Halal (/həˈlɑːl/; Arabic: حلال, ḥalāl; also spelled halaal) is an Arabic word that translates to “permissible or lawful” into English.
In the Quran, the word halal is contrasted with haram (forbidden). This binary opposition was elaborated into a more complex classification known as “the five decisions”: mandatory, recommended, neutral, reprehensible and forbidden.
Islam is a comprehensive religion guiding Muslims through sets of rules governing every facet of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws carry a special significance. Islamic philosophy propounds that the food which man consumes affects not only his physical constitution but also his moral character and spiritual upliftment. The term halal is therefore particularly associated with Islamic dietary laws and especially meat processed and prepared in accordance with those requirements.
Muslims are permitted to eat the flesh of certain animals, which are required to be slaughtered according to the specified ritual procedures. Pork is totally not permitted. Similarly, any animal not ritually slaughtered will also be categorised as Haram (unlawful). Halal also encompasses all aspects of food hygiene and quality.
Although non-meat items are neutral in terms of Islamic Law, the processing procedures, food additives, preparation areas, etc. also must be free from non-Halaal contaminants. Seafood and derivatives thereof are acceptable in terms of Halaal dietary regulation.
Once the Halaal Authority inspects, evaluates and approves all the relevant areas of the ingredients/raw materials and the manufacturing process, Halal approval is granted. In South Africa, this process is managed through the South African National Halaal Authority (S.A.N.H.A.)