A few days back, a friend called me and asked “Is Bengwawan Solo HALAL?”. My immediate response was “NO”. She was flabbergasted. Because in her mind, Bengawan solo sounds indonesian, and Indonesia being muslim country thus this makes it all the more “HALAL”. That’s what she thought and probably hundreds more….till she was informed by a colleague and she wanted a second confirmation by calling me.
I had similar calls or queries from friends of Muslim and non-Muslims asking whether that particular food brand or restaurant is HALAL. Got used to it..
But this particular friend insist that I wrote this in my blog to inform others so that they can learn from her “naive”ness which nearly end up eating a HARAM product (non-HALAL).
Though Malaysia and Indonesian are Muslim countries, I am proud that Singapore is almost on par with their muslims neighbours in comparison to its stringent rules and HALAL certified restaurants which seems to multiply over the years. And the Muslim community in Singapore is more learned and learn to trust those HALAL certified eateries although some are not muslim-owned.
There are many brands that is related to Malaysia or Indonesian name that is questionable/doubtful and also cause a confusion in Muslim’s mind. For examples: Bengawan Solo, Sanur, Rice table, Indonesian riverside buffet….and also there are stalls that state “NO PORK NO LARD”…most of these restaurants are not HALAL certified.My personal opinion , if anything that is doubtful (mashbooh/was-was), leave it…
In other countries, restaurants with Malay name or Indonesian name does not mean its HALAL. That is one lesson learnt when I roam the streets of Amsterdam. And saw “BABI KETJIAP”(pork in soya sauce) in the menu of most Indonesian restaurants. Also some admit they are muslim-owned and used 100% HALAL meat but they served alcohol such as wine or beers.
Another experience was in Paris, when I automatically associate KEBABs with TURKISH and since TURKEY is a muslim country thus HALAL! Wrong…Most of the Kebab vendors are Greek there and when I asked HALAL? They looked lost and asked, “what is HALAL?”…my question is answered.(But these GREEKS looked seriously like TURKs..hmm..)
Don’t get me wrong, Singaporean Muslims are not fussy, we are just careful with what we put in our mouth. Being HALAL does not just mean NO PORK no LARD , because all cows, lamb, sheep, poultry and others (except seafood)..need to be slaughtered according to Islamic rites not only the omission of PORK. Read here for more info…
So,why do we need to ensure that it is HALAL certified( unless owned by Muslims, expected that their HALAL knowledge is already embedded in them). The reasons are:
1)They will be trained to produce food 100% halal by MUIS and this included Prohibition of non-HALAL food in their premises.Also these HALAL certified restaurants or factories will be regularly inspected by the HALAL officers to ensure they do not break any rules. And they need to employ at least 2 muslims staff in that restaurant/eatery. Thus be assured and tawakal.
2)Even if non-HALAL certified eateries said that they are HALAL or they use HALAL meat e.g SANUR restaurant and others (but without any HALAL certs), how do u know if the non-Muslim chef decided to cook his own lunch using pork or other prohibited items, they are not obliged to follow the MUIS guidelines since they do not have certificate and that includes the staff who brings in their own lunches from home or buy from non-halal shops.
Again,they are also not obliged to follow 100% ruling on that and how about food additives ,preservatives or seasonings (Note: HALAL means everything must be halal, includes the seasoning, spices…(rice wine or any alcohol is one that is prohibited too!) Cheese, gelatin are things that u need to find out its sources.)
3) Its not so simple to conclude a particular food is HALAL especially if the cook/restaurant is non-muslim. If ever the utensils used and the premises are previously using HARAM products such as Pork. These places and utensils need to be cleansed (sertu) and its not just simple cleansing by soap or detergent.
One of its cleansing agent is soil/clay/earth (please check with MUIS for more info) So u see, its not that we are fussy but we are just trying to follow our beliefs/religion 100%.
4) Muslims believe that if we did not eat the HALAL products, it will become part of our body ,flesh and blood,our supplications (doa) might not be fulfilled, our hearts will be “dirty” spiritually thus we tend to be lazy to perform our obligatory prayers and stuff thus we get further and further way from God s.w.t. ..those were only part of the reasons…I have not gone to the hereafter part…
So, my friend, next time you see a particular restaurant or food brand names that is almost malay-like or indonesian-like, please look for HALAL certificate displayed or HALAL logo to be sure or u can call this number to confirm its authenticity….
Don’t ASSUME, Be responsible for ur actions.
Your body, your responsibility…
Sometimes u wonder how come this retaurant has so many headdress muslim people inside and its not HALAL? Well, if they (the restaurant staff/owners) find that by not applying for HALAL cert , there are already many muslims eating so why waste that money and training ?
Even bakeries need to be HALAL because sometimes, they use rum/alcohol/spirits and food additives that is non-HALAL e,g gelatin, glazing items….
p.s: For more info, feel free to contact MUIS. Thank you.
FYI, if u want to search for local HALAL food, u can click on the links on top of this blog (HALAL stalls) or u can click below:
*Halal is a Quranic Term which means allowed or lawful. Halal foods and drinks are permitted for consumption by Allah- the supreme lawgiver. Eating Halal is obligatory.
*Haram is a Quranic Term, which means prohibited or unlawful. Haram foods and drinks are absolutely prohibited for consumption by Allah. Eating Haram is forbidden for every Muslim.
*Mashbooh is an Arabic term which means doubtful/questionable. If one does not know the Halal or Harm status of a particular food or drink, such a food or drink is doubtful. A practicing Muslims prevents himself from consuming doubtful things.