According to the Qur’ān the meat
of an animal sacrificed in the name of someone other than Allah and the meat of
an animal which is not slaughtered in Allah’s name are not Halāl. (see the
Qur’ān 2:173 and 6:121). Even when taking an animal’s life is indispensable for
our survival and nourishment, it is only He that gives life who can sanction
taking it. And it is only He in whose name life can be sacrificed. This is the
Law. Yet, God in His infinite mercy has given us this allowance: if we cannot
hold out in hunger, we can eat Harām (forbidden) food without transgressing the
limit or defying Him (see the Qur’ān 2:173, 6:145 and 16:110).
What is hunger and what is the limit are
subjective questions. One person may be able to hold out longer than another.
The general rule is that you should not overburden yourself in areas where God
Himself has given an allowance. The Divine law (al-Sharī‘ah) is based on ease.
God has not given this law to make our life difficult. He has given us this law
to purify us and to bless us. If you can’t even get your normal intake of food
and are unable to carry on your work in hunger, you can begin thinking about
availing yourself of this allowance. The only thing to remember is that you
should not go beyond your need or defy God. Arguments as ‘Well, it doesn’t
matter. Just say the Kalimah and eat your food – and so on’ are also a form of
This is the law and the relevant
allowance. But I am certain that you won’t have to go to the extreme of waiting
for food until you can’t go on in your hunger. There must be many alternatives
available. A lot of Halāl food is now available all over the world. Again, if
you get in touch with your local Muslim organisation, they’ll be able to help.
You can also get many canned food items that take no or very little time to
prepare. For example, milk, fish, oat meal and beans. Most of this stuff is good
food, and a sensible assortment can give you a fairly good diet.
Although the Christians have denied the
Divine Law as such, the Jews still follow it as it was revealed to Moses (sws)
in the Torah. The Divine Law as revealed to the true Messengers of God has
become lenient in Islam, not stricter. Therefore, you can ask for ‘Kosher’ food
as well, which is available almost everywhere in the States. However, beware of
the subterfuges of the Jews! They even have ‘Kosher’ wine. As I have already
explained, wine – ‘Kosher’ or not – or any other form of intoxicants is
prohibited in Islam. (By the way, there are non-alcoholic wines which,
obviously, are Halāl).