What is 'Halal Certification'? Why companies get their products halal-certified?
Amidst the coronavirus crisis, #BoycottHalalProducts started trending on twitter. The campaign was to take down the goods that were Halal certified. Also, a PIL was filed by an NGO named Vishwa Jain Sangathan to restrain the 'halal' slaughter in India, keeping in view the coronavirus pandemic as it can be transmitted from animals to humans.
What are Halal and Haram?
Halal is an Arabic term which means 'permissible or lawful'. Halal is related to Islam and its dietary laws an is specifically related to meat processed and prepared as per the requirements of the laws.
On the other hand, Haram is an Arabic term which means 'prohibited or forbidden'. As per the Quran, there are several products which are haram for the followers of Islam. These are-- Alcohol, dead animal before its slaughter, blood and its by-products, pork and stunned meat (without halal process).
What does Halal law states?
Halal practices mentioned in the Quran are as follows:
1- Only a Muslim man can slaughter the animal. In many texts, it is also mentioned that if Jews and Christians slaughter the animals following the rest of the steps (Halal procedure), the meat is halal as per the Islamic dietary laws.
2- The animal must be slaughtered with the help of a sharp knife with a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.
3- The Quranic verse must be read while slaughtering the animal and is known as Tasmiya or Shahada.
4- At the time of slaughter, the animal must be alive and healthy. The maximum amount of blood must be drained from the veins of the carcass.
5- Consuming meat of an animal which is already dead or other than the halal process is prohibited in Islam.
In many Islamic countries, halal certification is given by the government. In India, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) certification can be seen on almost all the processed foods but this authority doesn't give halal certification in India. Halal certification is given by many private companies in India which marks the food or products permissible for the followers of Islam. Important halal certification companies in India are:
1- Halal India Private Limited.
2- Halal Certification Services India Private Limited.
3- Jamiat Ulama-E-Maharashtra- A state unit of Jamiat Ulama-E-Hind.
4- Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust.
Why cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are halal certified?
Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals need halal certification as these companies use animal by-products. For instance, alcohol is present in perfumes, pig fat is present in lipsticks and lip balms, cosmetic products use by-products of pigs, chickens, goats, etc. and these are termed as haram as per the Islamic laws. Therefore, the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals which are halal certified simply mean that they do not contain anything which is prohibited for the followers of Islam.
Why companies get their products halal certified?
Companies are getting their products halal certified so that their products can be exported to Islamic countries. It must be noted that the followers of Islam constitute 1.8 billion population of the world, i.e., 24.1% of the world's population. In addition to this, only halal-certified foods are allowed in many Islamic countries.
As per several reports, the halal food market constitutes about 19% of the global food market. Thus, to serve the larger markets, to meet the demand and supply chain, many companies are getting their products halal certified.
From halal foods to cosmetics, another term is 'Halal Tourism'. In this, the hotels and restaurants do not serve alcohol and only halal-certified food is served in their restaurants. In many hotels, spa and swimming pool facilities are separate for both men and women.
What issues have risen with halal certification?
1- The cost of the products which are halal certified increases as the certification process is not free of cost. Also, to get a halal certification, several modifications need to be made in the making process.
2- In several sectors, employment opportunities to non-Muslims are unavailable-- Halal Slaughterhouse.
3- Halal certification is a discriminatory process towards the non-muslims especially in the halal meat industry.
4- There's no standard halal certification process to date. This means halal-certified products from one country may not be recognised in the other country. For Example, halal certification of India is invalid in UAE.
It is interesting to note that the halal-certified foods or products are not prohibited for other communities. Anyone following any faith can consume halal-certified food and products.