Halal essentially is meat that Muslims are allowed to eat according to Islamic law. The laws require that only certain types of meat can be eaten and that meat must be prepared in a certain way, it is also essential that halal food is not prepared with non-halal food as there is a risk of cross contamination if a chef accidentally uses the same knife to cut the different types of meat with for example.
According to the Qur’an and Islamic law some substances are wrong for people to eat, whether by their nature or in the way in which they have been treated or butchered, so all halal meat is prepared according to strict guidelines;
Meat from pigs
Meat from pigs is not allowed, so there is no such thing as halal pork and halal meat must never come into contact with pig meat or anything else that has been in contact with pig meat to avoid contamination.
Blood Blood is considered harmful to consume; as part of its preparation halal meat should be drained completely of blood, which also keeps the meat fresher for longer.
Carnivores Considered by the Qur’an, and further proven by science to be dangerous for humans to consume, halal meat must never include nor come into contact with meat from carnivores or birds of prey.
Carrion Humans should not make food from an already dead animal, so meat prepared in the halal way is killed as an integral part of the slaughter process; most western preparations kill the animal first then slaughter them later on.
Strangulation, beating, goring or savaging To be halal meat animals must be killed quickly in a certain way, it is unacceptable to eat meat from an animal that has been strangled, beaten, gored or savaged by other animals.
Alcohol Muslims should not consume any kind of alcohol and as such halal food cannot be prepared with alcohol of any kind or include alcohol in sauces.
In the name of Allah Allah’s name should be pronounced over the meat as thanks during the slaughter process, any animal slaughtered in another idol’s name can never be halal.
Dhabiha This is the name for the halal method of slaughter, which requires that animals are killed with a swift incision to the throat from a razor sharp blade. The animal must never see another animal being slaughtered nor must it ever see the blade being sharpened. Animals must be checked prior to slaughter to ensure they are healthy and given clean water to drink, once they have drunk they are turned to face Mecca, the name of Allah is spoken and then the throat is cut and the blood drained from the carcass.
When carried out correctly the sudden drop in blood pressure to the brain renders the animal brain dead within seconds and many researchers have found Dhabiha to be less stressful and painful to the animal than modern western methods of slaughter. The intention behind all of this is to ensure that the meat is fresh and free of impurities, the animal is given proper respect and Allah is thanked for providing us with food.