Is Siput Sedut Halal?
Last week, a member of my usrah told me that somebody asked him “is Siput Sedut halal?”. Mmm, interesting question. What’s more interesting is why would somebody ask that kind of question? It won’t be important to me because after all, I don’t really like siput sedut. So, I asked him to sit down and took a book on Fiqh from my shelf (a volume of Fikh & Perundangan Islam by Sheikh Wahbah Zuhaili), and started reading aloud and explaining some of the fundamental laws on food, the differences of opinion between the school of thoughts and so on.
To conclude the discussion, before we start our weekly usrah session, I made these remarks: “The Malay Muslim is well-known in being particular about food. They would try their very best to avoid any food with traces of haram ingredients. They are too careful to the extent that they reject opinions of reputable scholars on basic issues such as slaughtering etc. They are fully committed to ensure that whatever they eat are free from unlawful ingredients, according to their understandings, which are sometimes unnecessarily extreme. However, it is also sad to know that these Malay Muslims are sometimes not careful on the sources of their income – whether or not it is free from haram sources, be it riba (usury) or any unlawful actions that they have been making in earning that income. It is sad indeed…”
Once a friend of mine was proud to tell me that he is going to install a machine to clean utensils using clay and water to establish Tahaarah. Is it really that necessary?
Another friend was telling me that in a kenduri , somebody asked the host, “where did you buy the chicken from? Are you sure that the chicken is slaughtered? As the host could not ascertain the slaughtering was according to the proper way, he declined to eat. Islamic teaching told us that if you are served by a fellow Muslim, you shouldn’t be asking that sort of questions.
Recently I came across a discussion on the use of DNA profiling in checking the food ingredients. They were saying that by using DNA profiling, any food containing sources that come from pigs can be detected. Wow, that’s fantastic isn’t it, for the technology savvy individuals. On a serious note, is it all that necessary. Perhaps they need to revisit the Islamic law on food.
I think we have gone too far!
What’s bothering me most is the trend that’s going on with the Halal Logo in Malaysia. Yes, Halal certification is important to guide the Muslims. It is also a means of control since many food manufacturers do not understand about halal and haram in food. But, I didn’t believe my eyes when I came across a Halal logo on rice packets and on a bottle of drinking water. My God, I think we have gone a bit too far!!!
Why do you need a halal certification for very straightforward food products such as rice and water? These actions would only add costs to the products that would later be paid by consumers. Now, why would somebody be so stringent on something that’s unnecessary? Perhaps it is due to the lack of understanding and/or knowledge on fiqh. Perhaps it is a marketing strategy so that when a Muslim see a halal logo, he’ll buy the product regardless of the price. It is in a way exploiting the consumer’s goodwill.
Islam teaches us to make our life easier not more difficult. “Yassiru walaa tuassiru”. Even in ibaadah, Allah provides us with some provisions to facilitate any difficulties that we might be facing. There are so many examples of that.
I was once joking to a friend, “In Malaysia, somebody can be doing something that is wrong or bid’ah and thinking that it is the teaching of the Shafiee Mazhab”. I think, the scholars that are teaching in the mosques and classes should focus on making the audience understand rather than knowing and following.
We need to inculcate the culture of learning so that, in the end we will achieve a condition whereby “everybody is knowledgeable in everything, but specialised in something.”