The world is changing rapidly, the Muslim population has been rising steadily, and currently, we have a total of 1.7 billion Muslims in the world and that number is growing at two times the rate of the global population growth. If this increases at the same rate then Muslims will be more than 25% of the world’s population by 2030.
This massive Muslim population boom has given an opportunity to strengthen the Islamic economy like never before. It has opened the avenues of commercialization of halal products at the global level and bringing halal-friendly or sharia-compliant services and products into the mainstream.
In 2016, at World Halal Conference, the Sultan of Perak-Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said the global ‘Halal’ industry is expected to triple to $6.4 trillion in couple of years and Islamic finance sector also projected to grow to over $6.7 trillion by 2020.
In the past few years, the term halal has become a massive buzzword and it has evolved to take on a new meaning altogether. It is baffling to see what used to be a concept about food and Islamic financing is now seen as a way of life across the world. This has sent ripple effects across all the industries and supply chains across the world, this ‘Halal’ trend is now stimulating billions of dollars in halal market expansion every year.
It has been observed that Muslims are demanding only sharia-compliant or Halal products or services, which led to this massive expansion of the Halal economy. Earlier it was only with ‘food’ but now Halal compliance is mandatory even for government-run companies like Air Indian and Indian Railways. This Halal certification has been extended to packaged foods, Pharmacies, housing projects, fashion products, hospitals, beauty products. It has been extended up to a great extent and any organization wishing to export their products to Islamic countries has to be Halal Certified.
What is Halal Economy, and how it is sizing up?
As per Quran, Halal is a pre-Islamic Arabic term that means ‘that which is permissible’. It is the opposite of another frequently used word, Haram, ‘that which is forbidden’. In simple words, we can say that Halal is anything that is permissible under the tenets of Islam.
Gradually, the Muslims are insisting more on consuming only Halal products as not following the Islamic guidelines is considered a ‘Sin’. That’s the major reason why every country has seen a rise in the production and supply of Halal products.
If we talk about India, which is not an Islamic country, but all the meat exported from India should be Halal certified, else it will be termed as Haram in Islamic countries. Muslims do sue MNC’s and won millions in damages for being served non-Halal foods, thereby ‘polluting’ them. This is why the Halal certification issue has gained ground, which ultimately increasing the Halal products and Halal economy at the same time.
The Halal economy, which started from Halal meat has now spread across all spectrums of the Industries. Muslims have understood that they need to tweak the rules and regulations to suit different sets of needs. It has been observed that something considered haram a few years ago has become halal now, just because that is suiting their agenda and long term vision of spreading the tentacles of Halal Economy.
For example, the use of loudspeakers to sound the ‘Azaan’ is haram as per Islamic scriptures’, but it has become a mainstream or ‘non-Haram’ the moment they realized that the loudspeaker can be a powerful tool in the spread of Islam.
How Halal Economy is occupying the Markets so aggressively?
As we have discussed above, this concept of Halal Economy has been spreading like a wildfire. Even the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is pushing this agenda with the collective of Islamic nations that caters to the needs of Muslims the world over. It is an Ummah (community) sans borders, which is working collectively to make Halal Economy a big success, and results are quite visible, as Halal has made inroads to many Industries across the world. Here are a few examples that may shock you.
We have numerous Organizations that are producing halal-certified cosmetics. These companies do not utilize non-halal ingredients such as gelatin and fatty acids and specific kinds of alcohol, in their products.
Daily is another area where Halal has made inroads. Any Dairy product like milk, yogurt, cheese, or ice cream will be called Halal only if these are taken from the animals, that are not injected with growth hormones and are treated humanely. For example, the Halal cheese, should not include animal rennet or pepsin, which is an enzyme used to curdle the milk, and sourced from non-halal animals.
Halal clothing is here for ages, which includes the clothing items that should cover most of the body for women and cover from the navel to the knee for men. Also, the raw material for clothing should be sourced from Halal items, only then the cloth will be considered Halal. For example, bags and shoes made from pig-skin leather are considered non-halal.
Several Medicine manufacturers are Halal certified and they offer Unani and other medicines to Muslim consumers.
Halal FMCG Items
We can see the Halal-certified foods at MNC food chains, even the food available at all airports are Halal certified. In fact, dry fruits, chocolates, sweets, grains, oil, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, kajal, nail polish, lipstick, and other FMCG and cosmetics get halal certification these days.
