Tagged with " Halal"
Dec 14, 2012 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

After halal erotica comes halal housing …

As a cataloger of all things Halal, this blog has discussed everything from halal banking & halal wine, halal gripe water to halal kink. In fact this blog has the dubious honor of coming up with the idea of a halal search engine which was stolen by some dude in Netherlands who came up with imhalal but I digress. 

Anyways, it seems that Dutch are the market leaders when it comes to selling all things halal, they designed the halal search engine, sell halal erotica to Muslim brothers and sisters and now came up with halal housing. I was most impressed with this and wanted to research it some more but I was most disappointed when I found out that these halal houses are pretty much the same as other houses save some muslim showers and sliding doors that turn your living room into separate zanankhana and mardankhana. They have not mentioned if they will provide lotas with Muslim housing or if the residents will have to bring in their own when they move in. I actually do see it as a deal breaker. 

People like us have been living in halal housing all our lives without ever knowing it. 

Halal marketing FTW

Jul 19, 2012 - rant    3 Comments

The dystopian heaven called Pakistan.

I was out of the country for a few days and what happened out there was another horrific tale but when I got back I was reassured that things remained unchanged in my absence and we are still gripped by the same stupendous inanity. One of the two things that assured me of our national ridiculousness was the latest Qarshi Gripe Water advert which markets its product for infants as Halal! It’s a product for kids, chances are that it won’t contain alcohol anywhere in the world. But just to be sure, I asked my friend who happened to be a pediatrician, if there are gripe waters that contain alcohol. 
Her response was laughter and mockery. She laughed at my question and mocked the fact that I skipped Chemistry in high school for Economics. She told me that some products use to contain a very minute amount of alcohol to solubilize and preserve the essential oils of the active ingredients, but that too has been out of practice and most gripe waters are alcohol free. Even back when they used to contain alcohol, the percentage was negligible and as far as adverse effects of alcohol were concerned, there were none because the quantity was insignificant. But in this day and age of televangelists where everything is sold with the tagline of religion, a product for infants also deems it necessary to use religion to increase its sales. Welcome to the dystopian heaven called Pakistan. 
May 11, 2012 - published work, religion, Society    3 Comments

The fatwa factory

There is so much that needs to be done in Pakistan that one does not know where to start. The country is suffering the worst energy crisis of its history; it is food insecure like never before and almost half the children in the country are malnourished and stunted. In short, we are teeming millions who cannot feed themselves, have limited access to energy and will be dumber and weaker in future because of stunted mental and physical growth of our children. At such a juncture of history, what is it that we do most? We issue fatwas promoting misogyny and obscurantism; against hygiene, education, health and progress.
The latest in the line of outrageous fatwas is issued by a former legislator. Maulana Abdul Haleem, of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rehman, came up with a series of misogynist fatwas, clearly detailing what should be the priorities of his political and religious followers. For starters, the fatwa declares formal education for women to be unIslamic. As just declaring the act of going to school and getting some education irreligious was not enough, he also had to reprimand the parents who send their girls to schools in Kohistan and asked them to terminate their education. He told them, in no uncertain terms, that failure to do so will earn them a spot in eternal hellfire.
The fatwa does not end here. It goes on to declare all the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the region as ‘hubs of immodesty’. He first blames the women working in those NGOs for mobilizing local women on health and hygiene issues and then calls on the local men to marry the unmarried NGO workers – forcefully if they have to – to make them stay at home. Maulana Haleem’s religious credentials are dubious at best as this is the guy who thinks growing poppy for heroine production is shariah compliant. 
In short, a former legislator issues random fatwas during a Friday sermon inciting hatred against a group of people (NGO workers) and declaring the constitutional rights of getting education for half the population haram and no one barring a few bloggers and tweeters raised an eye brow. A non issue like memogate which does not affect the life of any Pakistani other than our former ambassador to USA, gets yards of column space and thousands of minutes of airtime. A religious decree that can affect life and livelihood and future of many Pakistani is not worth pondering or protesting.
Had it been just one fatwa from one cleric in one remote corner, we would have had the luxury to ignore it. Unfortunately we churn out one religious edict after another for most ludicrous of purposes. If declaring vegetarian items like potato chips and hair implant services halal is considered viable marketing gimmick, then abduction of minor girls from minority communities also get a sanction in a fatwa (and a court judgment). Fatwas are so commonplace than even KESC had to resort to seek a fatwa a few years back to get people pay for the electricity. As KESC is still laden with hundreds and thousands of unpaid bills, we all know how effective that fatwa turned out to be. 
A country like ours can ill afford adventurism of any kind, but most dangerous is the practice of resorting to fatwa to get a point across. Not only it breeds a narrow and rigid view of the things, it does not leave any room for dialogue, debate and consultation, making us an even more intolerant bunch. 

