Halal, Zabihah, and Tayyib - Islamic Dietary Practices That Teach Us To Produce High Quality Foods

At Abe's, we translate Kosher and Halal faith-based dietary laws to mean offering high-quality, inclusive foods that respect our social, economic, and ecological values. We use "interfaith foods" as a way to bring people together to celebrate our commonalities. We also interpret food as medicine and focus on building healthy communities.

In this blog post, I will highlight Islamic dietary practices that we comply with as food producers. I will refer to the specifics of Kosher dietary laws in another article.

"Halal" means permissible in Arabic. Islam's Holy Qurăn and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuH) offer guidelines as to what Muslims are allowed to consume. For example, eating pork chops is haram (not permissible), but chomping on some fried chicken is permissible.

"Zabihah," on the other hand, means "slaughtered" in Arabic and highlights how an animal must be sacrificed in order to be produced into meat for our nourishment. Fried chicken from your fast food restaurant may be considered Halal (“permissible”) because it is chicken, but it may not necessarily be Zabihah if particular steps are not followed during its production process. To cover the preferences of ALL Muslims, we practice Zabihah Halal without machines or tape recordings. (For more information about our step-by-step Zabihah process check out our FAQs page.)

While many Muslims highlight Halal and Zabihah, Tayyib has been gaining more interest by Muslims around the world. And for good reason.

“O you who have believed, eat from the tayyibat which We have provided for you”

- Surat Al Baqarah Verse 172.

"Tayyib" means pure and wholesome. In the context of food, it also means nutritious. While this can be interpreted (and exploited) in many ways, it's clear to us that a growing number of our consumers are seeking high-quality, ethically and locally sourced foods. In fact, I frequently speak to Muslims who care more about what types of diets our animals consume than about the religious certification or practice involved (btw we offer only 100% grass-fed meats). This is because most Halal certifiers do not focus on the supply chain of categorizing what Tayyib is, but rather focus on the step-by-step interpretation of religous process.

While Halal and Zabihah offer us a framework of what to consume from a religious perspective, Tayyib helps us approach our production process with the environment in mind. In this context, sourcing is everything. It is not Tayyib, for example, to produce foods made out of factory farming techniques in our opinions. In fact, at Abe's we believe factory farming is not Halal (or Kosher). One more time for the kids in the back: factory farming is NOT Halal in our perspective. While there are many Halal food brands that source Halal foods from factory farming methods, we team up with local American ranchers who offer pasture-raised animals that live cage-free and consume natural diets with no hormones or antibiotics. This is what you are paying for when you purchase from us.

So what about that Zabihah Halal fried chicken? Can that really be Tayyib if it is fried? Personally, I believe we need to reconsider how we eat and the choices we make in relation to our public health and the health of the environment. As a former public health practitioner, I will not promote cheaply processed, factory farmed meats in the same way I will not promote sugary soda drinks and snacks. As an food entrepreneur who offers meats, it would be favorable for me to constantly promote and sell Abe's Meats. However, Abe's openly preaches "buy less, better meat." Why? Because it's the right thing to do.

Our first campaign for our Interfaith Meats stated "Buy Less, Better Meat." We now offer more food options as Abe's Eats, but continue to preach responsible consumption with meat.

At Abe's, the understanding of Tayyib is critical in how we produce food. It is a religious practice we take to heart.

Considering our changing climate and the pressures that our local and global communities face against the environment, we believe it is appropriate to apply Tayyib within our production process as critically as we would our understanding of general Halal practices and Zabihah. It is for this reason we produce Zabihah Halal foods that are Tayyib.

From the Kitchen,

Mohammad M.

Founder, Abe's Eats

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