Amidst our frenzied lives, the phrase ‘let’s discuss it over a coffee’ – appears to be in vogue as a way out for a number of situations.
Everything from sealing an important business deal, to an old school friend reunion, or having a sobering discussion with a marriage partner is today discussed ‘over a coffee’.
The setting for many of these are bustling coffee shops located in prominent public spaces or shopping centres, that simultaneously afford the parties involved a opportunity to destress, whilst giving them the space to speak their minds.
As things stand in a country like South Africa, the likelihood would be greater that the coffee outlets we patronise would be non-Muslim owned.
But then, what could ever be so innocuous about a simple coffee?
“Most certainly there are issues beyond the coffee,” asserts Moulana Mohammed Saeed Navlakhi, theological director of the South African National Halaal Authority(SANHA).
In a recent interview with Cii Radio, the Halaal expert noted that his organisation’s inspections had uncovered concerns as serious as the usage of pork bristle brushes to clean coffee machines at some premises.
“Most certainly confectionery items are critical,” the Aalim added.
“Whether it be things like gelatine etc. that are used in such products, or the colourants or flavourants that are found within them.”
Over and above the sweet treats, Moulana Navlakhi singled out sandwiches sold at such joints for special mention.
“These sandwiches could probably not be made at the coffee shop, they may be brought in,” he explained.
“It could be a simple cheese and tomato sandwich, but they are made at a plant that does bacon and ham sandwiches as well – so I think we have got to be circumspect.”
The aalim was pleased to announce a trend of a growing number of coffee outlets now seeking to solicit Halaal status, urging the community to patronise these instead, to uphold our Deeni obligations.
“Rather be safe than sorry,” he urged.