• Muslim woman who refused handshake denied French citizenship

    PARIS – France’s highest administrative court has upheld a decision to deny a French passport to an Algerian Muslim who refused to shake hands with officials during her citizenship ceremony, according to a ruling seen by AFP on Thursday (April 19).

    The woman argued that her “religious beliefs” prevented her from shaking hands with a senior official presiding over the citizenship ceremony in the southeastern Isere region in June 2016, as well as with a local politician.

    The government said her behaviour showed she was “not assimiliated into the French community” – one of the reasons it can invoke under the civil code to oppose citizenship for the spouse of a French national.

    The woman, who has been married to a Frenchman since 2010, appealed the April 2017 decision, calling it an “abuse of power”.

    But the Council of State, the court of last appeal in such matters, ruled the government “had not improperly applied” the law.

  • Fashion in Saudi Arabia

    As the Kingdom opens its gates to Arab Fashion Week next week, it is in the throes of a fashion revolution, experts and local Saudi women say.

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    In the last year women have gone from wearing black robe-like dresses, or abayas, with full-face coverings, to more colourful versions of the cloak, with many women even starting to ditch the veil, Hanadi al Hindi, Saudi Arabia’s first ever female pilot told Verdict.

    Wearing the hijab has become optional, nobody does. In the last year you can see a lot of women outside in the restaurants, for example, they are not covering their face or their hair.

    Since Mohammed bin Salman’s ascent to next in line to the Saudi throne, in June 2017, he has passed a fleet of new laws, to empower women, and open up society to entertainment.

    “Every day we hear something new. We are waiting every day for new changes,” Hanadi said.

    But the big shift for fashion came in October 2017, when the crown prince curbed the power of the feared religious police who patrolled streets and malls, enforcing strict Shariah-compliant dress-codes.

    “Now the Crown Prince Mohammed [pictured below] , God bless him, he put limitations on them [the religious police] that they don’t have the authority they used to have. It’s become much different,” she told Verdict.

    They cannot chase people, they cannot ask you to cover. Nothing!

    We don’t see them any more at all, at all. We can’t believe it,” she said, speaking from Mecca city in western Saudi Arabia, home of the most sacred mosque in Islam, the Kaaba.

    I have been living in this country for the whole of my life. I have never seen Saudi Arabia the same as it is now. We walk in the streets, we go everywhere, we feel like we have rights, it’s different.

    The whole idea is before Saudi women were wearing black robes, this was our image around the world, now our robes are changing.
    According to Hanadi, fashion trends in the Kingdom started to shift around four years ago, when the full black dress and full-face covering (niqab) that Saudi women “wore everywhere” started becoming less common.

    “Now we have our make-up on, we have our lashes, everything! I am describing myself right now,” said Hanadi – who flew jets in billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s private fleet for ten years.

    In a recent interview with CBS news network the Saudi Crown Prince said that women wearing full black head covering and abaya was not enshrined in law.

    “The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men.

    “This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”

    Arab Fashion week
    Hanadi al Hindi, Saudi Arabia’s first ever female pilot

    “A great platform for local and regional designers”
    ‘Halal fashion’ that is compliant with Islamic law, hits the catwalk for the opening of Saudi Arabia’s first ever fashion week on 26 March in the capital Riyadh.

    Usually held in Dubai, Arab Fashion Week is poised to be a platform for local and regional designers to showcase their latest fashions, senior analyst at Euromonitor International, Amna Abbas said.

    It will also draw designers from the west, whose wildly marketable Halal fashion ranges, have been flying off the shelves at Nike stores and Marks and Spencer since as early as 2016, Abbas said.

    “In the western world modest wear is already increasing its presence with brands such as Debenhams selling hijabs and Marks and Spencer selling Burkinis. Marks and Spencer also has a modest section in its store in the United Arab Emirates too now,” she told Verdict from Dubai.

    Abbas marvelled at a new dawn where east and west fashion worlds have converged, with models donning modest, Islamic-inspired collections strutting down western runways from London to New York.

    “Even, luxury brands, such as Dolce and Gabbana debuted its first Abaya and Sheila collection in 2016 and followed another of its range in spring of 2017. Therefore, this shows key areas of opportunities for local and western designers,.

