IFANCA enjoyed participating in the MAS Convention 2001, held in Chicago. IFANCA discussed the food of Ahlul Kitab and how it applies to Muslims in non-Muslim countries and elsewhere and presented a workshop on How to Select Foods in the Market.

Dr. Jaafar Al-Quaderi, IFANCA’s Religious Advisor, discussed the food of Ahlul Kitab. This issue has confused many Muslims and caused them anxiety whenever they eat out or visit non-Muslim friends. Dr. Al-Quaderi explained that the term Ahlul Kitab applies to the Christians and Jews. He then explained the meaning of the ayat in the Qur’an, permitting the food (meat) of Ahlul Kitab and also requiring Muslims to eat of food (meats) slaughtered while reciting the name of ALLAH. He explained that Muslims are obligated to eat Halal, which when referring to meat, requires Tasmiyyah at the time of slaughter. Since Ahlul Kitab do not perform Tasmiyyah and especially since the meat in the supermarkets is commercially produced without Tasmiyyah, it is not permitted for Muslims to consume this meat. The Ahadith relating to this subject indicate Muslims sometimes received gifts of meat. Understanding the conditions of the times indicate this meat came from Halal animals slaughtered by their owners and presented to their friends and neighbors. Currently’ the owner of the animals does not slaughter the meat sold in the supermarkets. Rather, it is slaughtered by an employee of unknown beliefs, without Tasmiyyah, and is sold to marketers who sell it to the public with one or more intermediaries. This does not qualify as the Ahlul Kitab meat that was accepted by the Sahaba.

Dr. M. Munir Chaudry then conducted a workshop on food in general and Halal food requirements. He discussed the issues shopper’s face when they visit the supermarket. He reviewed the information on food labels and distributed typical food labels from locally available products to the attendees. They discussed the labels and presented their opinion of the acceptability of those products for Muslims consumption. The products contained many ingredients, including gelatin, mono and di-glycerides, natural and artificial flavors, whey, etc. Some products were Halal certified and others were not. Then Dr. Chaudry discussed the products and explained why products containing gelatin, mono and di glycerides, whey and flavors are questionable because the source of the ingredient may come from pigs or non-Halal slaughtered animals. The attendees were very attentive and enthusiastic in participating in a practical application of Halal food laws. IFANCA distributed Shopper’s Guides to help consumers identify haram and questionable ingredients. On behalf of the organizers, Dr. Maryam Saluki, thanked IFANCA and all the participants of the Conference.