Halal and Haram Ingredients
The lists below have been extracted with permission from the book ‘Islamic Dietary Laws and Practices’ by Br. Mohammad Mazhar Hussaini.
It should be noted that a product being imported from a Muslim country is not necessarily guaranteed to be Halal. Some food ingredients are imported from non-Muslim countries into Muslim countries without proper checking of ingredient lists.
Partial List of Halal (Permissible) Ingredients:
Antioxidants: Chemical compounds used to protect certain food components from being destroyed or lost through oxidation. Anti oxidants are helpful also in neutralizing free radicals in the body.
Ascorbic acid: Vitamin C.
Benzoate (Benzoic acid): Benzoic acid and sodium benzoate are used in food preservation.
Biotin: A member of the B complex vitamins.
BHA: An antioxidant, preservative.
BHT: An antioxidant, preservative.
Citric Acid: Sources are plant, usually of the citrus family. (e.g. orange, lime, lemon, etc.).
Cobalamine: Synthetically prepared Vitamin B12.
Dextrin: An emulsifying, sizing, and thickening agent.
Fiber: Sources are plant. Provide roughage to diet.
Fructose: Fruit sugar.
Gliadin (Gluten): Protein found in wheat and rye.
Hydrogenated Oil: Vegetable oil being hydrogenated making it solid at room temperature.
Iodine: A nutrient mineral for thyroid gland.
Lecithin: Emulsifier of fat. In the USA, sources are mainly soybean and egg yolk.
Lipids: Essential fatty acids found in fish, plant and animals. If source is animal; it is suspected.
Malt: A kind of fermented grain.
Molasses: Syrup liquid obtained in refining sugar.
MSG: Flavoring. Imparts meat flavor to foods.
Niacin: One of the B complex vitamins.
PABA: A food supplement.
Pectin: A gelatinous substance extracted from fruits.
Propionic acid: A preservative.
Riboflavin: One of the B complex vitamins. Usually the source is synthetic.
Sweetener: Substance that gives a sweet taste.
Thiamin: One of the B complex vitamins.
Vanillin: Flavoring agent, extracted from vanilla.
Vitamin A: If source are plant and synthetic, it is Halal.
Vitamin C: Natural sources are from plant. (e.g. citrus fruit, tomatoes, etc).
Vitamin D: Natural sources are yeast and fish liver oil. Also synthetically produced.
Vitamin E: Rich sources of Vitamin E are vegetable oils. When source is synthetic, it is Halal. If source is animal, it is suspected.
Water: Solvent, nutrient most vital to human’s existence.
Food Yeast: Microscopic, unicellular, fungus used for fermentation process and in baking bread.
Partial List of Haram (Prohibited) Products in Islam:
“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat; blood; the flesh of swine; and that on which hath been invoked the name pf other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling; or by violent blow; or by a headlong fall; or by being gored to death: that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal, unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is scarified on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety” (Quran: 5:3).
Based on the Islamic Sharia, the Haram substances are classified under three main categories: Dead Meat, Flowing Blood and Pork. According to the Islamic Fiqh (interpretation and ruling by Muslim scholars), a product is considered Haram (prohibited)- to consume or use- if it contains, derived from, or come in contact with any of the following sources:
Pork and pork products, and pig’s component and its byproducts.
Dead animals, such as those died from: strangulation; a blow to the head (clubbing); falling from a height; died from a natural cause (carrion); gored or killed by another animal.
Animals that are sacrificed in any name other than Allah (God).
Animal or meat which has been won in a bet or gambling.
Game animals which have been hunted illegally during Hajj (Ashhur Alhurum)
Animals that are not properly slaughtered according to the Islamic Rites.
Carnivorous and omnivorous animals which have canines or claws, such as dogs; cats; lions; tigers; wolves; monkeys; etc. and the birds of prey such as eagles; hawks; owls; etc.
Animals which feed on filth (Al Jallalah), such as vultures; rats; etc. or fed on animal feed made from other dead animals.
Species that are forbidden to be killed, such as bees; endangered species; etc.
Poisonous and toxic species of animals such as poisonous snakes; scorpions; spiders, and the poisonous and toxic plants.
Animals which are considered filthy and may contract diseases such as cockroaches; centipedes; donkeys; rats; etc.
The milk of prohibited animals and the eggs of prohibited birds.
Food additives that are derived from prohibited sources or processed with prohibited agents.
Any meat or body part which has been cut off from a living animal.
Any part of the human body.
Blood and blood elements, other than medicinal products.
Alcoholic beverages (Khamr), plus other intoxicants and harmful products, drugs and narcotics, whether natural or synthetic, such as opium; hashish; cocaine; other hallucinogens; known carcinogens; etc.
Examples of Haram Critical Materials:
Animal meat/fat/bone: If the raw material contains animal byproduct it must be derived from an approved species slaughtered according to the Islamic Rites and must be accompanied with a Halal Slaughter Certificate issued by a competent Halal Certifier.
Animal Byproducts such as: Skin, hair; bristles; collagen; gelatin; fatty acids; amino acids; hormones; enzymes; blood and its derivatives and growth media; placenta; milk and its derivatives; taurine; glycerol/glycerol; some vitamins of animal origin (i.e.: A, B6, D, E); activated carbon- must be derived from Halal Slaughtered species.
Plants Byproducts: Mostly are Halal unless processed with additives or processed with non Halal aids then become non Halal. Examples: Wheat flour could be enriched with vitamins, among them B1, B2 and Folic acid; Oleoresin (chili, spices) may contain emulsifiers such as polysorbate that may be derived from animal origin; soybean lecithin could be produced using phospholipase; Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) could be produced using enzymes from animal origin.
Byproducts of alcoholic drinks (Khamr). They are prohibited if the byproducts of fermentation are only physically separated from alcohol but become Halal if they are chemically separated (Istihala).
There are minor differences among the various Islamic Schools of Thought (Mathhabs) regarding some of the species of animals and plants that may or may not be allowed to consume. Other minor differences among Muslim societies may have been stemmed from cultural and traditional norms and habits.
All species living in the water, fresh or sea waters, and their byproducts are considered Halal to consume (without having to be slaughtered), except any filthy, poisonous or toxic species that are considered Haram. Any added ingredient to further processed sea foods, however, must be Halal.
“Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food-for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel." (Quran: 5:96).
In some cases, the subject matter might not be very clear whether it is Halal or Haram and the line between them may be obscure. In this case, the subject is considered doubtful “Mashbooh”. According to the Islamic Fiqh it is recommended not to consume the Mashbooh so as not to fall into the Haram and commit a sin.
“The Halal is clear and the Haram is clear. Between the two theer are doubtful matters concerning which people do not know whether they are Halal or Haram. One who avoids them in order to safeguard his religion and his honor is safe, while if someone engages in a part of them may be doing something Haram”. (Hadith)
In case of an extreme necessity, a person may consume the prohibited material just to save one’s life or avoid an extreme hardship (Darourah Quswa).
“But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Alalh is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (Quran: 5:3).
Islam encourages people to be moderate in consuming and using consumable goods and be mindful in conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.
“But seek with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the home of the Hereafter, nor forget thee portion in this world: but do though good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not mischief on Earth: For Allah loves not those who do mischief”. (Quran: 28:77).
This diagram summarizes the food chain from farm to fork, highlighting the stages (in blue color) where the possibility of Haram Critical Control Points (HCCP) may occur.