Muslims accept as sacrosanct the role of all the previous Prophets (peace be upon them) and the Scriptures with ultimate reliance on the final verse of the Final Revelation revealed to the Last Prophet (peace be upon him).
The verse states ” … this day have I perfected your religion for you and completed my favour upon you and chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Surah 5, Verse 3)
Despite this irrevocable determinate, some believe that kosher equates to Halaal and one can switch from one to the other when a “need” arises. Whilst there are commonalities and linguistic similarities in that kosher is a Hebrew word that means “proper or fit” and Halaal is an Arabic word that means “permissible,” they are different entities in both meaning and spirit.
While it is known that pork and pork products are unacceptable for both, there are many differences that one may not be aware of such as: –
- Islam prohibits all intoxicants while liquor in general is regarded as kosher. Grape-derived wines can also be kosher if manufactured under the supervision of a Rabbi. The kosher mark cannot make it Halaal.
- Gelatine is considered kosher by some Jewish authorities regardless of the source of origin. Muslims consider gelatine prepared from pork and non-Halaal slaughtered animal origin as Haraam. Therefore, food items such as marshmallows, yoghurts etc. are not automatically considered Halaal with a kosher symbol.
- Enzymes irrespective of their source are acceptable in cheese making and carry the kosher symbol, whilst enzymes of pork origin are Haraam.
- Jewish law permits use of pig-hair basting brushes in food preparation whilst it is Haraam for Muslims.
- Pig skin products may be used by Jews whilst it is forbidden for Muslims.
- Islam considers the entire carcass of permitted animals as Halaal whilst Jews cannot consume the hind quarter.
- Jewish law requires recitation of a prayer at the beginning of the slaughter day while it is mandatory in Islam to pronounce the name of Allah on the slaughter of each animal.
- For those who erroneously believe that Halaal equates to kosher and vice versa and hence interchangeable and exchangeable, Jewish dietary law is explicit in not accepting Halaal as kosher.
The Divine laws of Islam are indeed perfect as taught to us by the perfect Exemplar, the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him). Consumption of Halaal is a key to one’s Salvation.