The search of a Halal food is a very important and sometimes daunting task for many Muslims around the globe as they travel into western non-Islamic countries. Many non-Muslims find this as a very annoying and sometimes ridiculous task mostly because they failed to understand the definition of Halal. The term Halal and Haraam are applied in a wide range in the life of a Muslim not just specific to dietary alone. Halal is an Arabic term used for designating any object and actions which are permissible or permit to be use and engage by a Muslim through the Islamic laws. The antonym of the term Halal is Haraam. In short, Halal is permissible and Haraam is forbidden for Muslims. Henceforth, the rule of Halal food is an Islamic dietary guideline. According to information gathered from the Quran, Islamic followers are forbidden to consume any of the Haraam items including pork and its related products, animals that succumb to death prior to slaughtering, improper methods of animal slaughters, alcoholics drinks including any form of intoxicants, carnivorous animals, land animals without external ears, birds of prey and any food that are contaminated by these products.
In the religion Islam, Muslims live their life with the guidance of the Quran and it is very well stated that every living organism should be treated with respect, care and love for the beauty of life. It is therefore a big importance for a Muslim when it comes to eating meat and flesh, one must be able to know that the animal providing the food endures a limit amount of pain. In the laws of Dietary for a Muslim, a Halal meat has to be done in the proper manner through the method of Dhabiha.
Dhabiha is a slaughtering method prescribes by the Islamic laws for slaughtering all animals excluding aquatic animals prior to consumption. In this concept of slaughter, when an animal is slaughtered a well sharpened knife is used to make a deep incision in the throat in order to cut the carotid artery, wind pipe and jugular veins cleanly allowing the blood to drain out of the animal. It is mandatory to ensure a complete drainage of the blood from the animal body to minimize the chances of disease and infection that originated or carried by the animal’s blood into being consume. It is also important to ensure that the spinal cord of the animal is remained intact during the slaughter. This method is one of the most humane procedures of animal slaughter plus it reduces the possibility of microbial contamination in the quality of the meat. Dhabiha is perhaps one of the cleanest practices of slaughter and it is not a surprise since the entire religion of Islam tends to emphasize on cleanliness.
Islam has always encourages its followers to choose halal, wholesome, and clean foods, this awareness is always propagated in the Muslim society. This awareness is strengthened by the widespread knowledge, extolling the virtues of consuming clean and halal food, and its relationship to their daily religious practices. This is the reason why it is such an important duty for a Muslim to search for a halal food in non-Islamic countries.
It may not be surprising fact to say that the amount of Halal food in the world remains explicably in the regions of Islamic countries but it is a amusing fact to know that the amounts of Halal restaurants in non-Islamic countries had been slowly but gradually inclining parallel with the understanding of the definition of the term Halal in these countries. The rate of Islamic followers in the population of these countries also seems to be on the rising scale which might be the effect and source of the emerging Halal market. In the United State of America the introduction of halal food and meat are quietly expanding with the escalating numbers of investment in the Halal Market, this can easily be seen as early as 2004, when H.E.B Grocery Company begin to offered halal meat in grocery stores. As the market expands a Houston, Texas based company named Tex-Mex Beef Co. took the chance and became the first meat and poultry distribution company to provide halal meats in US at a retail store level. Other evidence of the gradual expansion of the Halal Market in America can be seen in Dearborn Michigan, the haven of many Muslims and Arabs populations influence the local Mc Donald Corporation to introduce halal chicken nuggets. In the busy streets of New York City many had taken the opportunity to indulge in the Halal market with numerous Halal food carts to satisfy the growing populations of Muslims in the city.
Therefore if America a country which has every reason to be hard-headed towards understanding the dietary ways of the Islamic Community manages to accept and indulge in the untouched opportunities of the Halal market then it is no surprise that other nations had done the same. In the United Kingdom, the Kentucky Fried Chicken began to sell halal meat in several restaurants since early 2009 and throughout the entire Europe many halal restaurants such as Doner Kebab were established. Meanwhile in Canada, a 12 store of the Mary Brown chain in Ontario and Alberta became 100% halal. In South Africa, many products ranging from chicken, water, snacks and restaurants were given the Halal stamp from The South African National Halal Authority. The usage of the Halal logo can only be awarded by each country’s National Halal Authority. Without the Halal logo a restaurant cannot claim to be serving and providing halal food.
Each country has a National Halal Authority which has different procedure to award restaurants with the Halal Logo or Halal Certification but many will follow the simple rules stated from the Quran itself. The reason why Halal certification is good for business is because it is a form of social obligation and it boosts customers’ trust and confidence in products. It provides tremendous export opportunities and as Halal certification is not mandatory, those with Halal certification have a competitive advantage over other food companies. Halal certification benefits all consumers as it not only covers religious requirements but it also imposes strict hygiene practices which attracts both Muslims and non-Muslims customer. Throughout the world there is a Codex Alimentarius Commission which acts as a general guideline for the use of the term halal which has been established every since 1997 in Geneva. The United Nations had reported the best example for following the guidelines and in terms of justifying the labelling Halal food was Malaysia.
Malaysia is a modern Muslim country where more than half of its populations have embraced Islam as their religion and the Halal industry has no doubt became a very important part of life and on the country economic status. In 2006, Malaysia’s Prime Minister saw an emerging new global market in the Halal industry and took the opportunity to establish the world’s first development corporation with a main focus on the Halal market. The visionary leader of Malaysia also intended to establish the country as a global halal hub. Many efforts had been done to accomplish the goal of becoming a global halal hub such as creating an Internet site for trading, certification assistance, and an online library for halal research and market intelligence. Malaysia's state-run Halal Industry Development Corp., or HDC, signed an agreement with Microsoft Malaysia to develop technology for dealing with the international halal market in efforts to achieve the goal. The government would also use its edge over other Muslim nations in trading, logistics, banking and halal certification to position itself as a global centre for the manufacture and export of halal products.
Malaysia agenda behind its mission of becoming the global halal hub is to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world from the Halal industry alone. This in return will rapidly increase the middle classes into a better standard and the rate of population growth of the country would be climbing the charts. With a higher level of middle class citizen the quality of products and services will also be upgraded. The lifestyle and status of the country would be able to chase the rankings of other successful nations. The possibilities of the effects from achieving the goal of becoming a global halal hub are numerous. Malaysia saw the chances and profits it can reap from the industry of Halal Food and chasing after it in order to improve itself.