Through the ages, where people have lived together, there have always been issues of violating each other’s rights, oppressing the opponent or innocent and taking advantage from each other. As such, there always has been a need for organizations that will discriminate right from wrong, that will take from offender and will give to the innocent and sometimes punish the guilty. Kafalat (كَفَالَة) is one of those authorities.
Islamic legal order is a divine jurisprudence with its origin and root principles. This is the main aspect of Islamic legal system that differentiates it from all other legal systems and gives it superiority. As a result of this, Kafalat authority has been accepted as important and indispensable in all ages and in all territories.
How does this relate to our subject? In this complex industrial world, Muslims all over the world, regardless if they are minority or majority in their societies, are offered various types food, cosmetics and medical products. However, most of these industrial products have questionable sources or production methods according to Islamic rules. Thus, muslims are required to make sure consistency of their religious life and integrity of their community via competent authorities.
When we say competent authority, it has been observed and proven that many of the government bodies in Islamic or non-Islamic countries are not duly able to fulfill this enormous task. For this reason, individuals or independent bodies must take over this responsibility to protect the believers. Such a body or person is called Kafalat (كَفَالَة) in Islam.
Kafalat (كَفَالَة) in this context is the act of being guarantor on behalf of the producer (borrower) for the consumer (lender – payee). For the Kafalat system to be valid, consumers must trust in the Authority and suppliers or the producers must demand the guarantee of this Authority. Borrower here can be understood as the producer or distributor. Lender or Payee here is considered as the consumer of those products. Kafalat (كَفَالَة) Authority (also called Kefil) is the authority or person who inspects and makes sure these products are safe for consumers.
Kafalat (كَفَالَة) is based on Qur’an, Sunna and Ijma:
In Quran, there are verses that prove the existence of Kafalat;
So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. (Ali Imran 37)
Here Zechariah (pbuh) takes the responsibility of Maryam and makes Zechariah (pbuh) Kefil for Maryam.
They said, “We are missing the measure of the king. And for he who produces it is [the reward of] a camel’s load, and I am responsible for it.” (Yusuf,72)
Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) said:
‘’Guarantor (Kefil) is the one who takes the full responsibility of the debt (or liability). (Ebu Davut,Buyû;Tirmizi,Buyû,Vesâyâ;İbn-Mace,Sadaket; Ahmed bin Hanbel, Müsned)
‘’A corpse has been brought to Prophet (pbuh) for funeral (jenazah) prayer. He asked if the deceased had any heritage left behind. He was told, he didn’t. He again asked, “did he have any debt?”. They said, “he owed two dinars to somebody”. Prophet (pbuh) told them to make the jenazah prayer instead him leading the prayer. Ebu Katâde said: ’Allah’s messenger, I take the responsibility of his debt (two dinars)’. Prophet (pbuh) then made his janazah prayer.’’(Buhari, Hav’al’at;Eş- Şevkânî, Neylü’l-Evtâr)
Fiqh Ulama (Scholars of Islamic Law) have a consensus on Kafalat and as per their conclusion, Kafalat is permitted. Kafalat based on good will is considered as a good deed. Here, Kefil (the guarantor) is helped by Allah because he is helping the other people.
Our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) said: ‘’As long as one muslim is at his/her brother’s/sister’s service to help, Allah is ready to help that person.’’(Ahmed bin Hanbel, Müsned)
Good deeds between people attract other good deeds and cause solidarity and understanding between each other.
“Is the reward for good [anything] but good?” (Ar Rahman 60)
Kafalat becomes effective as soon as the kefil’s offer is accepted by the debtee (consumer). Most of the ulama (scholars) think that when the kefil says “I am Kefil”, the takaful is valid. Acceptance is not compulsory. In the same way, the acceptance of the debtor is not necessary.
As per the explanations above, GIMDES and other certifiers in the world act as Kefil (guarantor) on behalf of the Muslims. They do this by controlling and monitoring suppliers, products and producers on a voluntary basis. Suppliers and producers are not obligated to join this relation, their motivation is driven by the consumers’ demands for halal. As a result of this system, Muslims are protected against unlawful products.
In order for GIMDES or a certifier to act as kefil (guarantor), the supplier or producer (or debtor) must recognize GIMDES or the certifier. Kefil (guarantor – Gimdes or certifier) also must know the debtor very closely. Kefil can’t say “I have become Kefil for someone .” Such an argument is considered invalid.
Company that seeks kafalat of GIMDES (or certifier) must accept all requirements and related procedures by GIMDES to be able to be recognized.
Although kafalat is a liability and responsibility for guarantor in this world, it yields good deeds for the person or authority for hereafter in Islamic understanding. This is considered as partnership in earning good deeds mutually. Since Kafalat is done on voluntary basis, Islam does not allow charging money for giving Kafalat for one another. However, in case of necessity such as institutionalizing this system for better good for Muslims, a price can be asked and paid for Kafalat. As an example to this situation. In the past centuries, teaching of Qur’an, imamat (leading prayers), call for prayers were done on voluntary basis by individuals for life time to earn good deeds for hereafter. Nowadays, due to difficult economic conditions, fatwas have been issued and these activites have been put under job titles and people are hired and paid for these jobs.
It is not permissible to make business and generate profit for Kafalat in Islam. However, accepting reimbursement for expenses and the service has been as permissible by scholars.
In our understanding of Halal certification, the certifier (Kefil) has to maintain highly qualified staff from various fields and must have consistency and stability in the certification process. For this reason, a reasonable fee should be taken to cover expenses and salaries.
GİMDES HALAL PRODUCTS RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Dr.Hüseyin Kâmi BÜYÜKÖZER