The Islamic dietary laws (Halal) and the Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut; in English, kosher) contain both points of similarity and discord. This post will concentrate on the common laws both faiths share.
- Swine is forbidden (treif / haram)
- Amphibians are forbidden (treif / haram)
- Insects are forbidden (treif / haram), however both Jews and Muslims are permitted to eat a small number of specific locust and grasshoppers, but today only a small numbers Jews and Muslims in places like Yemen have retained this tradition.
- To be kosher, aquatic animals must have scales and fins. Most Muslim schools of thought adhere to the interpretation that all creatures from the ocean or the sea are considered halal. Hanafi Sunnis (who comprise the majority of Muslims) follow essentially the same laws as Kashrut, believing that only fish with scales and fins are halal. According to Jewish oral law all fish that have scales have fins, thus making all fish with scales kosher and rendering the law essentially the same as dhabiha halal.
- Predators and birds of prey are forbidden (treif / haram)
- Gelatin is only kosher / halal if it comes from a permitted animal
- The consumption of blood is forbidden (treif / haram)
- The slaughter (shechita / dhabiha) involves cutting across the neck of the animal with a non-serrated blade in one clean attempt in order to sever the main blood vessels.
- The spinal cord must be avoided during slaughter.
- The blood must be drained from the animal
- Any sane adult Jew who knows the proper technique may perform shechita. Similarly, dhabiha can be performed by any “sane adult Muslim… by following the rules prescribed by Shariah”. All Islamic authorities agree that dhabiha can be performed by Peoples of the Book (Jews and Christians).
- The Muslim slaughterer must declare “Allah Akbar” and the Jewish slaughterer makes a similar blessing.
- After slaughter, the animal must be examined to ensure that it is fit for consumption.