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Halal Certification or Haram Certification?

The question in the Halal Product Guarantee Law, whether the product should be certified halal or certified haram, reappeared after several parties’ statements emerged that the product certification carried out should be an illegitimate certification, not halal certification as practiced so far, both in Indonesia and generally applicable in the world.

The same statement was actually made a few years ago. This paper attempts to provide responses to these questions and statements.

The party who argues that the illegitimate certificate that should be carried out underlies his opinion that the amount of illegitimate material is much less than that of halal material. Thus the number that needs to be certified is also less. Is that logic correct?

Halal, Haram and Syubhat Products

A hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslims mentions that “(Something) that is halal has been clear and that which is haram has also been clear, and between the two there is a matter of Syubhat (vaguely). Whoever keeps himself from the cause of the syubhat means that he has guarded his religion and honor. Whoever falls into the syubhat means that he has fallen in the illegitimate”.

This hadith expressly mentions that the illegitimate is clear,. This means that illegitimate materials do not actually need to be certified illegitimate. After all, in reality, there is no industry or restaurant that uses illegitimate ingredients such as pork, or an industry that produces liquor and then applies for an illegitimate certificate. There is no profit and benefit for them to apply for or obtain an illegitimate certificate.

On the contrary, the halal is also clear and also does not need to be certified halal. In the terminology of the halal certification process, these materials are grouped into a positive list group, which is material that is clearly halal and does not need to be certified halal, such as mining materials, fresh vegetables, fresh fish, and others (see on the www.halalmui.org page).

What actually needs to be certified is the material that is syubhat (vaguely) as stated in the hadith, that is, the material that is not or is not clear whether it is halal or haram. The certification process is basically the process of arriving at the decision of the unclear material in order to be clear, whether the material is clearly halal or clearly illegitimate.

The process is of course through an audit process (examination and / or testing) by a competent institution and a determination process (fatwa) by a recognized institution and has the authority to provide halal fatwas.

That illegitimate food and drink are less than kosher food and drink is true. The illegitimate foodstuffs and drinks according to the Quran are only carcasses, blood, pork, and animals slaughtered by not mentioning the name of Allah (Al Baqarah 173) and khamr (Al Maidah 90).

In addition, some hadiths also mention the monastic beasts (carnivores), animals that live in two realms (amphibians), disgusting animals, animals that are told to kill them, and animals that are forbidden to kill them.

But those who argue that the illegitimate ones are less may forget or may not know that the development of science and technology in the food field has caused the food and beverages we consume now, especially those made industrially, to become something syubhat.

In the manufacture of food and beverages, in addition to the main raw materials, there are also additives and processing aids. It could be that the main ingredient itself comes from an illegitimate material, or the main ingredient is a halal material but the additional ingredients or auxiliary ingredients come from illegitimate materials so that they are mixed between the halal and the illegitimate ones.

Or it is also possible that the production process facilities are used for halal materials and illegitimate materials so that halal materials are contaminated by illegitimate materials. Thus the status of industrial products becomes a syubhat product , that is, it has not been jalal its halalness. Therefore, the syubhat product needs to be clarified its halal status through the certification process.

Examples of Syubhat Products

Take one example, for example, ice cream that uses an emulsifier (emulsifying agent). An emulsifier is simply a chemical compound that at the same time has hydrophilic (water-loving) and hydrophobic or lipophilic (oil-loving) groups.

Emulsifiers are used as a material to unite between the oil phase and the water phase which is normally impossible to unite as the proverb “like oil with water”. With the addition of an emulsifier, the oil phase and the water phase can come together to form a homogeneous and stable emulsion. Emulsifiers are needed to maintain the stability of emulsions on ice cream and other product products that involve mixing two phases of water and oil.

Emulsifier applications are numerous in the fields of food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Emulsifier is one of the additives commonly encoded with E322 (lecithin), E471 (mono and glycerides of fatty acids), and E472 (ester compounds of monoglycerides of fatty acids). On social media, the issue developed that all these emulsifiers came from lard, even all the ingredients or most of the E-coded materials came from illicit materials.

The issue is certainly not entirely true either. The Code E does not mention the origin of ingredients such as fatty acids and glycerol used. Therefore, the fatty acids and glycerol used can come from vegetable (plant) fats or animal fats. In a country that consumes a lot of pork, it is common to use lard, which is a by-product of the pig farming industry, to become another product of economic value.

Emulsifiers derived from lard, or from the fats of animals that are not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law are certainly illegitimate ingredients. Clarity of the source of fat or other ingredients used can certainly be obtained through the certification process. Therefore, industrial products that have not been or are not certified, do not mean haram nor do they mean halal. Its status is syubhat, that is, it is not yet clear what its halalness or monasticism is.

Do you need an Illegitimate Certificate?

Well, the output of the certification process is is a halal certificate or an illegitimate certificate? Just like in an exam or testing process, a certificate is given to the person or product who passed the exam or test even though the number who did not pass was much less than the one who passed.

Therefore, halal certificates are given to products that pass the halal certification process, not illegitimate certificates to products that do not pass the halal certification process. In the world of education for example, isn’t a certificate of completion or diploma given to those who pass the exam, not a certificate of insincerity to those who do not pass the exam, although the number who do not pass is much less than that who passed?

So it is the reverse logic of what if an illegitimate certificate is given to those who do not pass the halal certification process. Or it is also too naïve if the illegitimate certificate is given to the obviously illegitimate, then considers the outside of it to be all automatically halal.

*) Prof. Khaswar Syamsu, PhD is a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Industrial Technology and a Research Staff at the Biological Resources and Biotechnology Research Center of IPB University.

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