Industry Columnist

Elyas Harun

 

 

As humans, we are inclined to consume what we consider good food and avoid what we deem deficient or bad. Certain religions worldwide restrict the consumption of specific foods; for instance, some prohibit meat, others forbid combining milk and meat, and some require animals to be slaughtered in a particular
way (like Kosher practices), some restrict certain parts of animals, some avoid seafood, some prohibit pork and alcoholic beverages and so on. Each of these dietary restrictions serves a purpose, whether from a religious standpoint or for the safety of the food itself.

In Islam, all food and beverages are deemed permissible (Halal) with some exceptions (non-Halal or Haram), such as non-slaughtered animals, blood, pork, and alcoholic beverages (Khamr). The distinction between Halal and Haram in Islam is rooted in the Objectives of Islamic Law (Maqasid Shariah), which are based on the principles outlined in the Quran and Sunnah – the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The five main objectives are:

  • Protection of Religion
  • Protection of Life
  • Protection of Mind
  • Protection of Progeny
  • Protection of Wealth

For a Halal product manufacturer, the Maqasid Shariah principles are crucial references in producing Halal products, especially during the Research and Development stage. Here’s an example: to uphold the first objective of safeguarding the Shariah (protection of religion), our products must not contain any labels, names, brands, ingredients, or elements deemed non-Halal from a Shariah perspective to prevent any negative associations with Islam and religion. In Malaysia’s Halal certification criteria, terms like “pork,” “beer” (e.g., Root Beer), “dog” (e.g., hot dog), “Bak Kut Teh,” “bacon,” and “ham” are strictly prohibited. These terms are synonymous with non-Halal items and should be avoided to maintain a positive image of the religion and certification.

Similarly, products designed for religious use, such as oils for prayers or those resembling pigs or dogs in shape or labeling, are not eligible for Malaysia Halal certification based on the initial criterion.

For the second objective, which focuses on the protection of life, all Halal products must be produced in hygienic conditions to ensure their safety for consumption. This principle is reiterated in the Quran through the term “Thoyyiban” from “Halalan Thoyyiban” in various verses, emphasizing the importance of cleanliness and food safety. In the majority of Halal standards and certification processes, the hygienic and safety of products (thoyyiban) is a fundamental requirement. Even if a product uses Halal ingredients, it may not receive Halal certification if it lacks Thoyyiban, highlighting the significance of cleanliness and food safety in the certification process.

 

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