MJC asks faithful to not touch relaxer until Fatwa Committee rules
THE oldest halaal authority in the country, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), has warned Muslims to stay away from Brazilian keratin hair treatments while it and experts in other parts of South Africa probe its status.
Contrary to rumours the council has given the hair smoothing treatment the thumbs-up, the director of its Halaal Trust told Weekend Argus this week it had neither approved it to be halaal nor declared it to be non-halaal.
“The product is under investigation by the MJC Fatwa Committee and all Muslims should wait and abstain from using the product/hair treatment until it has completed its investigation and issues its verdict on the matter,” Sheikh Achmat Sedick said.
He was speaking after the news broke that the South African National Halaal Authority (Sanha), which has a large following in Johannesburg and Durban, notified users the product created an impermeable coating around the hair shaft which rendered invalid obligatory ablution and ritual bathing, done before prayers and other acts of worship.
The information Sanha obtained was based on information from the manufacturers of a particular brand, Brasil Cacau. “After discussions and meetings we accepted their non-permeability,” public relations officer Ebi Lockhat said.
Sanha has, however, not made a formal pronouncement on the matter, explaining it was normal practice to refer the issue to jurists to study and issue a fatwa ruling.
However, since there is doubt about the product’s halaal status, Muslims have been asked to exercise caution and abstain from using it.
The news went viral on social media with heated debates in comments sections and, by yesterday, had been shared more than 900 times on Facebook. Some people dismissed it as nonsense and those in the hair industry were adamant no impermeable coating was created over the hair.
But Aron Collins, spokesman for Hair Health and Beauty in Johannesburg which imports Brasil Cacau, conceded to Weekend Argus the process “does, when first applied, form a coating on the hair which limits the amount of water that is allowed to penetrate.” The coating was partially impervious, she said, and wore off one to two weeks after application. “With that, water penetration into the hair increases,” Collins added.
Another expert in the hair industry, who spoke off the record, confirmed Sanha’s information was correct.
The founder of an Islamic institute for women, who wished to remain anonymous, said Muslims were bound by the shariah to take directives from authoritative bodies.
She advised Muslims to accept authorities’ recommendations to abstain from using the product, selling it or providing a service with it until a definite ruling had been made.
“As the public we should allow the ulama body (authorities) to conduct the various scientific tests and accept the ruling that follows, as they are more qualified to make decisions on matters pertaining to our (faith). A true practising Muslim will accept the fatwa from ulama and not probe for one that suits our needs,” she said.