Halal - Not just the preferred way, but the only way!
Ever wondered why human beings have been regarded as Ashraf-ul-Mukhlooqat (the most superior among all creations)? This is because God gave only the humans the ability to be able to choose between right and wrong i.e. Halal (right or what is allowed) and Haram (Wrong or what is strictly forbidden in the context of Islamic Shariah). Allah Almighty created humans and this universe. He has thoughtfully devised the right ways and the wrong ways i.e. Halal ways of doing things and Haram ways as well, and then HE almighty gave the knowledge to humans to choose between the two. It is now upon us to utilize this knowledge and be able to differentiate the Halal from Haram and choose Halal over the other.
When Allah sent Islam, He sent it as the complete code of conduct. This religion and the Holy Book i.e. Quran, along with the Sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad SAW together provide a complete guideline on each and every aspect of our lives and tell us the Halal ways of doing everything. From the time when a child is born to the time when a person dies, there is a complete guideline to take care of each and every thing in a Shariah compliant way.
A lot of people assume that the issue of Halal and Haram difference is only in the food ingredients, which is not true. In every practice of your daily routine life, you can opt for the Halal ways, or the preferred ways, and avoid the Haram ones, or the least preferred ones. For instance, business dealings have the defined confines of Halal and Haram. The practices in Banking and economics have Halal and Haram differences. Even the minutest of changes in practice can turn things from Halal to Haram and vice versa. For instance, a slaughtered animal will be Halal to be consumed, but a dead animal will not be. While some animals are Halal to be consumed, others are strictly forbidden. Similarly, a loan that does not charge interest is Halal, but the one that has interest on it is Haram. A man and a woman living together will be Haram but it will be Halal if the two have been tied together in the relation of Nikkah (marriage), which is apparently nothing but just a couple of words uttered in the acceptance of each other. Due to such minute differences and the depth of understanding into the matter, it is mandatory for all Muslims to gain this basic knowledge to understand the difference between these bifocal ways of doing things. Most importantly, the sources of earning need to be Halal in order for your entire lifestyle and whatever you eat to be Halal.
“This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and liven with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter” (5:5).
A lot of certification bodies now exist to certify the food items and certain other products as Halal. Since there is an increasing awareness on the topic, people are now more concerned about the Shariah status of whatever they consume, buy, earn or spend at. These certification bodies check out the ingredients used in the food items, the process that has been used in the manufacturing and certain other traits before declaring the item as Halal. Similarly, the banking bodies also have the Shariah compliance departments now to make the banking practices Halal and make them free of interest and mark-ups.
Allah Almighty has promised several great virtues and rewards for the ones who take care of the difference between Halal and Haram and prefer Halal for themselves. Choosing Halal is the source of purification of your earning, of your diet, your faith and your soul. It brings Barakah is your earning and in your Rizq (food supply).
“O Messengers, eat from the pure foods and work righteousness” (Holy Quran 23:51)
So Halal is not just what you eat, Halal is not just what you earn. Halal is a complete lifestyle. It is a complete code of conduct. It is a completely separate way from Haram. Once you decide to choose the Halal path, everything that comes in your way should be chosen to be done in Halal way.