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.
In April 2000, Hint Mint (www.hintmint.com) sold their first order of 750 mint tins. By year's end they had sold over one million. These mints are vegan and free of sugar, wheat, gluten and animal-based ingredients. Further, Hint Mints are made without adding aspartame, gelatin or any other animal by-product. Sympathetic to allergy sufferers, Hint Mints are not manufactured on equipment exposed to peanuts. IFANCA Halal certified Hint Mints include:
Hint Mint .275 Dia. Sugar Free Thick Irony Peppermint
Hint Mint ½" Cool Licorice Breath Mints w/Leaf
Hint Mint ½" Cinnamon Breath Mints w/Leaf-Japan
Hint Mint ½" Chocolate Mints with embossed Leaf
Hint Mint .325 Dia. Sugar Free Mini Peppermint w/Leaf
Hint Mint .275 Dia. Sugar Free Thick Irony Cocoa Breath
WHERE'S THE (BETTER) BEEF?
Canada-based Better Beef (www.betterbeef.ca) offers primals, sub-primals, regular cuts, custom cuts and offals as certified Halal products and labeled with the official IFANCA logo. Boxes are marked "Zabiha Halal" and each bulk shipment must be accompanied by an IFANCA Halal Certificate. Better Beef provides beef products to major retailers, wholesalers, further processors and to the food service industry. They ship on a continuous basis to the USA, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. Besides IFANCA inspectors, all Better Beef products are federally inspected by the Canadian Federal Government whose standards are as high as any in the world. Federal Beef Inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are on the company's premises and plants whenever product is being processed. They check every aspect of the production process on a continuing and rigorous basis, from the moment cattle are received to the moment final product is loaded onto trucks. All of this is in addition to Better Beef's own standards, which are equally stringent and often go well beyond any formal regulations.
HALAL GYROS! GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT!
Chicago is home to all five of the major gyro manufacturers in the USA, including IFANCA Halal certified Olympia Food Industries. Located in Chicago Heights, on the northeast corner of State Street and Joe Orr Road (401 Joe Orr Road), the 55,000 square foot Olympia Food Industries building is outfitted with over $1.5 million of new equipment from Italy necessary for the manufacturing of Mediterranean pastries, pita breads, gyros and various other food items for distribution to restaurants and supermarkets. The origins of this company, however, are in the restaurant industry. Company President Andre Papantoniou and his brother had first set up shop on Sheridan Road in 1971. Their business later changed into a pita company and finally came to include gyros as well. Gyros alone are responsible for half of Olympia's approximately $30 million in revenue and are available widely in retail markets all over the United States.
IT'S FRUITFULLY GOOD!
"Why can't something taste good and be good for you, without alot of fat and calories?" wondered Linda Kamm, former Miss Georgia. She gave it considerable thought and in February 1991 came up with a line of 100% natural treats under her banner Happy and Healthy Products, Inc.. The results, today, include 21 flavors of IFANCA certified Fruitfull® Frozen Fruitbars (www.fruitfull.com)."Our product has chunks of real fruit, whole raspberries, hunks of mango. In fact, the only complaints I’ve ever gotten are that there are too many cherries in the cherry bar," says Kamm. With the headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida and the factory in Southern California, Happy and Healthy distributes Fruitfull through more than 100 franchises in 39 states and Puerto Rico. A key strategy has been selling individual bars at gyms, universities, health food stores and hospitals versus bulk packages alone. It's target market? Women interested in delicious, healthy, low-or-no-fat treats. IFANCA Halal certified Fruitfull bars includes:
Tom and Kate Chappell started Tom’s of Maine (www.tomsofmaine.com) in 1970 with the concept of natural personal care—products made without artificial or animal ingredients or chemicals. The Chappell's pioneered natural toothpaste, mouthwash, and deodorant. Today, theirs is the #1 Oral Care Brand in the Natural category which is valued at $3 billion for oral and personal care products and is growing at 15 percent per year. The good news is that their products are now IFANCA-certified as well.
Tom's of Maine creates effective personal care products using simple, natural ingredients derived from plants and minerals. Tom's of Maine products do not contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, flavors, or animal ingredients; are tested for safety and efficacy without the use of animals; are biodegradable; and are packaged in earth-friendly ways. Guided by a philosophy of “Natural Care” they donate 10% of profits to charitable organizations; encourage employees to use 5% of their paid time in volunteer work; adhere to standards of natural, sustainable, and responsible; and do not test on animals. In keeping with its values, the Toms Of Maine factory is now powered by wind energy.
