Halal food and Muslim tourists

Rafa Haddad, Salem Harahsheh and Ayman Harb


Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity and constitutes 1.6 billion people, 23% of world’s population (Worldometers 2017). According to Business Wire (2017), Muslims are estimated to reach 26.2% of the world population in 2030, and Islam is expected to be the largest religion in 2070 (The Telegraph 2017). However, Halal food globally is growing with a lower percentage than the Muslim population, and is estimated to reach 16.2% during 2017-2022. Therefore, the Halal food market has a high potential that should be produced and promoted to satisfy the needs and wants of all Muslim tourists.

Although the number of Muslim tourists is below ambitions - 117 million in 2015 which is just over 7% of the Muslim population - their spending accounted for 145 billion US dollars in 2015 (Salam Standard 2016). The number of Muslim tourists is estimated to reach 168 million and their spending will account for 192 billion US Dollars by 2020 (The Economy Watch 2017).

Halal and Haram are very important concepts in the life of Muslims and should be understood properly to understand the concept of Halal food and drinks. Halal and Haram are Arabic words for permissible (lawful) and impermissible (forbidden) respectively, according to the Islamic law (Sharia). Halal food and drinks stem from Muslims’ religious belief in both concepts, as Halal is good and Haram is bad to their bodies and minds. The Theory of Planned Behavior explains how people’s behavior is governed by their attitudes (individual’s personal belief about a behavior), subjective norms (personal views about other’s reactions towards an individual behavior), and perceived behavior control (the ability of individual to control his/ her behavior to eat only Halal food).

Islam is a caring and compassionate religion that takes care of the individuals’ health and therefore the Islamic law (Sharia) sets the rules on what is Halal and what is Haram accordingly. Halal food is part of Halal tourism, where Muslim tourists seek products and sendees that are permissible according to the Islamic Sharia that reflects their religious belief. One of the major issues concerning Muslim tourists when travelling abroad is to find tourism and hospitality businesses or facilities that provide Halal food and other Halal services. The following section explains the concepts of Halal and Haram in Islamic context, the Theory of Planned Behavior and its application to Halal food, Halal tourism, and Halal food.

Literature review

The concepts ofHalal and Haram in the Islamic context

Halal (lawful, permissible) and Haram (unlawful, prohibited) are significant concepts in Islam; they are paradoxical in meaning and nature (Jallad 2008; Qaradawi 2013). According to A1 Qaradawi (2013:7), Halal (the lawful) means “that which is permitted, with respect to which no restriction exists, and the doing of which the Law-Giver, the God (Allah), has allowed”, whereas, Haram (the prohibited or unlawful) is “that which the Law-Giver has absolutely prohibited; anyone who engages in it is liable to incur the punishment of Allah in the Hereafter as well as a legal punishment in this world”. These concepts are associated with all aspects of Muslims’ lives, food, and beverages (A1 Qaradawi 2013; Faiz 2011), business and trade (Borzooei and Asgari 2013), finance (Visser 2009; Faiz 2011; Haddad 2013), social relations between genders (Haddad 2013), communication and behavior (A1 Jallad 2008), and ethics in life and work (Ahmad and Owoyemi 2012).

Halal is not only related to permissible food and drinks, but also is extended to Muslim’s explicit behavior including speech, code of dress, manners, conduct, and alike (A1 Jallad 2008). Halal travel and tourism, Halal medicine, and Halal finance are other types of Halal operations that impact upon the lives of Muslims.1 Haram, on the other hand, refers to anything that is impermissible (unlawful) in the Islamic law, i.e., Sharia, such as speech, dress, manners, food, and drinks, etc.

The rationale behind Halal and Haram is to surrender to God’s teaching and wisdom as he knows what is good and bad for us in our life. For example, blood, pork, alcohol and intoxicants are Haram because alcohol and intoxicants can rob our senses and swine meat is filthy (Al Qaradawi 2013).

