A Not So Turkish Life

Halal food; Stream of Consciousness

Often I find that between M and the house and food prep and getting us outside for some time every day, that finding time to blog is near enough non-existent. As a Mum, my job is M, to be present with him all the time not to be glued to a screen while he rolls on the floor. But, while he sleeps, there’s so little time nowadays. He sleeps in 45 minute increments and three of these a day give no time to run, read the newspapers, study Turkish, swat up on baby-brain-development, think about dinner, pause to pee and on top of those, time to blog. So I choose, like everyone. I make choices about how to balance my time and my ‘free’ time when he sleeps – which is most important today? But the fact is, they’re all just as important as each other. I need to be informed, need to prep dinner, need to be literate in my sons native tongue. I need to be fit and I need to learn constantly about how best to be a Mum. And still, high at the top of the list comes the blog. More than any of that, I need to write it out. To get rid of the day, to record all the hours. So I need to find the time. Need to balance the time.

Ameena, who blogs over at MummyinProvence (she had me over last week, did you see?) introduced me to the concept, via AllthingsFadra, of Stream of Conciousness Sunday – with 5 minutes on the clock, you sit and you write. No edit, nor re-do. Just five minutes and you. It’s a concept I’d been talking about the week before with real-life friends and one I really like, so, though it’s not Sunday, and I’ve already spent more than five minutes typing this – here goes:

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I try not to enter into facebook debates about what is or isn’t haram because I very much believe that Islam, like Christianity and Judaism before it, is intended to be interpreted by you and you alone. Sure there’s guidance, Allah swt gave us the hadith for that exact purpose, but essentially, Islam, like all other religions is just a set of guidelines for you to follow in your quest to live life in the best way possible, and with Gods help reachign heaven in the end. I may not enter into those debates much online, yet they often trigger questions for me to answer personally.
The lastest debate raging in my timeline is that of halal food – in particular, whether or not fish and chips is halal or haram. Obviously, the fish and the chips themselves aren’t haram – what’s in question is whether true fish and chips – aka the kind G & I crave and start salivating over the thought of once our UK bound flights are booked – are haram due to the method of cooking.
When we go back to the Uk, our time is spent catching up with friends and family alike. We go for breakfast and for lunch, we stop for snacks that we (I) crave when at home, we cook with ingredients which simply don’t exist in Istanbul. We eat chinese and fish and chips and more chinese. We eat out in pubs, in greasy spoons and in sausage roll baking bakeries too. There is nowhere that I know which declares itself to be halal–so what do we do? The Qu’ran says no pork, no blood, no food killed in the name of any being other than Allah swt. We’re forbidden to eat animals killed in inhumane ways or killed not intentionally for the purpose of eating. Would chinese food, potentially cooked in the same pan as pork previously was, be forbidden to us? Surely the pan would have been washed inbetween and therefore would be clean again, right? And food eaten from a fridge containing pork too? We have no way of knowing what food comes into contact with what other food during the packaging stage, or the transport stage, so as long as we know the pork in the frdge hasn’t touched the food we eat from the fridge, it’s ok – maybe? Or maybe we just shouldn’t eat anything from Tesco at all? Eat only from halal butchers, greengrocers? The fish and chips thing – that’s different. there is no debate really – fish and chip shops often cook pork produce too, sausages and such, which means the once-halal fish and chips can become contaminated during the cooking process and therefore come out of the fryer haram. It’s the same oil that seeps into the sausage as the fish, so yes, fish and chips are off limits. And the same for all fried food in any restaurant not calling itself halal. Allah swt grants us the leniency to eat non-halah food if no other option is available. Here, there are other options available; the option is to abstain. I guess the key now is to figure exactly what and where we’re abstaining from. Hmmm.

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This entry was published on 09/22/2011 at 08:05. It’s filed under Externalise, Life and Faith, Stream of Conciousness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Halal food; Stream of Consciousness

  1. I can see how it is a big challenge. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I guess you’ll have to make the effort to eat only where the Halal sign is shown. Restaurants that serve pork on the menu cannot ensure that there is no cross contamination. I’ve never really thought of the implications or contamination in the cooking process.

    I’ve had the debate before about food cooked with wine. Some believe the alcohol content is zero during the cooking process and some say it’s not halal… questions questions!

  2. Pingback: A converts family « A Not So Turkish Life

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