    “The event is a great platform for local and regional designers to display their fashion taste and latest designs at the same time provide western designers the opportunity to cater to the region.”

    Dubai’s consumer cathedrals
    When it comes to fashion and malls, the Kingdom can’t hold a candle to fashion capital of region, Dubai, where sprawling mirror-walled consumer cathedrals dominate the desert skyline, and tourists flock from around the world to shop in Dubai’s ‘world’s biggest mall’.

    In Saudi Arabia the apparel and footwear market hit $17 billion in 2017, according to Euromonitor International, a figure dwarfed by the UK whose fashion, apparel and footwear market reached around $79 billion in 2017.

  • Islam and cryptocurrency, halal or not halal?

    In Dubai’s decades-old Gold Souq, customers from around the world haggle over bangles and necklaces. Elsewhere in the emirate, the region’s top centre for gold trade, bullion is playing a new role in financial engineering.

    A local start-up company founded last year, OneGram, is issuing a gold-backed cryptocurrency – part of efforts to convince Muslims that investing in cryptocurrencies complies with their faith.

    The global surge of interest in bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies extends into the Gulf and Southeast Asia, the main centres of Islamic finance.

    But because they are products of financial engineering and objects of speculation, cryptocurrencies sit uneasily with Islam. Islamic law principles, in addition to banning interest payments, emphasize real economic activity based on physical assets and frown on pure monetary speculation.

    Halal or not halal
    The speculative nature of cryptocurrencies has triggered debate among Islamic scholars over whether cryptocurrencies are religiously permissible. Cryptocurrency companies are seeking to sway the debate by launching instruments based on physical assets and certified as valid by Islamic advisors.

    Each OneGram cryptocurrency unit is backed by at least a gram of physical gold stored in a vault. The idea is to limit speculation.

    “Gold was among the first forms of money in Islamic societies, so this is appropriate,” said Ibrahim Mohammed, the Briton who founded the firm with other investors last year.

    “We are trying to prove rules and regulations from sharia are fully compatible with digital blockchain technology.”

    Tens of millions of dollars worth of the currency has been issued so far. About 60 percent of the planned number of coins remains to be sold; OneGram hopes to issue them all before listing them on exchanges around the end of May.

    OneGram obtained a ruling that its cryptocurrency conforms with Islamic principles from Dubai-based Al Maali Consulting.

    It is one of dozens of advisory firms around the world that offer their opinion on whether financial instruments meet Islamic law standards.

    In Malaysia, HelloGold launched an initial offer of its gold-backed cryptocurrency in October, receiving approval from Islamic scholars at Kuala Lumpur-based Amanie Advisors.

    Manuel Ho, HelloGold’s chief marketing officer, said its coin was Islamic as transactions occurred within a defined period, making them less volatile and addressing the issue of ambiguity of pricing.

    Among other experiments, United Arab Emirates-based Halal Chain conducted an initial coin offer in December which is linked to data on Islamically permissible goods.

    Islamic law committees
    Only around 20 to 30 percent of banking in the Gulf and Southeast Asia follows Islamic principles; many Muslims use conventional finance if it offers higher returns or more convenience.

    But the issue of religious permissibility is influential and could determine whether Islamic funds and institutions, which are formally committed to the principles of Islamic law, deal in cryptocurrencies.

    “One of the biggest difficulties is that there is so much to talk about, and so little certainty in the way crypto will be playing out,” said Ziyaad Mahomed of HSBC Amanah in Malaysia. He chairs its Sharia Committee, which oversees Islamic transactions.

    National “sharia authorities” have not ruled on whether cryptocurrencies are permissible, and while several global bodies recommend standards for Islamic finance, none has the authority to impose them. Many governments seem ambivalent, worried about the potential for instability, but unwilling to lose the chance of benefiting from new technology.

    The Saudi Arabian and UAE central banks warned their citizens about the risks of trading bitcoin but have not imposed outright bans.

    That leaves Islamic investors to choose between sometimes conflicting judgments by scholars at advisory firms, financial companies and academic institutions.

    One of the earliest rulings came in 2014, when California-based academic Monzer Kahf, a prominent author of Islamic finance textbooks, deemed bitcoin a legitimate medium of exchange, though vulnerable to manipulation.