The Theory of Planned Behavior and Halal food

In this chapter, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) was used as a theoretical framework to build a better understanding of Halal food from a tourism perspective, as it is one of the most common theories employed to clarify consumption of Halal products and Halal food (Lada, Geoffrey, and Amin 2009: Abdul Khalek and Ismail 2015) (see Figure 47.1).

In this theory, the behavior of individuals is shaped by attitudes (individual’s personal belief about a behavior), subjective norms (personal view about other’s reactions towards an individual behavior), and perceived behavior control (the ability of individual to control his/her behavior to eat only Halal food). Attitude of Muslim tourists concerning the consumption of food is attached to the Islamic Sharia. It is attached to benefits and consequences from or not consuming Halal food. Subjective norms are linked to the social pressure, and in this context, it is how other Muslims perceive a Muslim who consumes Haram (prohibited) products. Muslims know that only Halal food is permitted in Islam and any other Haram food is totally forbidden and such prohibition stems from Islamic Sharia (God’s words).

All the above factors influence a Muslim’s intention to consume Halal food, since the prohibition of Haram food is a religious mandate and a Muslim who disobeys may face punishment on Judgment Day. This is a clear message to Muslims to avoid eating Haram products. God said: “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those

Theory of Planned Behavior and Halal food (Based on Ajezen’s TPB 1991)

Figure 47.1 Theory of Planned Behavior and Halal food (Based on Ajezen’s TPB 1991).

which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience” (Surat Al-Maida:3). Perceived behavior control, is described as a Muslim’s ability to control his behavior by only eating Halal food, because it is the only food accepted in their religion. Thus, perceived behavior control is largely influenced by attitude and subjective norms, which regulate individual behavior due to social pressure.

Food tourism, culinary tourism, gastronomic tourism

Concepts that are used to describe the linkage between tourism and food experience include food tourism, culinary tourism, and gastronomic tourism (Hall et al. 2003; Guzel and Apaydin 2016).

Hall and Mitchell (2005:74) defined food tourism as “a visitation to primary and secondary food producers, food festivals, restaurants and specific locations for which food tasting and/or experiencing the attributes of specialist food production region are the primary motivating factor for travel”. As reflected by the definition, food tourism is about the pursuit of food-related experiences offered by an array of organizers and businesses.

Culinary tourism “is about individuals exploring foods new to them as well as using food to explore new cultures and ways of being. It is about the experiencing of an extraordinary food, that steps outside the normal routine to notice difference and the power of food to represent and negotiate that difference” (Long 2004: 20). Accordingly, culinary tourism implies the motive to explore and experience new kinds of food specialties and traditions out of the usual environment and daily routine. Moreover, the definition highlighted the role of food in highlighting the competitiveness and attractiveness of destinations. In the same vein, Ignatov and Smith (2006:238) defined culinary tourism as “trips during which the purchase or consumption of regional foods (including beverages), or the observation and study of food production (from agriculture to cooking schools), represent a significant motivation or activity.” This definition reflects that culinary tourism includes travelers’ pursuit of new eating and drinking experiences and observing how the food and beverage are, and participation in food production.

Gastronomic tourism is defined by Richards (2011:17) as “the reflexive cooking, preparation, presentation and eating of food”. Although the authors highlighted all the stages of the gastronomic tourism experience, they did not mention where the food should be consumed. Accordingly, gastronomic tourism refers to itineraries organized to destinations where the main motivation factor of travel is to experience and enjoy the local cuisine there. The three concepts (food tourism, culinary tourism, and gastronomic tourism) are very similar and used interchangeably. Culinary refers to food preparation and cooking techniques. Gastronomy refers to good taste and flavor of the local food and beverage, while the food tourism is the broadest one. In the following sections, Halal tourism and Halal food are discussed.

