By Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney Australia;
There are 8 billion people on this planet, of whom 2 billion are Muslims. Muslims are the majority in 50 countries. Approximately 90 percent of the population in 30 countries is Muslim, and Islam is the state religion in 20 countries.
Therefore, Muslims represent a global community with their own histories, ethnicities, cultures, languages, foods, and ways of life. Islam, however, unites them all and creates the Muslim Ummah (Muslim World). By faith, Muslims are obligated to use halal products and services and follow a halal lifestyle.
Providing halal products and services to all Muslims and passing down a halal lifestyle from generation to generation is the responsibility of Muslim muftis, leaders, entrepreneurs, industrialists, academics, scientists, researchers, technologists, writers, journalists, scholars and thinkers.
The use of digital technology, business channels, online communication, and electronic trade requires Muslims, especially millennials, to compete continuously with western society in the modern world. Living a halal lifestyle and attracting halal products are huge challenges for Muslim Millennials. The reason for this is not just because it is an obligation for Muslims, but because it is the most beneficial way of life for everyone on this planet.
The generation after the baby boomers (early 1960s to late 1970s) appears aimless according to the technological trail. GEN X is an informal term used to describe them.
The following generation was born in the 1980s to 1990s, mostly children of baby boomers, who were viewed as more technologically savvy. They are referred to as Generation Y or GEN Y.
Millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996 – were followed by Generation Z, or GEN Z. These are people born between 1997 to 2012. Satellite TV, mobile phones, and digital networking became part of GEN Z’s lifestyle.
Following Generation Z, the most recent generation born in the 20s is Generation Alpha. B They can access the digital world at their fingertips by using mobile phones While there are some regulatory watchdogs, they can access Halal and Haram content. In addition to being able to purchase consumables and non-consumables online, they have access to all kinds of content regardless of their age, gender, or religious beliefs (halal or haram).
In today’s borderless digital world, Islamic media content focusing on Islamic culture, values, and a halal lifestyle has grown exponentially. The business model is seeing a shift from high-budget production houses to the emergence of independent content creators thanks to platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok.
Nonetheless, the million-dollar question is what where Muslim Millennials educated, tech-savvy, and modern will bring to Muslim society as role models for the Halal lifestyle.
Children and youth can now watch cartoons on mobile devices and notepads that contain material that is prohibited in Islam. Muslim Millennials may have access to online sites like YouTube, Tit Tok, and other online software that contain vulgar and dirty content.
Through the innovations of modern digital technology, technologists have transformed the world of marketing, media, and entertainment. These modern tools of businesses must motivate and empower Muslim Millennials to drive Halal Products & Services for the Ummah.
In today’s modern world, Halal media and entertainment connect and entertain the new generation of Muslims on a deeper level. There needs to be more innovative security checks on prohibited content and to make sure that whatever is being marketed as halal is genuinely halal.
The Muslim millennial generation must make sure their marketing strategy utilizes modern technology and addresses viable future challenges to market Halal goods and services in today’s modern technological world.
Keeping up with the environment, supply chain, sustainability, and other ethical issues in the halal industry is crucial in today’s modern world.
To promote Halal Products & Services and the Islamic lifestyle according to Islamic codes of conduct, Muslim scholars, muftis, journalists, writers, anchors, and presenters must work with the modern generation of Muslims.
In Australia, I have found websites that display halal products without displaying any certification from the halal authentic certification body. Websites like these can mislead Muslims in non-Muslim countries who want to use halal products and services.
Since these products are easily available to view and purchase through a growing number of e-commerce businesses internationally, GEN Alpha, a new generation of millennials, is not protected from haram or prohibited items in the context of Islamic codes of conduct or Shariah.
Different online sites offer halal food items, medicine, educational materials, fashion, cosmetics, perfume, lifestyle products, and travel & tourism services. Have these products and materials been halal certified by an internationally recognized halal regulatory body before being displayed for trading online? This is again a crucial matter of today.
Hence, it is necessary to raise awareness among the modern Muslim generation about the promotion of true Islamic websites for halal products and services. This is especially true of those displaying certification logos and contact details.
Many sellers of Islamic products and services claim their products and services are halal certified through Facebook or online certifications. This is a very serious issue, especially for Muslim Millennials and Generation Alpha. This is a critical issue for the Islamic Ummah today.
Online Islamic products offered by large companies are particularly attractive to Generation Alpha, but their halal authenticity is still debatable.
American, European, and Chinese companies sell Islamic products online. The most common products are prayer mats, Islamic hats, bandanas, clothing, abayas, turbans, scarves, burqas, jewellery, cosmetics, perfumes, children’s games, Islamic books, and materials.
Etsy, an e-commerce company based in the United States, sells craft supplies and handmade goods. Jewellery, bags, clothing, home décor, furniture, toys, art supplies, and tools are among their products.
Online shopping for women’s Islamic clothing, dresses, and accessories is available at the company called Modanisa. It offers clothing and accessories for women of all ages and ships worldwide.
Alibaba is one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies in both wholesale and retail. The company offers a wide range of Islamic products, lifestyle items, and Islamic books.
Are these products made from pure halal materials and certified by a global halal certification organization? Accurate information and awareness are needed for this to the consumers.
For these crucial issues to be addressed, the Ummah must take steps to form an international body that may work under an international Islamic organization such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). And if this is already being done, then further awareness is needed among Muslims worldwide.
Among these and to raise awareness about non-halal products being sold online as halal products, Muslim media and associates should work closely with Islamic scholars and religious leaders. Muslim journalists and scholars must serve as watchdogs over online sites run by Muslim and non-Muslim traders and businesses.