    Since then, Islamic jurists in South Africa have ruled in favour of cryptocurrencies, arguing they have become socially acceptable and commonly used, said Mahomed.

    In October, however, the Durban-based Darul Ihsan Centre refrained from endorsing them, citing concern over potential pyramid schemes. Some scholars in Turkey, India and Britain have labelled them impermissible; Egypt’s Grand Mufti declared in January they should not be traded.

    Complicating the debate is the fact that there are hundreds of digital coins or tokens, each with unique features related to distribution, mining and trading, said Farrukh Habib, research officer at Malaysia-based International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance.

    “They are also very different in terms of their underlying commodities, projects or businesses, so it’s not appropriate to have a blanket sharia ruling for all,” said Habib. He is involved in a project to categorise cryptocurrencies based on sharia-compliance criteria.

    “Most of the existing sharia rulings either deal with only bitcoin or include all types of cryptocurrencies, disregarding their peculiarities.”

    Another problem is that many Islamic law scholars have trouble understanding the complexities of digital currencies, said Harris Irfan, managing director at Cordoba Capital in London.

    “I would caution against accepting any fatwas from community scholars on the subject of fiqh al-mu’amalat, the jurisprudence of transactions, which is a highly complex area of sharia.”

    Irfan chairs the UK Islamic Fintech Panel, a think-tank that is drafting guidelines for accreditation of sharia-compliant fintech products, including cryptocurrencies.

    Mahomed said some degree of consensus had emerged globally that cryptocurrencies were a form of wealth, or maal – one step towards acceptance.

    But scholars have yet to rule conclusively on whether cryptocurrencies are in fact currencies. This is important for Islamic tax payments called zakat, and for inheritances.

    “Overall, more evidence is needed to reach a consensus, at least until higher bodies pronounce themselves on the issue, such as the Islamic Fiqh Academy,” Mahomed said, referring to an influential Jeddah-based institution.

    Abdulqahir Qamar, director of the Fatwa Department at the Fiqh Academy, told Reuters that the academy had not issued any resolutions on cryptocurrencies but was planning to discuss the subject during one of its official sessions this year.

    While there is no firm timeframe, the academy will also seek to organise seminars with scholars on the matter, he said.

  • Medicines advice for patients observing a halal diet

    The UK prides itself on its rich and diverse population, within which many religious and personal beliefs are observed. Many of these beliefs may be associated with dietary restrictions, so it is important to consider religious or personal beliefs when prescribing and dispensing medicines for patients.

    Islam: eating and drinking
    Islam is the second most-practised religion in the UK, and makes up 4.4% of the total population1. In Islam, prohibitions are specified either by a verse of the Qur’an (holy scriptures) or authentic and explicit Sunnah (teachings) of the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which form the Islamic Law (Shariah).

    “Therefore eat of that on which Allah’s name has been mentioned if you are believers in His verses.” (Qur’an 6:118).

    These laws give Muslims the freedom to eat and drink all food and drinks that are not prohibited (haram)2; however, it should never be assumed that every individual is compliant with all the practices within Islam, so healthcare professionals are advised to consult with each patient as an individual and ascertain their views and beliefs before a treatment plan is put in place.

    The meaning of halal, haram, mushbooh and tayyib
    Halal means lawful or legal. Halal ingredients are vegetables, plants, fish, meat, fat or gelatin from a halal animal (which was slaughtered according to Shariah rules).

    Haram is the opposite of halal. Examples include foods, constituents and pharmaceuticals that contain pork, alcohol, and animals not slaughtered in the Shariah way3.

    In Arabic, mushbooh means ‘doubtful things’. Constituents, food and pharmaceuticals that are mushbooh have been classed as neither halal nor haram, but Muslims are advised to stay away from them. Individuals should seek advice from their religious scholars if there no other options are available; personal situations and circumstances may vary.

    Tayyib refers to a particular good or product that is clean, pure and produced using standard processes and procedures. A pharmaceutical product should not only be Halal, but also deemed clean and quality assured according to Shariah law. This is also expected for pharmaceuticals under the UK licensing law.

