When it comes to being a Christian, we always want to make sure we’re doing what is right in the eyes of God, whether this touches on the physical, emotional, or spiritual aspects of our lives. With that being the case, let’s find out if eating Halal is sinful for Christians.
Is Eating Halal a Sin for Christians? No, eating Halal is not a sin for Christians. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we were set from the old covenant that restricted us from eating certain foods. In Acts chapter 10, the Apostle Peter has a vision in which the Lord told him to call nothing unclean that the Lord has made clean.
To answer this question in the best and most thorough way possible lets first understand exactly what Halal is.
What is Halal?
If you are familiar with Islam at all, you will know that it has heavy ties with Christianity. Though they believe Christians are heretics, they derive their religion from Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael—Pre-Christian era.
Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but merely a man, they do not associate their religion with Jesus in the slightest. That being the case, they have a very similar structure to that of Old Testament Mosaic Law, though very much distorted.
And all of this brings us to the origin of Halal. Halal is like Kosher Law; just as the Israelites were commanded not to eat certain foods and not to eat food with blood still in it, Muslims replicated this.
Halal literally means, “permissible,” meaning, that which is Halal is permitted to eat. Generally, this term applies to the consumption of meat and how it is killed as well as the type of animal the meat comes from.
As with the Jews, Muslims do not permit eating any form of pig meat, any meat that is not completely drained of blood, and they also do not eat meat that has not been dedicated to Allah while it is being slaughtered. Meat that does not adhere to these requirements is called Haram which means forbidden.
These are the basics of Halal, and now that we have a basic idea of what it is, let’s move on to how the Old Covenant ties in.
Requirements of The Old Covenant
Flashback to Ancient Egypt, it’s a hot day in the desert and the people of Israel are fleeing from the oppressive rule of the Egyptians. After the miracle at the Red Sea, God takes His people on a journey to the Promised Land. And on their way, God makes a covenant with the people and gives them laws to abide by, which are known as the Mosaic Law.
This Old Covenant was standards and commands for the people of Israel to follow, but the problem was, the Israelites were not able to follow the law and were in desperate need of someone to save them.
Thus, God’s promise from the beginning of time to send His son Jesus to die for our sins. The Law of Moses was both a blessing and a difficult burden to carry, as no person could perfectly follow it, and those who did fell into a works-based mindset. But when Jesus came, he completely changed all of this.
How The New Covenant Set Us Free
In the very beginning when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, God spoke of the Messiah who would come and save us from the results of their actions.
Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” – Acts 15:10-11
In the above passage, the apostles and early church fathers were addressing an issue that was rising amongst the Jews and Gentiles. Some Jewish teachers were teaching that even though they had become followers of Jesus they were still required to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic Law.
This was false teaching, and in this particular passage, the Apostle Peter is addressing the church, explaining to them that salvation is not a result of merit or ritual, but of the grace of God and His mercy.
This is just one place in the Bible that we see an example of how under the New Covenant we have been set free from the burden of works.
Furthermore, Paul clearly answers this particular question in 1 Corinthians 8:7-8
But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
Paul is saying that since Jesus died on the cross for us we are no longer under the same stipulations we once were, God made a permanent way in which we are able to come to Him, and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. Before, it was through animal sacrifice and following that law, but now, we live in permanent liberty.
Don’t be a Stumbling Block to your Brothers
Now, there is one other element that ties into everything, and that is a sensitivity towards our brothers and sisters. Just a few more verses down in the same passage, we find a principle that flows through all of our actions as Christians.
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. – 1 Corinthians 8:10-13
Though we live in a different era and cultural context, the principle applies today. Whatever we do, whether its drinking alcohol, getting tattoos, listening to secular music, etc. though we might live in freedom with the knowledge we have gained in our walks, this is not the case for all of our brothers and sisters.
Out of love for our neighbors, we must always think of how our actions will either damage or encourage.
So now we can clearly see that we are not bound to the weight of the law, but are free in Christ, therefore eating Halal is perfectly fine.