Birmingham & Black Country

Halal certified make-up launched in UK

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Media captionMuslim women give their verdict on halal make-up

Halal meat has become a common part of life in the UK, but now a company has launched a range of halal make-up, which is free from alcohol and animal products.

But there has been a warning from some Muslim leaders who claim some other businesses are cashing in on halal products.

Samina Akhter set up Samina Pure Make-up from her home in Birmingham after questioning what she was putting on her skin.

She said: "I was shocked to find that some products contained alcohol and even pig placenta.

"Many Muslim women like me have been frustrated by wanting to look good and follow their faith."

There are almost one million Muslim women living in Britain and it is a growing population.

Samina Pure has over 500 customers and Ms Akhter said: "We've had women say, 'thank you, now I can use products and pray without having to take the make-up off'."

The cosmetics are shipped in from Australia and certified by the independent Halal Certification Authority Australia.

There is some difference of opinion among Muslim scholars whether make-up from a high street store or supermarket is allowed to be used by Muslim women.

Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad, a leading Imam in the UK, says there are two schools of thought.

"If the product contains dead flesh or meat, any pig or haram (unlawful) animals like dogs, or any alcohol, then generally it is impermissible."

But he says the more moderate but still valid approach looks at the size and the final properties of the ingredient.

"If the product contains a very small amount of animal or alcohol, then some scholars say it is permissible.

"Also, if the disallowed ingredient changes into another substance, through the chemical process, then some scholars say this is allowed."

However, Muslim scholars do agree that women have to remove any type of make-up before they pray.

'Women's choice'

Sheikh Haitham, also a Member of Islamic Sharia Council of Britain, encourages Muslims to take the safe option and stay away from doubtful matters.

He said Muslims need to do some research and be careful that some businesses, but not Ms Akhter's, could be using the word halal to boost sales.

He told the BBC: "Sometimes people misuse or abuse this word and put halal on any product.

"I've seen the word halal stamped on fish and this is ridiculous."

Ms Akhter has had interest in her make up from as far Indonesia and America and hopes to grow the business overseas.

She said she wants Muslim women to have a choice.

"I'm not saying such and such product is haram and we are halal - you have to use us.

"Women have their own choices but at least they've got the option to do that."

You can hear more on this story on Asian Network Reports at 1230 BST on Thursday, 22 July, or via the BBC iPlayer.

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