    Pharmaceutical constituents that are halal or haram
    Pharmaceutical products that contain ingredients permitted under the Shariah law, and fulfil the following conditions, are considered halal (permissible)4,5:

    The product does not contain any parts or products of animals that are non-halal, or any parts or products of animals that are not slaughtered according to Shariah law;
    The product is safe for consumption, non-poisonous, non-intoxicating and non-hazardous to health according to prescribed dosage.
    Emergency situations
    It is important to note that in life-threatening situations, haram products can become halal. The Shariah is very flexible, and non-halal medication can be given if there is no viable alternative and if the patient’s life depends on it, or if the patient would suffer significant morbidity by not taking the medication.

    Table: Examples of searches within SPCs to identify constituents of UK-licensed medications that may be considered haram by Muslims6
    Advanced search term Product listed eMedicines Compendium section Relevant information
    Porcine Creon 40,000 capsules 5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties Contains porcine pancreatin formulated as enteric-coated (acid-resistant) mini-microspheres within gelatin capsules
    Curosurf 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition One 1.5 ml vial contains 120mg of phospholipid fraction from porcine lung (poractant alfa)
    Defitelio 80mg/ml solution for infusion 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition Produced from porcine intestinal mucosa
    Fluenz Tetra nasal spray 6. List of excipients Gelatin (porcine, type A)
    Fragmin 5,000 IU 5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties Produced from porcine-derived heparin sodium
    Hypurin porcine Active ingredients Insulin, porcine insulin, pork insulin
    Pancrease HL 5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties Porcine-derived pancreatic enzymes (lipases, proteases, and amylases)
    Pancrex 5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties Porcine-derived pancreatic enzymes (lipases, proteases, and amylases
    Pork Hypurin Porcine 30/70 mix cartridges Active ingredients Insulin, porcine insulin, pork insulin
    Bovine Hypurin bovine isophane cartridges Active ingredients Beef insulin, bovine insulin, insulin.
    InductOs (dibotermin alfa) 6.1 List of excipients Bovine type I collagen
    NovoSeven 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use May contain trace amounts of mouse IgG, bovine IgG and other residual culture proteins (hamster and bovine serum proteins)
    Alcohol Codeine phosphate syrup 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition Each 5ml of syrup contains 2.1 vol% of ethanol (alcohol)
    Daktarin oral gel 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use This medicinal product contains small amounts of ethanol (alcohol), less than 100mg per dose
    Ethanol Diazepam 5mg/ml solution for injection 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition Ethanol 96% 100mg/ml
    Amitriptyline hydrochloride 25mg/5ml and 50mg/5ml oral solution 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition Approximately 10.5mg ethanol in 5mL of solution
    Co-trimoxazole for infusion 16 mg/80mg per ml 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition 13.2 vol% ethanol (alcohol) per 5 ml
    Priadel liquid 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition 211mg of ethanol 96% per 5ml solution
    Further information
    Patients who are unsure whether a particular medicinal product is halal or haram should seek advice from their local imam. Local imams can also offer advice to healthcare professionals.

    Medicines information services can be useful when investigating whether products available in the UK are suitable for Muslim patients, and the services can also suggest alternative options.

    The Muslim Council of Britain can also answer specific enquiries or concerns from patients or healthcare professionals. Find out more at:

    Office for National Statistics. 2011 Census. Available at: (accessed April 2018)
    Sarriff A & Abdul-Razzaq HA. Exploring the halal status of cardiovascular, endocrine, and respiratory group of medications. Malays J Med Sci 2013;20(1):69–75. PMID: 23785257
    Selamat Datang Ke Portal Rasmi MyHEALTH, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Halal and haram medicines (Islamic perspective). Available at: (accessed April 2018)
    National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau. Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Halal pharmaceuticals: a regulator’s perspective. Available at: (accessed April 2018)
    Halim MAA, Salleh MMM, Kashim MIAM et al. Halal pharmaceuticals: legal, Shari’ah issues and fatwa of drug, gelatine and alcohol. Int J Asian Soc Sci 2014;4(12):1176–1190
    Specialist Pharmacy Service. What factors to consider when advising on medicines suitable for a Halal diet? Available at: (accessed April 2018)
    Nadia Bukhari is senior teaching fellow in pharmacy practice, UCL School of Pharmacy.

