Halal: food, cosmetics and more in Islam
Halal is an important part of any Muslim’s life. It was decreed by Allah and constitutes one of the fundamental laws of Islam. Halal is not about food or drink, Halal is about submission to God. Halal is anything permitted by God. The Holy Quran provides explanations why this or that object is treated as being non-permissible; however, the whole point is to submit to God’s orders even if this reasoning remains unclear. Simply because God said so. God may do things which humans are unable to grasp. If God declares today’s Haram tomorrow’s Halal then it will be so. Man cannot grasp God’s wisdom. All he can do is abide by it. This is the whole point of Halal.
The cardinal rule for Halal is not to consume anything that may harm you. “Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction” (2:195). That refers to food, drink, medicine (they enter the body directly via your mouth). Also refers to cosmetics and ointments (they enter your body indirectly via the skin), and that refers to foul thoughts and ideas (they enter your body via your brain).
In today’s world the non-Halal components may be easily included into any products that we consume, so a close watch needs to be kept at all times to prevent this from happening, since any such component in its minute quantity will “throw yourself into destruction”.
The Holy Quran provides regulations for what is Halal in the surahs Al-Baqarah, Al-Ma’idah, Al-An’am and An-Nahl. The strictly forbidden products (najis) are carrion, blood, pork, food dedicated to anyone but God.
For Halal meat, on top of it coming from permitted animals, Sharia Law prescribes a specific slaughtering method and a prayer dedicating it in the name of Allah.
The same rules apply to Halal cosmetics. It is often confused with organic or vegan products. First of all, the important missing part in them is dedication to God. Second, current regulations permit certain content of alcohol in them which is an absolute impossibility for Halal.
Of course, the ‘Certified Halal’ mark is a great relief, but when the matter is ‘mubah’, that is, must be decided by the Muslims themselves, then he must make sure that the products do not contain the following components in order to comply:
human parts or their derivatives; any najis (carrion, blood, pork) or their derivatives (fluids or objects discharged from humans’ or animals’ bodies, such as urine, excrements, blood, vomit and pus); alcohol in any form or shape (by way of example, the popular cosmetics compound formalin contains 8% methyl alcohol which makes it an instant Haram). Plus every step of the manufacturing procedure
such as production, storage and logistics must be fully accounted for and Halal-compliant as well.
We can clearly see that compliance with Halal is greater than simply eating the right food. This notion encompasses many other aspects of modern life, especially such when consumers are not often advised of the contents of what they consume. It is thus one of the most important tasks for Muslims to stay alert and to maintain God’s will at all times. Disregard of God’s commandments, especially one made out of neglect or laziness, will stick out as a grave sin when the time of judgment should come. Let not then throw yourself into destruction, keep watch.