WHAT IS HALAL?

HALAL is an Arabic word which means permissible or lawful. In the Holy Quran, God commands Muslims and all of mankind to eat of the Halal things. 

“O mankind eat what is Halal (lawful) and Tayyib (good, clean, wholesome, pure, etc.) on earth and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, truly he is an open adversary to you” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:168)

Halal is an abbreviation of the term Halalan toyyiban. The term describes goods or actions that are permissible and wholesome according Syariah laws and Islamic principles. Food and drinks that are either Halal or Haram, otherwise classified as Syubhah should be avoided, until they are officially declared Halal. Since distinguishing between Halal and Haram is often complex, these guidelines vary from country to country. 

Halalan toyyiban merely means allowed and permissible for consumption with relation to Syariah law as long as they are safe and not harmful. The opposite of Halal is haram/ non-Halal which means forbidden and prohibited. Any food or drink which lies within the grey area and does not fall clearly under the Halal or non-Halal category is classified as ‘Syubhah’, alternatively called questionable or dubious. In this category, until the status becomes clear, Muslims should avoid consuming Syubhah food or drinks. The Prophet (peace be upon Him) has given a guideline concerning Syubhah matters. It is reported by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Ibn Majah and Darimi, as follow: 

“What is Halal is clear. And what is Haram is also clear. And in between those two is a dubious area in which many people do not know about. So whoever distanced himself from it, he has acquitted himself (from blame). And those who fall into it, he has fallen into a state of Haram.”

Islam has introduced the concept of slaughter, whereby a naturally Halal animal would have to be properly slaughtered prior to consumption. The act of slaughtering is to ensure the quality of meat and to avoid any microbial contamination, which basically covers the toyibban part of Halalan toyibban. Besides fulfilling the Syariah law, which is a must for Muslims, the food safety factor plays a significant contributor in determining the toyibban i.e. wholesome (safe, clean, nutritious, quality) aspects of the food.

GLOBAL HALAL MARKET BACKGROUND 

The Global Halal industry is estimated to be worth around USD2.3 trillion (excluding Islamic finance). Growing at an estimated annual rate of 20%, the industry is valued at about USD560 billion a year. Thus, making it one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. The Global Halal market of 1.8 billion Muslims is no longer confined to food and food related products. 

The Halal industry has now expanded beyond the food sector to include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, health products, toiletries and medical devices as well as service sector components such as logistics, marketing, print and electronic media, packaging, branding, and financing. In recent years, with the increase in the number of affluent Muslims, the Halal industry has expanded further into lifestyle offerings including Halal travel and hospitality services as well as fashion. This development has been triggered by the change in the mind set of Muslim consumers as well as ethical consumer trends worldwide. 

The Halal market is non-exclusive to Muslims, and has gained increasing acceptance among non-Muslim consumers who associate Halal with ethical consumerism. As such, the values promoted by Halal – social responsibility, stewardship of the earth, economic and social justice, animal welfare and ethical investment – have gathered interest beyond its religious compliance. The popularity of, and demand for, Halal certified products among non-Muslim consumers have been on the rise as more consumers are looking for high quality, safe and ethical products. 

Muslims represent an estimated 23% of the Global population or about 1.8 billion consumers with an average growth rate of 3% per annum. If this growth trend continues, Muslims are expected to make up about 26% of the world’s total projected population of 2.2 billion in 2030. The two strongest markets for Halal products are the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. More than half of the Global Muslim population lives in the South Asia and Asia Pacific and the number of Muslims from these region are expected to reach 1.3 billion by 2030. Four of the ten countries in the world boasting the largest Muslim population in the world are located in the South Asia and Pacific region: Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. 

Halal no longer applies to solely food production and consumption. The Halal industry has now evolved from merely Halal food products to a holistic Halal concept that encompasses the entire value of commercial activities. It has extended beyond food into the realm of business and trade and is fast becoming a Global symbol of quality assurance as well as a lifestyle choice for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Halal products are gaining wider recognition not only due to meeting Shari’a requirements, but also hygiene, sanitation and safety aspects. Increasing demand for Halal products is being seen in a number of Muslim countries, with strong economic growth fueling demand. Rising income levels in these key markets have led to higher consumption rates and more opportunities for Halal food producers. The largest of these markets are located in Southeast Asia and West Asia.