Global electronic media, online media, and social media have virtually destroyed territorial boundaries between people of different backgrounds and faiths. Our children and the young generation can access their content. While we cannot force them not to watch them, we can provide them with competitive, interesting, and informative Islamic material.
The Islamic multimedia and film production industry can provide opportunities for our young generation to develop competitive Islamic content for global audiences and viewers through the involvement of Muslim media associates, academics, researchers, scholars, content writers, and Muslim multimedia production companies.
Another global industry for Muslims is Halal travel and tourism. There is a need for halal or Islamic tourism destinations for Muslim millennials. Promoting tourist destinations where Muslim millennials can freely spend their time and enjoy the halal aspects of those destinations is important.
In Indonesia, Lombok, an island with a large Muslim population, is a prominent example. The development of halal destinations in Indonesia has been centered on Lombok. The World’s Best Halal Honeymoon Destination and World’s Best Halal Tourism Destination were awarded to Lombok.
Mosques, restaurants serving halal food, hotels, and tourist attractions are easily accessible to Muslim millennials in Thailand.
Malaysia ranks among the top five Muslim-friendly destinations worldwide for Muslim millennials.
Muslim millennials are becoming increasingly attracted to the Turkish tourism industry. There are centuries-old Islamic historical sites, mosques, and delicious halal Turkish food, makings Turkey a popular Muslim tourist destination.
Central Asian states are still hidden territories for Muslim millennials. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are among the top five halal tourist destinations in Central Asia, where Muslim millennials can visit monuments, shrines, mosques, universities, historical Muslim cemeteries, and tombs of Islamic leaders, Sufis centuries-old Islamic Archaeology sites.
Pakistan is home to some of the world’s finest tourist destinations with the highest mountains, landscapes, and beaches. In Pakistan, all amenities, food, and hotels are halal. Pakistan possesses a wealth of Muslim culture, history, and values.
There are certainly Arab Muslim states where Islam was born and spread around the world. The Muslim Ummah’s most sacred and religious sites are in Arab countries. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are ranked among the top three Muslim-friendly tourist destinations.
Again, Muslim Media and its associates have a huge responsibility to educate, create awareness, and promote these facets of halal products & services, and lifestyle.
Organizing conferences, seminars, workshops, and research is essential to the success of the developing global halal industry.
Modern-day Muslims, especially those living outside of Islamic countries, are influenced by traditional and cultural days in terms of entertainment and celebration. Since they live in a non-Islamic state, it may be accepted as long as their activities do not violate Islamic principles.
Our Generation Alpha is uncertain about whether to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween Day, and other European and Asian cultural events. Similarly, the younger Muslim female generation also has a growing number of activities, especially in western societies, such as the women’s fashion parade and the Islamic beauty contest.
Muslim leaders must engage themselves in these issues as future challenges. Despite the challenges and complexity of setting up a common agreement through international Islamic organizations, they should create a majority consensus up to an extreme extent.
Furthermore, there are strict Islamic countries that forbid girls from participating in sports. While some Islamic countries promote European, American, and Indian musical concerts under the guise of modernization. Based on the true spirit of Islam, it is an issue for our new generation to decide whether it is right or wrong.
Dear brothers and sisters, these are complex issues, especially for our younger Muslim generation. The Muslim Ummah needs to reach a common understanding at the highest level on these issues of Ummah.
Islamic scholars, muftis, journalists, writers, anchors, and presenters must have an absolute consensus on these issues. Muslims, especially Alpha GEN needed more awareness and clear understanding about halal, prohibited, and haram.
In this regard, consistent and challenging efforts are needed to bring different international Islamic bodies, governments, Islamic scholars of various schools of thought, Imams & muftis, Islamic researchers, manufacturers, Islamic multimedia production companies, and multinational business stakeholders together on a single agenda to promote Halal Products and Services and Halal Lifestyle and deal with potential future challenges.
Promoting Islamic codes of practice is vital to developing the global halal industry. By contributing to the development of the halal industry globally, Muslim journalists and writers can play effective roles. Muslim media houses can raise consumer awareness about online halal product authenticity, supply chain practices, and safe halal practices. This can be done by sharing facts and figures and organizing educational programs, conferences, and seminars.
In this regard, I acknowledge and admire the extraordinary contribution of Thai Muslim scholars, researchers, scientists, and community leaders. They are highly committed to providing their services to the Halal Products & Services Thai and international halal markets.
My attention is drawn to the unique and exceptional work being delivered by the Halal Science Center at the Chulalongkorn of University in collaboration with the Halal Standard Institute of Thailand (HSIT) under the supervision of several Muslim scholars and professors, especially Professor Dr. Winai Dahlan and Dr. Professor Pakorn Priyakorn.
Thailand is not a Muslim country, yet it is one of the leading countries in promoting Halal Products and Services. This is because of these remarkable personalities and their teamwork in organizing Halal Assembly since 2014.
I would like to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to Associate Professor and Chairman Dr. Winai Dahlan, his fellow associates, and the organizing committee of the Thailand Halal Assembly 2022. This event is now internationally recognized as the top international event creating awareness and promoting Halal Products & Services and the Halal Lifestyle.
I would like to thank the organizers of the Thailand Halal Assembly 2022 for allowing me to share my thoughts.
[This article is the extraction of Syed Atiq ul Hassan’s that he read at the Thailand Halal Assembly 2022, held 15-16 December 2022, at Halal Science Centre, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Syed Atiq ul Hassan is the founding director of Halal Expo Australia; Editor of Tribune International (Australia), International Journalist, and Writer).