A Deeper Understanding of Halal

Posted May 7, 2018 3:25 p.m. EDT

An understanding of the ideation of halal is probably not something picked up at Halal Guys or some other street-food vendor. It’s more than avoiding pork.

This new book by a couple of U.S. scholars covers the subject broadly, beyond just food — the term applies to anything that is lawful or legitimate under Islamic law. The authors address slaughtering methods, ingredients in processed foods, alcohol, the global food trade (halal chickens from Brazil are shipped to the Middle East), food in public settings like schools, the growth in certifying agencies, and how it all relates to the Quran. Differing religious opinions going back more than 1,000 years are represented, as is the modern notion of “halal cuisine” or “haute halal:” “Halal Food: A History” by Febe Armanios and Bogac Ergene (Oxford University Press, $29.95).