FOOD Arabic ta’am طعام
pl. ataimah. The injunctions contained in the Qur’an (Surah ii, 167) respecting food are as follows: “O ye who believe! Eat of the food things with which we have supplied you, and give God thanks if ye are His worshipers. Only that which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine’s flesh, and that over which any other name than that of God hath been invoked, hath God forbidden you. But he who shall partake of them by constraint, without desire, nor of necessity, then no sin shall be upon him. Verily God is forgiving and merciful.” Surah v 92: “O Believers! Wine (khamr) and games of chance, and statues, and divining arrows are only an abomination of Satan’s work! Avoid them that ye may prosper.”
The other injunctions concerning food are found in the Traditions and saying of Muhammad.
No animal, except fish and locusts, is lawful food unless it be slaughtered according to the Muslim law, namely, by drawing the knife across the throat and cutting the wind-pipe, the carotid arteries, and the gullet, repeating at the same time the words “Bi’sm’illahi, Allahu akbar”, i.e. “In the name of God, God is great.” A clean animal, so slaughtered, becomes lawful food for Muslims, whether slaughtered by Jews, Christians, or Muslims, but animals slaughtered by either an idolater or an apostate from Islam, is not lawful.
Zabh, or the slaying of animals, is of two kinds. Ikhtiyari, or “of choice’, and Iztirari, or of necessity. The former being the slaughtering of animals in the name of God, the latter being the slaughter effected by a wound, as in shooting birds or animals, in which case the words “Bi’sm’illahi, Allahu akbar” must be said at the time of the discharge of the arrow from the bow or the shot from the gun.
According to the Hidayah, all quadrupeds that seize their prey with their teeth, and all birds which seize it with their talons are unlawful, because the Prophet has prohibited mankind from eating them. Hyenas, foxes, elephants, weasels, pelicans, kites, carrion crows, ravens, crocodiles, otters, asses, mules, wasps, and in general all insects are forbidden. But there is some doubt as to the lawfulness of horse’s flesh. Fishes dying of themselves are also forbidden.
The prohibition of wine in the Qur’an under the word khamr is held to exclude all things which have an intoxicating tendency, such as opium, chars, bhang, and tobacco.
A Muslim can have no religious scruples to eat with a Christian, as long as the food eaten is of a lawful kind. Saiyid Ahmad Khan Bahadar C.S.I. has written a treatise proving that Muslims can eat with the Ahl-I-Kitab, namely Jews or Christians. The Muslims of India, whilst they will eat food cooked by idolatrous Hindus, refuse to touch that cooked either by Native or European Christians; and they often refuse to allow Christians to draw water from the public wells, although Hindus are permitted to do so. Such objections arise solely form jealousy of race, and an unfriendly feeling towards the ruling power. In Afghanistan and Persia, no such objections exist; and no doubt much evil has been caused by Government allowing Hindustani Muslims to create a religious custom which has no foundation whatever except that of national hatred to their English conquerors. [EATING.]
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam