DR. Amini Amir Abdullah
Islamic Center, University Putra Malaysia
This paper will discuss on the responsibilities of consumers on halal product matters. Halal products include any kind of permissible (halal) foods and drinks, plants, animals, micro organism, pharmaceuticals products, aromatherapy products, cosmetics and traditional goods, raw materials, food and beverages, perfumeries, toiletries, dairy products, leather products and herbal supplements.
Islam permits Muslims to eat any foods and drinks except foods and drinks such as pork or alcohol. Islam also permits Muslim to consume any products except those prohibited clearly with the Quranic or al-Sunnah injunctions. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never expressed disapproval of food, if he desired it he ate it and if he disliked it he left it alone.
The Concept of Halal Foods in Al-Quran
Allah asks us to eat what is on earth, lawful and good; and advice us not to follow the footsteps of the evil because he is an avowed enemy. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُلُواْ مِمَّا فِي الأَرْضِ حَلاَلاً طَيِّباً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you.
Allah provides us with good things and we should be grateful to Him and he is the only God to be worshipped. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِلّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you , and render thanks to Allah if it is ( indeed ) He whom ye worship.
Allah forbids us to eat dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah and what has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless we are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. Allah says:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُل أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ الجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللّهُ فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ سَرِيعُ الحِسَابِ
They ask thee ( O Muhammad ) what is made lawful for them. Say: ( all ) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah's name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account.
Allah also says:
فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُمْ بِآيَاتِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ
Eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, if ye are believers in His revelations.
Allah disallows us to eat meats which Allah’s name has not been pronounced and that would be impiety. The evils inspire their friends to contend with us if we were to obey them, we would indeed be Pagans. Allah says in verse 121 (Al-An’am):
وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ وَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَى أَوْلِيَآئِهِمْ لِيُجَادِلُوكُمْ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ
And eat not of that whereon Allah's name hath not been mentioned, for lo! it is abomination. Lo! the devils do inspire thee minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters.
Allah also says in verse 32 (Al-A’raf):
قُل مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللّهِ الَّتِيَ أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ قُل هِي لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ فِي الحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do We detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge.
Allah also says in verse 67 (Al-Nahl):
وَمِن ثَمَرَاتِ النَّخِيلِ وَالأَعْنَابِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنْهُ سَكَراً وَرِزْقاً حَسَناً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
And of the fruits of the date palm, and grapes, whence ye derive strong drink and ( also ) good nourishment. Lo! therein, is indeed a portent for people who have sense.
Halal Foods In Al-Sunnah
Abu Tha'laba al-Khushani reported: I came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's Messenger, we are in the land of the People of the Book, (so) we eat in their utensils, and (live) in a hunting region, where I hunt with, the help of my bow, and hunt with my trained dog, or with my dog which is not trained. So inform me what is lawful (Halal) for us out of that. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Regarding what you have mentioned of the fact that you live in the land belonging to the People of the Book and so you eat in their utensils, but if you can get utensils other than theirs, then don't eat in them; but if you do not find any, then wash them and eat in them. And regarding what you have mentioned about (your living) in a hunting region, what you hunt, (strike) with the help of your bow, recite the name of Allah (while shooting an arrow) and then eat; and what you catch with the help of your trained dog, recite the name of Allah (while letting oil) the dog and then eat it, and what you get with the help of your untrained dog, (if you find it alive) and slaughter it (according to the law of the Shari'ah), eat it.
Regarding halal foods, the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. says:
Narrated by Tarif Abi Tamima: I saw Safwan and Jundab and Safwan's companions when Jundab was advising. They said, "Did you hear something from Allah's Apostle?" Jundab said, "I heard him saying, 'Whoever does a good deed in order to show off, Allah will expose his intentions on the Day of Resurrection (before the people), and whoever puts the people into difficulties, Allah will put him into difficulties on the Day of Resurrection.'" The people said (to Jundab), "Advise us." He said, "The first thing of the human body to purify is the abdomen, so he who can eat nothing but good food (Halal and earned lawfully) should do so, and he who does as much as he can that nothing intervene between him and Paradise by not shedding even a handful of blood, (i.e. murdering) should do so."
Yahya related to Imam Malik from Malik from Ibn Shibab from Abu Idris al-Khawlani from Abu Tha’laba al-Khushani that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "It is haram to eat animals with fangs."
Malaysia As A Halal Hub
Malaysia is planning to become a regional halal centre for foods and products such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and traditional goods. Malaysia has the advantage and competitive edge to produce halal products as JAKIM had made its name and had credibility in issuing halal certificates. Malaysia has the potentialities to establish an International Halal Hub and a centre for marketing, certification and reference. Malaysia also is among the largest halal food producers. Malaysia also has identified a lucrative market for halal food.
Halal Products in Malaysia: The Role of JAKIM
By the 50s, Muslims religious awareness in the Malay states became increased. For instance, they had raised the question of whether income tax payment can be considered as zakah (alms giving), whether a male doctor was allowed to assist woman in delivering baby, whether certain foods and products are halal, whether Islam permitted transforming male sperm into the wives ovum, abortion by taking medicine, family planning and birth control.
Islam is a state subject, meaning that only state governments possess legislative and executive authority over it. State powers include authority over Muslim law, personal and family laws for Muslims, Muslim waqf (endowment), Malay custom, zakah (alms giving) and Bait al-Mal, and similar Muslim revenues, mosques, the creation and punishment of offences by Muslims against the percepts of Islam; Muslim courts; the control and propagation of doctrines and beliefs among Muslims; and the determination of matters of Muslim law and doctrine and of Malay custom.
