"Can't eat that, sorry," I said.
"Why? It's chicken, not pork."
"Not halal la.. not slaughtered according to Islamic way."
"Huh? What you mean?"
"I mean, the chicken has to be slaughtered by a Muslim, who slaughters it with a sharp knife in the name of Allah, and then let its blood drip out. Done any other way, it's haram for Muslims to eat."
"Ohhh.. you mean, chicken is also haram for Muslims? Not just pork?"
"No, chicken slaughtered according to Islamic way is halal to eat. So if I'm to eat the chicken, it has to be bought from a Muslim butcher and cooked without any non-halal ingredients. Better still, I cook it, and we eat. Non-halal or haram means forbidden, and to eat them means disobeying Allah's command. We have to be careful about the food we eat because we believe that food consumed will become our flesh and blood, therefore any nonhalal food should never be eaten. We obey His laws when we avoid nonhalal food."
"Oh, I had thought that haram food means only pork."
"Well, most nonMuslims think so but halal-haram food is more complicated than just non-pork dishes. That's why Muslims avoid going to nonMuslim restaurants because we doubt whether the food cooked is halal."
"But of course it's ditanggung halal mahh, when not a single piece of pork is cooked in that shop?"
"Not just pork is haram to Muslims, but also alcohol, food cooked not according to Islamic standards, and food that is cooked using the same utensils for cooking pork."
"Ohhh, like that ahh?"
"Ya lohhh, like that lorr. So you understand now why I don't eat at kopitiam run by nonMuslim Chinese although their staff are all Muslim, and they have a big banner in front of the restaurant stating "Ditanggung halal' [saw one in Taiping, hehehe]. I mean, which Muslim shop would put up such a banner? It's like proclaiming that the owner is a nonMuslim who wants Muslims to try the food. Useless really, when there is no halal certificate issued by JAKIM found in the shop. Careful Muslims would avoid eating the food, and might only go there for a drink and free wifi, hehehe."
"Ahhh, now I understand... no wonder I don't see the Malay youngsters in that shop eat anything while surfing the internet with their laptops. So when are you cooking halal chicken for me?"