On December 5 and 6, 2005, CBS Evening News aired a health report on the use of aluminum in antiperspirants. Tom's of Maine deodorants were featured as aluminum-free alternatives in the December 6 segment, and Tom Chappell himself was interviewed about their products, values, and the success of their Natural Long-Lasting Deodorants.
As of March 2006, the Maine-based company was sold to Colgate-Palmolive but will continue to be run by the Chappell's on the same principles and values on which it was started. Tom’s of Maine gives Colgate the opportunity to enter the fast growing health and specialty trade channel where Tom’s toothpaste is the clear market leader commanding a 60% share of the market.
The Commonwealth of Virginia recently passed a state law aimed at protecting Muslim consumers from Halal food fraud. The law went into effect on July 1, 2006. Sponsored by Del. Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk, the Halal Food Bill mandates all businesses that advertise products being sold as Halal, must verify that they are indeed Halal.
The new law makes it a class-3 misdemeanor for businesses to falsely advertise food as Halal. Violators will be fined $500 for each offense. Businesses that advertise Halal foods must include notice of a Web site and telephone number to verify their legitimacy. The law states: "It shall be unlawful to label any repackaged food or food product or display or offer for sale any unwrapped food or food product that represents the food or food product as Kosher or Halal without indicating the person or entity authorizing such designation by providing the name or symbol of the authority or providing a phone number or website to access the information."
Similar Halal legislation has been enacted in several other US states but its enforcement has been lax with virtually no known fines levied on violators in any of them.
This is what is understood by the context of the Hadith since the answer of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to the question was, 'Say Bismillah and eat.' It is as though they (the questioners) were told, 'That is not your concern, rather what should concern you is to consume it (wholesomely in the Sunnah manner) by saying Bismillah before partaking thereof.' (Fathul Bari vol. 9, pg.793, Qadeemi)
Hafiz ibn Abdul-Barr (may ALLAH be pleased with him) has emphasized this point very clearly:
Similarly, the slaughter of the Bedouin Muslims will be permissible (for consumption) since they usually know of the Tasmiyyah (at the time of slaughter). Ibn Abdul Barr (may ALLAH be pleased with him) has concluded, In this Hadith, it is understood that the slaughter of a Muslim should be consumed and he should be regarded as having taken Tasmiyyah upon its slaughter (even when one is not certain about this fact) because with regards to a Muslim, one should entertain nothing but good thoughts unless concrete evidence is established to the contrary. (Fathul Bari vol. 9, pg.793, Qadeemi)
This import is borne out by other narrations of this same Hadith as follows:
The narration of Ibn Uyayna (may ALLAH be pleased with him) (one of the Huffaaz of Hadith) has the addition, 'accept their oaths and eat', i.e. take their word for it that they have taken Tasmiyyah upon slaughter (and partake without doubts). (Ibid pg. 793)
The narration of Abu Sa'eed:
Imaam Tabrani has recorded the narration of Abu Sa'eed though with a difference in wording that he said, 'accept their word that they have effected (Shar'ee) slaughter.' (and consume it without doubt). (Ibid)
The narration of Imaam Tahawi (may ALLAH be pleased with him):
Some of the Sahaba (may ALLAH be pleased with them) questioned the Messenger of ALLAH (peace be upon him) that, 'Some Bedouins bring to us meat, cheese and fat. We know not the condition of their Islam, (i.e. they are Muslims but of what caliber, we are unaware).' The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, 'Check that which is prohibited by ALLAH and abstain therefrom. Whatever ALLAH Ta'ala has not discussed, he has made a concession for you. Your LORD does not forget.' Thus, say Bismillah (and partake). (Ibid)
Explaining this Hadith, Allaamah ibn Teen comments:
Concerning Tasmiyyah upon slaughter carried out by others of which they are unaware, there is no obligation upon them regarding it. The (slaughter) will only be held incorrect when such evidence is established. ALLAH Ta'ala has not made it obligatory upon any Muslim to be aware of Tasmiyyah upon the slaughter by another Muslim, since the slaughter by another Muslim will be always regarded as correct (accompanied by Tasmiyyah) unless evidence is established to the contrary. (Ibid pg. 794)
The above should be sufficient to clarify any doubt in the meaning of the Hadith of Bukhari.
