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.
EVIDENCE IN ISLAMIC LAW
All praises are for ALLAH, the Lord and Sustainer of the universe. May the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon our beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family and his companions.
What is the basis for answering questions on Islamic issues and where do the Islamic Scholars turn for these answers? The field of Islamic theology and law is known as Shariah. In this field, there is a science known as Usul al-Fiqh in which the methods of Islamic jurisprudence are discussed. Specialists in this science have written that there are four evidences of Shariah. These are:
The Consensus of the Islamic scholars known as Ijmaa, and
Deduction by analogy, known as Qiyas.
The Quran is made up of a total of 6236 ayat of which 500 relate to commandments or the rules of law. These ayat include such rules as the prohibition of pork and alcohol and other rules which must be followed.
The Hadith is made up of the teachings or actions of Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, as related through a chain of reliable narrators. A number of Islamic Scholars have verified these chains to compose books of authentic Hadith. Many of these Ahadith provide interpretations of the Quranic ayat. Others are stand-alone rulings that also must be followed.
The Consensus - Ijmaa
While the Consensus applies to the Islamic Scholars of any time, it is particularly significant when it was the consensus of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. According to Ahl As-Sunnat wa Jamaat, Consensus is an acceptable proof in Shariah. One example is the performance of Taraweeh salat in congregation, which was not practiced during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, but was begun during the later part of the Caliphate of Umar bin Al-Khattab, radiya ALLAHu anhu. He collected the Companions and established the practice of Taraweeh in congregation with Ubayy bin Kaab, radiya ALLAHu anhu, as their Imam. None of the Companions objected to this practice and the scholars have ruled it to be Consensus.
Deduction By Analogy - Qiyas
Deduction by analogy is used by the Islamic Scholars to make rulings on things where there is no ruling on record. To use Deduction By Analogy, a sub-division of Islamic law, known as Furu is compared to a situation or problem whose ruling is known and proven, known as Asl. It is important to determine the operative or effective cause of a known ruling because the rule exists if the operative cause exists and the rule does not exist if the operative cause does not exist. If the Scholars were asked to give a ruling on the permissibility of a new kind of drink appearing in the marketplace, they may resort to Deduction By Analogy to reach a verdict. They might compare the new drink to alcoholic beverages (Khamr). The operative cause making alcohol haram is that it causes intoxication. So if the new drink causes intoxication, deduction would consider it to be haram. If it does not cause intoxication, it would not be haram on this basis. The Scholars may have to make other comparisons to reach a final decision on this drink. It is critical to bear in mind that Deduction By Analogy is a valid basis for answering Islamic questions when applied by the specialist Islamic Scholars, not by anyone else and especially not by the masses.
For a more comprehensive discussion, refer to the original source, listed below.
May ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, guide us to follow the Sunnah. Ameen.
(Extracted from Dalail-e-Shariah, By Sheikh Jafar Al-Quaderi, Imam & IFANCA Religious Advisor, which will appear in the Fall 2002 Issue of Halal Consumer.)
Saudi Arabian authorities have seized a quantity of pork-flavored soy sauce during raids on retail outlets. The sauce was produced in the United States. In the past, the Ministry of Commerce has banned several products suspected of containing pork derivatives. (Reported in Arab News on September 5, 2002.)
Hershey Foods Corporation is not for sale after all. The Hershey Trust Company, which controls 77% of the voting stock, decided not to accept any of the offers received for the company. It was expected the sale could produce $12 billion. (Reported on www.yahho.com on September 16, 2002.)
The FSIS will be holding a meeting in Washington, DC on November 18 to discuss Listeria. The meeting will discuss the risks associated with Listeria with the goal of improving the safety of meat and poultry products. (Reported in the IFT Newsletter September 18, 2002.)
E. Coli in romaine lettuce made 34 people sick in the Spokane, Washington area. While generally associated with beef, E. Coli can affect other food items. Always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on September 18, 2002.)
A number of restaurants, grocers and seafood distributors have pledged not to sell or serve genetically engineered seafood. Aqua Bounty Farms of Waltham, Massachussetts is developing an biotech salmon that grows twice as fast as farm salmon. They still have two years of environmental studies to complete before the biotech salmon could become available. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on September 18, 2002.)
