South African National Halaal Authority
South African National Halaal Authority (Sanha) is a national, non-profit making organisation, representing the Muslim community of South Africa on all matters pertaining to the general application of the term halaal with specific reference to Islamic dietary laws. Sanha’s membership comprises of leading Theological Bodies and Muslim Meat Traders associations of the country.
Sanha has been established as a representative authority which promotes professionalism and excellence in the certification of Halaal food and other related products. Sanha is committed to standardising Halaal procedures both nationally and internationally thereby creating uniformity and eliminating confusion and deception in the market place. Indeed, this strategy does not only prove beneficial for the Muslim consumer but is also a means of promoting trade.
The Muslim community has, for several years been confronted with the issue of gelatine’s Halaal status. Several Ulama contend that there is Inqilaabul Mahiyyah (Transformation) which occurs in the process of gelatine manufacture therefore any form of gelatine whether porcine or bovine would be acceptable for Muslim consumption.
Another group of Ulama are of the view that gelatine derived from non-Halaal sources is not acceptable.
Recently a Fatwa issued by yourself to Maulana E Desai of Jamiatul Ulama Kwa Zulu Natal was forwarded to our office wherein you had stated that the gelatine issue should be reviewed from the perspective of dabagah (tanning). Whilst dabagah is surely established in the chemical processing, and taharaah thereby obtained, can we on the basis of this taharaah determine Hillat. Moreso, when these gelatine companies source hide off-cuts from tanneries abattoirs wherein pork skins can also be mixed.
Furthermore, your Fatwa had stated that if bones are used in their manufacturing process, then irrespective of the Halaal status of the animal, gelatine derived therefrom would be acceptable. Kindly confirm and clarify whether this ruling, if applicable, would include pork bones and bones of animals which are not consumed by Muslims.
You have asked me about my Fatwa regarding gelatine addressed to Mufti Ebrahim Desai. The substance of the Fatwa is that the gelatine acquired from the bones can be held as pure (Taahir) and the gelatine acquired from the hides of un-slaughtered animals can also be held as pure because chemical process fulfills the requirement of tanning (dabaghah) but there are two points to be kept in mind. This ruling applies only to the animals other than pig. The case of pig is totally different because it is held to be impure by the Holy Qur’an and no process can purify it. Secondly, my ruling was to the extent of purity of the gelatine. So far as its oral use is concerned there is difference of opinion among the Muslim jurists. Some Fuqaha are of the view that hides of a Halal animal can be used orally after being tanned but the majority of the jurists are of the view that it is not allowed for oral use. The latter view has been preferred by most of the Hanafi jurists. However, some of the Hanafi jurists and a large number of Shafi’e[e] jurists have preferred the permissibility of oral use of the hides of Halal animals after dabaghah. Consequently, the use of gelatine taken from Halal animals, like cow, should be avoided as far as possible acting on the opinion of the majority of the jurists. However, since Imam Shafie in his latter view has opined it to be Halal and a large number of the Shafie jurists as well as some Hanafi jurists take it as such, the view of these Fuqaha can be acted upon in the cases of genuine needs.