In Islam, there are several food prohibitions: eating creatures which had died, blood, pork and anything slaughtered without doing so “in the name of Allah”. Animals must be slaughtered according to a prescribed ritual for their flesh to become “halal”.
In the context of the Arab-Muslim city, food prohibitions were not so strictly defined, at least between Jews and Muslims. “Kosher” food, for example, was perfectly lawful for Muslims. Indeed, a popular saying recommends: “sleep in a Christian bed but eat Jewish food”, since for Muslims, slaughter according to the Christian custom is not halal. On the other hand, meat may be eaten when the slaughter is accomplished according to the Jewish rite, which requires the animal to be killed without suffering, under strict physical conditions and according to learned religious observances. Chicken, meanwhile, was for a long time a luxury meat reserved for solemn occasions and part of the menu on feast days. The use of poultry was rare and chicken was considered a dietary supplement to enhance the gastronomic status of stock rather than ordinary food.
Mohamed Yassine Essid
‘History of Mediterranean Food’