Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How Caviar Turned Out To Be Halal
December 9, 2010 7:00 AM   Subscribe

A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
posted by reenum (26 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Always a good idea to warn folks that your link will start a download....
posted by HuronBob at 7:06 AM on December 9, 2010


I'm reminded of the LDS Church belatedly discovering that polygamy was not mandated by God... once statehood for Utah depended on it.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a PDF. Indeed that should be noted in the post, but, technically, an html page also downloads to your computer!
posted by Jahaza at 7:13 AM on December 9, 2010


WWMD??? Probably not eat caviar.
posted by spicynuts at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2010


[Added a note.]
posted by cortex at 7:19 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


See also capybara, which in Venezuela are fish so you can eat them during Lent.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:26 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Crap. Instapaper just gets a cookie error. Definitely saving the PDF for reading later, though.
posted by immlass at 7:27 AM on December 9, 2010


It's an interesting question. Technically, Sunnis would consider roe fine to eat as long as one didn't just waste the rest of the fish or mistreat it to obtain the eggs. The Shia are a bit closer to the old Rabbinical laws when it comes to fish and seafood.

The so-called imams running the show in Iran are beholden to nothing but their own unbounded egos and can make all sorts of capricious decisions in the name of the state.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:27 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


arguing
that if the Prophet had known how delicious it was, he
would have allowed it


this is my standard all-purpose religious argument.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'm reminded of the LDS Church belatedly discovering that polygamy was not mandated by God... once statehood for Utah depended on it.

... and discovering that black people were human beings once it became clear that the Civil Rights movement wasn't just a fad.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


God for Iran! Always nice to see flexibility in conventional matters. Sort of like I didn't have sex or I didn't inhale. Why should atheists have all the fun?
posted by Postroad at 7:34 AM on December 9, 2010


This kind of thing fascinates me. How did these rules come into existence, anyway? I mean, if you discount "the Lord spoke to us from On High and told us not to eat pork", then it seems the most likely explanation is that these edicts came from leaders trying to get the ignorant masses to avoid food poisoning or starvation (is there research on this?). The end result is that general hygiene improves.

Every few years, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent. It's a Big Thing in Boston, so of course the - bishop, I think - grants a dispensation so everyone can go eat their corned beef and drink loads of beer at eight in the morning on a day that would normally be meat-forbidden.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:37 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a particularly colorful comment by Mayor Curley.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:37 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Splitters.
posted by punkfloyd at 7:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember reading a very depressing chapter in Misha Glenny's McMafia (a book about the rise in global crime) on how, after the fall of communism - which had maintained strict quotas on caviare - the Russian Mafia took over and were basically destroying fish stocks in the Caspian Sea by overproduction. So enjoy it while you can Iranians.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:47 AM on December 9, 2010


A dazzling explosion turns all eyes to the center ring. As the smoke clears, one sees a tiny car come to a stop. Quickly and magically two dozen of the top religious authorities in Iran emerge from the car. Lining up, bending at the waist and lifting their robes revealing bare asses and legs covered in silk stockings. They fart.

A Fartwa has been issued.
posted by pianomover at 8:22 AM on December 9, 2010


once it became clear that the Civil Rights movement wasn't just a fad

It wasn't? Damn- no wonder my stand-up's so unpopular these days.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 8:44 AM on December 9, 2010


This is very well written and really interesting, thank you!
posted by Blasdelb at 8:48 AM on December 9, 2010


... the most likely explanation is that these edicts came from leaders trying to get the ignorant masses to avoid food poisoning or starvation (is there research on this?). The end result is that general hygiene improves.

I don't think you have to attribute microbiology intelligence to the people issuing the edicts if you consider that adherents of edicts like "Thou shalt eat warm uncooked meat" would quickly dwindle in population.
posted by odinsdream at 8:49 AM on December 9, 2010


Some locals considered the sturgeon a rare delicacy and deemed it an exception to the rule that only fish with scales could be eaten, arguing that if the Prophet had known how delicious it was, he would have allowed it.

BEST ARGUMENT EVER.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"...arguing that if the Prophet had known how delicious it was, he would have allowed it"29

29. Poopak Taati (a native of Rasht), e-mail message to the author, 18 January 2006.

The Whelk, Poopak Taati seems really awesome
posted by Blasdelb at 9:01 AM on December 9, 2010


Triple bonus points for use of the word nonsquamous.
posted by zamboni at 9:58 AM on December 9, 2010


it seems the most likely explanation is that these edicts came from leaders trying to get the ignorant masses to avoid food poisoning or starvation

I'm not aware of any research, but ever since I was in high school it seemed to me that religion was the earliest form of public health. All religions (at least those developed more than 1000 years ago) seem to focus on regulating mating and reproduction, eating, clothing, and hygiene and they all kept very careful birth, death, and lineage records. Sounds like public health to me. And such measures, though sometimes off the mark, probably helped their societies out-survive the competition by avoiding genetic and communicable diseases and dietary-related shortcomings. That'd make a believer out of many.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the DEA knew how tasty heroin was, they'd make it legal.
posted by Splunge at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah yes; those inviolable, absolute, divine dictates that make religious morality so very superior to the secular variety.

*snork*.
posted by Decani at 11:14 AM on December 9, 2010


Brought to you by the same people who brought us prostitution premarital sex temporary marriage.
posted by Hylas at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2010


« Older Multiply like an Egyptian. (SLYT)...  |  "A few weeks ago, my algeĀ­bra ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments