Being halal-conscious and halal-savvy is actually the springboard to an optimal and cordial lifestyle-choice. “Lifestyle” refers to our everyday way of life that incorporates the different principles, values and standards of living we have delineated for our lives. It is what we prefer and adopt in life for ourselves through choice, assimilation or imitation, and to a lesser degree, by indoctrination and imposition. It is, nonetheless, a fact of life that circumstances, culture and living conditions often determine the type of lifestyle we adopt for ourselves.
Religion (i.e. one’s belief system), survival and survivalism are often key determinants for the manner in which we are making a living. We inevitably need to replenish our daily basic needs and necessities. Notwithstanding that food, drink and sex are not only essential elements of our lives, but they are also integral components of our daily needs and necessities. These and other indispensables of life are actually key drivers and “decision-indicators” by which we shape our lifestyles.
If we widen the scope of halal (permissible and lawful) by transcending the halalness of food and drink and reflecting halal on every other aspect of our lives, we shall soon realize the prime-value halal adds to our lives. It will, indeed, keep us sober, healthy, hygienically-clean, empowered, and out of trouble. In essence, halal means ‘permissible/lawful’ but at the same time it implies that whatever we do or eat or become involved in must be pure, hygienically-clean, healthy, good, wholesome (tay-yib) and morally-correct. It also makes us environment-conscious, thus eco-friendly and caring persons of all other creations of Almighty Allah.
Furthermore, our choices of food-intake must not be detrimental to our health and body by having risks of being unhealthy, harmful, toxic, intoxicating, poisonous, hazardous or dangerous. It must also be free from any pollution or contamination be it sewerage, human or animal wastes/faeces, or other wastages, dirt, filth or contagious diseases/viruses, etc. This is what “halal” is all about, and by implication, it prompts us to have a sense of morality in whatever we do and eat.
The aforementioned descriptions of ‘lifestyle’ and ‘halal’ may sound cumbersome, but if we combine the two concepts into ‘halal lifestyle’ one finds that the yardstick in this regard is quite simple:
“Do what you can do to the best of your ability. Do it according to your means and do it right, but with honesty, integrity, dignity, justice and moderation.”
Although the MJC Halaal Trust (MJCHT) has a primary focus on halal certification for food and other consumables and beauty products, it simultaneously promotes halal lifestyles and the conscientious observance thereof in a comprehensive way, within an Islamic Ethos framework, and without being dogmatic about it. The MJCHT applies the principles of Sharī’ah and the principles of all four doctrinal Schools of Thought, although it subscribes primarily to the Shafi’i School of Thought, in finding solutions where problems are experienced in and/or by promoting halal lifestyles.