Global halal market has become a significant market force in current global economy. It is currently worth 16% of the worldwide food industry (Farouk, 2013) and could account for 20% of global trade in food products in the future. The segment of halal product varies between 10%, 24% and 63% shares in Europe, Africa, and Asia respectively (Hashim, 2010). Retailers and manufacturers in some European countries also invested in halal facilities to serve the demand of halal products and trades within the Europe and other countries the Middle East and Africa (Van der Spiegel et.al, 2012).
Islam has a set of guidelines for its believers when it comes to decision of food consumption as well as of resource extraction and commodity production. In general, food products categorised as halal are those permissible for consumption, otherwise it would be categorised as haram which should be avoided by the Muslims. The guidelines to determine halal food are based on the concept of halal and goodness (tayyib) which refers to clean, pure, safe, harmless and high quality. In al-Quran, the term halal is frequently followed by the term al-tayyib or al-tayyibat, as stated in surah al-Baqarah (2) verse 168, surah al-Ma’idah (5) verse 88, surah al-Anfal (8) verse 69 and surah al-Nahl (16) verse 114. These verses clearly explain that any food (and its analogy to non-food products) considered halal must conform to the conditions expressed in the meaning of halal and tayyib.
The tayyib concept mentioned in these verses implies that the categorisation of certain products as halal is not only based on their intrinsic ingredients. Furthermore, it has also to be assessed from the whole chains of production and consumption processes. Thus, the concept signifies the ways their raw materials were extracted, the means of consumption, as well as their impact on consumers’ health and nature. Last but not least, Islam also sets a set of principles regarding respect and protection on some basic rights of labour, animal and nature. Thus, the combined concept of halal and tayyib or together referred to as halalan tayyiban represents a more comprehensive conception ofhalal.
Such notion on halal products is being increasingly recognised by some halal certification bodies, although still in limited understanding. For instance, Swiss-based Halal Certification Services (HCS) is also trying to include halal cosmetic products into their segment. Halal label on cosmetic product affects customer’s shopping preference (The Halal Times, 2016). However, as already mentioned, halal labelling as an assurance is not only related to its raw materials, but to the entire value chains. Thus, the combined concept of halalan tayyiban gives an opportunity to develop deeper understanding towards the essence of this concept in the current reality of halal certification.
Another illustration to broaden the notion of halal labelling relates to ecological consideration. For instance, current halalcertification justifies any fish as permissible to consume. However, what if the fish were caught using destructive techniques, for instance bomb fishing and trawl? Destructive fishing is one kind of unsustainable fishing practice. Further question raised which relates to social relation of production. What if the fish is bought by the middleman from fisherman with very low price, and then sold to the consumers in very high price? What if the fish industry employs child labours or cheap labours? This practice depicted an unfair trade practice and labour relations. Unsustainable method of fishing as well as unfair trade and labour relations undermine the process of production of fish as halal food. In this case, we should re-think the concept of halal that we perceived. Therefore, we may have a preliminary conclusion that such practices cannot be defined as halalan tayyiban product.
In 2015, the 33rd Congress of Nahdlatul Ulama of Indonesia (the largest independent Islamic organization in the world) issued a fatwa regarding the overexploitation of natural resources which is considered as haram (not permissible). This fatwa raises a further question towards the halal status of the product extracted from these activities. Current halal certification however, has not yet to accommodate these kinds of notion to examine beyond the substance of the products.
Thus, we envisage an urgent need for the re-development of Halal food certification system which incorporates not only halal concept but also tayyib concept. This implies that discussion about halal paradigm in halal certification for any product does not only revolve around intrinsic content or ingredient of food and non-food products, but also around the concept of sustainability and fairness along the supply chains and its consumption. Furthermore, the halal certification requires research and development to develop its administration system that can face the challenge of the future demand and its economic value.