Kosher, derived from Hebrew, means fit or proper and relates to Jewish dietary law. The Kosher laws are biblical, and Jews around the globe follow them. According to these laws, it is permissible for Jews to eat only kosher foods and avoid non-kosher foods.
Kosher laws are collectively known as “kashrut” and are found within Torah. In addition, an animal is kosher, following its slaughtering and processing according to specific Jewish laws. A kosher animal is a non-kosher when slaughtering and processing are not done according to Jewish religious tradition.
In the UK, several religious communities live in neighbourhoods. Also, UK restaurants offer a range of dishes and cuisines, including kosher foods. For the UK Muslims, it is necessary to know the halal or haram status of kosher foods so that they can also enjoy them if they are permissible to eat in Islam.
This blog will discuss whether kosher foods are halal or haram. We have researched the topic, and here is what we have found.
Meat: Mammals that chew their cud and have split hooves are kosher. Examples of kosher animals include cows, deer, and goats. Also, the slaughtering of kosher animals must be by a specialist (shochet), according to Jewish laws.
Birds: Deuteronomy in the Bible lists all non-kosher birds. Examples of kosher birds are chicken, duck, and turkey. Also, the killing of kosher animals and kosher birds must be by Jewish law.
Dairy: Dairy foods must come from a kosher animal, and they may not be from meat or bird.
Pareve: All non-meat and non-dairy foods are Pareve foods. Examples of Pareve foods are vegetables, fruit, and grains. Recognizing them as Pareve means, they must be in their natural state.
Fish: Fish with fins and scales are also kosher. Examples of kosher fish are tuna, salmon, and tilapia. All shellfish, sharks, reptiles, and underwater mammals are not kosher.
Quranic Injunctions about Halal and Haram
Muslims worldwide seek guidance from Quran and Sunnah for leading their lives according to Islamic teachings. These two primary guidance sources contain timeless principles that modern Muslims can follow without hesitation.
Like its clear guiding principles for all aspects of human life, Quran has clear injunctions when it comes to whether a food or a particular act is halal or haram.
Allah (SWT), in Surah Al Baqarah, has clarified the halal and haram food for Muslims.
“He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 2:173)
(Source of above-cited Quranic Verse: https://quran.com/2/173?translations=84,17,95,101,22,20)
This Quranic verse is the guiding principle for distinguishing halal food from haram in Islam. According to this verse of the Holy Quran, carrion, i.e. dead meat, the blood, and swine (pig) meat, is haram. And also, the slaughtering and dedication of any halal animal to other than Allah is haram.
Is Kosher Halal or Haram?
Firstly, the addition of haram ingredients to vegetables, fruits, and plant-based products is halal while cooking or processing these foods. Next, in Jewish tradition, kosher alcohol is permissible to consume, while in Islam, all sorts of alcoholic beverages are haram. So, kosher alcohol is absolutely haram for Muslims.
Similarly, it is permissible to consume dairy products when obtaining them from halal animals. Finally, the debate on the status of kosher meat (both birds and animals) is ongoing. Some Islamic schools of thought consider it halal while others consider it haram.
Though there are some similarities between kosher and halal animals, Jews and Muslims don’t eat pork, and there are some profound differences between kosher and halal diets. So, for any specific kosher food, especially meat, you must consult an Islamic scholar of your respective school of thought who can better guide you about the halal status of the kosher food in question.
Over to You
Holy Quran and Sunnah are the two primary sources of guidance for all Muslim populace. Though both Judaism and Islam are Abrahamic religions, still there are some profound differences between halal and kosher foods.
Also, there is a difference of opinion among Islamic scholars of various schools of thought regarding the halal status of kosher foods (especially kosher meat). Therefore, before taking a final decision about kosher food, it is necessary to seek guidance from an established Islamic scholar of your respective school of thought who can make an informed decision based on the Holy Quran and the Sunnah teachings.