  • Working a supermarket where they sell Alcohol

    Recent question answered on working a supermarket where they sell alcohol

    السلام عليكم ورحمة اللهِ وبركاته

    Whilst Working for a non Muslim who sells alcohol as part of his business or haram meat, it is permissible in shariah for you to handle it for selling e.g. at a checkout etc, as part of your employment with the non Muslim. Non muslims are ghayr mukallaf and not bound by shariah and since you are employed by the non Muslim, you are obliged to do whatever the owner requests. As long as the selling of alcohol is not the main business.

    You are not profiting from the sale of the alcohol/haram but are simply handling it as part of your employment duties.

    This is the position of Imam Azam Abu Hanifa.

    Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

    By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin

  • Is platinum halal or haram?

    Unfortunately platinum cannot be worn by men. In recent times platinum has become an alternative to gold for men to wear. However platinum cannot be worn by men in the same way gold cannot. So as jewellery: rings etc, it cannot be worn in the same way gold cannot.

    It can however, be used for the same purposes gold can, which is as a use for another purpose other than jewellery or use which is based on other than itself. An example of this is platinum buttons. Buttons are used to fasten a shirt, the purpose is not as jewellery adornment or the buttons themselves. Or likewise, a platinum watch strap, the purpose of which is to hold the actual watch face. Without buttons, the shirt cannot function, without the strap, the watch cannot be worn. Therefore in these situations the said metals can be used since they are to support the function of another item and not jewellery and use is not based on the zaat of the metal. (Where use is maqsood bi’zaat, it is HARAM to wear/use and where use is bi’tabba, it is permissible halal).

    But.. To clarify once again, jewellery made from platinum (and of course gold) cannot be worn.

    Now the illa for this:

    There are several ahadith quoted by Allama Ibn Abideen in fatawah shami, also quoted in the text of durr Al mukhtar and mentioned in Hidaya and also Mabsut and kanz ul daqa’iq, just to mention a few, but the most pertinent ahadith state the following.

    1) Narrated by Sayyedena Burayda R.A. A companion entered the majestic presence and company of Rasoolallah ﷺ and he was wearing a ring made from iron. Rasoolallah ﷺ said: why do I find the ornaments of hellfire on you? The companion immediately took of his ring and asked: Ya Rasoolallah ﷺ , what should I where a ring of? The Beloved ﷺ replied: wear a ring of silver, less than one mishkaal.

    2) A companion entered the holy domain of the Beloved of Allah’s ﷺ presence wearing a ring of copper or brass. The Prophet ﷺ asked: why is it I can smell hellfire on you? Immediately the companion removed the ring.

    Allama Ibn Abideen and the other akaabir fuqaha narrate that on this basis, Imam Azam, sahibayn and all akaabir fuqaha have ruled that the only material a man can wear as a ring is silver. And in fact other jewellery should not be worn. They rule that iron, copper, brass are all explicitly haram along with gold. All other metals other than silver, including platinum are implicitly haram. It is actually the amr/order of Rasoolallah ﷺ that only silver should be worn as a ring, and that too less than one mishkaal which is 4.37g!

    Some modern fuqaha have done qiyaas on gold to rule platinum as haram. Whilst there is jawaz for this reasoning, above is the actual reason that fuqaha have ruled platinum as haraam.

    So platinum is haram for men…

    Rasoolallah ﷺ wore a ring of silver which was less than one mishkaal and was used as the famous seal of prophethood.

    Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

  • White wine vinegar Halal or Haram

    Q: اسلام عليكم و رحمةالله وبركاته

    Is white wine vinegar allowed/halal?

    A: وعليكم اسلام

    White wine vinegar, as its name suggests is ‘vinegar’. Acetic acid. The ‘OH’ group of the alcohol has been oxidised to ‘OOH’ which is vinegar. Even though there may be trace amounts of the alcohol in the substance, it displays the qualities and characteristics of vinegar rather than wine.

    Consequently it has undergone a transformation which in Islam Law changes the ruling applied to it.

    So the ruling applied to the alcohol white wine, would be haram, but when the white wine undergoes a chemical transformation and results in the production of white wine vinegar, the ruling changes so that the new wine vinegar now becomes halal.

    Please note all vinegars (whether malt vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar etc etc etc) are manufactured from an alcoholic base which would be haram to consume but once transformed to vinegar, it not only becomes halal but in fact this new product, the vinegar, is actually Sunnah!

    Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

    By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin

  • KFC – Is it really Halal?

