South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)
May 2015 : Rajab 1436

With one fifth of the global population of between 1.4 and 1.8 billion spread across 148 countries worldwide being Muslims, Halaal has become a truly global phenomenon worth trillions of dollars with impact beyond the food sector. Demand has also mushroomed in areas such as logistics, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, fashion / clothing, tourism, banking and investments. It is driven by a religious imperative where Halaal consumption and lawful trade is a mandatory article of faith.

Accessing this market is no simple matter as Muslims are not a single homogeneous group with identical needs, wants and aspirations. After fourteen hundred years, Islam has spread to almost every country on earth and Muslims are of all hue and nationalities, speak many languages and are not governed by a single cohesive institution such as the Rightly Guided Caliphate of previous times. Progress thus far has been achieved by reliance on the Noble Quran and the Sunnah i.e. the teachings of the Prophet peace be upon him as the primary immutable sources and guidance by Islamic Scholars as a secondary source which has seen differences in interpretation and rulings. Some of these differences are on stunning, mechanical slaughter, use of gelatine from non–Halaal slaughtered animals, certification of non-Muslim butcheries and food outlets without the requisite continuous on-site Muslim supervision etc.

There are several hundred Halaal certification bodies worldwide and about half a dozen in South Africa. Many consumers purchase products based on varying levels of trust of their Halaal certification processes together with loyalties shaped by geographical, ideological and cultural differences. In the last few decades, Muslims relied on regional bodies and community organisations, particularly in minority situations, for Halaal assurance in their localities. However, rapid globalisation and the spiritual reawakening of the Ummah demands a new holistic approach and strategy to meet the challenges of the global village.

Certifiers and governments operate individually and independently without dedicated global leadership. Even though we have a universally accepted definition of Halaal, there is no universally accepted international standards and best practice norms. Different standards often create confusion and open the door to potential abuse. Given these dynamics, no single institution, government agency or regional certifying body can effectively legislate and enforce Halaal regulation for an international constituency. The solution lies in the harmonisation of Halaal standards which should become an absolute requirement for Halaal food in the light of the teachings of the Holy Quran and Islamic traditions, regulations required for certification, detection methods of forbidden substances of Halaal food, legalities of stunning & mechanical slaughter, lawfulness of food additives and transparency in labelling.

SANHA has over the years aligned itself to certifiers and government initiatives worldwide on this important mission of harmonisation of standards and has participated in numerous seminars and workshops. Founding memberships of organisations dedicated to this premise such as the World Halal Council (WHC) has been undertaken and valuable inputs have been made in the development of various International Halaal standards.

SANHA continues to strive towards the ideal of a unified Halaal system that will result in mutual recognition of certificates through a recognised accreditation process where both producers and consumers in one part of the world can confidently peddle and consume products in another, with confidence and without compromise to their Imaan.

SANHA believes that it's your inalienable right as the Ummah of the global village to consume that which is Halaal and abstain from Haraam. It asks you to urge your local certifier of choice to support initiatives of harmonisation of standards to uphold this right.


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