Finding halal food in the US might be a challenge for many Muslims.
Yet, in Dearborn, a city with Michigan’s biggest Arab, and Muslim, population, halal food options are very diverse and interesting.
Giving Muslims a unique insight into this industry, Instagram influencer Abe Obeid is drawing hungry followers from across the country to find more about halal food in the Detroit area.
A food lover himself, he started the Halal Food Junkie Instagram page in 2017. Now, with 20,000 followers, he refers his success to his being everywhere around town.
“I’m part of the community a lot … events, you see me at the mosque, I’m everywhere. I used to go out three-four times a day and push out content,” he told The Detroit News.
The first spike of his success came in 2019 when he started showing videos for his mom’s cooking during Ramadan. Numbers increased significantly when Muslims marked Ramadan 2020 at home during COVID-19 pandemic.
“During Ramadan everyone’s sitting there at home. You’re not going out, you’re tired, you’re fasting all day and you’re not eating until 9 p.m. at night,” the alumnus of Fordson High School and Central Michigan University said.
“So right before iftar, I’d be posting videos of my mom making food. I saw my story views go up a thousand. Everyone’s online. And I just kept doing it.”
After his success, Obeid social media into a full-time job, featuring some eateries on his page.
Obeid currently works on a Halal Food Junkie app that connects diners and restaurants and offers discounts.
He has big dreams for the future, considering opening a food truck to sell fried chicken sandwiches.
Success stories related to halal food are common across the world.
Last November, two young Muslim teens started a new food pantry to provide all-inclusive meals for the neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee.
A Muslim couple in Canada’s Fredericton launched a halal food business in June 2020 called Simply Fresh halal meals.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. In general every food is considered halal in Islam unless it is specially prohibited by the Qur’an or the Hadith.
The term is commonly used for meat, but it also applies to other food products, cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals which mustn’t be derived from non-halal sources like pork.
Halal also applies to any other consumed and edible materials which mustn’t be harmful to human health. For example, Islam considers wines, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, E-cigs, hookah and other unhealthy things to be non-halal.
For something to be considered halal, the animal from which it came from must be well-treated, raised in a humane and healthy way, and slaughtered according to Shari’ah for hygiene reasons.