Halal tourism

A variety of terms have been used to express the linkage between Islamic Sharia and tourism: Islamic tourism, Muslim-friendly tourism, and Halal tourism. According to the literature, all these terms are similar and focus on three dimensions: Muslim tourists; tourism products such as Halal hospitality, and Halal food and beverage facilities, and tourist destinations, i.e., Islamic and non-Islamic (Henderson 2003 2010; Zamani-Farahani and Henderson 2010; Battour, Ismail and Battor 2010; Duman 2012; Zulkifli, Rahman, Awang and Man 2011; Battour and Ismail 2016). However, the most common used concept in tourism literature is ‘Halal tourism’.

Battour and Ismail (2016) defined Halal tourism as “any tourism object or action which is permissible according to Islamic teachings to use or engage by Muslims in tourism industry”. This definition highlights the term ‘Halal’ that implies tourist products (such as accommodation and food and beverage facilities) are ruled by Islamic Sharia and these products are tailored to Muslim tourists when travelling to Muslim and non-Muslim destinations. Accordingly, Halal tourism entails that businesses offer Halal accommodations that have separate recreational facilities for males and females such as beaches, swimming pools and spas, do not serve alcohol, provide prayer rooms, prayer mats, a copy of the Quran, and the direction of Makkah (Qiblah) in hotel rooms. In addition, they should provide facilities that serve Halal food in restaurants and flights on board (Henderson 2010; Battour, Ismail and Battor 2010). Accordingly, the tourism industry is evolving, and business are responding to the needs of Muslim tourists. For example, in air flights, Muslim tourists can find Halal food in many air carriers, and restaurants can show they have Halal labelled food and beverages to attract them. The influx of Muslim tourists means more mosques or prayer rooms, and Halal food facilities. Research revealed the top ten Islamic and Halal destinations including Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia and Egypt (Conde Nast Traveler 2018). Other non-Muslim destinations such as Japan, Thailand, and the U.K., are now aware of the needs and wants of Muslim tourists and the economic impact of the Muslim market, and are therefore providing products and services according to the Islamic law (WTM 2007; Al Jazeera 2015). The top non-Islamic destination that provide Halal services include: Singapore, Thailand, U.K., South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, France, Spain, and U.S. (Halal Trip 2017).


It is difficult for Muslims travelers to find Halal food whenever they travel to non-Muslim destinations. Hassan and Hall (2003) found that it was difficult for Muslim travelers to find Halal food in New Zealand, therefore, they cooked their own meals when they traveled there. Moreover, Kurth and Glasbergen (2017) analyzed Halal certification bodies in the Netherlands to figure out whether they address the needs of the Muslim community and how those certification bodies are influenced by international Halal governance. They found that the Halal governance system in the Netherlands is weakly institutionalized and hardly met the needs of a varied Muslim community.

Referring to the Holy Quran and The Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith,2 Riaz and Chaudry (2003:2) defined Halal food as “any kind of food that are free from any component or ingredient that Muslim are prohibited from consuming”. Islamic Sharia - Halal food law (as depicted in the Quran and Sunnah) - determines which food and beverage are permitted and prohibited for Muslims. Consequently, Muslims can eat any kind of food and drink any kind of beverage except that prohibited in Quran or Sunnah (Islamic law). Along with abiding by Halal food law, Muslims believe that prohibited food and beverage are banned based on health reasons (Regenstein, Chaudry, and Regenstein 2003). In other words, Muslims believe that avoiding eating prohibited food keeps them healthy. By referring to Quran and Sunnah, Regenstein, Chaudiy, and Regenstein (2003) emphasized the five general rules associated with Halal food in Islam:

  • 1 Prohibited animals: Islam prohibits a range of animals: animals with no blood such as flies; animals with blood that does not flow such as snakes; all insects except locusts; amphibians such as frogs; carnivorous animals such as wolves, hyenas, and dogs; and meat from swine and pet donkeys is prohibited.
  • 2 Prohibition of blood: Blood drained from animals is prohibited.
  • 3 Method of slaughtering/blessing: Permitted animals that were slaughtered according to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is Halal meat.
  • 4 Prohibition of carrion: Eating dead animals except fish is prohibited.
  • 5 Prohibition of intoxicants: Anything that intoxicates a human body such as alcoholic drinks is prohibited.

