Halal Science and Shariah


Nor Amin Mohd Noor
Chairman,Global Haltech

Halal science and shariah work hand-in to explore a lot more in strengthening Halal itself


HALAL SCIENCE VERSUS SHARIAH, WHICH COMES FIRST? The phrase indicates science and shariah are competing with each other. This thought and mindset should be properly managed.

Then it may cause an unhealthy situation and confuse the industry and public on which one takes priority to proceed for ensuring of Halal status product. Thus, Halal science definition needs to be elaborate, and the scope covered by Halal science needs to be specified for harmony to strengthen the Halal certification process itself.

Halal science generally is one of the Islamic sciences philosophy branches. Islamic science is too broad to discuss here, as Halal science itself has its scope to be touched. Halal Science can be defined as Halal Knowledge attained systematically through observation and experimentation study and practice to describe and explain the natural phenomena that relate to Halal practices. Discussion on the Halal sciences will focus on Halal analysis testing on prod­ucts used as scientific proof for Halal status products.

Discussion on Halal science here wil focus on Halal analysis for a range of ingre­dients and finished products in the market. Reason for doing so is to ensure that the part used for the finished product is free of pork and not exceed the limit for alcohol screening. Apart from components, finished products are analysed to ensure the status of Halal certified product. As for alcohol screening, the allowable limit authorised by Halal authority is less than 0.5 per cent for additives and one per cent for ingredients and finished products.

“When talking about the Halal certification process, the most important thing to know is whether the ingredients or products contained any haram source, which is porcine and alcohol. Current practice by authority, all the ingredient and product status is verified during the Halal certification audit by attending to all related documentation and visiting production areas as well as the storage areas.”

The auditor will follow all the technical and shariah compliance during the audit. Bear in mind, the ingredient used for the production of finished products is contained so many things and sourced from different places. Thus, verification done on documents, production area and storage area is still not enough to fully ensure that ingredients will be certified Halal.

An analysis is needed to assist the Halal certification process. Then, when it comes to this practice,some people asked whether Halal review would be the final say for the status of ingredients to be certified which leads to the question of which takes prece­dence – Halal science or shariah?

It has to be clear here that Halal science is not trying to overrule shariah practices. Halal science through Halal analysis is just verification to ensure the ingredients are free of porcine as well as not exceed the limit for alcohol content and proven via scientific evidence. Shariah part are guidelines on how the manufacturer can comply for Halal cer­tification. Shariah part also will tell the do’s and don’ts regarding ingredients and fin­ished products which are guided by Islamic thoughts.

Whereas, Halal science through Halal analysis plays a role to provide the fact and evidence that the components to be verified comply with shariah guidelines. In other words,shariah is by conceptual,and it followed by the factual to prove by Halal science.

Halal science supposed to be part of Halal certification or both of this supposed to com­plement each other rather than competing with each other as was thought by certain people. In a flow of Halal certification pro­cess, it starts with pre-audit practice which is done by internal Halal committee.

Then this will be followed by a verification process which is done by the testing laboratory and finally certified by the authorised body in terms of Halal compliance. Hence, we can see that the science and shariah part are always together to ensure Halal compliance is fulfilled conceptually and factually. This will lead to the highest integrity of Halal certification process itself.

Halal science is also a tool to ensure all Halal certified ingredients or products remain Halal before they come to the next assessment. Meaning, during the two years towards subsequent evaluation under Halal certification guidelines, all those Halal ­certified products need to ensure they are always free of porcine and have not exceeded the limit of alcohol. Thus, in this case, Halal analysis can help through a monitoring programme.

The monitoring programmes can be practised through Halal study done on ingrectient and finished products for at least once a year or by production batches depends on the decision by the manu­facturer. The reason for this monitoring programme is because cross-contamination may happen during the Halal supply chain.

Thus, by having this programme, the Halalness of products will remain. Again, this is how Halal science can assist in Halal integrity.

Result of Halal analysis done on ingredi­ent and finished product also can be used to create a comprehensive ingredient database. The database created is on the status of ingredient and products result. This database then can be shared with Halal authority as a referral for the certification process as another contribution by Halal science to assist and strengthen the Halal certification process.

All of the above discussions are proof to show that Halal science and shariah are supposed to complement each other and be part of the Halal certification process flow. A lot more can be contributed by Halal science to enhance and strengthen the Halal certi­fication process to be practised at highest integrity. Issues of whether Halal science or shariah should come first should not arise.

Besides Halal analysis, Halal science also can contribute to other areas of Halal supply chain such as documentation, audit­ing, logistic, traceability, and so on. That’s why both Halal science and shariah should work hand-in-hand to explore a lot more in strengthening Halal itself.

That’s the importance of Halal science, that’s the value of the Halal logo, and that’s the beauty of lslam.