Vegan Diet: Is It Halal?
In this series, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions about the vegan diet. In this post we’ve explored whether veganism is halal.
What does halal mean?
Halal is Arabic for permissible, meaning that something is in line with the practices of Islam and the Koran. If it is not permissible, then it is considered haram, and unlawful according to Islamic practices.
This extends to food, as halal food means that it is in line with Islamic teachings and beliefs.
For meat to be considered halal, the animal must be slaughtered in a specific way — through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe — before being drained of its blood and then a prayer must be recited. The animal should be perfectly healthy before this, and must not be stunned before it is cut. This occurs in specific slaughterhouses that undergo checks to ensure this process is done correctly.
So is veganism halal?
It's difficult to say whether or not veganism is halal; it is down to the individual and their own beliefs. Some muslims believe that by eating only plants their diet is halal since it doesn't involve eating any animal that is not slaughtered correctly. Sayful Ahmed, an imam at the Islamic Centre at Scunthorpe, believes that veganism doesn't compromise islamic beliefs and teachings: 'If the question is, is a Muslim doing something wrong and against their religion if they choose to only eat a plant-based diet? The answer is simply, not at all," and that "The requirement in Islam is that what you eat must be halal and tayyub (Arabic for wholesome and pure). A vegan diet is both of those things." Others, though, believe that veganism means rejecting the fact God allows muslims to eat meat, and so going against God in this way is haram. There is also a cultural aspect to this too, as for many families coming together and sharing a meal is important. Making traditional meals vegan for members of the family can naturally present its own challenges, particularly for those that are conscious of being disruptive to family mealtimes and disrespecting family members, particularly elder members, by not eating their food.
However, plant-based meals can be helpful for muslims (vegan or not) who want to eat out at restaurants that may not serve halal meat. A vegetarian or vegan alternative to lots of meals makes eating out more accessible. So, whether or not the lifestyle itself is considered vegan or not, eating plants can still help save the day.
By Toni Olukiran
Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.