ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
Schiphol, Amsterdam, April 24th - 2nd International Halal Food Conference organized byIslamic Food Council of Europe(IFCE)
The 2nd International Halal Food Conference was held at the prestigious Sheraton Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Hotel on April 24, 2006. It was a one day conference attended by a wide representation of people from the food industry, from Europe, Asia and the US. Speakers were from government regulatory agencies like JAKIM, MUIS, MUI and the Phillippines Halal Authority, and discussed their respective countries' import requirements for Halal foods as well as the Halal standards and guidelines.
Prof. Dr. Aisjah Girindra, Director of MUI, Indonesia, who is also the President of the World Halal Council (WHC), gave a keynote address on the role of WHC towards getting uniformity in Halal standards, and a common logo to be used by all members of the WHC. She also stressed the need to the members for unity and to work together for the advancement of the Halal certification program.
The food industry representatives gave a brief overview of the Halal certification program with regards to their companies. They also briefed the audience on the successful implementation of the Halal program in their companies, and the increased benefits reaped in terms of sales and marketing by going Halal.
They also highlighted some of the challenges faced by them in the selection of the right Halal certifying body, since there is very little information available to ensure getting Halal certification from a credible certifying body. This lack of information on Halal certifying bodies may lead to a company to choose an incompetent and inexperienced certifying body that may result in loss of time and sales as well.
Also attending was the Senior Religious Advisor for IFCE, Mr. Mufti Ebrahim Essop Desai who gave a very powerful speech on the code of ethics and the conduct of Muslims. He also emphasized on the role of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a messenger, and his mission for all mankind, highlighting his life and struggle, and to counter some of the negative media propaganda recently witnessed in Europe. His speech was well received by the delegates, especially the non-Muslim delegates, realizing how little they knew about Islam and its teachings.
There were a total of 16 papers presented at this conference, leaving the delegates and participants with a sound understanding of Halal and the certification program. The conference was a tremendous success and IFCE representatives were confident and satisfied that the conference objectives had been met.
IFANCA TALKS TO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
In "Halal Meets Kosher in Health-Food Aisle", published May 5th in the Wall Street Journal, reporter Barry Newman profiles Midamar Corp of Iowa, the makers of Halal pepperoni pizza made with real cheese and Halal beef. Newman writes about the race "toward breakthroughs in frozen pepperoni pizza."
Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, President of IFANCA, says in the interview that perhaps two reasosn mainstream U.S. marketers haven't tapped into the Halal foods market and potential Muslim customers is because they fear the backlash from Islamophobes and because Halal certifiers have differing standards and fees. Further, according to the report, even those supermarkets that may want to stock Halal foods on their shelves, may not know where to look. "There are no major (US) distributors," says a buyer for ralphs, Kroger Company's California Chain.
In Europe, however, the scenario is significantly different. In a bid to woo French Muslims the Carrefour Group, a supermarket chain, sold whole sheep in its parking lot for Eid al-Fitr in 2005. IFANCA certifies 2000 products for markets in Islamic countries.
MALAYSIA TO CERTIFY HALAL COSMETICS IN BID TO BECOME GLOBAL HALAL HUB BY 2010
May 12, KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia, currently host to World Halal Forum, an international trade fair on halal products, announced that its going to offer Halal certification to cosmetics and toiletries whose ingredients meet Islamic Halal standards. The nation will, however, not ban the import of cosmetics that do not meet Halal standards or are not certified as Halal. Malaysia currently bans the entry of meat that is not Halal.
According to a May 12, AFP report, Halal certification for products is also increasingly sought after by manufacturers in a bid to tap into a lucrative Muslim consumer market. Malaysian officials have estimated the global trade in halal food is worth 580 billion dollars annually and could potentially hit one trillion dollars.
MALAYSIAN HALAL PRODUCTS FIND HOME ON BRITISH GROCERY SHELVES
May 20, KUALA LUMPUR - In a major victory for Muslims in Britain, the British supermarket chain Tesco will soon be selling Halal food purchased from Malaysia on its shelves. April 2007 is the estimated date that 40 Tesco outlets in London and north London, will offer these products to the areas approximately 1.7 million Muslims. The total purchases by Tesco will be to the tune of $278 million over the next five years.
"The global trade in halal food, which complies with Islamic standards, is worth $580 billion annually and could potentially hit $1 trillion, according to Malaysian officials," say reports.
