For far too long has the South African Muslim community been caught in the crosshairs of a battle between the Halaal Authorising Ulama.
For far too long, have we, the communities, used these bodies to perpetuate our bigotry and give reign to our arrogance and sense of supremacy.
We have cast aspersions on the integrity of Ulama from the Western Cape, because “They’ll certify anything. Even alcohol.” And have used that other body’s ‘exercise caution’ statements to brand food certified by other Muslim scholars, HARAAM.
We have forwarded broadcasts declaring food haraam on one day then changing our minds, the next.
We have allowed ourselves to be played by certain bodies who would like the world to believe that they are the only ones deserving of the revenue to be had from pronouncing a product Halaal, that their Halaal standard stands head and shoulders above any other. Because they are more Muslim than most.
Those other scholars, their qualifications were found in a lucky packet. They have no consciences and they are not answerable to a Higher Being. This is what we have said, over and over, when we have preferred one body over the other, when we have forced Muslim businesses into having themselves certified , sometimes, at exorbitant costs, so we could tuck into our Certified-By- The-Authority-Of-My-Choice meal with a smug self- satisfied smile.
Normally, I don’t pay attention to the halaal wars. Don’t receive or forward broadcasts. Don’t discuss it. This was a conscious decision I took after an incident involving pies at a Muslim owned Spar that resulted in my getting in touch with a certain Halaal Authorising Body whose behaviour shocked me. They were so blatantly manipulative that for a while I was not even sure the conversations had actually taken place.
And for this reason, when I opened Lazeeza’s in 2008, I decided that I wouldn’t apply to have my store certified by anyone. That if, for a fellow believer, my word wasn’t good enough, then I was better off having no dealings at all with said believer.
It was also, for this reason that when I sourced pies for my store, I was happy enough with the certificate from my Western Cape brothers because, I reasoned, I was accepting the word of a Body of Scholars. And if they erred, the sin would be on them.
But clearly, given recent run in’s with patrons at the store, not everyone shares my sentiments.
There has been more than one Kurta’ed uncle or Niqaab’ed aunty (more often, it’s the aunties, though) who has asked dear Sicelo whether the pies are Halaal.
There had also been a certain TJ brother who’s accosted Ahmed (he helps out at the store), at the Markaz, and stated unequivocally that Lazeeza’s sells Haraam pies.
So let me state this clearly: Lazeeza’s sells pies that have been certified by The Muslim Judicial Council. We sell these pies because we refuse to buy into the notion that some Muslims are more Muslim than others. And if you are of a very high level of Taqwa and this Allah consciousness of yours dictates that you not believe the words of scholars from the Western Cape because they don’t have full length Sunnah beards and their ancestors were either Malay or Coloured, then for you, these pies become DOUBTFUL. Not HARAAM. But DOUBTFUL.
For YOU. Not EVERYONE.
So YOU should NOT eat them. But PLEASE, I implore you, don’t go around making them haram for everyone.
And for the rest of you, I‘d recommend the Mutton Curry Pie. It’s pretty good.