Difference Between Kosher and Halal (With Table)

Some of the most frequently heard terms while at a meat shop or restaurant are Kosher and Halal. Although people are familiar to an extent, with the religious reasons behind these terms, there continues to be constant confusion regarding the overall meaning of Kosher and Halal. They might sound similar in practice, but there are a lot of differences.

Kosher vs Halal

The difference between kosher and halal is that Kosher is based on Jewish principles and, Halal is based on Islamic principles. Kosher and Halal are religious laws of Islam and Judaism preaching the appropriate way of consuming and avoiding meat. The roots of these Kosher and Halal rules are present in the ancient texts of the Torah and Quran. 

The term Kosher is frequently heard in the European region. It is part of the Kashrut, a set of religious laws about diet and meat consumption, followed by the Jewish population. A lot of combination of food is restricted by the Kosher law and, a few animal parts and products are allowed to consume.  

Halal is one of the most popular terms around the globe related to meat consumption. The widespread popularity of the term Halal attributes it to the large global population following the Islamic religion. The Halal law preached by the Quran defines the process of raising, slaughtering, and preparing the livestock before consumption. 

Comparison Table Between Kosher and Halal

Parameters of ComparisonKosherHalal
ReligionKosher is a part of the Kashrut law from Judaism.Halal is as per the principles of Islam.
DefinitionThe definition of Kosher is ‘proper’ or ‘fit’ by ancient HebrewThe meaning of Halal is ‘permissible’ or ‘lawful’.
AlcoholIt allows the intake of alcohol, prepared according to Kosher law.It strictly prohibits the intake of Alcohol by Islamic law.
SeafoodAllows seafood of animals that possesses scales and fins.It allows the consumption of seafood prepared by halal.
CombinationKosher strictly prohibits the combination of dairy and meat.Halal allows the mixture of dairy and milk.

 What is Kosher?

Kosher is a famous term among the Jewish population and generally in the European region. The term Kosher denotes the law followed in the Judaism religion regarding diet and meat consumption. Kosher is a part of Kashrut, a set of laws that define the allowance and restriction of food intake. 

The definition of the term Kosher is ‘proper’ and, these laws are preached by the ancient Jewish text Torah. Some important allowed and disallowed food according to the Kosher law is explained below.

  • The creatures from freshwater and saltwater that possess both scales and fins are allowed to be consumed by the law.
  • Except for pork, all meat from animals on land is allowed. But only if the land animal possesses cloven hooves and if it chews the cud. 
  • Animal blood is strictly forbidden by Kosher law and should be drained from the meat before consumption. 
  • Chicken, duck, goose, and other birds are considered to be Kosher, except for the scavenger birds.

Kosher law also asks to follow a procedure of prayer before the slaughter of livestock. The process of slaughtering must be quick and painless, according to the terms dictated by Kosher law. Food that is prepared as per these guidelines is certified with the Kosher certificate.

What is Halal?

It is impossible to skip the term Halal-cooked and Halal-processed in a restaurant or a meat shop. The word Halal can be defined as lawful. It is a procedure prescribed by the Islamic law from the ancient text Quran. Muslims around the world follow the procedure of Halal or consume Halal-cooked food, which is allowed by the religion of Islam.

The halal procedure is similar to the Jews’ Kosher laws in several ways. Halal is also a method of slaughtering and consuming meat according to Islamic dietary laws. Some significant aspects of Halal processing are mentioned below. 

  • The slaughterer of the livestock must be a follower of the Islamic religion.
  • It requires mandatory prayer before slaughtering the animals.
  • The knife needs to be sharp, as it would make the process quick and minimize the pain.
  • Body parts of the animal, like the esophagus, trachea, the jugular veins along with three arteries ought to be severed, according to the process of Halal.
  • The blood from the meat must be completely drained.

Islam allows all seafood and land animals to be consumed, except for pork which is strictly forbidden according to Quran. Additives from any of the banned food or alcohol are not considered halal by Islam. Food that is processed according to the procedure of Halal is certified with the Halal certificate.

Main Differences Between Kosher and Halal

  1. Kosher is a set of dietary laws based on the principles of Judaism mentioned in the ancient text Torah. Halal is a process of food slaughter and preparation based on the principles of Islam mentioned in the Quran.
  2. The slaughterer of the animal must be practicing the faith of Judaism. The halal processed meat requires the slaughterer of the animal to be a practicing Muslim.
  3. Kosher law does not allow the consumption of the hindquarters of an animal. The halal process allows the consumption of the whole animal.
  4. Kosher meat is allowed for preparation and consumption by halal, but halal meat is not allowed for the Kosher process.
  5. Only sea creatures with scales and fins are allowed to be consumed by Kosher law. All the sea creatures can be consumed according to Halal law.

Conclusion

The terms Halal and Kosher are some of the most confusing terms with relation to food and preparation. Though there exists a general idea of the religious reasons behind these terms, there is no clear understanding of the processes. There are a lot of similarities between Kosher and Halal, and several differences too.
Kosher is a set of laws regarding food preparation and consumption based on the principles of Judaism and is followed by the Jewish population. Halal is a process or law of food preparation based on the principles of Islam and is followed by the Muslim population. Both kosher and halal preaches the process of slaughter, preparation, and consumption of food.

References

  1. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2003.tb00018.x
  2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2014.05.021
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