Almighty ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) in HIS infinite mercy has made certain animals halal (permissible) for this Ummah. We are required to be thankful to HIM by following the dictates of the Quran and Sunnah by ensuring that HIS name is taken upon slaughtering of the animal. ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) states in the Noble Quran:
"For every nation We have specified a rite (for slaughtering) so that they may take the name of ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) upon (the slaughter of) the animals granted to them as sustenance." (Al-Hajj 34)
"And consume not of that whereupon the name of ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) was omitted (at the time of slaughter). Indeed it is a transgression. Verily the shayaateen inspire their friends to cause division with you. If you obey them, you are indeed mushriks (ascribing partners to ALLAH)." (Al-An'aam 122)
"So take the name of ALLAH upon them (at the time of slaughter) while they stand in rows." (Al-Hajj 36). This statement is in reference to camels which are slaughtered by nahr (a swift stab of the neck which severs the four arteries) while standing.
"… and such animals upon which they mention not the name of ALLAH only to fabricate a lie against him." (Al-An'aam 138)
"Forbidden to you are maytah (carrion), flowing blood, the flesh of swine and that slaughtered for other than ALLAH as well as the (animal) expiring by strangulation, illness or pain, falling (from a height), by a wound (sustained through fighting) and by falling to a predator and (about to be consumed), excepting those (animals) upon which you effect Zaka (Shar'ee slaughter)." (Al-Maa-idah 3)
From the above Aayaats, the following points are understood:
Meat is not in the same category as other nutrients.
The most important condition is that Tasmiyyah (taking the name of ALLAH) be pronounced at the time of slaughter. The Aayaats clearly explain the impermissibility of those animals whose slaughter was not preceded by Tasmiyyah.
The impermissibility of those animals whose lives were ended by means other than Zabah (Shar'ee slaughter) of which Tasmiyyah is a condition. All such animals are maytah (carrion) and are expressly forbidden.
The Zabiha (animal slaughtered) by a kaafir (non-believer) or mushrik (polytheist) is haram (unlawful). However, those Ahlul Kitaab (People of the Book) who also hold the Aqeedah (belief) of Tasmiyyah at the time of slaughter have been excluded from the kuffaar majority.
The Aayaat number 122 of Al-An'aam explains consumption of meat not slaughtered with Tasmiyyah as Fisq – transgression and disobedience. The Aayat then explains that to regard consumption of such meat as halal is nothing but a teaching of Shaytaan to cause division among the Ummah. The Aayat also warns that obedience of shaytaan in this matter is a kin to shirk (ascribing partners to ALLAH).
Imam Bukhari has quoted this same Aayat in his magnum opus under the chapter, 'Intentional Omission of the Tasmiyyah at the time of Slaughter'. It's explained by Hafiz ibn Hajar, the renowned commentator of Sahih Bukhari, in the following words:
Imam Bukhari (may ALLAH be pleased with him) wishes to point out by citing this Aayat the reproach against using this Aayah as proof to legalize omission of Tasmiyyah by inventing baseless interpretations of the Aayat and understanding it in a manner contrary to clear import.' (Fathul Bari, vol. 9, pg. 778; Qadeemi)
The Jurists (Fuqahaa) have unanimously agreed that consumption of an animal slaughtered by a Muslim with intentional omission of Tasmiyyah or regarding such as insignificant is unlawful (haram). Imam Shaaf'ee (may ALLAH be pleased with him) has also concurred with this view. (Jawaahirul Fiqh, vol. 2, pg. 388; Darul Uloom from Kitaabul Umm and Tafseer Mazhari)
Imam Abu Yusuf states: 'The ruling regarding the animal upon which Tasmiyyah was omitted (at the time of slaughter) is not subject to Ijtihaad (independent deduction of a ruling from Quran and Hadith). If a judge rules the permissibility of its sale, his ruling will not be given effect due to it being contrary to consensus of opinion.' (Ibid, pg.390; Hidaaya)
It should be noted significantly that the above discussion of impermissibility is with regard to a Muslim slaughterer and not a non-Muslim.
In the case of a Muslim forgetfully omitting the Tasmiyyah, the animal will be permissible for consumption as is the ruling of all the four Madhaahib based on the Hadith of Prophet (may ALLAH be pleased with him). A believer always slaughters upon the name of ALLAH, whether he (remembers to) recites it or not.' (Fathul Bari, vol. 9, pg. 793; Qadeemi)
Animals slaughtered by modern day Jews and Christians 'The food of Ahlul Kitaab (People of the Book) is lawful for you as is your food for them.' (Al-Maa-idah 5)
Regarding the word, "Ta'aam" (food), ibn Abbaas, Ibn Umamah, Mujaahid and others (may ALLAH be pleased with them) say that it refers to slaughtered animals. This matter (permissibility of these animals) is unanimously agreed upon by all scholars since they also hold the belief of the prohibition of slaughter save in ALLAH's name and also due to the fact that they mention only the name of ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) upon their animals of slaughter. (Jawaahirul Fiqh, vol. 2, pg. 4040; from Ibn Katheer)
The reason for permissibility has been explained clearly by Allaamah ibn Katheer. Due to the unity of belief, regarding slaughter, between Muslims and the Jews and Christians of that particular time, ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) had permitted consumption of their slaughter. The Ulama of the time had based their rulings on this very same reasoning.
