a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

A week of cross-posting

Posted on: July 6, 2012

Going through a bit of personal stuff. No worries, M and I are doing well and my family is doing well, overall. Simply the ups and downs of having addiction wreak havoc in a family. Prayers of patience, understanding, and strength are greatly appreciated. I hope to be feeling motivated to write more in the coming weeks.

For now, some interesting reads I’ve come across this week.

I’m sure Muslim Matters.org wasn’t counting on a black, gay Jew to cross-post, but with a title like Is Kosher Meat Ḥalāl? A Comparison of the Halakhic and Sharʿī Requirements for Animal Slaughter how could I not? The connections between the three monotheistic religions is a subject I’m very interested in, specifically the similarities between Judaism and Islam. This article seems to give a thorough comparison between the way the two faiths view food.

Introduction

Observant Muslims and Jews only eat ḥalāl and kosher products, and face many of the same problems in finding appropriate meat products in the modern, secularized world. Due to the dearth of kosher meat products available, and even higher scarcity of ḥalāl meat, many Muslims feel comfortable purchasing kosher meat, believing that all kosher meats (and by extension kosher products) are necessarily ḥalāl. Other Muslims, due to either political or theological reasons, believe that it is impermissible  to purchase or consume anykosher meat products.

This paper seeks to discuss the question of the Islamic legal ruling on consuming koshermeat products. Therefore, political questions and personal values, which do not dictate the general ruling (aṣl) with respect to such products, will not be discussed.

Generally speaking (and as per Q. 4:160 and 3:50), halakhic laws are stricter than Islamic ones. This is shown not only in the foods that are permissible or impermissible, but also in the laws pertaining to slaughtering, cooking and consuming foods. Since the normative applications of Jewish law are stricter than those for Islamic law, in most cases these laws will not affect Muslims who wish to consume kosher, but would affect Jews who might be interested in ḥalāl meat. The most pertinent examples will be discussed in this paper.

Prohibitions Regarding Types of Animals and Foods

Both Jewish and Islamic laws prohibit the consumption of carrion, swine, insects, rodents and blood. Additionally, any food that is poisonous or immediately harmful to the human body would be prohibited. All solid food items prohibited by the Sharīʿa are also prohibited in Jewish law.

There are a number of significant items prohibited in the halakha but allowed by the Sharīʿa. The Qurʾān itself mentions the most common example, viz., certain types of animal fat (see Q. 6:146). Halakhic law specifies which types of fats and nerves are prohibited.[1] The majority of madhhabs allowed the Muslim to consume these parts that are typically not considered kosher after a Jewish slaughter. The only exception to this is the Mālikī school, which deems the consumption of these parts impermissible.

Other examples of items that are prohibited for Jews but allowed for Muslims include:

– Sharks, shellfish and crustaceans (lobster, crabs, etc.) [Note: for the Ḥanafīs these animals are also not permitted].

– Some types of birds (e.g., ostrich, emu).

– Camels (because it does not have a proper ‘split hoof’).[2]

Interestingly enough, the locust is an animal that is explicitly mentioned and allowed by bothhalakhic and Sharʿī texts.

Continue Reading

[1] This is based on Leviticus 7:3. Generally, Jewish law does not allow fat surrounding the kidneys, the abdominal fats, the fats surrounding the stomach and intestines, and the tail fat. The nerve that is forbidden is one that is in the hind-quarters. Since it is labor-intensive to remove this nerve, generally the hind-quarters of an animal are sold to non-Jews.

[2] Many Qurʿānic exegetes consider this to be an example of Q. 3:93; others also add the ruling of animal fats, but this latter opinion clearly contradicts Q. 6:146.

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