The Muslim SPIN
The Australian Catholic Church's AGREEMENT
Australian Halal SCAM Fighter
Blast from the Past
30 January, 2011
FIRSTLY we should clarify what we mean by halal meat.
The word “halal” in Arabic means simply “lawful” and thus halal foods are those which are considered lawful for Muslims to eat. “Halal” is distinguished from “haraam” foods, which are forbidden.
Among the latter are pork, blood, animals that have been strangled or beaten to death, alcohol, meat that has not been prepared in the proper way, etc.
For meat to be halal the animal must be killed in a particular way. It must have its throat slit, and the person killing it must face Mecca and invoke the name of Allah,or God.
Among other things they told these converts that they were to “abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled” (Acts 15:29).
Jews, like Muslims, regarded blood as the very life of the animal and as such it belonged to God alone. Hence they did not eat meat that had been strangled, since it would have the blood in it.
But why did the early Christians follow these Jewish practices? It must be remembered that these were the early days of Christianity and the first generation of Christians was still alive.
Most of them were converts from Judaism, and it is natural that they would have felt a strong repugnance at the thought of eating meat with the blood in it, since this was prohibited by Jewish law (cf. Lev 17:10ff). It is probable that for some time they also abstained from pork, which Jews did not eat.
As regards food that had been offered to idols, St Paul writes that since “an idol has no real existence” and “there is no God but one”, there is nothing wrong with eating such food (1 Cor 8:4).
Nonetheless, since some Christians may be weak in conscience and think it is sinful to eat such food, others when in their company should abstain from eating lest they cause their brothers to eat as well and go against their conscience. He writes: “Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall” (cf. 1 Cor 8:13).
It is probably for this reason that the Council of Jerusalem forbade the Gentile converts to each such food. St Paul sums up: “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do” (1 Cor 8:8).
Two chapters later St Paul confronts today’s issue of halal food more directly, based on his earlier pronouncement that such food may be eaten without any qualms of conscience.
As regards whether Christians should be careful not to buy certain foods at the market he writes: “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience” (1 Cor 10:25).
And with respect to what to do when invited to the home of an unbeliever, he advises: “If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience” (1 Cor 10:27). That would apply today to accepting an invitation to eat with a Muslim.
In summary, it is clear that there is nothing in the Scriptures against Christians eating halal meat. The question of meat “sacrificed to idols” does not apply, even though not even that would present a problem, since halal meat is offered to Allah, the one God worshipped by Muslims, Jews and Christians.
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