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Purely driven

Purely driven

If you think eco-ethical businesses are a recent innovation, then go read the Holy Qu’ran, says Dr. Mah Hussain-Gambles.

July 11, 2010 12:37 by

This is what I was brought up to believe, especially living in the West, where finding pork-free food takes precedence over such finer points. Yet what he said was true. Using alcohol-containing hairspray, for example, means that some will get into your lungs. Alcohol also dries the skin, and it is for this reason that Western consumers increasingly avoid alcohol-containing skincare products.

But, to be honest, I was in denial. I was also concerned that getting Saaf halal certified would put my Western clients off. Halal, after all, is in the West strongly associated with animal cruelty. As for Muslims, many shared my misunderstanding that alcohol in fragrances and skincare is minimal and thus permitted in Islam. Others just thought I was trying to make a quick buck by tapping into the growing halal market.

Before I draw parallels between halal and eco-ethical living, I want to put the Western principles of eco-ethical into context. Eco-ethical market is the fastest growing market in the West. It is about using products that are cruelty-free (no testing of raw materials or finished products on animals and no exploitation of animals to obtain raw materials)‏; caring for the environment (recycling, reducing the carbon footprint, not wasting natural resources); not harming the body (natural formulations, organically grown and products that are free from harmful ingredients); and pursuing a policy of corporate social responsibility.

It must already be evident to many readers that these principles are similar to those laid out in the Holy Qur’an and in Hadith some 1,400 years ago. Islam is a deeply compassionate religion, especially regarding animal welfare. In God’s eyes, animals are equal to humans. Islam also teaches man to respect nature. The Earth’s natural resources are available to us, but they are gifts from God. We may use them but only in a way that does not upset the ecological balance and does not compromise its viability for our children and grandchildren (please see the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences).

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