When this unity of belief came into doubt, many great Sahaba (may ALLAH be pleased with them) had not hesitated to rule prohibition.
'With regards to a Kitaabi, when he omits Tasmiyyah (the name of ALLAH) upon his slaughter and takes some other name, his slaughter is not consumable. This is the ruling of Abu Darda, Ubadah bin Saamit and large faction of the Sahaba (may ALLAH be pleased with them).' (Jawaahirul Fiqh, vol. 2, pg. 407; Darul Uloom – from Bahrul Muheet)
Regarding the Christian tribe of Banu Taghlib, Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) ruled the following:
'Hafiz ibn Jawzi (may ALLAH's mercy be upon him) has narrated with his sanad (chain of narrators) from Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him), 'Do not consume the slaughter of the Christians of Banu Taghlib since they have not held to any more of Christianity than their drinking of wine.' (Ibid, pg.460 – from Tafseer Mazhari)
It is a well-known fact that the majority of present day Christians and Jews no longer hold to this Aqeedah (belief) regarding slaughter. Meat slaughtered by pagans, mushriks (polytheists) and atheists is often consumed. Slaughter-houses employ machine slaughter wherever possible and do not choose employees based on their religious beliefs, be it pagans, atheists or polytheists, to carry out the slaughter.
Based on the above juridical references, Qadhi Thanaullah (may ALLAH's mercy be upon him) a renowned Jurist of his time stated the following:
'The correct and accepted view according to us is the first one. That the slaughter of the Ahlul Kitaab with intentional omission of Tasmiyyah (taking the name of ALLAH) or slaughter on some other name (besides that of ALLAH) is not consumable, if this fact is ascertained with certainty or this is the condition prevailing among them. By this, the prohibition (of the Sahaba) from consuming the slaughter of the Christian Arabs can be easily understood. Likewise, the ruling of Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) (regarding the Banu Taghlib)' becomes clear. It is likely that Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had ascertained that their omission of Tasmiyyah upon slaughter or that they slaughtered upon some other name (besides ALLAH). A similar ruling has been issued regarding the non-Arab Christians that if it is their normal habit to slaughter without Tasmiyyah, their slaughter is not consumable. Concerning the present day Christians there is no doubt in the fact that their methods do not fulfill requirements of Shar'ee slaughter, but they usually cause the death of their animals by other lethal measures, e.g. machine slaughter, etc. hence, their slaughter is impermissible.' (Jawaahirul Fiqh, vol. 2, pg. 411; from Tafseer Mazhari)
The Correct Understanding of the Hadith of Bukhari (cited by many people to justify their claims) "It has been narrated from Aisha (may ALLAH be pleased with her) that some persons said to Prophet (peace be upon him), 'People bring to us meat. We know not whether the name of ALLAH (Praise and Glory be to HIM) has been taken (upon its slaughter) or not?" The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, 'You people say 'Bismillah' and eat it.' Aisha (may ALLAH be pleased with her) says, 'the people referred to (in this Hadith) were new Muslims.' (Bukhari, vol. 2, pg. 828; Deoband)
It is clear that the slaughterers were Muslims, not disbelievers. This is further elucidated by Imam Maalik (may ALLAH's mercy be upon him)'s narration (of the same Hadith) where the addition of, 'this was in the beginning of Islam.' (Fathul Bari, vol. 9, pg. 792; Qadeemi) is found.
To believe that these people were non-Muslims is in fact tantamount to accusing the noble Sahaba of the Messenger of ALLAH (peace be upon him) of the heinous crime of consuming meat slaughtered by polytheists which is expressly forbidden in the Quran:
'Forbidden to you is carrion … till … and that slaughtered for other than ALLAH.' (Al-Maa-idah 3)
The actual meaning of this Hadith, as understood by similar narrations is that one should not entertain unfounded doubts about a Muslim that he would neglect to mention the name of ALLAH upon his slaughter.
Even if you're teaching children good food habits at home it may all be undermined by what's lurking in school. Vending machines that offer sugary and fatty snacks, and cafeteria's that sell fried goodies. Why are these soda and snack machines in our schools to begin with? Well, the manufacturers pay schools a percentage in exchange for long-term, exclusive contracts and cash-strapped districts need the money for student government, extra-curricular activities, clubs and athletic programs.
The childhood obesity issue would have worsened were it not for several encouraging initiatives underway across America. These vary from encouraging more PE in schools to getting schools to say 'No' to high sugar, high fat snacks, 'Yes' to healthy food vending machines, petitioning government and changing the menu at the cafeteria. Underlining all these initiatives, however, is one essential component: People's willingness to get involved. In other words, your eagerness to create change and give a child, yours or others, a more nutritious lifestyle. Here are some examples you can emulate to get your child a healthier lunch.
