GET SMART…HALAL SMART!
By Ustaz Muhammad Abdul Hakim Hj Mohd Sidek, Religious Consultant, Sahl International Pte Ltd
Grocery shopping is an occasion for my family. And we do this every weekend. My two beautiful daughters love these trips as they like the sight of aisles and aisles of goodies stacked neatly on the shelves. And if they are well behaved, they will be rewarded with some, anything their choice (within a certain small budget, of course). Huriyyatus Shofa’, the elder of the two have the good habit of asking about the things that we are buying.
Ever since she started pre-school, she has developed a knack of searching and asking for that tiny mark on food labels indicating Halal. So every time I pick an item, she will ask “Abah, ada Halal!” (“Daddy, is there Halal?”), referring to the Halal mark on the food label.
She has made that question her shopping routine. I begin to expect that question every time we go out shopping nowadays. And before I pick any items, I will make sure that I am prepared to respond to her. And in South East Asia, we are blessed with a vast array of grocery items being Halal certified. And so, most, if not all of the items that are put into our shopping basket are accompanied with a friendly nod, indicating to her that there are Halal marks on them.
Now, her little sister is following her footsteps. I will now have 2 questions from 2 wonderful kids for every item I put into the basket. “Abah, ada Halal?”, Huriyyatus Shofa’ would say inquisitively. This will be followed by a tiny little echo from Ameenatun Najaah, “Abah, ada Halal?”. I have to nod and respond twice! Perhaps soon both my wify and I have to devise a genius plan of taking turns in responding to them.
I have no reason to complain. In fact, this whole part of their early development really amazes me. In addition to them both “interrogating” poor old daddy on the food that are going into the basket, they will go from one aisle to the other and exclaim with great excitement when they find products with that tiny mark. It is now a quest for “Ada Halal?”
In most parts of South East Asia, we always tend to look for Halal certification marks when shopping for food. We feel the sense of accomplishment when our shopping basket is filled with products having these marks of Halal assurance. However, not everything that we need comes with a Halal certification mark. In addition, not every market around the world is as blessed with such abundance of Halal certified products . Are we rigid in our buying decision by sticking to only products with Halal certification marks? Or do we tend to reason that necessity prevails in the absence of a Halal mark? Are we convincing our conscience or simply performing a self-conniving act?
As consumers, we need to be informed on what makes any product Halal or otherwise. If we are sure that a product is Halal or otherwise even without the Halal certification mark, we must be able to make that purchasing decision. A consumer who makes informed decisions on his actions and words is better than those who do it blindly. We can easily summarize this with a quote from Robert Kiyosaki, “What you don’t know makes you poor.” Consumers who hide behind the infamous excuse of “not knowing” will certainly make them poor decision makers. Will you be happy ending up with poor state of faith (Iman) and your wellbeing?
So, get smart! Halal smart!!