims should avoid consuming Syubhah food or drinks.
The general principle concerning food according to Islamic teachings is that everything is Halal except impurity (or mixed with impurity), harmful and intoxicant. Therefore, it is compulsory for Muslims to eat good and healthy food and to avoid all that is forbidden by Allah.
Malaysia has defined Halal food through its MS1500:2004: Halal Food – Production, Preparation, Handling & Storage – General Guideline (First Revision) as food permitted under Shari’ah and fulfills the following conditions:
- Does not contain any parts or products of animals that are non-Halal to Muslims or products of animals which are not slaughtered according to Shari’ah law,
- Does not contain any ingredients that are Najs according to Shari’ah law,
- Is safe and not harmful,
- Is not prepared, processed or manufactured using equipment that is contaminated with things that are Najs (filth or unclean) according to Shari’ah law,
- The food or its ingredients do not contain any human parts or its derivatives that are not permitted by Shari’ah law,
- And during its preparation, processing, packaging, storage or transportation, the food is physically separated from any other food that does not meet the requirements stated in any above items, or any other things that have been decreed as Najs (filth or unclean) by Shari’ah law.