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Halal Consumption as Ethical Practice: Negotiating Halal Certification in South Africa

In: Islamic Africa
Author: Shaheed Tayob1
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  • 1 Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa, stayob@gmail.com
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Abstract

In recent decades, the halal certification logo has emerged as a global phenomenon. Halal certification is an attempt to produce a new discursive and material basis for the practice of halal. Halal is extended into new places and products. In South Africa Muslim consumers now query the halal status of tomato sauce, bottled water and even food consumed at the homes of friends and family. Certification is a technology of halal whereby consumers self-regulate practice in new ways. However, the transformations of halal certification have not been complete. Documentary inspection and molecular investigation linked to new kinds of information and new technology have not necessarily eclipsed the importance of intra-Muslim trade, niyya (orientation/intention) and trust for the practice of halal. This paper considers the narratives and practices of middle-class Muslims in South Africa towards an understanding of the complex ways in which halal is practiced and transformed.

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