Written for Express Tribune, this is the unedited version.
Jul 22, 2011 - religion    29 Comments

Halalness much?

If the marketing gurus trying to make a few gazillion dollars off the religious sentimentality are to be believed, there weren’t any good Muslim a couple of decades back. People used to eat food, deposit and draw money in the banks, eat chips, drink cola, wash their hair and no one’s faith was under consideration for doing all that the regular way.

But that was then. These days, everything you do has got to be shariah compliant or you are toast. Every other bank offers you Halal credit schemes and one of them has the gall to tell you that there is no barakat in interest so all the non shariah compliant bank users will not only be condemned to hellfire and damnation for eternity, they will be also be deprived to barakat in this life.

Shariah is the way to go, so says Burj Bank

Junaid Jamshed has already benefitted handsomely by declaring fatwa that potato chips are Halal (all vegetables, fruits and grains are halal you dummy) and Unilever is now focusing on hijabi babes and their hidden follicle beauty by churning out shampoos for the unexposed scalps. There are halal toothpastes and halal erotica for those who want to indulge in some religiously sanctioned kink.
After offering us all things halal, a California based company is offering us – yes, you heard it right – Halal Wine. You now have to option to drink a glass of Rosé, Merlot and Riesling and celebrate without the fear of intoxication. Errr, forgive me if I am wrong, but isn’t the point of drinking is to let lose a bit and let go?

This advertisement photo of halal wine is kinda non halal, innit?

Mar 20, 2010 - religion, sex    26 Comments

Halal Kink


Last time I was in Netherlands, I indulged in some serious blitzkrieg tourism, which was very exciting but did not leave me much time to actually notice the life in this little corner of the world. This time, my stay is for a much longer period so I do other mundane things like getting on a tram to go to work, buying grocery and cursing weather like locals do (have had just two and half sunny days in past few months). During this trip, I have more time to look around and see things as they are and among the things I noticed was the fact that for a population of 15 million people (that is less people than just the city of Karachi) they have an abnormally high number of sex shops.

Now, before you decide to pack your bags and move here, let me tell you that they don’t sell ‘sex’ in the shops per se (although that too is legalized here along with soft drugs), they do however sell everything else related to sex, be in performance enhancing drugs, risqué lingerie, toys, videos, fetish and bondage products and what not. It’s not just the big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam (my home for a few weeks) or Den Haag where you can find these sex shops; tiny places like Beverwijk and Haarlem also have their fair share of stores selling kinky products. Not only these shops are in every town and city, they are also everywhere. In Rotterdam, you can take your kids for their McDonald’s fix and can browse in the sex shop in the same alley while they are waiting for their fries & coke or you can hop in to a coffee shop for some Hollandse Appeltaart near the university and find a shop selling kinky inflated life sized dolls next door.

Last night when I heard out about the first online Islamic sex shop, two thoughts sprang up instantaneously. First was how will a Islamic sex shop be different from any other regular sex shops and the second was that somehow someone Dutch had to be involved in it and I was right. Abdelaziz Aouragh is a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan origins and his webshop, El Asira, will start selling stuff exclusively for Muslims from this weekend.

Aouragh is a smart businessman, even before he started his business, he turned to a local imam for approval who sought guidance from another scholar in Saudi Arabia and found out that as long as products are halal and are meant to help sex within marriage, it’s all good. Heck, there is even a fatwa supporting that. I personally have no issues with people using whatever they want as long as it is consensual, but how in the God’s good name do you find out about whether a sex product is halal or not. Who will you go to find that edible lingerie is halal and a red-hot puppy mask is not? Would the halal search engine devote a special section on Halal kink and tell you which kinky shit you do is halal and which one is not? How the person who is selling the stuff online will find out whether the product he is selling is for sex within marriage, outside the marriage, with humans or with goats. What makes this shop halal and the other shops haraam? Is it the Arabic name or the fact that it is owned by an Abdelaziz rather than a Rutherford or a Cohen?

I am all for innovative entrepreneurship but dragging religion into everything just makes it more of a laughing stock and I think we have had enough of it. Be as twisty and crazy as you want, just don’t seek validation form a religious scholar for being that way. Making it religiously acceptable only takes the kink out of kinky and makes it mainstream.


Sep 24, 2009 - TTP    30 Comments

Pakistan’s next super model?