    The Official Information by KFC who have some Halal branches around the UK which are certified by HFA. We leave the decision as always to the public if you want to consume at these places.

    At KFC we listen to our customers to help us to evolve our menu and the choices we offer. For some time, we have received requests to provide halal food in parts of the UK and as a result of this, we are running a halal trial within communities where we anticipate a strong demand for halal products.

    Find out if the store near you is Halal certified at

    We have worked with the Halal Food Authority to understand the requirements involved in supplying and producing halal approved products. We are delighted that the HFA have certified KFC’s products in these stores, and the store environments, as halal.

    Another key consideration for us was that we were able to ensure that the halal certified chicken would also meet the rigorous animal welfare standards we employ in the UK, and we consulted leading animal welfare groups about this. We are pleased to say that there will be no compromise to our welfare standards.

    We continue to insist that our poultry is stunned before slaughter, using a technique called ‘stun-to-stun’. We only buy high quality, Grade A, farm-assured chicken from trustworthy suppliers, who are contractually required to meet or exceed all relevant UK and EU legislation and this will not change.

    You will find that our food is just as tasty and finger lickin’ good as it has always been!

    Feedback from consumers has indicated that there is significant demand for halal food from KFC, and we’ve chosen these stores as they are in areas where we expect demand for halal restaurants. Wherever possible, we have taken steps to ensure that these restaurants are within a 7 mile radius of a non-halal store in order to cater to all of our customers’ needs.

    There is no set time frame. We will evaluate both customer feedback and the commercial success of the trial to establish whether it is something we will continue with. During this time, we expect our trial to evolve, and some stores may join or leave the trial.

    There will be no change to the great taste of our products. ‘Halal’ is an Arabic word which simply means ‘permitted’ or ‘allowed’. For our chicken to be halal accredited, a verse is recited from the Qu’ran by an appropriate person at the point of slaughter. All non-halal products will be removed from the relevant restaurants. This includes pork products, bacon will not be served in our halal trial stores. The Big Daddy is the only item out of more than forty on our menu that our halal stores will not be serving.

    See the list of participating stores using our store locator. Our halal restaurants will also feature the HFA (Halal Food Authority) logo on the door.

    We have chosen a number of stores that are located within areas where we anticipate demand for a halal offer from KFC. However, we are committed to offering our customers choice and there is a non-trial restaurant in close proximity. The restaurant manager will be able to provide you with the address details should you need them.

    For our fresh Original Recipe chicken on the bone, we are buying from a reputable supplier who has been audited and accredited by the HFA to ensure that their systems and processes fully comply with halal requirements. We will continue to purchase only high quality, A-Grade farm assured chicken from the same leading suppliers used by Britain’s’ major retailers. All of our suppliers, whether halal or otherwise, are contractually required to meet or exceed all UK and EU legislation on welfare.

    No, not at all. We will always only purchase high quality, Grade A, farm-assured chicken from the same leading suppliers used by Britain’s major retailers. We remain committed to the same animal welfare standards and continue to insist that our poultry is stunned before slaughter, using a technique called ‘stun-to-stun’ – a pain free process that makes the animal insensible to pain and suffering. All our suppliers are contractually required to meet or exceed all relevant UK and EU legislation.

    The HFA accredits a significant number of restaurants and food suppliers in the UK to ensure that the edicts and requirements for halal accreditation are strictly followed and adhered to. The three main requirements for halal accreditation are:

    The animal/bird is not dead prior to slaughter All blood is drained A verse from the Qu’ran is read by an appropriate person at the time of slaughter.

    Yes, due to our strict animal welfare standards, we insist that all our poultry is stunned before slaughter. Our halal chicken has been accredited by the Halal Food Authority, one of the most widely recognised bodies in the UK and overseas. It allows the use of a technique called ‘stun-to-stun’ – a pain free process that makes the animal insensible to pain and suffering. A verse is also recited from the Qu’ran at the point of slaughter by an appropriate person and the poultry will not come into contact with non-halal meat at any point in the supply chain. The HFA accreditation which is clearly signposted in the participating restaurants allows us to offer halal accredited meat whilst remaining committed to the same animal welfare standards as before, which meet or exceed all relevant UK and EU legislation.

