New brand Alif ‘world’s 1st Halal cat food’ accused of grifting
The halal grift industry has opened up a new market – Journalist Shafik Mandhai
A new business in the Halal mar-cat is claiming to have introduced the “world’s first complete Halal cat food”.
Alif Pet Food officially launched last week with a product range which “gives your cat a diet that mirrors the food they would hunt for in the wild”.
Established by founder Muhammad Khan, the business says it provides our feline friends with “natural, clean and pure ingredients… the way nature intended”.
To justify its unique service, Alif has published an FAQ answering various questions while providing a religiously-based explanation for its Halal angle.
“As Muslims, we should endeavour to maintain a completely halal household, ensuring everything we buy, store and keep inside our homes is pure,” it states.
But not everyone appears convinced, including Middle East Eye journalist Shafik Mandhai, who sceptically tweeted (Ed. – the tweet was later taken down): “The halal grift industry has opened up a new market.”
This drew a number of responses, including some amusing cat-puns like: “Meawslim cats. Who knew?” as well as from Mandhai who quipped: “Yeh they only eat halal and meat slaughtered by ahl al cat-ab” – Ahlul Kitab being an Islamic reference to the Jewish and Christian communities.
Yet looking past the humour, the question of whether Muhammad really has discovered a gap in the market or whether Alif is merely “engaging in petty swindling” – the definition of grifting – still remains to be answered.
According to Alif, while there are concessions for the permissibility of feeding cats non-Halal produce, such as finding discarded meat or receiving it for free, “as Muslims, buying non-Halal produce is not permissible”.
It even goes as far as to quote a prophetic tradition from al-Bukhari and Muslim where Prophet Muhammad’s companion, Jaabir ibn ‘Abdillah, said that he “heard the Messenger of Allah say, on the day of the conquest, when he was in Makkah, ‘Allah and His Messenger have forbidden the sale of alcohol, dead meat (non-Halal), pork and idols'”.
More than meets the Cat’s Eyes…
While some may not be convinced given Alif’s apparent lack of religious credentials, there does happen to be at least two established websites, well-known for delivering religious verdicts known as Fatwas, who have addressed this issue directly.
The first is run by the Saudi “Shaykh” Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, whose online portal Islam Question & Answer cites almost verbatim the very same prophetic tradition presented by Alif, while also forwarding the same reasoning.
The cleric answers: “It is permissible to feed cats dead meat [that which is not slaughtered in the prescribed manner], pork and so on, and it is not stipulated that the meat should be slaughtered in the prescribed Islamic manner.
“So if you find such meat thrown away, or it is given to you for free, then you may give it to the cat. As for buying it, that is not permissible.”
The other is Ask Imam and is run by the South African “Mufti” Ebrahim Desai, who, along similar grounds to al-Munajjid, declares: “In principle, it is permissible to feed a cat and dog any food which is Taahir (pure).”
Desai further adds: “[I]t will be permissible to feed cats and dogs meat of animals that have been slaughtered by making blood flow out (with the exception of swine).
- Powercat – Malaysian brand launched in 2014.
- Tiana – Manchester-based brand launched in Aug-Sept 2021.
“In cases where impure and pure ingredients have been mixed, which may be the case with pet food, if the majority of the product is pure, it will be permissible to feed to cats and dogs. If the majority is impure, it will not be permissible.”
In terms of brands that have catered for Halal cat food, then while 2014 saw the launch of Malaysian brand Powercat, here in Britain, a Manchester-based company called Tiana was started by Pankaj Hurria around August-September earlier this year.
It appears then that not only is there more to this whole affair than meets the cat’s eyes and puns, but also a new range of paw-some Halal cat food products available to consider.