Halaal & Haraam:
how conscious are we?
Carelessness in the consumption of Doubtful or Haraam edibles is a sure sign of diseased Imaan. If this state of heedlessness about what is consumed continues, the day dawns in a person's life when halaal/haraam is eventually regarded as a trivial matter, causing Imaan to choke out and die. Judging from the increasing number of Muslims eating out at franchised and other food outlets, it seems this trend is growing fast among Muslims these days.
PEOPLE IN THE PAST EDUCATED THEIR CHILDREN
In the past, people may not have been very learned or enlightened as they appear to be now, but they were very conscious of the issue of Halaal/Haraam. Extreme care was exercised in this matter. Even young children were drilled into observing this Islamic teaching, which had a lasting impression on their minds and hearts.
HEARTS HAVE BECOME DESENSITIZED; WHY?
Haraam is becoming so common and rife, people are hardly shocked or perturbed when something is discovered or shown up as being Haraam, even though they may have been consuming such an item for a long time. Hardly an eyelid is bat. No remorse or even a pang of guilt crosses the heart. This is a clear sign of a desensitized heart. Why is it that people have become so careless regarding Haraam?
HARAAM IS VERY MUCH LIKE POISON
Part of the answer may be found in a widespread attitude, a terrible misconception, that prevails. It is felt that so long as a person is unaware of a thing being Haraam, his consumption of that item will not cause harm to him. This is totally incorrect. The effects of Haraam are felt, whether consumed knowingly or unknowingly. It is much like eating poison. Only a fool will believe that absence of knowledge of a poisonous substance will negate the effect of the poison. Poison is poison and will remain so, irrespective of knowledge or ignorance regarding its effects. Poison will do its work. It will kill or cause serious harm. Haraam edibles are the same. They kill the consumer spiritually or cause serious spiritual damage.
It is in view of this fact that Islam has always emphasised great precaution with regard to whatever is consumed. Nothing is to be consumed without carefully studying its source and ingredients. Although manufacturers are compelled by law in most countries to reveal the ingredients of processed foods, they are yet able to cleverly camouflage the actual thing under the guise tongue-twisting scientific jargon and terminology. The unsuspecting Muslim consumer, blissfully unaware of this, consumes the item, which may contain a Haraam ingredient such as lard or certain emulsifiers with great relish and abandon, little realising the harm that he is doing to himself.
HARAAM IS HARMFUL
Haraam is extremely harmful for mankind, both spiritually and physically. Allah Ta'ala, out of His infinite Kindness and Mercy for His believing servants, prohibited the intake of Haraam because of its terrible effects on the body and soul of man. Haraam is polluted and contaminated. It breeds in dirt and filth. Its composition is mainly of filth. This causes serious harm and damage to the organs, tissues and other parts of the body. The health of a person is eventually eroded and debilitating illnesses set in. The body is then subjected to much torment, pain, suffering and agony. The resultant mental trauma is an added source of anguish.
The loss of health and the setting in of disease is a calamity in todays world in yet another sense; it is very expensive to fall ill in today's world. Medical costs are exorbitant and prohibitive. This is a harrowing issue in its own right. If a person is not killed by the disease itself, the shock of the medical bill is likely to complete the job!
ABSTENTION IS THE WAY OF A SENSIBLE PERSON
In view of all of this, it is much wiser to exercise a little restraint and abstain from Haraam and doubtful edibles and save oneself from many physical and spiritual disasters in the process. On the other hand, a careless attitude in this matter, eating merrily without a care, will manifest its consequences, sooner or later. It will finally cost a person, dearly. An intelligent and sensible person will opt for an attitude of precaution and abstention when necessary. Curbing the desires of the heart and the inordinate cravings of the stomach is the hallmark of an intelligent person and the way of pious Muslims.
Among the long list of doubtful and Haraam foods prevalent these days, meat products top the list. Meat stuff, in a variety of forms, are being prepared and sold at franchised outlets all over, under the guise of "Halaal". Dubious halaal certificates are waved in the faces of unwary, gullible or downright indifferent Muslim patrons. The Muslim patrons are more than happy at this dubious assurance and buy and eat unhesitatingly. Worse still, even their wives and innocent children are exposed to this. Such a practice augers ill for the future of the Muslim Ummah.
THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE UMMAH
It is high time that Muslims make an about turn in their attitude towards Haraam/Halaal. They need to become more vigilant; make a thorough investigation first before buying (or selling). If in doubt, the golden rule is ABSTAIN! Muslims must also attempt to produce their own sources of Halaal in the food processing industry. In this way, we could be assured of the validity of our edibles. It is time that conscientious and reliable Muslim entrepreneurs (not profit-greedy opportunists) looked at the prospect of establishing abattoirs, food processing and other related industries. May Allah Ta'ala cause this to happen in all Muslim communities throughout the world.
THE QURAN AND HADITH
ABOUT HALAL & HARAM IN FOOD
TRANSLATED VERSES OF THE QURAN
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 (2:172).
He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swineflesh, and that which hath been immolated to (the name of) any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (2:173).
O ye who believe! Fulfill your undertakings.The beast of cattle is made lawful unto you (for food) except that which is announced unto you (herein), game being unlawful when ye are on pilgrimage. Lo! Allah ordaineth that which pleaseth Him (5:1)
Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine-flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols.
And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you and have chosen for you as religion Al-Islam. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (5:3)
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 Allahs name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account (5:4)
This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and liven with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter (5:5).
And eat not of that whereon Allahs name hath not been mentioned, for lo! it is abomination. Lo! the devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters (6:121).
FROM THE HADITH
-On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allah said: Allah the Almighty is good and accepts only that which is good. Allah has commanded the Faithful to do that which He commanded the Messengers, and the Almighty has said: O ye Messengers! Eat of the good things, and do right.. (Quran 23:51). And Allah the Almighty has said: O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you.. (2:172). Then he mentioned [the case of] a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky [saying]: O Lord! O Lord!-while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing unlawful, and he is nourished unlawfully, so how can he be answered! (Muslim).
-On the authority of Abu Yala Shahddad ibn Aus, the Messenger of Allah said: Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters (Muslim).
-In an incident narrated by Rafi bin Khadij, the Prophet told Muslims who wanted to slaughter some animals using reeds, Use whatever causes blood to flow, and eat the animals if the Name of Allah has been mentioned on slaughtering them... (Bukhari).
-Narrated Abu Thalaba: Allahs Messenger forbade the eating of the meat of beasts having fangs (Bukhari).
-Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet cursed the one who did Muthla to an animal (i.e. cut its limbs or some other part of its body while it is still alive (Bukhari).