    No, we work with our suppliers and the HFA to ensure that our birds are hand slaughtered maintaining the highest levels of animal welfare. If you have further questions, please call our Customer Careline on 08457 532 532.

  • Keeping Bad Company

    Continuing on from the same theme as previous weeks I would like to talk about keeping bad company and what effect this has on a persons Imaan.
    Unnecessary companionship is a chronic disease that causes much harm. How often have the wrong kind of companionship and intermixing deprived people of Allah’s generosity, planting discord in their hearts which even the passage of time-even if it were long enough for mountains to be worn away-has been unable to dispel. In keeping such company one can find the roots of loss, both in this life and in the next life.

    A servant should benefit from companionship. In order to do so he should divide people into four categories, and be careful not to get them mixed up, for once one of them is mixed with another, then evil can find its way through to him:

    The *FIRST* category are those people whose company is like food: it is indispensable, night or day. Once a servant has taken his need from it, he leaves it be until he requires it again, and so on. These are the people with knowledge of Allah-of His commands, of the scheming of His enemies, and of the diseases of the heart and their remedies- who wish well for Allah, His Prophet SAW and His servants. Associating with this type of person is an achievement in itself.

    The *SECOND* category are those people whose company is like a medicine. They are only required when a disease sets in. When you are healthy, you have no need of them. However, mixing with them is sometimes necessary for your livelihood, businesses, consultation and the like. Once what you need from them has been fulfilled, mixing with them should be avoided.

    The *THIRD* category are those people whose company is harmful. Mixing with this type of person is like a disease, in all its variety and degrees and strengths and weaknesses. Associating with one or some of them is like an incurable chronic disease. You will never profit either in this life or in the next life if you have them for company, and you will surely lose either one or both of your deen and your livelihood because of them. If their companionship has taken hold of you and is established, then it becomes a fatal, terrifying sickness.

    Amongst such people are those who neither speak any good that might benefit you, nor listen closely to you so that they might benefit from you. They do not know their souls and consequently put their selves in their rightful place. If they speak, their words fall on their listeners’ hearts like the lashes of a cane, while all the while they are full of admiration for and delight in their own words.

    They cause distress to those in their company, while believing that they are the sweet scent of the gathering. If they are silent, they are heavier than a massive millstone-too heavy to carry or even drag across the floor. ( Ash-Shafi’, may Allah be pleased with him, is reported to have said, “Whenever a tedious person sits next to me, the side on which he is sitting feels lower down than the other side of me.”)

    All in all, mixing with anyone who is bad for the soul will not last, even if it is unavoidable. It can be one of the most distressing aspects of a servant’s life that he is plagued by such person, with whom it may be necessary to associate. In such a relationship, a servant should cling to good behaviour, only presenting him with his outward appearance, while disguising his inner soul, until Allah offers him a way out of his affliction and the means of escape from this situation.

    The *FOURTH* category are those people whose company is doom itself. It is like taking poison: its victim either finds an antidote or perishes. Many people belong to this category. They are the people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah SAW and advocate other beliefs. They call what is the Sunnah a bid’a and vice-versa. A man with any intellect should not sit in their assemblies nor mix with them. The result of doing so will either be the death of his heart or, at the very best, its falling seriously ill.

    May Allah SWT give us the strength to search out the first category and to sit in their company.

  • Alcohol Flavourings and Vanilla Extracts Clarification

    Alcohol in Flavourings
    Most food products nowadays contain some type of flavouring – natural, artificial, or a combination of both. Many of these flavourings contain alcohol, which is used as a carrier or solvent for the flavouring.
    The actual amount of alcohol in the finished food product may vary, but it is usually around 0.5% or less, as the alcohol evaporates during the production process. Items such as drinks and ice creams can contain a bit more, since no evaporation takes place. Such a small amount of alcohol is not required to be declared on the ingredients declaration on the packaging of the product.
    The Foodguide follows the opinion of major contemporary Hanafi scholars including the venerable Mufti Yusuf Sacha of the UK (highly acclaimed foods expert) and Mufti Ashraf Usmani of Pakistan. The fatwa in our times is that synthetic alcohols (and all alcohol not sourced from dates and grapes) in foods and otherwise is pure (tahir), and permitted to use and consume on the conditions that:
    (a) it is not used as an intoxicant;

    (b) it is not used as intoxicants are used (i.e. for alcoholic consumption, even a little);

    (c) it is not used in an amount that intoxicates;

    (d) it is not used in vain (lahw).