Importance of Muslim Unity with regards to Halal Meat
Shaytaan is ever prepared to bring about division as this will inevitably lead to the collapse of the Muslim Ummah. In his untiring efforts, he has overlooked no sphere of life to cause his mischief even to the extent of nourishment. ALLAH Ta'ala has warned us of Shaytaan's inroads in this regard as has been explained already. Shaytaan, possessed of a keen intelligence and discernment knows full well that once the Muslims cannot interact and mix with one another due to suspicion in regards to Halal and Haram, this will bring about the much awaited split in the global community of Islam. To combat this, it is required that Muslims take courage and band together to solve this problem, irrespective of color and race, since the commands of ALLAH Ta'ala are universal. Due to this solidarity, the Muslims of South Africa, although a minority (around 3 – 4 %) have progressed far ahead in eliminating this problem. With a bit of extra physical and monetary sacrifice, they have managed to establish their own abattoirs in different parts of the country.
If Muslims in other parts of the world who have, Alhamdulillah, become a sizeable community were to show such unity and get together, there is every confidence that the problem would be eliminated with little difficulty.
To conclude this, let us ponder upon the following words of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
'The lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear. Between these lie matters of confusion. Regarding these, many are ignorant. Whomsoever falls into these, falls into the unlawful, like a shepherd grazing (his flock) upon a sanctuary's perimeter, very soon falls into trespass. Beware! Every king possesses a sanctuary and the sanctuary of ALLAH Ta'ala are HIS prohibitions. Take note! In the body resides a piece of flesh, upon its reformation is the entire body’s reform. Upon its corruption is the whole body corrupted. Listen! It is the heart.' (Arba’een Nawawiy)
How mainstream is Halal meat becoming? If making it to the menus at Dining Services at plenty of American universities is a yardstick, perhaps it won't be too long before Halal meat graces every grocery store freezer or deli. Harvard University, Syracuse University, University of Connecticut, Cornell University, Boston University and Dartmouth College are just a few of the schools whose dining services offer Halal meat. At Dartmouth College, University Dining Services began offering Halal meals in 2001 with an American menu, based on foods they were able to purchase at the time. The menu has since then developed into a delicious South East Asian and Middle Eastern one revolving around lamb, chicken and ground beef. Some common dishes include Kahra Masala Lamb, Chicken Dopiazo, Spicy Tandoori Chicken and Lamb Punjabi with sides such as Washed Basmatti Rice, Curry Rice & Peas and Indian Pilau Rice. Most of Dartmouth College's Halal cooking involves a large amount of "hands on" work. They buy a lot of the fresh herbs and spices and hand grind them. At Boston University, Halal meals were made available only as recently as October 2005, during the month of Ramadan with the exception of weekends. Those partaking of it, however, weren't just those enrolled at BU. By the time Ramadan drew to a close, Dining Services here decided to keep the meal plan afloat year round. How did Muslim students at BU and Dartmouth pull it off?
Some Halal meal programs are more consistent through the years than others, but they all go to show that even small groups of Muslims committed to Halal food can influence the courses served. So what exactly is involved in getting a university kitchen to go Halal? Halal Digest talked to Mr. Yasir Bugrara (ENG’06), the Ameer, or President, of Boston University’s Islamic Society and to Mr. Robert Lester, Pavilion Manager at Dartmouth College to find out.
At Dartmouth College, the Pavilion is a dining facility designed to follow both Halal and Kosher dietary laws, under one roof. With both disciplines, there is strict separation in the storage, preparation and service of each menu. However, there is a "common" place for everyone to eat "together". The Pavilion had a "soft" opening in November 2001; we served lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. Customer counts the first year were 50 people each day. We still have the same operating hours during 2005/2006; however, we currently serve 450-500 people per day. When you think that Dartmouth currently has approximately 50 members of Al Nur, 450 members of Hillel, you can quickly see that the majority of the Pavilion's customers are not eating Halal food because they 'should'. They are eating it because they 'like it' ", says Mr. Lester, Pavilion Manager at Dartmouth College.