THE GOOD NEWS
May 3rd 2006 marked a huge victory for advocates of healthier eating. Under pressure from parents and advocates on issues related to childhood obesity, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Co Inc and Cadbury Schweppes have agreed not to sell soft drinks to elementary schools and middle schools. The decision will be fully implemented by 2009-2010.
Also a new federal law, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization of 2004, required school districts that have a federally funded school meals program to see how they can improve levels of physical activity and nutrition. According to this, school districts must establish wellness policies before the 2006 - 2007 school year.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
You have a voice and can decide what your child eats at school. It's your chance to get involved.
Check with your school district or principal to see if there is an existing group working on a nutrition and wellness policy. If there is one, join it and speak up. Also make sure the school district is making efforts to involve other parents. It is required by law.
No existing committee? Form one with other like-minded parents. Start with your Parent Teacher Association. Call a local reporter to do a story on your efforts.
The more you know, the better equipped you'll be while making your case. What's in the vending machines? In the cafeteria? How much physical activity do kids get daily? What's brought for room parties, birthdays or given as incentives? Initiate alternatives to food based fund-raisers. Let the school board know of your findings.
Get others involved. Parents, teachers, the principal, students, administrators, food service personnel, a dietitian, and the school nurse all need to work together.
JOIN THE STIR IT UP CAMPAIGN
'Stir It Up' is a national movement of parents working to ensure that all children eat healthy and get sufficient physical activity. It involves e-mail or letters petitioning senators to get unhealthy food out of your schools. For details visit: http://www.stiritupamerica.com.
FOLLOW THEIR LEAD
Chappaqua, New York
Nancy Huehnergarth of Chappaqua, NY started small. She wrote to her PTA chair arguing that vending machines should have more nutritious snacks. Her feelings resonated with other parents and a PTA nutrition committee was formed.
They tackled one task at a time. They first worked with the food service contractor to stock vending machines from a list of acceptable drinks and snacks such as milk, seltzer, bottled water, and 100 percent juice; or whole-grain bars, yogurt and baked chips.
Cafeteria improvements were slower since it involved the school board. Eventually the board approved guidelines for cafeterias at the district's six schools. Soda and sports drinks are out. Low sugar, low fat snacks are in. The committee also teamed up with county-wide school districts who were working on the issue in order to share best practices.
Next steps for them? Replacing food based fund-raisers with more healthy activities, healthier treats for class parties; alternatives to food as classroom incentives.
At Whitefish Central Middle School in rural Montana, the initiative was led by Principal Kim Anderson. It involved the school, the PTA and the community. The PTA, with funds raised through the year, bought a refrigerated vending machine to hold healthy snacks and an organic salad bar for the cafeteria. It paid for pencils and small toys as incentives instead of candy. The school also switched recess to before lunch. Students came to the lunch tables hungrier and ate more of their lunch. The high school in that district added pretzels and fruit, besides hot dogs, to its concession stands during school games. The new juice and water machines continue to fund all the programs that the soda machines covered before.
In 2002-2003 a diverse coalition of community groups, school board members, health advocates, students, teachers, and parents lobbied the Los Angeles Unified school board, the second largest school district in the nation. Using a very organized approach, advocates achieved policy change to eliminate the sale of soda and high fat, high sugar snack items in the district.
How did they accomplish their goal?
Health advocates, including students and parents, outlined strong concerns about these practices and met both one-on-one with school board members and at school board meetings.
The board was presented with information on the health implications of soda and unhealthy food consumption, youth dietary practices, and the link between nutrition and learning.
Advocates offered school board members with data on the incidence of childhood obesity and childhood diabetes as well as the link between soda and unhealthy food and obesity.
Students presented findings. For example, they collected data indicating the sale of water was increasing at Venice High School while soda sales were waning.
At school board meetings, students testified that they wanted healthy food and drink options. They provided the school board with a list of healthier drinks and foods that could be sold at competitive prices.
School board members authored 2 motions. The first, in 2002, banned sodas and other sugary drinks from all LAUSD campuses beginning in 2004. The second, in 2003, set nutrient standards for competitive foods starting in 2004.
What were their results?
This decision made national and international news! LAUSD being the 2nd largest school district in the nation, these policies now serve as a model for other interested school districts across America.
All a la carte food sales meet the nutrient standards and portion sizes noted in the resolution. At least one vegetarian option is offered and salad bars have been added where possible.
GIVE US YOUR STORIES
Have you petitioned your schools or university's to serve Halal meals? If you have, tell us about it. Email us at Halalconsumer@ifanca.org or write us at IFANCA, "Give us Your Stories", 5901 N. Cicero Ave., Suite 309, Chicago, IL 60646. While submissions will not be returned, they may be used for future interviews for Halal Consumer Magazine.