However, JAKIM (Department of Islamic Advancement Malaysia) is responsible on any halal matters. JAKIM also has produced guidelines on the slaughtering of animals, the preparation and handling of halal food. JAKIM is also entrusted with the task to determine the raw materials brought into this country like beef and chicken are from halal sources. JAKIM is also responsible to issue halal labels for products from local and overseas.
The Resposibilities of The Consumers and Manufacturers On Halal Products
The consumers should play an active role in looking at halal product issues of their concern by giving feedback to the government, JAKIM or the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs. They should also collaborate actively with consumer’s association to look into halal products issues.
The consumers also can help to give feedback for any grievances to the authorities such as The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and state religious department.
The consumers should enhance their knowledge on halal and quality products include the sources, process, packaging, storage, handling, manufacturing and transportation.
The consumers also should check on the products coming in from the foreign countries in order to ensure their contents are really halal. They should feel curious for any product imported from overseas although it is labeled halal. They should also consult the Malaysian authorities for the purpose of clarifications. Many foreign and local companies have abused JAKIM's halal labels by not complying with the stipulated conditions.
The consumers should ensure the products or goods or its ingredients do not contain any najs (filthy according to Syariah Law). They should try to avoid any uncertain (syubhah) foods, drinks and products.
The consumers should choose only products which have halal-certified logo from JAKIM or if it imported products, refer to Ministry of International Trade and Industry for any clarification.
The consumers can play an active role in providing feedback to the manufacturer so that we can produce world-class halal and quality products.
In Islam, Muslim consumers have to eat, consume and spend wisely. All spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones and the Evil One is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful.
Allah says in verse 67 (Al-Furqan):
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَنفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُوا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ قَوَاماً
And those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor grudging; and there is ever a firm station between the two.
Allah also says in verse 27 (Al-Isra’):
إِنَّ المُبَذِّرِينَ كَانُواْ إِخْوَانَ الشَّيَاطِينِ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِرَبِّهِ كَفُوراً
Lo! the squanderers were ever brothers of the devils, and the devil was ever an ingrate to his Lord.
In making Malaysia to become Halal Hub, the manufacturers have to ensure the products conform to international standards, and to provide high-tech and modern factories for manufacturing and processing. Halal food industry has become a new source of economic activity in Malaysia. All Malaysia’s businessmen should tap into the RM2,000 billion global halal food market. They should get into the huge market for halal food products and services. The laboratory facilities of government departments and agencies (such as SIRIM Bhd.) should be used to determine the halal status of a product.
The consumers also have to ensure all halal products are not only issued with halal labelling but must comply with quality standard specifications recognised at international level such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and International Standards Organisation (ISO) and other standards of quality. Needless to be reminded, Islam teachs us not to take only halal foods but also to choose the quality one.
In Malaysia, the non-Muslims can sell and eat pork. They also can sell and consume alcohol. Selling pork in open streets, markets and open areas is not encouraged in Malaysia since it will bothered the feelings of the Muslims.
In Islam, Muslims who are proven to damage alcohol beverages or pork must pay compensation. According to Ibn 'Abidin, if a Muslim spoils the wine of a dhimmi or harms his pigs he will have to pay for them. Islam also gives serious attention to the matter of the protection of honour and the inviolability of guarantees, assaulting, abusing the dhimmi and verily back-biting them is considered blameworthy in Islam.
Allah says which means:
This day are all things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among The People of the Book, revealed before your time, when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues.
One of the manifestations of Islamic revivalism in Malaysia can be seen in terms of Muslims consciousness of Islam and greater awareness of halal food and product in their daily life. Demand for halal food and product has also increased the trend among Muslims now who observe their dietary obligations which conforms to Islamic teachings. They also have given serious attention to safe, hygenic and healthy alternative sources of food. Muslims also should show a higher degree of willingness to perform religious duties in terms of consumption, foods, attires and the progress of their life and soul.
 The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also forbade breathing or blowing into a vessel.
 Verse 168 (al-Baqarah).
 Verse 172 (al-Baqarah).
 Verse 4 (al-Maidah)
 Verse 118 (al-An’am).
 Sahih Muslim, Book 021, Number 4743.
 Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 89, Number 266:
 Imam Malik, Al-Muwatta’, Book 25, Number 25.4.13:
 The global halal food market is lucrative, estimated in the range of RM1,330 billion to RM1,520 billion per year based on the world Muslim population of about 1.8 billion.
 Othman Ishak (1986): Fatwa Dalam Perundangan Islam, Petaling Jaya: Fajar Bakti, pp. 150-152.
 See http://www.islam.gov.my/e-halal/content_view.php?IDarticle=30
 See Muhammad Amin Ibn 'Abidin , Hashiyah Radd al-Muhtar 'ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Cairo: Ma³ba'ah al-Babi al-Halabi, vol. 3, pp. 244-246. See also Yusuf al-Qaradawi , Ghair al-Muslimin fi al-Mujtama' al-Islami, Cairo: Maktabah Wahbah, p. 16. Hereinafter cited as al-Qaradawi: Ghair al-Muslimin fi…
 Surah al-Maidah:, 5: 5. According to Yusuf Ali: "The question is for food generally, such as is ordinarily "good and pure": in the matter of meat it should be killed with some sort of solemnity analogous to that of the Takbir. The rules of Islam in this respect being analogous to those of the People of the Book, there is no objection to mutual recognition, as opposed to meat killed by Pagans with superstitious rites. In this respect the Christian rule is the same: "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication." (Acts, xv.29.) Notice the bracketing of fornication with things unlawful to eat." [Yusuf Ali: The Holy Quran…, p. 185.]