Mr. Yasir Bugrara is the president of Boston University’s Islamic Society (ISBU). "We had weekly Halal meals for the year previous to my term. This was in place for one year before we approached the BU administration (for Halal dinners in Ramadan). There was tremendous demand. There were many Muslims on campus that kept participating in the Halal dining meals...30 plus people per dining meal," says Mr. Bugrara.
Originally during Ramadan, members of the Islamic Society at Boston University, made arrangements for an on-campus Iftaar (the meal with which to end the daily fast) with local restaurants that served Halal food. In 2005 with the University Dining Services stepping in with full-service Halal dinners, instead of doing the organizing themselves, Muslims just needed to "show up" for dinner after they'd completed the day’s fast. "The Islamic Society of BU was very involved in moving the University to provide Halal meals during Ramadan. We had approached the Dean of Students to try to transform our weekly Halal meals into a daily iftaar event. Allowing the University to cater our Halal food allowed students to use their dining meals and saved the Islamic Society a great deal of money in providing the daily Iftaars," says Mr. Bugrara.
He speaks highly of BU's interest in a Halal meals program. "It was very easy for us to approach the administration. They were very open and very supportive of the Muslim community. They were excited at the prospect of helping the ISBU."
The meal was served between Maghrib and Isha prayers and was available to all students who are on the meal plan. "Because the University Dining hall required everyone (even Muslims) at the door to pay for a dining meal, non-Muslims were not exempt from participating in our daily Ramadan Iftaars. Students who purchased Iftaar tickets had the same access to dining hall food and meals as any other student," says Bugrara. An Iftaar meal was the regular menu BU offers all its students but the meat entrée was Halal. "A night BU offers pork, or anything non-Halal, they devise a different menu for us adhering to the Islamic dietary guidelines," Mr. Bugrara points out.
As for those who weren't students at BU or weren't on the meal plan, the Islamic Society did some fundraising so that it could sell discounted meal tickets to those interested. In an interview with the campus paper, Dining Services director Josh Hubbard said, “We wanted to make sure it wasn’t exclusionary. There’s been a wonderful cross-section of the Islamic community that comes and eats with us.”
Mr. Hubbard, according to the report says, “This has been a real benefit to the community and something we want to keep in place. We want to make sure that all the good work that’s been done here doesn’t get lost”, referring to Dining Services' decision to continue with Halal meals throughout the year.
"We have expanded the menu and quality of the Halal dining meals after Ramadan. However, ISBU is planning on changing the number of days Halal dining occurs in the upcoming year," adds Mr. Bugrara.
Mr. Lester echoes Mr. Hubbard's sentiments. "The Pavilion is only open right now from September to June. We are closed during the summer months. However, we do work with the students that are keeping Halal in other ways so they do not have to go without," he adds.
"What advice does he have for universities looking to implement a Halal menu? "Just do it! It's fairly easy to implement. The customers receive a higher quality of end product. You will find that the Muslim community will be very helpful in answering your questions and very appreciative of the availability. The only hurdle that I found was locating and setting up Halal food deliveries to Hanover, New Hampshire in October 2001. We currently do not experience any problems with our Halal deliveries. Although I have no actual numbers to justify the direct relationship of student enrollment to Halal dining, I can tell you that this was built into the original business plan. It surely has not hindered admissions enrollment at all."
WANT HALAL MEALS AT YOUR SCHOOL?
Show them the numbers. "There was tremendous demand. There were many Muslims on campus that kept participating in the Halal dining meals. This was seen in the numbers that showed up at the Halal dining meals - 30 plus people per dining meal," says Yasir Bugrara.
Establish good relationships.
Understand that the university is a business looking to make a profit. "Do not expect them to throw themselves on the table for you," says Yasir. "You must be willing to compromise if needed". For Suhoor, for instance, students may need to get food the night before from the dining hall or pick up boxed Halal meals if Maghrib in Ramadan doesn't coincide with dinner time at the Dining Services Halls.
If 30 consecutive days (in Ramadan) are too much, start small: work something out for a couple of days a week. It took ISBU a year to get where they were able to convince the administration that there was high demand for daily Ramadan iftaars.
See if there is a Muslim Chaplain who can help make your case.
The Muslim community could assist in identifying a reliable, economically viable Halal meat supplier.