Move Halal Values Forward

Hadi DP Mahmud

HALAL values can be key to the recovery of the world economy as
governments try to pick up the pieces from the downturn caused by the
financial crisis, the 4th International Halal Market Conference heard
yesterday during a discussion on marketing halal products and services.

A senior analyst at Imarat Consultants, the consultancy company
that organised the two-day conference, said the time is right for
Muslim players in the business world, particularly the halal sector, to
move halal values forward into the market.

“They have weight
in the commercial arena, particularly now,” said Abdalhamid Evans,
explaining that the roots of the economic crisis greed is the
antithesis of halal values, which are rooted on integrity. “People were
exploiting other people, they were not being honest, and their business
model was really not sound.”

The values that the stakeholders of
the halal industry could potentially bring to the international market
will resonate very strongly with both Muslims and non-Muslim consumers
this time, he said, adding that champions are very much needed in the
halal industry today.

“In terms of the halal market, you look
at some of the biggest corporations in the world, these are the biggest
players in the market it’s fine, because this is how the market has
evolved. But I think in terms of re-engineering the dynamics of the
halal industry, it’s extremely important that the Muslims play an
increasingly influential role. Not just in setting the standards, but
also in defining the best practices in terms of business.

strongly held beliefs into actions makes very good business sense,
particularly in this time,” he told The Brunei Times following the

However, Muslims should be taking a more influential
role at this time by recognising some of the movements the world is
seeing based on strongly-held beliefs, such as animal welfare,
environmental movements, or corporate social responsibilities as well
as the resonance that the halal sector has with these kind of movements
in the broader market, he said.

“I see halal on one side and
Islamic finance on the other side. There’s kind of a gap in between
them. But I think what is in that gap is the creation of new kinds of
business models, such as wakaf,” he added.

Wakaf is the
dedication of properties by a Muslim through a will or otherwise for
purposes recognised by Islamic law as pious, religious or charitable.
Once this is done, the ownership is transferred to God. The dedicator
is called the wakif and the person he appoints to manage the properties
to ensure that the purposes are carried out is called the mutawalli, or
trustee. The income derived from these properties is used in accordance
with the wakif’s wishes to benefit the beneficiary.

Tan Sri
Dato’ Muhammad Ali Hashim, president and chief executive of Johor
Corporation and one of the speakers who joined Abdalhamid in the
discussion, said Muslim-owned businesses can transform themselves into
wakaf corporations to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.

staunch advocate of “business jihad”, a term he used extensively in his
presentation on “Crisis as a Turning Point for the Halal Industry”,
said Muslims must bring back wakaf, which has been lost and forgotten
over the last few hundred years within the Muslim realm, and apply it
to today’s world.

“We’re in a time now where it’s very important
for the Muslims to regain this model, just kind of dust them off,
polish them up, so that it functions in the world today. Because it’s
very important that these Islamic models and ways of doing things,
whether it’s business or social welfare, are reintroduced to today’s
society. It’s critically important that these things are done now or in
the next decade,” said Abdalhamid. The Brunei Times