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Understanding Islam [HALAL OR NOT?]

Written by azhar.

I have been approached by a few of my non-Muslim friends regarding the Halal issue. The majority of them are curious if it’s sinful and unacceptable for a Muslim to consume food that is not certified Halal. One case study brought forward is the Good News café. A few of my close non-Muslim friends are inquisitive to know why their Muslim friends still consume the food offered by the Good News café even though there are no official Halal certifications placed near the counter. Some questioned if is it all right for Muslims to purchase food from stalls which holds the controversial ‘No Pork, No Lard’ sign.

In order to ensure a reliable and accurate answer to the query, I have forwarded the question to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) for further clarifications. Below is the answer e-mailed by one of their representative:

___________________________________________________________________
Assalamualaikum wr wb (Peace be upon you)

Dear Bro. Mohd Azhar

Thank you for referring this query to MUIS.

You can also inform your non-Muslim friends that In Islam, the consumption of food is an individual responsibility not MUIS or the food operator. If one is confident on the Halal status in an establishment then he can patronize the eating establishment even though there is no Halal certificate being displayed. On the other hand, if one feels not confident on the Halal status even though the is a valid Halal certificate being displayed, then he must avoid the establishment.

With regard to the sign "No Pork & No Lard", the food cannot be classified as Halal. Because beside pork or lard, other ingredients also have to be considered before one can confirm the food meet Muslim dietary requirements.

Halal certification is optional and not compulsory but it is mandatory for Muslims to eat Halal food.

Wassalam

Mohd Ariff Salleh
__________________________________________________________________

From the e-mail, you will be able to extract a few key points. Nonetheless, before I go into that, I will have to educate you about the meaning of Halal. The word ‘Halal’ in Arabic term means ‘permissible’. It refers any food or drink that is permitted to be consumed under the Islamic law. Many non-Muslims have this misconception that all food is considered Halal when the prayers are recited beforehand while preparing it.

The above statement is only true to a certain extent. In fact, it applies only to the meat of an animal that is not forbidden in the Qur' an for Muslims to eat. For example, Muslims can only eat chicken that has been slaughtered according to a specified Islamic ritual. Chicken meat is generally Halal, but the component that differentiates one which is Halal or otherwise will depend on the way the chicken slaughter. The method of slaughtering must be in such a way that it will result in instantaneous death (without prolong suffering) and with prayers to God recited.

Nevertheless, there are substances or meat in which Muslims cannot consume even with the proper slaughtering method. These types of food include pork and amphibians, such as frogs. So why is pork prohibited in Islam? Pork has been mentioned specifically in the Qur’an as a food that is forbidden to eat for Muslims. There are some reasons why this is so, including the negative health effects which can harm the body.

The utensils or cookware used for cooking are also fundamental to determine if the food can be consumed by a Muslim or not. For example, frying pans that have been used to cook pork cannot be used to cook chicken meat, for example. This is why stall vendors who applied for Halal certifications under MUIS are also prohibited from bringing in any packets of food that may contain alcoholic or pork ingredients to avoid contamination.

Therefore, the key points that needs to be highlighted in the e-mail are that it depends on the individual if he or she wants to consume the food even though there is no official Halal certification (assuming no pork or lard is used). Besides that, Halal certification is not mandatory and it is the stall vendor's responsibility to ensure that every aspect of the stall meets the requirements (meaning using new cookware and others).

Muslims can still buy food or drinks from the Bubble Tea shop even though it is not Halal certified. This is because they believe and is confident that the ingredients used meets the Muslim dietary requirements. They also believe that the cookware used is 'clean' from any of the prohibited food, such as pork.

I hope the information presented in this article helps answer some of your burning questions regarding Halal food. Please do comment or ask any questions, if you wish to. Thank you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
on

excellent job azahar. maybe in future you might want to touch on others aspect of halal and haram like alcohol,dressing in islam,social interaction and why non muslim have to convert to islam if they want to marry to a muslim.

Anonymous said...
on

Hey, thats true, but is the bubble tea really Halal? I always go there to drink and only eat the waffle, always afraid to eat any other stuff, So are you sure it can be considered Halal?

azhar said...
on

It is really up to you. Personally, I too consume only the drinks and waffle there. But, I do also buy the MAGGI noodles from one of the bubble tea shops cause I believe it's all right.

Hope that helps.

firman firdaus loo said...
on

Asalamualaikum Bro Azahar~!

U got the answer that one bro was asking in www.invoke.sg

will post ur article with credits to you ok?

anyway the 'bubble' is made from tapioca flour..

http://www.bubbleteasupply.com/index.php?page=recipes.html

this site is free for all to make bubble at home... btw this site is a bubble tea shop based in honolulu, hawaii...

Salam

Firman Firdaus

azhar said...
on

Wlkslm.

Thank you.

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