October 21, 2002 marks the day when the new USDA Organic Seal will appear on products on supermarket shelves. The seal can only be placed on products that are 95 to 100% organic. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on September 18, 2002.)
The first products from cloned animals may begin appearing on supermarket shelves as early as next year. Milk from cloned cows and meat from the offspring of cloned cows and pigs may be the first available products. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on September 16, 2002.)
The Philippine Rice Institute hopes to introduce a genetically engineered rice that can withstand the effects of drought. This involves isolating and transferring a corn gene to the rice. The gene will come from the United States. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on September 16, 2002.)
Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to a molecule. It is widely used in the petroleum industry and is also used in the food industry. Hydrogenation has made it possible to produce margarine. Margarine may also contain animal fats,so the Halal consumer should beware.
In the food industry, hydrogenation is used to saturate fats and oils. The fatty acids found in vegetable oils are a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Oil molecules contain carbon and hydrogen atoms. When every carbon atom is attached (bonded) to the maximum number of hydrogen atoms, the molecule is saturated. If one pair of carbon atoms has a double bond, each carbon atom is able to accept one additional hydrogen atom. Molecules containing one double bond are said to be monounsaturated. This is the minimum amount of unsaturation. Finally, if there is more than one double bond, the molecule is polyunsaturated.
Vegetable oils contain a large percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are normally liquids at room temperature. By contrast, animal fats contain a large percentage of saturated fatty acids and are normally solids at room temperature. When a vegetable oil is fully saturated, by hydrogenation, it becomes a solid at room temperature. Vegetable shortenings are an example of fully saturated vegetable oils. Hydrogenation can also be controlled to partially hydrogenate a vegetable oil. In this way, it may be a liquid at room temperature but may solidify at lower temperatures.
Unsaturated oils are somewhat unstable. They react with oxygen and become rancid. This limits the shelf life of foods containing vegetable oils. By partially hydrogenating the vegetable oil, the stability is increased, resulting in a longer shelf life for foods containing these oils. Foods such as cookies and crackers stay fresh longer when made with hydrogenated oils.
The human body stores energy in the form of fat. Also, the body needs a number of essential fatty acids for proper growth and development. These fats are not produced by the body and must be consumed to meet the needs.
The process of hydrogenating oils also causes a change in the structure of the unsaturated fatty acids. When there is a double bond between two carbon atoms that means they are also bonded to one hydrogen atom each. If the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond, this is referred to as the cis double bond. However, if the hydrogen atoms are on opposite sides of the double bond, this is referred to as a trans double bond. Recent studies have suggested that trans fatty acids (fatty acids with a trans double bond) can raise the LDL cholesterol level in the bloodstream. The LDL cholesterol is what is referred to as the ìbad cholesterolî and has been linked to heart disease. Animal fats also contain trans fatty acids. Animal fats also contain cholesterol but vegetable fats do not, even if they are hydrogenated. Animal fats are high in saturated fatty acids. Some vegetable oils also contain high amounts of saturated fatty acids. These include coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. Olive, corn, canola, and soybean oils contain unsaturated fatty acids and lower amounts of saturated fats. Monounsaturated fatty acids lower the blood cholesterol level. Almond, avocado and hazelnut oils are good sources monounsaturated fatty acids.
Trans fatty acids are not essential fatty acids, so the body does not require these for growth and development. Foods high in trans fatty acids include french fries, donuts, cookies and crackers.
The American Heart Association (AMA) suggests consumers should limit their fat intake to less than 30% of total calorie consumption and limit saturated fat intake to less than 10% of total calorie consumption. They suggest consuming fats from canola, corn, safflower, sesame, soybean and sunflower oils. Olive oil is also a good source of fatty acids. The AMA recommends avoiding hydrogenated shortenings as much as possible.
In the United States, when a food product contains partially hydrogenated oils, the food manufacturer must list the specific oils used. For example, if the was soybean oil, the ingredient label would say ìPartially hydrogenated soybean oilî. If the oil is a mixture of more than one oil, then the label would say ìPartially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean, cotton, and palm oils)î. Finally, if the product contains only one oil, but the oil may change from time to time for any reason, such as price or availability, then the label would say ìPartially hydrogenated vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: cottonseed oil, soybean oil, peanut oil).
Check out those labels and opt for the healthier monounsaturated fatty acids for a healthier life. Of course, who knows what future knowledge will bring us.