Today, Muslims are a part of a number of cultures around the world. They have made significant contributions to the nutritional practices noticed around the world. The dietary practices of Muslims are chiefly governed by the regulations and stipulations specified in the Holy Quran. Thus, the principles laid down by the holy book have made a unique impact on the food habits of over 1.6 billion Muslims living all over the world. Muslims have different national, social and geographic backgrounds.
Chicken biryani the muslim way. © Jay (view the recipe).
Cleanliness and hygiene
Cleanliness and hygiene are the two important aspects of the regulatory principles that govern Muslim dietary practices. In a verse of Quran, the Prophet Muhammad stresses that cleanliness leads to faith and faith leads the possessor to the Garden. Besides an overall cleanliness of the body, clothing and place of stay, Islam dictates cleanliness in the processing of food while handling, cooking and preserving it. To the extent of what’s possible and practical, Muslims all over the world practice the seven principles laid down in the Quran, namely supplications before each meal; supplication after each meal; dieting or a regulated intake of food in terms of quality and quantity, avoiding over eating, under-eating and wastage, eating slowly; moderation in diet and sharing the food with others, and eating together.
Qodban d’jaaj, the moroccan version of chicken shish kebab. © Aziza (view the recipe).
Muslims are not required to be vegetarians
The Holy Quran does not require the Muslims to be vegetarians. However, it has placed certain restrictions on the dietary practices. These are collectively called as Halal. The word Halal has come from the Arabic expression meaning permissible. Muslims are therefore prohibited from eating what is not Halal. Muslims should not eat pork or pig meat. The Quran does not state why it prohibits pig meat. Many attribute this to the fact that pigs are unclean, and before people knew about microscopic parasites and bacteria, they blamed the meat or the animal itself.
Animals must be slaughtered
The Quran states that an animal must be slaughtered for meat while it is still alive. The method of slaughter as regulated by Halal requires a ritualistic killing of the animal combined with invoking the blessings of God on the animal killed. The slaughtering method named as Dhabiha requires that there is not a trace of blood left in the meat before it is consumed. Muslims are prohibited from consuming alcohol, and alcohol is never used even as an ingredient in the making of dishes.
Muslims can eat anything that is Halal
Other than the regulatory principle of Halal, Muslims can eat anything. Across the world, Muslims eat the locally available food varieties in the restaurants. There are certain popular dishes consumed by Muslims including roasted tomatoes and lamb in Persia, food covered with nuts and thin pastry shells in Morocco, the spicier variety of foods in India and Pakistan, dates and shish kabob made from the meat of lamb or beef in the Middle East are some of the notable dishes popular among Muslims.
Also see: Egyptians are mostly Muslims. So, what do Egyptians eat?
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