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Different Halaal bodies

Q: I have a few questions which I hope you can help me with. We muslims are experiencing alot of confusion with regards to the different Halaal authorities that are popping up in South Africa. why do we have so many different Halaal authorities in South Africa? Who do we ordinary Muslims trust with regards to this? Is there any communication between all the different Halaal authorities of South Africa? Is there talk of a 'merger' between the different authorities? Has any effort been made by the different authorities to merge? I apologise if these questions are frequently asked and out of date but I believe it is important issues that need to be addressed. Cant the different bodies realise the amount of confusion that they are creating? Please let us unite. I am sure some sort of agreement can be reached. Jazakallah. (student)

Answer:

Prior to 1996 there were a plethora of Halaal bodies in existence as a result of the historical development of Muslims in the shaping of our Republic to what it is today. Remember Muslims came and settled here from various lands at different times embracing different schools of thought. Alhamdulillah, despite these circumstances they ministered to their constituencies, within their own capacities.

With the demise of apartheid, the consequent proliferation of Muslims through South Africa, the deregulation of the meat industry, the drastic changes in shopping and eating habits and the importation of meats as a result of the repeal of sanctions and globalisation, a new approach had to be adopted by the Muslims of South Africa.

The only solution to prevent exploitation of the different bodies, the varying standards, the use of different certificates and logos, use of certification for monetary gain, the fragmented approach to the issue of imports and validation of international Halaal certification, was an amalgamation of all the role players.

Alhamdulillah! After two years of vigorous consultations and negotiations, all stakeholders, barring the MJC Halaal Trust, all embraced this noble initiative and SANHA came into being in 1996. Regrettably, ICSA and IHT (who then became NIHT) subsequently resigned and began certifying independently.

Among SANHA?s objectives from the onset has been the cherished dream of a single united Halaal body to serve the Ummah. A body that is nationally represented, enjoys the support and guidance of the broader Ulama, is above cultural, geographical and petty politics, operates as a non-profit entity, refuses to serve vested business interests, applies the highest Shari?ah standards and last but not the least, places the Muslim Consumer at the core focus of its activity.

To a large degree this has succeeded where today only a few certifiers exist in the country. Hopefully, if they cannot or will not embrace the noble ideal of a single body then at least we must aim for unified standards.

In this respect we urge all Muslims to be circumspect and demand open, transparent and efficient service delivery from all certifiers including ourselves.

I hope that my response helps you answer your questions. May Allah (SWT) reward you for your ?fikr? and sincere concern in the important area of Halaal food consumption.

We are on record publicly and we reiterate that SANHA is willing to disband and join any sincere initiative for a ?single body? provided that it is one that is truthful, honest, upholds the highest standards, have office bearers of high integrity and acknowledged repute and place the Deeni interest above all.
 
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