Food Laws in Judaism and Islam

Out of the three abrahamic religious traditions Islam and Judaism seem to be the most like each other. This is particularly the case when it comes to food laws. Oddly enough Christians don’t seem to follow the food laws except for a few exceptions for example Catholics going meat free on Fridays.Even though the religion emerged from the Jewish faith and take many traditions from this faith they Christians have not adopted the same food laws.

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The jewish diet is referred to as kosher and the Muslim diet is referred to as halal though it is important to note that this also applies to any thing law related that the Qu’ran or hadith does not directly prohibit. For both religions meat must be killed in a certain way, certain animals shouldn’t be eaten unless it is absolutely necessary, and certain drinks are prohibited as well. In Judaism it states that a Jewish person cannot eat shellfish, pork, camel, rock badger, and rabbits and this includes their flesh, organs, eggs, and milk as well. Land animals that chew their own cud and has cloven hooves are allowed and any of the water animals with fins and scales are allowed. Birds of prey are also forbidden though turkeys, ducks, geese, etc are allowed.

As for insects only a few are permitted. Other forbidden animals include rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. Another rule states that meat and dairy can’t be combined together and consumed. As for fruits and vegetables they are all permitted unless there were insects on them.. Also certain foods and nerves are not allowed to be consumed by jewish people such as the sciatic and its blood vessels included as well as the animal fat referred to as chelev.The kosher preparations are thought to be very healthy in today’s standard and the reason these dietary guidelines likely occurred was due to health problems in during that time for example there was no medication and vaccines which meant disease was particularly on the rise. A lot of diseases also came from animals because they were often unclean and there was no way to store meat as electricity wasn’t invented so there was no concept of refrigeration. However, health isn’t the the reason Jewish prople consume the food consumption they do. It is all due to morality because god commanded the followers of the religion to do so and doing as God says makes one a good person and more likely to go to heaven. In Islam the pig and blood is also forbidden or considered haram. However, unlike the Jewish law they aren’t able to consume alcohol even though this wasn’t the case in the beginning as it was said that wine made from dates was a gift from god however, people often went to prayer drunk which was considered disrespectful to god so this eventually lead to alcohol becoming haram. The food restrictions aren’t very tough to follow unlike the kosher traditions. Another important aspect of Abrahamic food laws is how the animal was killed. In Judaism one must not eat an animal that’s flesh has been torn by another or one that has died from natural causes. Also eating an animal with damaged organs is forbidden. In Islam the rules are that the animal eaten must not have been found dead then cooked. The animal also must not have been used as a sacrifice. Also a animal cannot be eaten if blugined or strangled to death or been eaten by a wild animal previously.

Preparation of food is very important to both faiths which is why there are kosher and halal butchers. In Judaism one cannot drink grape based drinks that are made by non-Jews for example grape juice and wine. This is because grapes were often used by those practicing idolatry in the past so ensuring a Jewish person made the drinks means a pagan did not touch and taint it. According to both kosher and halal food laws the blood from the animals must be drained. Also according to muslim and jewish law the animal must be killed humanely and be unaware it is going to die this is done by cutting its throat. According to Jewish law cooking utensils must also be kosher. In order to ensure this Jews do not cook meat and dairy in the same pan or use a fork that touched dairy while eating meat. Another thing the Muslims and Jews have in relation to food laws is the requirement to fast. In Judaism fasting occur during the holy holiday of Yom Kippour. Yom Kippour only lasts a day. During this holiday Jewish people do not eat or drink for over 24 hours and instead focus on praying for forgiveness. Muslims fast during ramadan as this is one of the five pillars of Islam and is therefore a major part of being a Muslim. During ramadan Muslims cannot eat or drink from sun up to sun down this goes on for a month. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar one ramadan falls on different times of the year each time. It however always occurs on the 9th month of the muslim calendar each year. During ramadan a muslim cannot eat or drink anything. Like yom kippour it is a time for prayer and spiritual reflection. Muslims are supposed to avoid unholy thoughts and morally wrong deeds. After the fast a meal with family occurs and after ramadan the 3 day fest known as Eid al-Fitr occurs. Christianity has the loosest food laws of the three abrahamic religions.

Even though kosher laws are stated in the old testament Christians do not follow those laws because there focus is mainly on the new testament which doesn’t say much regarding food laws. Most Christians don’t follow food laws there are some exceptions though such as the Seventh Day Adventist denomination who try to avoid meat and spicy foods and the Catholics who do not eat meat on Fridays. Also certain addictive foods are often giving up by people due to lent which is a Christian holiday that occurs for forty days. Historically it was the time where christians fasted but has evolved to become a time where participants give up a luxury in their life or something they really enjoy in order to better focus on God. Unlike Islam and Judaism, Christianity doesn’t have any religious holidays that requires one to fast. What to eat in order to be a moral person is very important in every major religion but particularly within both Judaism and Christianity. Though Christianity puts a lot less emphasis on this and doesn’t have any major food restrictions that is agreed on by the majority of the Christian community. Again this is solely because food laws were only mentioned in the old testament of the Bible and the consensus of Christianity is that due to Jesus dying on the cross his followers do not need to live by the rules of the old testament for example slaughtering innocent animals for god’s forgiveness. Islam and Judaism on the other hand have nothing in their holy books, the Qu’ran and Torrah, that say because this event happened the past religious laws don’t apply.

Diet is very important to Islam and Judaism though some Muslims and Jews do not follow their religion food laws thought this is more common with Jews since Kosher dietary restrictions are so strict and some Jewish people don’t see them neccessary today since there’s regulations regarding food ,meaning most meat is relatively clean due to governmental laws, and hygiene is better. The religion’s food laws dictate how animals are killed, how they can be eaten for example what utensils and cookware and whether or not one is permitted to eat the certain types of food, and food is even involved with religious holidays whether one is feasting or lacking when it comes to food. In conclusion food laws in Judaism and Christianity are explicitly stated in the Qu’ran and Torrah and many serious believers think that they should be followed as they are important to him because he commanded it. Food laws are part of a possible path to heaven in these traditions, a way to show God one is obedient and loves and is very devoted to him because they are making their life less easy to please God.

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