Background reading material by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. for Year 2 Semester 1 on Wednesday 01 November 2006


The human needs food to survive and eating is obligatory. Refusing to eat for no good reason is violation of the Law. The body needs about 50 different nutrients classified as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water. Carbohydrates and fats provide energy. Proteins are needed to build and repair the body. Minerals play roles in metabolic processes. Vitamins are needed in very small quantities to help enzymatic function. Water is a major component of all tissues, it is a solvent that transports food and wastes in the body, it stabilizes temperature, and lubricates. Fiber is not a nutrient but helps in intestinal voiding.



The haram foods are specified. The rest are halal. Haram foods can be eaten in situations of necessity, darurat. Refusing to eat the halal for no valid reason is a hated innovation.


Halaal foods are all plants, all land animals not specifically forbidden, and products of halal animals, and all aquatic life except frogs and crocodiles.


Haram foods are dead animals, animals not slaughtered according to the Law, animals that prey/hunt with fangs or talons, mules, donkeys, flowing blood, pork, and any food that is harmful to health as shown by customary experience or scientific investigation.


Animals must be slaughtered by a sane adult who mentions God’s name when slaughtering. Any meat is treated as haram if the butcher is unknown. Meat sold in markets in a Muslim community is considered halal even if the butcher is unknown. Meat in the markets of a non-Muslim community is haram unless the butcher is known


The best method of killing the animal is using a sharp knife that causes little pain to the animal when slaughter is done quickly. Use of gunshots and electric shocks are still controversial.



We should eat only when hungry and when we should not eat to fill the belly. Hand washing is necessary even if spoons and forks are used in eating. It is recommended to eat in a group. It is forbidden to eat at a table where alcohol is served. It is recommended to eating with the right hand even if the person is left-handed. Eating should be in haste with the objective of finishing and going on to do other things. The meal should generally not be treated as entertainment. It is an obligatory act for the purpose of giving the body energy.


It is recommended to eat from the top of the dish and eat only the food next to you. Eating while reclining or standing is prohibited. Eating hot food is forbidden. Food served should be finished so care must be taken not to over-serve food. Certain foods like onions should not be eaten when planning to be in a public place because of their obnoxious smell. It is forbidden to blow over food. A tooth-pick should be used to remove impacted pieces of food. Hands are washed and the mouth is rinsed at the end of the meal. The host is praised and is thanked at the end of the meal.



Satiety can be described in three states: the necessary, the needed, and the excess. The necessary is the minimum nutritional intake necessary to maintain health in the best status. The needed is intake that is more than necessary but which prevents the feeling of hunger. Excess intake is beyond the need.


Obesity is a social and medical disease due to excess food intake. It interferes with physical acts of worship such as puasa, prayer, and pilgrimage. Puasa (obligatory or voluntary) helps in controlling excess intake. Puasa is also training in appetite control during the ensuing non-fasting period.



Waste in eating and drinking is condemned. You should eat only what satisfies hunger and give the rest of the food to the needy. It is a waste to eat more than what you actually need. Most of this just passes through the alimentary canal and is voided as waste. It is considered bad to eat whatever you desire without discrimination. Often people buy more food than they will cook and consume. Poor methods of food preparation result in food waste



Voluntary hunger in puasa gives the rich practical experience of hunger that makes them understand and appreciate the suffering of the poor. It is a virtue giving food to the needy. Food security must be ensured for the individual, the family, and the whole world.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr November 2006