Halal vs. Kosher


Similarities between Halal and Kosher:


  • Halal and Kosher denote the ritual slaughter of animals/birds while a follower of that faith pronounces prayers at the time of slaughter.

  • Both use a sharp knife to cut through the neck of the animal in a certain fashion to ensure thorough bleed out of the carcass.

  • Both methods of slaughter are proven to be more humane than regular industrial practices.

  • Both rituals are concerned with the health, safety, and wholesomeness of the food they certify.

  • Muslims and religious Jews do not eat pork or its derivatives.

  • Both Muslims and Jews do not eat the meat of predators or birds of prey.


Differences between Halal and Kosher:


  • Muslim slaughtermen usually pronounce the prayer on each animal at the time of slaughter. Jewish Rabbis usually pronounce the prayer only once at the beginning of the slaughtering session.

  • In Halal slaughter, the animals may be directed towards the Qiblah, whereas no such specific direction is part of Kosher slaughter

  • In Kosher slaughter, Rabbis examine the lungs and viscera of the carcass to check for discoloration and scars in these organs. In Halal slaughter no such exams are made. Health issues are usually left to government officials and/or quality control personnel at the facility. This partially explains why an average of 50% or less of carcasses may qualify for the Kosher stamp.

  • Only the front side of the beef carcass/ animal is certified Kosher, hind quarters are not certified Kosher. In Halal, all edible meats and offal of the Halal slaughtered carcasses of healthy animals can be labeled Halal.

  • During Kosher processing the meat is soaked in salt for about two hours then rinsed with water, to remove traces of blood from the meat. In  Halal processing the meat is not soaked in salt because only consuming flowing blood is prohibited for Muslims.

  • Religious Muslims don’t drink alcohol which is acceptable by Jews.

  • Religious Jews don’t mix milk and meat, nor do they eat shellfish or fish without scales.


Is Kosher Halal?


Some Muslim authorities allow the consumption of Kosher, especially when Halal is not available, considering the traditions of most schools of thought and following this verse in the Holy Quran:

“اليوم أحل لكم الطيبات وطعام الذين أوتوا الكتاب حل لكم وطعامكم حل لهم”

“And today its proclaimed that the Food of the People of the Book are Lawful to You and Your Foods are Lawful to Them”  ( 5:5 ).


Many Muslim scholars, however, say that Kosher is not a substitute for Halal. Though a person may consume Kosher, he or she cannot buy Kosher from the market, label it Halal and sell it to Muslims. Others claim that any drive for restrictions on Kosher is only for political and economic reasons.




Please refer to the article about Slaughter by the People of the Book in Articles and Presentations as well as the Powerpoint presentation by Dr. Regenstein.