Until recently, Muslims were easily able to decide which foods were halal(lawful) or haram (prohibited). The Quran and Sunnah had provided us with easily understood rules. The recent progression in the food industry has become widespread, as well as classic foods and drinks, which have come to a state where new technology could produce it. Just like our daily break intake. Alongside this, many new, unknown food varieties have developed, like Cola, gum, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. This situation has led the Muslim consumer to face two difficult questions.
- Are the foods and drinks presented to us halal (lawful)?
- Are the foods and drinks presented to us unhealthy?
The second question is somewhat easier to answer because both Muslims and non-Muslims are making researches to find the healthy combination for people. It’s even possible to search this subject online. Usually in these cases, it has been proved that added preservatives to foods negatively effect the mental development of children, as well as cause symptoms of allergic asthma, cancer, and a weak immune system. Unfortunately, we haven’t encountered advanced research by Muslims in this field until now.
As for the first question, serious research must be done in order to answer, “are preservatives and industrial foodstuffs halal (lawful) or haram(prohibited)?” This is why so-called Islamic scholars, doctors, and food science engineers should team up with Muslims working in the chemistry fields to exhibit necessary case laws.
For example, under its pseudonym E441, gelatin is considered as a food additive which extracted from animals. Some medicines produced in Turkey, use gelatin in their capsules imported from other countries. Since European countries have no limit in their food regulations; pig, cattle, sheep leather pieces and bones found in their slaughter houses as mixed and they are processed in their factories to produce gelatin. Afterwards, this gelatin is formed into a capsule, or spread over tablets as a membranous layer. What should a Muslim do about this situation?
The same gelatin is used in candies, marshmallows, gummy bears, fruit juices, cakes, ice creams, melted cheeses, yogurts, margarines, and many cosmetic products.
Many hospitals and pharmacies provide cough syrups that contain about 60 mg of alcohol and even mention this fact on their bottles as ingredients. Will the Muslim use this syrup? Do they not have a right to ask for cough syrup without alcohol? Shouldn’t big companies as well as the government respect the public’s beliefs and find ways to make alcohol-free cough syrup?
Under the pseudonym E472a-f, Mono, diglyceride, and E471, all contain fatty acids which can come from animal sources, that may be used in margarine, sweeteners, cookies, chocolate and flour-based foods. However, during importation, this detail is left unexamined, without any explanation on the nutrious facts found on the packages.
Another example, under their pseudonym E920 and E921 Cysteine/Cystine, those added preservatives are made from the hairs of humans or pigs. In the medical field, those are used for medicine, as well as in breads and other flour-based foods.
There are many more examples, as food additives made from crab feet, blood, human hair, all parts of a pig, and the pancreas that are known by the medical and food industries. These enter our homes and stomachs everyday, without our knowledge. A sad picture is painted in our minds resulting from ignorance, indifference, and irresponsibility.
Although the educated, caring, and responsible Jewish community may be small compared to the rest of the world population, they have given the opportunity to share with the world their “Kosher Food” values labeled according to their beliefs, whether it is in America or Europe.
As Muslims, we have a right to live, eat, drink, and be cured according to our beliefs, just like the Jewish community; yet, we must deserve this right. Nobody gives free privileges to each other in this world.
First of all, we must be educated, learned, and conscious, like the saying, “can one who knows, ever equal one who knows not?” Then, we must be as courageous as those who want to deny our rights.
According to a verse in the Quran: “Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest My Wrath should justly descend on you: and those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed! But, without doubt, I am (also) He that forgives again and again, to those who repent, believe, and do right, who,- in fine, are ready to receive true guidance.” (Surah Taha 81-82)
One hadith from Prophet Mohammad (pbuh):
“It is undoubted that Allah has not rendered your well-being with those he made haram, or prohibited.” (Buhari)
The best resolution for today is to organize Muslim consumers. If muslims could gather around one organization; communication, warning import and manufacturer companies, and making research on which products to consume would be accomplished.
With this intention, GIMDES has been found in the year 2005.