What is meant by halal
Sura 2 verse 168Meat consumption does not end with the question of "halâl"
"You people! Eat of all that is on earth, as far as it is permitted [halâl] and good [tayyib]!"
In times of increasing mass animal husbandry, pesticides and discussions about GM food, the question of the meaning of "permitted" - Arabic: "halâl" - and "good" - Arabic: "tayyib", as it is called in this excerpt, arises. What do you mean with that? Why doesn't God let the word "halâl" stand alone?
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Overall, this pair of words - "halâl" / "tayyib" - appears four times in the Koran. "Halâl" is a religious law term. It refers to what is legally permissible. "Tayyib", on the other hand, means what is physically and morally clean. In the context of food, it is commonly translated as "healthy" and "clean".
Asmaa El Maaroufi is a research associate at the Center for Islamic Theology at the University of Münster. (priv.) This aspect seems inadequate, however, since the term "tâhir", which also appears in the Koran, would be more appropriate for it. It is understood much more in the physical sense of cleanliness. The meaning of "tayyib" must therefore transcend the physical plane.
The Prophet Mohammed, for example, referred to God as "the good" - Arabic: al-tayyib - the one who desires the good in everything; also in the way people feed. "Tayyib" is therefore to be understood as a moral factor that complements the legal one.
In the interpretation of the verse quoted at the beginning by the scholar Sahl al-Tustarî from the 9th century, it says accordingly that "halâl" denotes what is legally permissible. His emphasis is on respect for God. "Tayyib", on the other hand, means something in which man does not forget God, something in which he thinks of him. The term thus describes a higher level of purity of what is permitted.
In this respect, this level takes a further, holistic look at food. Believers do not "forget" God when they include what is good and pure in their decisions. And because God is always present to them, they reflect everything they do - including what they eat. Believers differentiate between good and bad. You act ethically.
Here the genuine determination of the Muslim who acts according to the Koran can be seen. The Koran is namely: "al-furqân" - in German: "the one who distinguishes" between good and evil.
When we speak of "halâl" and "tayyib" in the context of food, we should take these two components into account according to the Quranic verse. This is precisely what is often neglected. One example is meat production. Aspects of religious law are discussed down to the smallest detail: Who is allowed to slaughter? How must be slaughtered? How should the knife be made?
The question of what is physically and morally good is neglected: What treatment did the animal receive during rearing? What was it fed with? How medicated? How is it transported?
Limiting the subject of Islamic nutrition to "one" aspect such as "halâl" does not do justice to the demands of the Koran and its ethics. It would mean disregarding the consequences for future generations, including all fellow creatures.
Nowadays, some Muslims see this as confirmation of their vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. The Koran does allow the consumption of meat: "Eat everything that is on earth," it says. But first, a permit is not yet an obligation. And secondly, there is the restriction: "As far as it is good".
This is then interpreted to mean that neither today's factory farming in particular, nor the killing of fellow creatures in general, correspond to the moral and ethical demands of the Koran.
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