Halal or Zabihah?

"Halal" is an all encompassing Arabic word that literally means "permissible".  The Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) provide guidelines on what is considered permissible, and therefore Halal and what is considered forbidden or "Haram".

Islamic Services of America refers to the Holy Quran and Prophet’s traditions in our philosophy, methods, and standards.

The word "zabihah" is a specific Arabic word that literally means "slaughtered".  It is derived from the Arabic word “Thabih” which means "slaughter".  In some cultures this word is pronounced “zabih”. Hence the term zabihah.

In order for a consumable product to be Halal, the Quran and Sunnah give guidance on how to slaughter. Zabihah, however, does not in any way substantially define or encompass what is truly Halal. It is only one specific element that relates to how or if an animal is slaughtered.  An example of this is that one can slaughter a pig or a human, but neither is permissible to consume in Islam.  Similarly ‘zabihah’ makes no reference to the consumption of blood, or meat that is contaminated with impurities, witchcraft, or dead carcasses; all of which are prohibited in the Quran and Sunnah.  To be recognized as Halal all of the above must not be present in the product or process.

The term "zabihah" is a human, cultural innovation that should not be confused with "Halal" which is from the Quran and Sunnah.  As such, ISA upholds Halal standards and avoids confusing concepts like "zabihah".