MJC asks faith­ful to not touch re­laxer un­til Fatwa Com­mit­tee rules

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FATIMA SCHROEDER

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.


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