Accordingly, certain products are Halal such as milk from cows, sheep, goats and camels; honey, intoxicating plants, fresh or frozen vegetables, fresh or dried fruits, legumes and nuts, and grains. Meat from cows, sheep, goats, deer, moose, chickens, ducks, and game birds, is Halal when it the animal is slaughtered according to Islamic rules. Examples of Haram food and beverage include: alcoholic drinks and intoxicants; swine meat (pork, ham, gammon, bacon, pork by-products such as sausages and broth); non-Halal animal fat; enzymes from Haram animals (microbial enzymes are permissible); gelatine from non-Halal sources (fish gelatine is Halal); L-cystine (if from human hair); lard; lipase (from Haram animals); non-Halal animal shortening; rennet, stock, tallow (from Haram animals); animals improperly slaughtered, dead before slaughtering, or slaughtered in the name of other than Allah (Al Jallad 2008; Islamic Council of Victoria, Australia 2018; Halal Research Council 2018).


The aim of this chapter is to build a better understanding of the concepts of Halal tourism and Halal food as associated mainly with Muslim culture and Muslim tourists. Halal tourism and Halal food is associated mainly with Muslim culture and therefore, this study is a kind of sociocultural study that is used to describe the ethnic and socio-cultural groups participating in specified cultural experiences (Veal 2017). The research design of this chapter is theoretical (non-empirical) that is, mainly based on the theory and literature of Halal tourism and Halal food. A conceptual framework is developed to explain those concepts (see Figure 47.2).

Tourism is a multitype activity and experience that encompasses a range of forms such as health, education, eco, events, adventure, religious, and cultural. Halal tourism is a recent type within these series of tourism that is mainly associated with Muslim tourists who are demanding certain products and services that should be delivered according to Islamic law. Halal tourism includes products and services such as Halal food, Halal restaurants, Halal accommodations, Halal transportation, Halal entertainment, Halal beaches, and Halal handicrafts and souvenirs. All these products and services must be prepared and delivered according to the Islamic law, i.e. Sharia, to be called Halal.

Conceptual framework of Halal food and its place in Halal tourism

Figure 47.2 Conceptual framework of Halal food and its place in Halal tourism.

Halal food in the Islamic context means that all food and beverages should be pork-free and alcohol-free to be delivered and consumed by Muslim tourists. As mentioned earlier in the literature review section, it is not only Muslim destinations that are interested in serving Halal food, but non-Muslim destinations are now aware of the expansion of Muslim tourists who are visiting those destination. In marketing, satisfying the needs and wants of customers is the core of the marketing concept.

Case study 47.1: Halal food Mansaf a traditional food in Jordan

Halal food is identified as any food that is subject to Islamic Sharia in terms of lawful slaughtering, cooking, and delivering. Mansaf is a Halal food and is part of the Jordanian culture that is oi'iginated in the Bedouin culture where the story began. Mansaf is the most popular food that is eaten at the weekends, during family gathering, Islamic celebrations such as Eid AI-Adha (sacrifice feast during Hajj) and other events such as sacrifice for the new-bom, graduation, weddings, and funerals (see Figure 47.3).

Mansaf is associated with Jordanian culture, which oi'iginated in the Jordanian Bedouin culture. The life of Bedouins was limited in terms of food resources; meat from lamb, goats and camels, bulgur (burghul in Arabic) - a cereal food made from the parboiled groats of several different wheat species - bread, yoghurt, and ghee. In simple words, Mansaf became popular since all the ingredients were available and affordable and easy to prepai'e for Bedouins in the deseit.


Lamb meat, bulgur, bread, dried yoghuit and Arabic aromas such as Melilotus (sweet clover), cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Dried yoghurt or ‘rock cheese’, (Jameed in Arabic) is prepai'ed

A Mansaf feast celebrating the graduation of the second author of this chapter (Harahsheh 2003)

Figure 47.3 A Mansaf feast celebrating the graduation of the second author of this chapter (Harahsheh 2003).

from sheep and goats curd milk, which is reserved in a big cloth bag to thicken yoghurt. Salt is added daily to ensure yoghurt thickening through lack of water. This process dries the yoghurt; it becomes thick, hard, and easy to shape as balls. Jameed should be left to dry so it can be stored for months. The best Jameed is produced in Karak, a city in southern Jordan.