    Courtesy: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
    This verdict applies to alcoholic flavourings only (based on need and necessity and common predicament) and not where alcohol is added as an ingredient in a product. In that case, regardless what the source of the alcohol is, it is not permissible.
    The verdict of many contemporary ‘Ulama is based on sources of Hadith which infer that alcohol from dates and grapes are regarded as Khamr (intoxicants categorically mentioned in the Qur’aan), and that other alcohols will not be termed as ‘khamr’ in the technical sense and thus not impure.
    The Hadith from Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Nasai, Ibn Majah says that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam said:
    “Khamr is from these two trees: dates and grapes”.

    (I’laus sunan Vol.18 Pg.26)
    This is the view propounded by the Foodguide service and rest assured that it is of sound Hanafi scholarship.
    Nevertheless, if you are a follower of a Maz-hab (school of thought) other than the Hanafi School or you prefer to refrain from such products on the basis of Taqwa, then that will be praiseworthy.
    We will try to facilitate such persons by indicating which products are affected on this web-site as far as possible. You should contact the company before consuming as alcohol flavouring is a common process.
    Alcohol Extracts Clarification

    “Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin as the primary ingredient. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water. In the United States, in order for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that the solution contains a minimum 35% of alcohol and 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean per gallon.[1] Double and triple strength (up to 20-fold) vanilla extracts are available.

    Vanilla extract is the most common form of vanilla used today. Mexican, Tahitian, Indonesian and Bourbon vanilla are the main varieties. Bourbon vanilla is named for the period when the island of Réunion was ruled by the Bourbon kings of France; it does not contain Bourbon whiskey.

    Natural vanilla flavoring is derived from real vanilla beans with little to no alcohol. The maximum amount of alcohol that is usually present is only 2%-3%. Also on the market is imitation vanilla extract, a wood by-product usually made by soaking alcohol into wood which contains vanillin. The vanillin is then chemically treated to mimic the taste of natural vanilla.”

    This is a Tescos Email Seasoning Supplier response.

    Paprika Extract – Solvent Extraction

    Yeast Extracts: Yeast 1 is autolysed using heat, the insoluble portion is extracted using centrifugation, leaving the soluble portion of the yeast.

    Yeast 2 is not extracted as such and is classed as a whole autolysed yeast. The live yeast is heated with salt so the yeast plasmolyses and then the whole mixture is dried over heated rollers.

    There are no solvents or alcohols used in either process.

    Based on the above information I’m not certain that we could say that this product is suitable for you; the Yeast Extracts are ok, however the Paprika Extract ingredient supplier hasn’t specifically confirmed that alcohol isn’t used only that a ‘solvent extraction’ process is used.

    However, even if any alcohol was present via the Paprika Extract it would only be at an exceptionally low level (i.e. trace) in the finished product.

    If alcohol is used in extraction of the seasoning extracts, it would be at trace level, which is something around 0.001 percent.

    Hope this helps.

    —–End of Email—

    “It is not permissible for a person to consume such bread or biscuits (whose dough was made using alcohol). However, it will be permissible to consume them if it cannot be avoided because of the presence of certain narrations [in the Hanafi Madhab].

    (Imdadul Fatawa 4:118)2

    Majmu’ Rasaail Saqqaaf (pg. 549)

    Without doubt, alcoholic extracts or otherwise derived from dates or grapes are Haraam and filthy. However, alcohols which are derived from other substances are pure. The Ulamaa have ruled on this view because of necessity or public predicament (Umoom-e-Balwa.)
    Flavourings from dates and grapes?
    Alhumdulillah, to date from over 15 years of experience in the field, we have yet to come across flavourings sourced from dates and grapes in the UK market.
    We don’t issues fatwas at the drop of the hat, but pertinent information is necessary for a decision. Furthermore, we do not charge the companies or consumers for this service, it is totally a Lillah service.

    To summarise:
    Alcoholic Flavourings: They are permissible due to necessity and public predicament as they are so widely used in the food industry.
    Alcohol Extracts e.g. (vanilla, yeast and others): They are permissible due to necessity and public predicament as they are so widely used in the food industry.

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