This social media post claims that
during a court proceeding in Tamil Nadu, Muslims told the court that spitting on food makes
the halal process complete. In November 2021, Tamil Nadu’s Indu Makkal Katchi made the same
claim in a tweet. It is likely that the claim gained traction after this tweet. However, through
an internet search, we found that it is not a Tamil Nadu court but the Kerala High Court where
in a plea filed by SJR Kumar, general convener of the Sabarimala Action Committee, the petitioner
alleged that the Travancore Devaswom Board, or TDB, that manages the Sabarimala temple, has
been using spoiled halal-certified jaggery to prepare nivedyam and prasadam at Sabarimala. One
of the many 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.
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.’ So, it is not the Muslim
community that admitted in court that spitting makes the halal process complete. These statements
were attributed to it by a petitioner of the case, who happened to be a Hindu. The petitioner further
opined, ‘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 TDB
filed a response in this regard. In its response, the board stated that a large quantity of jaggery
was left unused in 2019-20 due to COVID-19 protocol and hence the board auctioned this
leftover jaggery to Southern Agro Tech Pvt. Ltd., Thrissur. The contract for supply of jaggery for
2020-21 was given to S.P.Sugar and Agro Pvt. Ltd., Maharashtra. The jaggery this company started
supplying from April 2021 has been used since then.
On the question of halal, a News18 report
states that the TDB explained that halal is an Arabic word that translates to ‘permissible’.
This is mentioned on the jaggery packaging because 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. Further, during the 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.
there in other countries like the UK and some Supreme Court decisions speak about it.’ It is
noteworthy that over the course of proceedings of the case, no Muslim organisation
or individual was made a respondent, contrary to the claim in the viral
post. As the Muslim community did not admit in court that spitting on food
is part of halal, this post is fake..