Halal Certified Apartments
Do you know, In Kochi, Kerala, we have the country’s first halal-certified apartment complex. This has been constructed as per sharia regulations, with separate swimming pools for men and women, separate prayer halls, washrooms that face away from Mecca, clocks that alert you to namaz timings, facility to broadcast the namaz into every house has been installed.
Halal Dating Websites
This may sound awkward, but they do have Halal dating websites, which help singles to meet and befriend each other in a sharia-compliant way. Well, this is interesting to know the sharia-compliant way of meeting before marriage.
Halal certified Travel & Hotels
To attract halal-conscious visitors, hotels in a few European countries have started removing alcoholic drinks from the minibar in guest rooms, providing prayer mats, and halal food options on the hotel’s restaurant.
Halal certified Muslim Dolls
Modest outfits specifically made for Barbie dolls are selling out in several European countries. These handmade ‘Hijarbie’ outfits come in casual and formal styles including ball gowns and wedding dresses.
Halal Certified hospital
You will be shocked to know that Global Health City, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is a halal-certified hospital. It claims to meet international standards of hygiene and dietary regulations as per the tenets of Islam. This helps the hospital cater to patients from over 50 Islamic countries.
Halal Media and Entertainment
This was something new, in recent years the Halal media and entertainment are also gaining traction in the Islamic World. The Halal Foodie on Discovery Networks’ Travel and Living Channel is a popular television show featuring a Muslim host traveling around Asia in search of the best halal food for Muslim travellers.
Don’t know if you are aware, but there is a sharia-compliant web browser called SalamWeb, and it is gaining massive popularity as an alternative for Muslims who want content aligned with Islamic values. Users can flag ‘Haram’ webpages, and the browser also comes with functions to remind Muslims of prayer times and kiblah, the direction Muslims face when praying.
Ummah forces Halal certification fees on Product Manufacturers
The halal economy tries to impose a wholly Islamic system in the production-to-consumer chain, but it is not easy to compete with existing giants in the industry. It would take an inordinate amount of time and energy to produce and market halal products that would meet or surpass existing products by leading brands. Nor is it possible for these companies to employ only Muslim employees when operating in non-Islamic countries. So they have been given some special ‘concessions’, namely, to pay a hefty fee to obtain a (renewable) halal certification, so that their products are certified for use by Muslims.
Global Ummah and Halal Economy
The Organization of the Islamic Conference has made non- Islamic nations like India, Nepal, China, obtain Halal certification from competent certifying authorities for products they wish to export to Islamic countries.
Halal Economy funding the ‘Jihad’
Islamic organizations are the biggest beneficiaries of the certification business. For instance, Jamiat Ulima-i-Hind charges Rs 20,000 for registration of an Indian company and Rs 500 for each product (GST charges are extra). Then there is a renewal fee of Rs 15,000 as the registration is valid only for one year. These religious organizations are the intermediaries between producers and consumers and charge a fee for their services which ensures regular income to them.
As the halal certification business grows each year, they acquire more and more money power, which can then be utilised in funding religious works furthering Islam’s influence. By demanding a simple religious obligation from its followers, Islam has created a massive ecosystem out of nothing simply by drawing on the commitment of the devout.
With the increasing awareness of consumers, health professionals and related organisations, together with the stronger need to meet consumer rights towards informed choice for a better quality of life with products which are safe, efficacious, of quality and hygienic whilst fulfilling their religious obligations, which will then translate into higher demand, more and more pharmaceutical companies will come on board the halal pharmaceutical industry, thus providing wider range of alternatives to meet such demand,”
The massive growth of the Halal Economy is a hard lesson for others to learn from this if they want to. Muslims are utilizing the power of numbers to further increase their political and economical clout in the world.
Others, specially Hindus should learn it, as they also enjoy huge numbers as fas as population is concerned.
This entire concept of Halal is indeed bigotry and discrimination against non-Muslims. It is a way to occupy an influential position in the world, and then they will set the rules of the game. They will control the economies and fuel the Jihad around the world by utilizing the massive wealth accumulated by Halal Economy.
We must be fought tooth and nail to prevent such unpleasant proposition in the future. We must learn from how Islam is utilizing the power of commitment of its followers to create an ecosystem to serve and further its cause to convert this world in a Darul-Ul-Islam.
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