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No, the Muslim community did not admit in the court that spitting on food is part of halal practice

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A social media post claiming that during a court proceeding in Tamil Nadu, Muslims told the court that spitting on food makes the halal process complete, is being widely shared across all the platforms. Through this article let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.

Claim: Muslims told the court that spitting on food makes the halal process complete.

Fact: In a plea filed in Kerala High Court by general convener of the Sabarimala Action Committee regarding the usage of spoiled halal certified jaggery in the preparation of  Nivedyam and Prasadam at Sabarimala, the petitioner alleged that Muslim community has been proclaiming publicly that saliva is a necessary ingredient for certifying Halal in the preparation of food materials. This allegation by the petitioner is misconstrued as the Muslim community admiiting that spitting is part of the halal process. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

Earlier in November 2021, Tamil Nadu’s Indu Makkal Katchi through a tweet made the same claim. In all probability, this claim might have gained traction after this tweet.

However, through an internet search, we found that its not Tamil Nadu court but the Kerala High Court wherein in a plea filed by SJR Kumar, general convener of the Sabarimala Action Committee, the petitioner alleged that Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the Sabarimala temple has been using spoiled halal-certified jaggery to prepare Nivedyam and Prasadam at Sabarimala.

One of the multiple accusations levelled by the petitioner against the use of halal-certified products reads ‘The religious scholars of the Muslim community have been proclaiming publicly that saliva is a necessary ingredient for certifying Halal in the preparation of food materials. The religious scholars took the above view by interpreting holy texts and its valid interpretations. However, different views were also expressed by a section of religious leaders.’

From this, it is evident that it is not the Muslim community who admitted in the court that spitting makes the halal process complete. These statements were attributed to them by the petitioner of the case, who happened to be a Hindu. This attribution of the petitioner is misconstrued and shared as if the Muslim community making these viral statements in court proceedings.

Further, the petitioner opined that ‘in view of the recent controversy as regards spitting on food materials to make it Halal and the responses from religious scholars, people at large are highly anxious and obnoxious on the use of Halal certified food materials even for household purposes. It is highly disheartening to see that the food materials prepared following the rituals and religious practices of another religion with its certification are accepted as food material for the preparation of Nivedyam / Prasada in a Hindu temple having its own rituals and customs.”

The Travancore Devaswom Board filed a response in this regard. In their response, the board stated that a large quantity of jaggery was left unused for the year 2019-20 due to COVID-19 protocol and hence the board auctioned this leftover jaggery to M/s Southern Agro Tech Pvt. Ltd., Thrissur. Whereas ‘for the year 2020-21, contract for supply of jaggery was given to M/s S.P.Sugar and Agro Pvt. Ltd., Maharashtra. They started supply from April 2021 onwards and that jaggery is being used since then.

On the question of halal, ‘TDB explained that halal, an Arabic word that translates as “permissible” in English, mentioned on the jaggery packaging was due to the fact that the company from which the said consignment was obtained also exported jaggery to Arab countries, where the rules mandate the sale of halal foods per Islamic rule’ reported News18.

Further during the course of proceedings in the context of the petitioner failing to elaborate his understanding of halal, the court opined that ‘before filing a petition challenging the use of halal products, you should go deep into the concept. The concept of halal only says that certain things are prohibited; all other things are halal. This certification only says that those prohibited materials are not included in a particular product. This is there in other countries like the UK and some Supreme Court decisions speak about it.’

Further, it is noteworthy to mention that over the course of proceedings of the case, no Muslim organisation or for that matter no Muslim individual was made a respondent, contrary to the claim made in the viral post.

To sum it up, the Muslim community did not admit in the court that spitting on food is part of halal.

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