  • 1 Wash meat cubes and place in tray with lid. Cover meat with water, cover tray and place in refrigerator for 4-8 hours.
  • 2 Melt ‘/4 cup of the clarified butter in heaiy skillet over medium-high heat. Drain and pat the meat cubes dry. Place in skillet and cook for 20 minutes until browned on all sides. Season meat with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to cover meat. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Add onion and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • 3 While meat and onion are cooking, place yogurt in a large saucepan and whisk over medium heat until liquid. Whisk in egg white and 'A teaspoon of salt. Slowly bring yogurt mixture to boil stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in one direction imtil it reaches the desired consistency. Reduce heat to low and allow yogurt to softly simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • 4 Stir yogurt into meat and add seasonings as desired. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
  • 5 In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining 4 tablespoons of clarified butter. Add almonds and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • 6 Split the klrabz (bread) loaves open and arrange, overlapping on a large serving tray. Melt the last remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee and brush over the kliubz to soften.
  • 7 Arrange rice over the khubz, leaving a well in the center of the rice. Spoon the meat into the rice well and then spoon the butter and nuts over the meat. The grilled or cooked head of the lamb is placed in the middle of the platter on the top of the bulgur/rice. Sprinkle parsley or chives over top (see Figure 47.3).

How is Mansaf eaten?

Mansaf is served in platters. The traditional way to eat Mansaf is a group of people surrounding the platter of Mansaf. They do not use spoons since it is not accepted in the Bedouin culture. They put their left hands behind their backs and eat with their right hand according to Islamic rituals: Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘Eat with your right hand.’

New trends in Mansaf culture emerged in the last two decades; people started using rice instead of bulgur, chicken instead of meat and fresh cooked yoghurt instead of dried yoghurt (Jameed). Recently, Mansaf sandwiches appeared as the latest fashion in Amman; Shrak (very thin bread) is filled with cooked rice, meat and a little bit of Jammed to prepare a delicious Mansaf sandwich served with a glass of Jameed syrup. Most recently, two paradoxes: Jameed and chocolate (mixed together) are being produced in Jordan as Jameed Chocolate, the sour of Jameed and the sweetness of chocolate (Jordan Times 2017).

Conclusion and recommendations

This chapter presents a piece of literature on Halal food within a broader concept of Halal tourism. The concepts of Halal (permissible) and Haram (unlawful) concern Muslims, as they impact upon their daily and spiritual life. They represent the Islamic laws that govern every aspect of a person’s life (speech, behavior, dress, dietary, finance, medicine, etc), in Islamic law, i.e., Sharia, Halal (lawful and permissible) is rewarded by God and Haram (unlawful) is punishable.

Research showed that it is difficult for Muslim tourists to find Halal food and other Halal sendees whenever they travel to non-Muslim destinations. Halal tourism is a niche market segment that involves products and services that are provided to Muslim tourists. The Muslim market is increasing annually and is expecting to reach 168 million tourists and their spending will reach $192 billion by 2020 (The Economy Watch 2017). The marketing concept entails understanding and satisfying the needs of customers profitably (Kotler and Armstrong 2017). Therefore, from a marketing point view, Muslim and non-Muslim destinations should consider taking those figures into account and providing Muslim-friendly sendees to satisfy the needs and wants of Muslim tourists.


  • 1 An example of Halal travel and tourism includes separate pools and beaches for females and males. Halal medicine does not include substances from Haram animals, is not toxic, and do not contain human parts that are not allowed in Islamic law. Halal finance means any financial transaction that complies with Sharia and does not include usury as a means of profit.
  • 2 Hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad that, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran.


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