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How To Follow Muslim Dietary Laws

Are you a Muslim, or just want to eat like one? Muslims believe Islam’s dietary restrictions, as outlined in the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, benefit anyone interested in a healthy lifestyle.


  • Step 1: Invite your friends to eat with you. Muhammad reportedly never ate alone!
  • Step 2: Life can trump rules. Muslims are permitted to eat forbidden foods if they are forced to by necessity.
  • TIP: There are no international standards for what makes a product halal. If a Muslim tells you the food in front of you is halal, you have fulfilled your religious obligation—dig in!
  • Step 3: If you feel tempted to drink a beer or eat a BLT, turn for support to the Quran, where God says, “This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you.” In other words, focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t.
  • FACT: In Indonesia and other Muslim-majority countries—and even in Dearborn, Michigan—you can buy _halal_ fast food.
  • Step 4: Decide how restrictive you want to be. Some Muslims feel that kosher meat, or even regular commercial meat, is okay to eat, because the Quran says Muslims can eat meat slaughtered by Jews and Christians. Other Muslims are stricter, and only eat meat specifically designated as _halal_.
  • TIP: _Haram_, or illicit, is the opposite of _halal_. _Zabihah_ is the most precise term for Muslim-approved foods.
  • TIP: If a product displays a kosher symbol then it certainly doesn’t contain pork, but it may not be alcohol-free. Some ice creams could be flavored with liqueur, for example.
  • Step 5: Throw away any pork products you own, and do not eat ham, sausages, or any other foods made from pork. Look carefully at product labels, since meatballs, hot dogs, and even marshmallows can contain pork or pork derivatives.
  • Step 6: Three prohibitions are rather easy to follow: do not consume any animal blood, don’t eat meat from an animal killed by an accident or another animal—for example, road kill—and don’t eat meat slaughtered in the name of a pagan God.
  • Step 7: Also steer clear of the meat of carnivorous animals, like dogs, cats, lions, and birds of prey. Time to lay off those vulture burgers!
  • Step 8: Ask knowledgeable Muslims in your area or use the internet to find nearby stores and restaurants that offer halal meat, which is meat from animals that have been ritually slaughtered in a humane fashion and in the name of God.
  • Step 9: Pour any beer, wine, or spirits you own down the drain and recycle the bottles. Do not consume any alcohol.

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