My Halal Fork n Spoon

The Search for best Halal-certified food places in Singapore


What is 'Halal'?

In technical terms, according to MUIS (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, or the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore):

"‘Halal’ is an Arabic word which means lawful or allowable. Any food or drink which falls under this category is permitted for consumption. Most food and drinks are considered Halal unless they are stated clearly in the Quran (holy book of Islam) and Hadith (prophetic sayings) as forbidden or non-Halal. 

'Non-Halal’, also traditionally known as ‘Haram’, means unlawful or unallowable. As the name implies, any food or drink which is classified as non-Halal is prohibited for consumption. In general, all harmful things are non-Halal. Examples of these include the meat of dead animals and birds, flesh of swine, intoxicating drugs and alcoholic beverages."

What makes something 'Halal'?
Food is considered 'Halal' when they satisfy the following conditions:

1) For food that originates from animals, the animals must be slaughtered according to Islamic Law. For full guide on how animals should be slaughtered for the food / meat to be rendered Halal, visit MUIS Guidelines to Islamic Slaughtering

2) Food originating from animals which are permissible for consumption under Islamic Law. According to MUIS under Guidelines to Preparation and Handling of Halal Food:
  • Land animals: All animals are permissible for consumption EXCEPT i) animals that are not slaughtered according to Shariah law; (i) pigs; (ii) dogs; (iii) animals with long pointed teeth (canines or tusks), which are used to kill prey, such as tigers, bears, elephants, cats and monkeys; (iv)birds with talons or predator birds; (v) animals that are enjoined by Islam to be killed including mice, scorpions, snakes, crows, centipedes, etc (due to historical / religious reasons); (vi) animals that are forbidden to be killed including ants, bees and woodpeckers (due to historical / religious reasons); (vii) creatures that are considered filthy by the public such as lice and flies; and (viii) animals that live both on land and in water (amphibians) such as frogs and salamanders.
  • All aquatic animals are “Halal” except those that are poisonous, intoxicating or hazardous to health. 
3) "All types of plants products are Halal” except those that are poisonous, intoxicating or are hazardous to health."

4) "All kinds of water and beverages are “Halal” as drinks, except those that are poisonous, intoxicating or are hazardous to health and that are mixed with “najis” e.g. alcoholic beverages, flavouring wines, etc. "

5) The process of the food being prepared, stored, displayed, processed, transporated and served must be "labeled as “Halal” or lawful at every stage of the process so as to prevent it from being mixed or contaminated with things that are impure or non-halal." This also include the contact and use of utensils. Halal-certified food must be kept separated, and free from any form of contamination by things that have the possibility of being 'contaminated by those which are considered 'haram'. 

In other words, food and the environment which it is being prepared up to the point of consumption, must be kept hygenic and free from contamination.

Does this means a particular food / drink, if not halal-certified, is definitely haram?
Nope. Halal-certified food means that the particular food or drink has been legally and formally certified safe for consumption for Muslims.

Food not halal-certified could have two reasons:
  1. it IS definitely NOT-halal / haram for consumption, or
  2. it has not undergone testing to determine if the food is halal yet. This could also mean that the food is considered 'Syubhah'.
According to MUIS, "any food or drink which lies within the grey area and does not fall clearly under the Halal or non-Halal category is classified as ‘Syubhah’, alternatively called questionable or dubious. One example of a Syubhah ingredient is lecithin. Lecithin can be derived from plants or animals. It is considered Halal if the lecithin comes from plants but non-Halal should it come from pigs or animals that are not slaughtered in accordance with the Islamic law.
Another view, I quote, from "The basic ruling on food and drink is that things are halal except for those which are specifically described in Shari`ah as being haram, such as alcoholic drinks (and others, as mentioned above). It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every intoxicating substance is haram.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari) And it was narrated that `A’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Every intoxicating substance is haram, and whatever intoxicates in large amounts, a handful of it is haram.’” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi).  
This view is rather controversial right now especially with regards to the newly invented 'non-alcoholic beer' which contains traces of alcohol which can be both intoxicating and not intoxicating. This too, is quite shady, in my opinion.

Hence, according to MUIS, "until the status becomes clear, Muslims should avoid consuming Syubhah food or drinks. The Prophet (pbuh) has given a guideline concerning Syubhah matters. It is reported by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Ibn Majah and Darimi, as follow:
الْحَلاَلُ بَيِّنٌ، وَالْحَرَامُ بَيِّنٌ، وَبَيْنَهُمَا مُشْتَبِهَاتٌ، لاَ يَعْلَمُهَا كَثِيرٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ. فَمَنِ اتَّقَى الشُّبُهَاتِ اسْتَبْرَأَ لِدِينِهِ وَعِرْضِهِ. وَمَنْ وَقَعَ فِي الشُّبُهَاتِ وَقَعَ فِي الْحَرَامِ...
Which means: What is Halal is clear. And what is Haram is also clear. And in between those two is a dubious area in which many people do not know about. So whoever distanced himself from it, he has acquitted himself (from blame). And those who fall into it, he has fallen into a state of Haram."

Information taken from MUIS website, Basic Principles.

How do we find Halal-certified food in Singapore?
What restaurants / food places are already halal-certified in Singapore?
The number of restaurants in Singapore going Halal is ever-growing. At the same time, there are some food places that fall out of the certification because of reasons that in my opinion, could be due to, but not limited to,

(i) the inability to maintain strict guidelines in accordance to Islamic Law in the preparation and process of food.
(ii) the inability to continuously abide by rules and regulations for the operations of halal-certified food shops
(iii) the inability to continuously apply for certification at regular intervals as agreed.

The number of certified halal food places is therefore constantly changing. It is best that we as Muslims practice the responsibility of checking the 'halal certificate' that should be displayed by various eateries at their entrances / cashiers.

However, for a list and directory of halal-certified eateries as well as events etc in Singapore, please look at Singapore Halal Directory website.

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