Is it just me or have other people noticed that members of Tehreek-e-Talibaan, Pakistan generally have wonderful dark locks to go with their warrior persona. I don’t know what the brand managers of Clear Shampoo and Head & Shoulders and Pantene proV are doing, but if anyone of them is doing their job right, they must sign the whole executive council of Tehreek-e-Talibaan. Hakimullah Mehsud not only has the locks, but he also has the looks of a super model. P&G and Unilever should be in a race to sign Mr. Mehsud as the next brand ambassador for their respective brands of shampoo, imagine how big a market he would open for them – the whole jihadi segment of the society. And if he declares his chosen shampoo, The Halal Shampoo, then lo and behold, the sales will skyrocket and hit the roof.

Anyone ready to sign on the poster boy for jihad as the next super model?

Hakimullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s next super model?

Sep 16, 2009 - rant, religion    82 Comments

Gift of gall or permanent lapse of reason?

On September 14th 2009, 19 women were killed in a stampede in Karachi. New York Times reported that the stampede occurred when a local trader was distributing food – flour, lentils and other goods – in the southern part of the city. Hundreds of women and children had gathered in the narrow lanes, and according to the witnesses; the women tumbled over one another trying to enter a building in an attempt to collect the food first. 25 people were reportedly injured in the incident.
The event was sad and a lot has been said and written about the incident. A couple of the people who have discussed this tragic incident on tv are Aamir Liaquat Hussian and good ol’ Junaid Jamshed in a program which was aired on the eve of the aforementioned horrific incident.
While Aamir Liaquat was busy reading out from what can only be called excerpts from Urdu thesaurus and acting all humble and modest in response to the words of praises from his female fan brigade, Junaid Jamshed came up with a very interesting theory about class differences, hunger, stampede, self respect and religion.
According to Maulana Junaid Jamshed, it is ok if rich Muslims do not follow the religion, but if poor Muslims let go of the sacred religious teachings, the whole society would collapse. He repeatedly made references to “Ghareeb ka Imaan” (poor people’s faith) and “Ameer ka Imaan” (rich people’s faith) as if your class is responsible for your levels of faith and piety. He further went on and said that when poor people embrace the true values of Islam, they are endowed with the gift of self respect, restrain and integrity. His theory was that even if people are poor and hungry, their self respect – endowed only through strict adherence to Islam – will not allow them to go beg for food and consequently, they will be saved from such incidents and death by stampede. Around minute 16.20 in the video, Junaid Jamshed further said that if poor people just practice restraint and stay hungry for three days, Allah will provide food for them for one whole year. This is from a man who probably never had to stay hungry in his life and charges Rs. 2000 for a shalwar (loose Pakistani trousers) that actually costs Rs 200 in his clothing store? He even had the cheek to ask if staying hungry for three days and then waiting for manna from heavens for one whole year (I have absolutely no idea how he arrived at the exact time range of 3 days of hunger and one year warranty of food supply from heavens) is an easier option or getting in line for free food and risking death by stampede?
Mr Jamshed has four children, if they are hungry and crying for food, would he rather stay cooped up in his house telling his children to stay hungry so that Allah will send manna from heaven or will he run all over the place to feed his children? A man who was paid a cool 2 million rupees for half an hour’s work (he shot a tv commercial for Lays Chips also known as Lays chips fatwa) will probably never know what hunger is and how devastating it can be? Self respect, privacy and integrity are things that only rich and well off people can afford, the rest are busy making out a living for themselves and their children.
I am astounded at the cheek of the man. Not only did he blame the victims for begging for flour, he was annoyed at the beggars who knock on his car windows for alms and blamed them for making the likes of him more indifferent to their plight by constantly banging on their air conditioned car windows. I would never condone beggary but one must also take into consideration the recession, loss of jobs for so many people and government’s apathy towards employment generation schemes for its populace. According to the World Food Program, 24 per cent of the population of Pakistan is under noursihed and 38 per cent of Pakistani children under the age of five are under weight. It calls the state of hunger in Pakistan, “alarming.” Imagine, if everyone takes the advice of Junaid Jamshed to heart and and sit on their ass and do nothing and wait for the manna, how will the situation of hunger exacerbate in the country.
What is a bigger tragedy that none of the live callers to the program were intelligent enough to point out what a fraud people like JJ and Ammir Liaquat are. Everyone sang their praises to death and one of the callers even called Junaid jamshed an angel (I am not sure angels would be as big a sartorial disaster as Junaid Jamshed was in his burgady red kurta).
PS: Its a very long video, if you are short of time, just catch the bit from 11th minute to18th minute in the video.
Sep 13, 2009 - Uncategorized    19 Comments

Is swine flu haraam?

Amna: Tazeen, Is swine flu haraam?

Tazeen: depends … see, if it is contracted through a halal source … then it is Halal, but if it is contracted through a haram source then you know what it is …

Amna: Well the Dutch search engine may not acknowledge your contribution, but you do know your halal from haraam.

Tazeen: *blushes*