What is in Our Food…? Is It Permissible?

By Syed Farhatullah Quadri, Ph.D., Mariam Majeed, and Mujahed Khan; Food Scientists, IFANCA

As Muslims, we are constantly striving for perfection in all facets of life. As a result, we are constantly trying to gain knowledge so that we may further progress. The reality is that while we aim to perfect our relationships, our roles at work, and our habits as students, we sometimes fail to realize that there is a catalyst that will help facilitate this quest for perfection, and that is food. While our bodies are nourished by the food we consume, our souls too are nourished by the permissibility and purity of that same food. Those who strive to consume only that which is halal (lawful) and tayyib (pure) are blessed with their bodies striving towards that which is halal and tayyib. As a result, as Muslims, we need to make a conscious effort to answer the question, "is what we buy and consume everyday really halal?"

IFANCA, an internationally recognized halal certifying organization, is staffed by a qualified scholars, technical staff and administrators. It is registered as a not-for-profit organization in Illinois and is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several halal regulatory agencies in countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the UAE. During the last three decades, IFANCA has certified thousands of products and ingredients, including processed food; meat products; pharmaceuticals; nutraceuticals and cosmetics for more than 2,200 companies world-wide.

The mission of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is to promote the concept of halal and educate Muslims regarding mashbooh (doubtful) ingredients, including those that are present in food; nutritional supplements; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

IFANCA serves the Muslim community worldwide by conducting conferences and seminars, responding to consumer and industrial inquiries about ingredients and products and assisting correctional facilities to establish partial halal kitchens in the prisons to satisfy the dietary needs of Muslim inmates. IFANCA has recently resumed educational workshops and presentations in various Islamic institutions in the Chicagoland area and will soon offer these services to neighboring cities and states. The focus of these presentations is to create awareness of the permissibility of foods. A description of the important points will be discussed in the paper below. Readers are also encouraged to visit www.ifanca.org and www.halal.com frequently for the current information about certified products and halal news and resources. Furthermore, if you are interested in organizing an informational session in your local community please contact IFANCA.