Opinion – Labeling Halal products with Haram-sounding names

A few months ago, a certain article made headlines and caused a major commotion in the world of Halaal. The article mentioned that a certain American restaurant had its certification withheld by the Malaysian Halaal body, JAKIM, due to the fact that one of the items on its menu was called a “Pretzel Dog”. The company very cleverly changed the name to “Pretzel Sausage” and secured their certification.

JAKIM’S stance on the matter was that it is prohibited to give a Halaal  product a name that resembles something Haraam  [1] ; as it would cause the Muslim consumer undue distress or could even mislead them. Accordingly, the restaurant would have to change the name of its product.

The famous media outlets across the world made quite a big deal out of this article and the Muslim public posted comments extensively. The entire uproar led me to conclude that this topic should be discussed from a Shari’ah perspective so that we can determine whether JAKIM had stipulated this clause for administrative purposes or whether they had done so as per the demand of the Shari’ah.

Hence, we immediately called a meeting with the respected Muftis of SANHA Pakistan Shari’ah Research Department and presented the case before them so that they may examine it from a Shari’ah point of view and discuss it academically. We soon realized that this is a purely Shari’ah matter which is thoroughly substantiated from the Quran Kareem, the Sunnah and books of Fiqh. This made it very easy for us to establish that JAKIM had merely practiced on the rulings of the Shari’ah in the stance which it had adopted and that, as a Halaal Authority, this was JAKIM’s obligation and it had utilized its right correctly.

After an entire month of academic discussions and research, Mufti ‘Arif ‘Ali Shah Saheb has prepared a comprehensive treatise regarding the above-mentioned discussion from a Shari’ah point of view, furnished with the relevant references from the Quran, Sunnah and all four juristic schools of thought (Mazaahib). This has been done so as to present the collective view of the entire Muslim world.

The full research paper can be downloaded as a PDF here

May Allah (make this research paper a means of benefit for the entire mankind – Aameen.

[1] Bearing in mind that it is haraam for Muslims to eat the flesh of dogs.

NB: This is a legal opinion and its publication is for reference rather than judgement. Its publication on HalalFocus does not imply any form of endorsement, and is shared on the basis that it provides useful information and knowledge for our readers.