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South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)


The year-end party

No. 33 December 2009 : Thul Hijjah 1430

At the end of the day

It’s the season of "peace and goodwill" with malls already festooned with Christmas décor, jingles, flashing lights and fat men in white woolly beards and red suits chanting Ho!Ho!Ho!, It’s the season of the "thirteenth cheque" and bonuses, and it is also the time of year-end company party.

Islam has no objection to celebrations of gratitude, engendering of team spirit between co-workers and loyalty to the employer; as indeed these are noble attributes worthy of Muslims.  However, one must ensure it is done within the bounds of decency, morality and religious parameters.

Cognisance and effect must be given to the Shari'ah ruling of Haraam when alcohol is served and consumed, free intermingling of the sexes take places and Haraam food is served.

Companies are generally not unreasonable and understand that their success is dependent on happy clients and employees. No establishment willfully jeopardises this position and transgressions are usually made out of ignorance. Muslims ought to educate their employers on the tenets of Islam with wisdom and not with arrogance or as apologists. 

Chefs know from their training that the central basis of a good pumpkin, butternut or vegetable soup is beef or chicken stock, white wine is synonymous with fish dishes, meat dishes are flamed with brandy for"richness" and desserts, cake and ice cream, use gelatine, rum and wine as flavourants to name a few. Then there are problems with contamination of Halaal with non-Halaal products in areas of storage and preparation including the use of pork bristle brushes for basting, lard based pan release agents for baking utensils and so on; a veritable minefield.   

A well known international hotel group whose heiress is in the news for the wrong reasons, that caters for many year-end functions acknowledged the problem of Haraam contamination when they confirmed in writing to SANHA: "All our guests are advised that even though these products are purchased Halaal, we do not have the facility to have a separate kitchen with separate pots and utensils.  Similarly on this information, we mention to our guests that we are not certified Halaal although the products are in Halaal state when purchased.  However these products are in turn served from one central kitchen."

In the final analysis, the responsibility of consuming Halaal is an individual one. 

For a list of SANHA certified restaurants and caterers call our Helpline 0861 786 111


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