Muslims care more about halal food than halal income: Malaysian deputy minister

Malaysian Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki lamented recently that Muslims care more about the halal status of their food, compared to the status of their source of income.

The deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs said the public perceives Islam as only related to worship, while the issue of halal and haram — what is permissible and forbidden in Islam — is seen as only related to consumption.

“The concern over halal food and halal labels is paramount. But the similar concerns may not be true when it comes to where the money comes from to buy that halal food.”

Asyraf said in his keynote address at a seminar on Islamic financial institutions and charity here as reported by Malay Mail Online.

The senator said when it comes to consuming meat, the public are very concerned about ensuring that the slaughter is Shariah compliant, but not as much as the money involved in the purchase. The deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said:

“The money they received to buy that food, even if coming from usury, interest, corruption, they don’t care. This is something very much the reality in our society today.”

Muslims should understand that there are severe consequences to consuming haraam wealth, even if that is only that one’s du’aa’s are not answered, as it says in Saheeh Muslim 1015, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Allah is Good and only accepts that which is good…” and he mentioned a man who has been traveling for a long time and is unkempt and covered with dust, and he raises his hands to the heavens (and says), “O Lord, O Lord,” when his food is haraam, his drink is haraam, his clothes are haraam, and he is nourished with haraam, so how can he receive any response?

On Monday, minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had said that the authorities will not issue halal certification for non-alcoholic “beer” or any product that uses “haram”-related names like ham or bacon.

The various kinds of ‘pretzel dogs’ sold at Auntie Anne’s. The local chapter of the US pretzel chain has confirmed that it has changed the name of its ‘pretzel dog’ to ‘pretzel sausage’.

According to state news agency Bernama, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs said the term “halal beer” went against the manual procedure for Malaysia’s halal certification.

Under the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking of Halal) Order 2011, only the federal Islamic Development Department — better known by its Malay abbreviation, Jakim — and state Islamic departments and councils can issue halal certification.

The report also said that fast food chain A&W switched to calling its signature root beer drink, “RB”, in 2013, in order to get the halal certification for all its outlets.

The issue of halal certification surfaced last October after an executive with US pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s revealed that their application for halal certification had failed due to, among others, concerns over “pretzel dogs” on the menu.

Some fast food restaurants in Malaysia use non-pork alternatives for ham and bacon, such as turkey ham and beef bacon.

Written by Adeel Malik

Born in Hong Kong, grew up in Scotland and ethnically Pakistani, Adeel primes himself to be a multicultural individual who is an advent social media user for the purpose of learning and propagating Islam while is also a sports fan. Being an English teacher himself, he envisions a bright future for Muslims which he strongly believes can only be done with education.

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