Frequently Asked Questions
We try our best to answer any questions you might have regarding Halal and our services. If you have a question that isn’t answered in the list below, please contact us today and we’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible.
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Maybe you’re interested in find out more about what it takes to get certified, or you’re looking for more information about what The American Halal Institute does? You’ve come to the right place! Below you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions. We’re adding to this list constantly, so feel free to check back any time! If you have a question that isn’t on this list, don’t hesitate to contact us today, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions as soon as possible.
In simple terms, the Arabic word “halal” translates into English as “permissible” or “allowable.” The term halal refers to anything that is acceptable for a Muslim to eat, do, or otherwise engage in, as outlined by the Sharia.
Although most people understand the term with regards to food, “halal” (and its opposite “haram,” meaning “impermissible”) can also refer to many lawful (or unlawful) activities that constitute daily life, such as financing, marriage, clothing/accessories, entertainment, work, and more. For example, because earning or paying interest is haram in Islam, there are many halal banking and financing options available that will allow Muslims to remain Sharia-compliant whilst at the same time remaining a participating member of modern society.
For most impermissible (haram) acts, there are permissible (halal) alternatives. Being that fornication is not allowable by the Sharia, marriage replaces it as an acceptable union between a willing man and woman. And while there are certain things that Muslims must avoid consuming, the truth is that the vast majority of food is completely halal. As long as they prepare it according to the guidelines outlined in the Quran and Sunnah.
That said, when considering food, eating and drinking halal means more than simply abstaining from pork and alcohol. There are certain substances that Muslims must avoid because they were from impermissible animal products, such as gelatin made from pigs or enzymes from preservation of dairy products. This is of particular importance to Muslims in the West, who must check the ingredients carefully before buying and eating many common products found in the supermarket.
For meat, eating halal means opting for “zabiha” meat, or meat that has been slaughtered according to Islamic law.
Halal, or zabiha, meat refers to meat products from an animal that was slaughtered properly based on Islamic principles. Although modern animal activists have criticism against the Muslim slaughtering ritual on grounds that it is inhumane and causes unnecessary pain to the animal. In fact the truth is that Muslims take great care in ensuring that the animal feels the least amount of pain. Ensuring the killing is quick so as not to prolong the physical or emotional duress to the animal.
The guidelines for slaughtering an animal according to Islam are as follows:
- The animal’s throat is cut in one swift motion by a sharp blade, severing two blood vessels, the trachea, and esophagus.
- Reciting the name of God before slaughtering the animal.
- The animal should completely bleed out before removing the skin and separating the meat.
- An adult, sane Muslim must perform the slaughter.
- The animal lives a good life before its’ killing.
- The animal must be in a comfortable position as its throat is slit.
- Animals cannot see another animal being slaughtered, nor the sharpening of the knife.
- Severing the animal’s spinal cord is not permissible.
- The knife should be extremely sharp before the slaughter to ensure that one slice will kill the animal.
- The animal must be halal according to Islamic law (i.e. not a pig).If the above conditions are met, the meat from the slaughter is acceptable as halal (zabiha). Therefore making it safe to consume for any Muslim.
Much in the same way that food must uphold the requirements of the Sharia, products, and services must also comply with Islamic law to be considered halal. As for services, the aforementioned financing, and marriage services that benefit Muslims in the manner outlined in the Quran and Sunnah fall under the halal framework. Also, butchers and meat processing plants that work to produce and distribute halal meat are also halal services.
Food items not containing any forbidden materials are often allowable as halal products. Many snacks and shelved items sold in American markets contain haram ingredients. This includes those that contain dairy products such as cheese. This is due to the enzymes used to preserve dairy for prolonged shelf lives. Beyond the enzymes, gelatin derived from animals can also be problematic unless it is certified halal. Other chemicals used to flavor certain products and alcohol also present a potential issue for Muslims when seeking halal products.
Generally speaking, certifying your products and services as halal through the American Halal Institute is a straightforward process. Therefore the design is to bring ease to the suppliers and manufacturers. As such, we do our best to make the process as cost-effective as possible. Of course, the overall cost depends on the type of products and services. This determines the level of testing required to provide a halal certification. Still, because we have streamlined the procedure and are passionate about fostering trust between companies and consumers, we have taken careful consideration to keep the costs as low as possible.
Certifying your products as halal can actually save you money. In fact, it can lead to increased sales, which will drive your earnings forward. This is because a halal certification opens you open to the ready-made market of 4 million American Muslims and nearly 2 billion Muslims around the globe who are desperately seeking halal products or halal alternatives to their favorite products.
The American Halal Institute makes major strides to consider the needs and passions of Muslim consumers. This includes those of the suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors of halal goods. Built on the premise that Muslims in America should have an overseeing body. This body provides a trustworthy halal stamp for goods and services. It is the same way the American Jewish community has symbols on their food products displaying what is Kosher. Therefore AHI provides a straightforward halal certification process that all parties can be comfortable with.