‘O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you.’ [Qur’an 2:168]
Assalamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakutuhu,
It’s Halal but is it Tayyib? – something to ponder.
This post will probably pose more questions than provide answers. However, I have decided to write it as it’s something that has begun to bug me recently and is something that’s on my mind at the moment.
Most of us that come from the Asian sub-continent, or even Muslims of other countries, will be used to eating meat on a regular basis. I believe that in most Bangladeshi homes a chicken/lamb curry is a standard dish on most if not all meal times. Given this fact it is surprising to see how few of us actually care about where our meat actually comes from and whether it is truly ‘Halal’.
The lamb/chicken that we purchase from our local ‘Halal’ butchers, where were they raised? In what conditions did they live? What were they fed? How were they slaughtered? Who were they slaughtered by? – do any of these questions cross our minds when we’re at the meat counter ordering our ‘Halal’ meat?
I accept that many of us leave the sourcing of the animal to the shops and as long as the shop has a ‘Halal’ logo and the owners are Muslims we trust them to supply us with authentic Halal food that meets the criteria set by the Fuqaha. HMC has done a lot of good work in making sure that the Halal meat that we purchase is slaughtered in the correct manner. However, I think it’s now time that we go beyond this and look at the actual source of the animals, the type of farms they come from, their living conditions and so on to ensure that the product is truly Halal and Tayyib.
I fear (and this is just a suspicion at the moment) that upon further investigation we will discover that much of the meat that we consume are reared in unsuitable conditions, fed fattening hormones, and not slaughtered in the correct way or by Muslims.
After all ‘you are what you eat’ and therefore all of us should consider properly what we are feeding ourselves and our families not just because of the Halal factor, but also because of other things like chemicals, hormones etc that may be in the food that we buy.
The Qur’an when talking about Halal always follows it up by mentioning that it has to be Halal and Tayyib which in the above verse is translated as wholesome but can also be translated as clean, pure, good and so on. I wonder how much of the ‘Halal’ meat at the Muslim butchers would meet the criteria of Halal +Tayyib.
On a positive note it is very encouraging to see Muslims taking the initiative and establishing their own farms to sell ethical, sustainable and Halal livestock:
Please support them by purchasing your meat from them, even if it be only occasionally, as I appreciate that the prices may be a bit high for a lot of us that are used to buying cheaper meat at the local butchers.
I would love to know of any studies or investigations that have been carried out on where our meat is sourced from and therefore would be grateful if anyone can provide links or references to where I can find out more on this issue.