The first thing that comes to the minds of most people when the word ‘Halal’ is mentioned is food. However, it’s time for us to change our perspectives of what is halal. Halal is an Arabic word that literally means permissible. Anything halal—be it food, medicine or one’s occupation—is made lawful to be practiced by a Muslim. Halal encompasses more than just what we digest—here are other matters that concerns halal.
Firstly, the intricate world of halal healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Similarly to food, pharmaceuticals is something that people consume. In recent years, Muslims have stepped up their game at ensuring the halal status of their pharmaceutical intake. This includes medicine in the form of pills, jabs and supplements. Muslims focus on detecting animal derived ingredients, alcohol or insect coatings in medicine offered in the market. With the help of websites and councils such as the Muslim Consumer Group, consuming halal has never been easier! Groups like this aim to enable Muslims to easily verify the halal status of anything edible they may consume.
Next, is the booming industry of halal tourism. As of late, there has been quite a significant increase in the participants of halal tourism, trying their luck at raking in customers. In countries like Malaysia where Muslims are a majority, it has often been a comforting blanket that has led Muslims to feel uncomfortable when they visit non-Muslim majority countries. This provides a market for tour guides that market themselves as Muslim friendly and are Muslim run.
Ten years ago, it was hard to find halal based tour guides that would take you to destinations other than Makkah or Madinah. On the contrary, looking 10 years forward, it seems as though you can find a halal tour guide anywhere! Halal tour guides ensure that every step you take during that holiday is halal. By taking up packages with these tour guides, you experience the destination as any other tourist would, with the comfort of being around people who understand your beliefs and respects it.
In addition to that, we have seen an increase of businesses that are branding themselves as halal. A recent example would be Rayani Air. Although it was a short-lived airline company, people were still keen to give it a try as it promises a fully halal and Islamic airline experience. Flight attendants were made to wear sharia-compliant clothing in addition to having no alcohol served on all Rayani Air flights. Another example would be Bank Rakyat’s launching of the Muslimah Card, where famed actress, business woman and host, Neelofa acts as ambassador. This is the only credit card-i specifically for Muslim women who obeys the Shariah in Malaysia.
Also in the relation to the banking industry is the halal finance industry. Halal finance has proven to fill in the gaps found in the conventional finance system that most countries use. In fact, many non-Muslim majority countries have taken the lead of countries such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in broadening their usage of the Islamic banking system. As many as two dozen British banks provide Islamic finance services throughout Britain.
The halal industry is flourishing. In a matter of time, halal will dominate many more sectors. With the continuous rise of Muslims around the world, there is no sign of stopping for the halal industry.