Halal And Haram In Istanbul (Islamic Dietary Law)


In Turkey there is a broad spectrum of religion, as well as a minority representation of just about every religion in the world. In big cities like Istanbul, while most people are not strict practicing Muslims, it is reasonable to assume that all the meat you will encounter will be Halal (acceptable) and anything containing Haram (forbidden) ingredients will be clearly marked as so.

Halal is simply a word that means “permitted” and as long as the guidelines are followed, it is permitted for a practicing Muslim to eat meat which has been slaughtered in accordance with a few simple principles.

The animal has to be alive and healthy when slaughtered. It’s throat should be cut with a very sharp steel knife, and blood should gush from it’s neck. It is not permitted to eat blood. The head should not be cut off while the animal is alive unless the sharpness of the knife causes this to happen during the initial cut. The word “Bismillah” must be uttered. The animal should be facing towards the Ka’ba, and it should be a sheep, goat, cow, or camel. Most other mammals are not Halal.

There are hundreds of more by-laws allowing for what to do if a sheep is bitten by a wolf, or if a camel falls in a well, but they would fill a book. Additionally, there are allowances made for those who are forced to break the guidelines by necessity, or if one simply forgets IE: a miscalculation as to which direction Mecca lies. Fresh fruits and vegetables are Halal.

Pork is never permitted to eat, thus it is Haram. Other Haram things include animals which have died on their own, any bird which soars more than it flaps its wings, and fish which have died in the water unless they were already inside a fisherman’s net.Anything which is obviously Harmful to human health is Haram. Alcohol is always Haram even if taken as a medicine.

Of course, there are as many factions of the Islamic faith as in Christianity, and asking the faithful from different regions, or indeed different families may provide different answers to questions not specifically cited in the original text, especially concerning ingredients which were unknown/uninvited, at the time of the writing of the Sharia law.

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