Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
As the Blessed month of Ramadan concludes, IFANCA wishes all of you Eid Mubarak. May ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, accept your fasting, your night prayers and other deeds and reward you with mercy and blessings.
A N N O U N C E M E N T
IFANCA is not certifying Shaklee or any Shaklee products. We have been receiving many inquiries about whether Shaklee products are halal or not and we do not know.
GETTING ENOUGH STARCH
According to the UK’s Food Standards Agency, one third of your diet should be starchy foods, like rice, pasta, couscous, bulgur wheat, bread, cereals and potatoes. Such foods contain fiber, calcium, iron and B vitamins, as well as starch.
Contrary to what some people may think, starchy foods are not fattening. They actually contain less than half the calories of fat, unless they are cooked in oils or fats, or served with oils or fats. While low carbohydrate diets are popular, cutting out starchy foods may mean you are consuming too much fat, which can increase the chance of developing coronary heart disease.
Rice and grains are excellent choices when it comes to starchy foods. They contain protein, fiber and B vitamins. Rice and grains should be served right after cooking them. If that is not possible, they should be cooled within 1 hour after cooking and refrigerated until ready to eat. They can be reheated or eaten cold. You should not reheat rice and grains more than once and you should not keep them for more than 2 days.
When selecting bread, whole grain, whole meal and brown breads are better choices than white breads. While both contain B vitamins, vitamin E and a number of minerals, white bread has less fiber than brown bread. In the UK, there are over 200 varieties of bread, including ciabatta, pumpernickel, baguette, pita and flour tortillas.
Fiber is also an important part of the diet. Fiber is only found in foods that come from plants. It can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber is digested and may help reduce the blood cholesterol level. It is found in lentils, oats and beans.
Insoluble fiber cannot be digested. It moves through the digestive system and helps the other food move through the system too. It is found in whole grain bread, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber are more bulky so they make you feel full.
So be sure to get include some starch in your diet.
The Islamic Society of Stanford University (ISSU) and Stanford Dining are offering free dinners (iftar) on campus. The ISSU raised money from local Muslims to fund the program during weekdays and Muslim families provide the food on the weekends. Everyone is welcome, Muslims and non-Muslims. The program started at the beginning of Ramadan (October 15) and will continue until Ramadan ends.(Reported in The Stanford Daily Online Edition on October 26, 2004.)
Students at Yale University will be enjoying hot halal meals this Ramadan, thanks to the efforts of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Yale University Dining Services. In previous years, no halal meat dishes were available but this year, the dining services will include halal meat dishes as well as some traditional Muslim dishes and even some dishes suggested by the students. MSA President Gul Raza hopes this will open the way for year-round halal meals, like other Universities offer.(Reported in www.yaledailynews.com on October 18, 2004.)
The Bernama news agency reports that "The Philippines is looking at local and international Muslim consumers of halal products as new markets for locally produced milk and milk products." The idea comes from the Philippines embassy in Thailand, where halal milk products are exported to Brunei.(Reported in www.bernama.com on October 28, 2004.)
The Swiss government will discuss overhauling the animal protection law. Animal welfare groups want the law tightened, including a ban on importing halal and kosher meat, which already cannot be produced in Switzerland. Experts believe that would violate religious freedom and the European Treaty on Human Rights. (Reported in Swissinfo on October 6, 2004.)
Swedish dictionaries have added the word "Halal". The definition: It stands for food and drink allowed for Muslims under Islamic Dietary Laws. Halal food production is spreading in Sweden and is available in most stores in Stockholm, though not all of it is properly certified halal.
We frequently receive questions about products and ingredients. Here is one question we receive from time to time.
1. Can We Eat At A Non-Halal Restaurant?
This question is frequently asked by Muslims in USA and other western countries.
Eating out primarily depends on your personal degree of commitment and strictness in adherence to the Halal guidelines. There are three main considerations: one is the meat or poultry used, second is the method of preparation and segregation and the third is the other items that make up a meal.
Considering the meat and poultry, some Muslims interpret the verse in the Quran about the food of the People of the Book (Ahlul Kitab) to mean that Muslims can eat the meat of Halal animals slaughtered by Christians and Jews. The fact is that meat served at the non-Halal restaurants is not slaughtered in a religious manner. It is neutral meat because no name has been pronounced over it. Other Muslims believe that the name of God must be pronounced at the time of slaughter for the meat to be Halal. If you want to avoid the controversy then follow the Hadith that what is Halal is clear and what is Haram is clear, and that between these two ends are unclear things. The Hadith tells us that whoever avoids these unclear matters has protected him/herself from committing sin and whoever does not avoid them may fall into sin. If it is not clearly Halal, then it is better to avoid it. Saying clearly Halal means Zabiha, or a Halal animal slaughtered by a Muslim reciting the name of God.
After all this is said, it may still leave room for personal consideration. IFANCA certifies and promotes meat that is slaughtered by Muslims while pronouncing God’s name. Obviously we do not recommend eating the meat while eating out. You may choose fish, seafood or vegetable meals but watch out for hidden Haram items such as bacon wrapped filet mignon or chunks of ham or bacon in pasta or salads.
If you decide to eat out at a non-Halal restaurant, choose the ones that do not have pork items on the menu. Most restaurants serve pork products as well as beef, chicken and fish. The degree to which a restaurant keeps these products segregated in storage and preparation depends upon each restaurants' standard practices. The use of common grills, common utensils, same fryers for pork and non-pork items significantly increases the chances of pork and lard getting mixed into beef, chicken, seafood and vegetarian items.
Besides such unintentional contamination, there have been many reports in the USA, UK and Australia that beef was intentionally mixed with cheaper pork or poultry. In the UK there were even reports that beef was prepared with a solution of pork powder. This wisdom of the Hadith, “Halal is clear and Haram is clear …” becomes even more evident as you consider the above problems of cross contamination.
Finally, the other items that make up the meal including the bread, buns, condiments, use of wine or alcohol in cooking, desserts, etc. may contain Haram or questionable materials. Consumers need to be sure these items are not Haram. Frequently these items contain animal derived ingredients or alcoholic drinks.
If you still decide to eat out, follow certain precautions:
Select an establishment that does not serve pork.
Avoid fried items unless the restaurant has a separate fryer for fish and fries, in which they do not fry meat items.
Ask the server about any hidden meat or chicken in your soup or vegetarian item.