Halal is all about clean, permitted, lawful, hygienic, suitable for human consuming
By: Mohamed Jinna A J
(NewsHalal, Dhu-AlHijjah 1, 1436, September 15, 2015)
Halal for many Muslims and non-Muslims is about meat or meat-based products.
However, Halal is all about clean, permitted, lawful, hygienic, suitable for human consuming, and wholesome products, which include fair trade, animal welfare, social responsibility, safety, Eco-friendliness, and freedom from child labor.
Having understood what Halal is all about, let us look at the fact that eating habits of people reflect upon their mental and spiritual standing. They say, ”Man is known by the food he eats.” People given to eating “clean” foods try to behave like clean people in all respects. Whereas people given to eating “abominable” foods, naturally enough, behave abominably.
In this regard, there are hundreds of products in the market which raise concern and suspicion when it comes to safety. But unfortunately the community is not aware about these things resulting in unlawful consumption/use of those products.
The deeper meaning of Halal
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful. The opposite of Halal (lawful) is Haram which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal is a broad term that can be used in reference to all facets of Islamic life. This study concentrates on the usage of this term with regards to meat products and the Islamic slaughtering rite. The practice of Islam includes observing dietary laws that define foods that are Halal. For Muslim consumers, meat products must be verified as Halal and must originate from certified slaughterhouses.
Many food products are clearly Halal or Haram. Others may be referred to as Mashbooh, which means doubtful – Swine/pork and its by-products; Animals improperly slaughtered; Animals killed in the name of anyone other than Allah; Alcohol and intoxicants; Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears; Blood and blood by-products; and Foods containing any of the above products. Foods containing ingredients such as gelatine, enzymes, and emulsifiers are questionable (Mashbooh) because their origins are not known.
The Indian scenario
India remains a small supplier of Halal products, with approximately 180 million Muslims. However, the increased demand for Halal products in the Middle-East, southeast Asia, and North Africa, spells an opportunity for Indian companies to capture new markets, particularly in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
With advanced technology, equipment and facilities, Indian companies are well positioned to meet the needs of Muslim communities in becoming a leading supplier of Halal food products throughout the world.
Tourism – Catering – Airlines
Nevertheless, Halal is a new business term that has captured the different segments of various businesses globally. Apart from the food and beverage industry, Halal compliances and certifications are gaining momentum in service-oriented industries across the globe. The word defines two aspects of life, permitted and wholesomeness.
Over the past couple of decades, the word has been coined into a buzzword. A business slogan by itself, it has now converted into almost US$3 trillion worth of global business and revenue, farm to fork Halal compliance requirement.
Halal represents and resembles faith, social responsibility & welfare, eco-friendly nature, animal welfare, fight against poverty, hunger and other such causes to provide basic need and quality of life to all. Apart from faith, all the remaining causes combined together embody Toyyib (wholesomeness). The concept Halal has gained significant prominence and created a status for itself in the global economy and nowadays one way or the other it has appreciable presence in all walks of human life and society.
Now Halal is not just a lifestyle but has evolved and prospered into a very dynamic, flourishing and perforating global industry. With its application & implications in all different commercial sectors all over the globe, development of Halal and its proper utilisation for the industry has become imperative and momentously contributes to all facets of economic growth. The concept of Halal permits an exposure of its origin. It has made an impact on the evergrowing global economy paving its way to being the new global market driving force.
Turning more than a trillion dollar business in the service segment alone, Halal compliance has become a significant selling factor. Cutting across tourism, medical tourism and logistics, Halal certification requirement includes the place of stay, food we eat, place of storage, transportation of the raw materials and even medical treatment. Halal-compliant medical tourism is a growing need in the industry to cater to patients flying in from the Middle-East, Asia-Pacific and European countries in the contemporary scenario. Then the compelling need to have Halal-friendly business compliance is the social responsibility it implies. All over from the business, consumer and community perspective, Halal compliance and its implications are being made an inevitable quality to have, predominantly in the service industries like travel, tourism, hospitals, banking, food and lodging.
Halal essentially is a lifestyle choice of 1.72 billion Muslims in over 142 countries around the world. It’s a way of life for one quarter of the world population.
This is a huge diversity of people from different countries, of varied tastes and demands. But with one common bond – they all seek the assurance represented by the Halal symbol. A symbol that tells them that the food they eat, the pharmaceuticals they use, the cosmetics they apply, and the services they demand are all certified lawful and wholesome in keeping with ethical principles and laws.
Changing world demographics and increasing global demand are resulting in new opportunities in the global Halal food market. The growing Muslim population will increase demand for Halal food products, and the emergent consumer market of non-Muslims who consume Halal food products for ethical and safety reasons will become increasingly important. Increasing incomes in Muslim-majority countries around the world have driven consumers to seek new and differentiated Halal certified products that are not readily available in the market.
The global Halal industry is worth $2.8 trillion and most of it is being produced by non-Muslim countries such as Singapore, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, the UK, USA and India.
(The author is executive director, Halal India and an international Halal expert. He can be contacted at email@example.com)