Halal Vs. Haram Meat: What's The Difference?

Halal Vs. Haram Meat: What's The Difference?

Oct 23, 2021Mo Qas

Halal vs. Haram: Understanding Islamic Dietary Guidelines for Meat

For Muslims around the world, dietary restrictions are an important part of their faith. The terms "halal" and "haram" define what is permissible and forbidden according to Islamic law. This article dives into the specifics of halal and haram meat, exploring the religious guidelines, potential health benefits, and considerations for consumers.

Defining Halal and Haram

  • Halal: An Arabic word meaning "permissible" or "lawful. In the context of food, halal refers to all food items that Muslims are allowed to consume. This encompasses a wide range of products, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and certain meats.
  • Haram: The opposite of halal, meaning "forbidden" or "unlawful." Haram foods are strictly prohibited for Muslims. Examples include pork and any animal not slaughtered according to Islamic guidelines.

What Makes Meat Halal?

Halal meat follows specific guidelines outlined in Islamic law. Here are the key aspects:

  • Animal Source: Permissible animals for consumption include cows, sheep, goats, camels, and some poultry like chicken and turkey. Animals considered unclean or predatory, such as pigs, horses, and birds of prey, are strictly forbidden.
  • Slaughter Method: The slaughtering process is crucial. A qualified Muslim slaughterer (dhabihah) performs the act with a sharp knife, ensuring a swift and humane death. While slaughtering, the slaughterer recites a prayer in the name of God (Allah).
  • Drainage of Blood: Islamic law emphasises draining most of the blood from the animal after slaughter. This removes toxins that may be present and is believed to improve the taste and purity of the meat.

Beyond Slaughter: Animal Welfare Considerations

The concept of halal goes beyond the act of slaughter. Islamic teachings emphasise treating animals with respect and minimising their suffering throughout their lives. This includes providing proper food, water, and shelter.

Halal vs. Kosher
Halal and kosher are dietary guidelines for Muslims and Jews, respectively, and both have specific rules for meat consumption. Here's a breakdown of the key differences:


  • Halal: Permits a wider range of animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and poultry.
  • Kosher: Only certain animals are considered kosher, such as cows, sheep, goats, and some birds. Pork and shellfish are strictly forbidden.


  • Halal: Requires slaughtering the animal humanely with a sharp knife and minimising suffering. The animal must be healthy and alive at the time of slaughter. A prayer mentioning God (Allah) is recited.
  • Kosher: Performed by a trained slaughterer (shochet) using a specific swift cut to minimise pain. The animal must be examined for any diseases beforehand.
  • Similarities:

    • Both emphasise humane treatment of animals before slaughter.
    • Both have religious significance and contribute to a follower's spiritual well-being.

Potential Health Benefits of Halal Meat

While religious significance is paramount, some studies suggest potential health benefits associated with halal meat production:

  • Reduced Animal Stress Levels: The emphasis on humane treatment may lead to lower stress levels in animals before slaughter. This can potentially improve meat quality and reduce the presence of stress hormones.
  • Improved Hygiene: Halal slaughter often involves stricter hygiene practices during the slaughtering and processing stages. This can minimise the risk of bacterial contamination.
  • Antibiotic Use: There's a growing concern about antibiotic use in conventional meat production. The farmers that That Fat Cow work with do not use antibiotics.

Muslims seeking halal meat can look for certifications from reputable halal organisations. Here at That Fat Cow all our halal certifications are available on our website (if we’ve not kept them up-to date, please feel free to email and we will provide the latest valid certificates!)

For non-Muslims interested in halal meat, it can be an alternative due to the potential emphasis on animal welfare and hygiene. 


The distinction between halal and haram meat reflects the core tenets of Islamic dietary laws and ethical principles. Halal meat, obtained through humane slaughter and adherence to Islamic guidelines, symbolises obedience to God's commandments and respect for animal welfare. In contrast, haram meat encompasses practices and substances deemed forbidden or impure in Islam, emphasising the importance of spiritual purity and ethical conduct.

Beyond religious observance, the halal-haram dichotomy influences food production, consumption patterns, and economic dynamics in Muslim-majority regions and global markets. As awareness of halal principles grows, so too does the demand for halal-certified products, underscoring the importance of integrity, transparency, and ethical sourcing in the food industry.

In essence, the distinction between halal and haram meat transcends dietary preferences; it embodies the values of compassion, righteousness, and conscientious living cherished by Muslims worldwide. By adhering to halal principles in their dietary choices, individuals uphold their faith, nurture spiritual well-being, and affirm their commitment to ethical consumption practices.

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