We've probably all heard the term halal but weren't sure exactly what it meant or if it had the same meaning as kosher. In short, the word halal, in Arabic, means permitted or lawful. Therefore, halal foods are foods that are allowed to be consumed under Islamic dietary guidelines. According to these guidelines that were gathered from the Qu'ran, Muslim followers cannot consume the following foods:
Pork or pork by-products
Animals that were dead prior to slaughtering
Animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of Allah
Blood and blood by-products
Birds of prey
Land animals without external ears
These prohibited foods and ingredients are called haram, meaning forbidden in Arabic.
The word kosher is Hebrew for proper or fit which is similar to the Arabic word halal. However, Jews do not speak the name of God each time they slaughter an animal. A prayer is performed over the first and last animal in any given slaughter. Muslims always speak the name of God over each animal that is slaughtered.
A Humane Method of Animal Slaughter
Muslims are taught through the Qu'ran that all animals should be treated with respect and be well cared for. Therefore the goal in halal style butchery is to slaughter the animal in a manner which will limit the amount of pain the animal will endure.
When an animal is slaughtered, the jugular vein is cut and the blood is allowed to drain from the animal. This practice is done because Muslims are prohibited from consuming animal blood.