Muslims have the obligation to know the halal status of the food they want to consume and cannot blame non-Muslim businesses for their own ignorance, Islamic scholars said.
Former Terengganu Mufti Datuk Ismail Yahya and member of PKR’S Islamic Council Wan Ji Wan Hussein believe if non-Muslim outlets have made it clear that their food is non-halal, they should not be held responsible if Muslim consumers failed to observe the notice.
“Both parties must be responsible. The shop must make it clear that it is not halal,” Ismail, now a legal adviser for progressive Islamic NGO Sisters in Islam, told Malay Mail online.
“And if the outlets have (put a notice of its non-halal status), it is the responsibility of Muslims themselves to know not to eat there,” he added.
Wan Ji, on the other hand, said non-Muslim businesses have the right to sell whatever product without having to placate Muslim consumers.
The young independent preacher added Muslim themselves must educate themselves about the choices they make, and cannot accuse non-Muslim businesses of attempting to confuse Islam’s followers if the non-halal status of their products were made clear.
“Non-Muslims have the right to sell whatever product they want and say a Muslim entered the premise and mistakenly consumed a food that make up the core product of the company then you can’t blame the company can you?”
Controversy struck fast food outlet Ninja Joe following complaints over its decision to name one of its burgers “P. Ramly”, a move that drew accusations by some Muslim consumers of attempt to confuse.
Ninja Joe is known as a non-halal fast food chain company that specialises in pork burgers, even among Muslims.
But Ismail also said that the company was inviting trouble by choosing a Muslim’s name for a pork burger.
While stressing that Muslims should have already known that the outlet sells pork burgers, naming a product with a Muslim name would definitely draw controversy.
“If the company had made it clear they sell pork burgers then Muslims should have known not to enter..but maybe the company could have avoided (controversy) if they didn’t name something non-halal with a known Muslim’s name,” he said.
Ninja Joe said it named the burger “P Ramly” as a homage to popular local burger makers Ramly Burger, a product it said was iconic to the Malaysian identity.
But Wan Ji noted some revered Islamic scholars, including the esteemed Yusuf Qaradawi, had deemed it permissible for Muslims to consume food offered by non-Muslims if they were unaware that the food are not halal.
“In fiqh, cited even by Yusuf Qaradawi, Muslims are not obliged to decline food offered if their eyes did not see how the food was prepared.
“Even during the Prophet’s (Muhammad) time, he did not question how the food that were offered to him by the Christians and Jews were prepared,” the PKR leader said.
Ninja Joe could face action after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and its Negri Sembilan counterpart, JHEAINS, opened investigations against the company for what they alleged to be an attempt at confusing Muslims, in addition to confiscating several items from its store.
The Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumer Affairs Ministry has since said that it will take action against Ninja Joe if any wrongdoing is found.
Source : SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID@The Malay Mail Online