— August 30, 2011
How to prepare a Halal meal :-) — August 28, 2011
Vanilla Extract in Halal form —

Vanilla Extract in Halal form

Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution ofethyl alcohol and water. In the United States, in order for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that the solution contain a minimum of 35% alcohol and 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean per gallon.[1] Double and triple strength (up to 20-fold) vanilla extracts are available.

Vanilla extract is the most common form of vanilla used today. Mexican, Tahitian, Indonesian and Bourbon vanilla are the main varieties. Bourbon vanilla is named for the period when the island of Réunion was ruled by the Bourbon kings of France; it does not contain Bourbon whiskey.

Natural vanilla flavoring is derived from real vanilla beans with little to no alcohol. The maximum amount of alcohol that is usually present is only 2%-3%. Also on the market is imitation vanilla extract, a wood by-product usually made by soaking alcohol into wood which contains vanillin. The vanillin is then chemically treated to mimic the taste of natural vanilla.

Pure Vanilla extract is then added in small amounts to ice cream and other food products.


  • Vanilla extract (extracted with alcohol).
  • Vanilla flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  • Concentrated vanilla flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  • Vanilla powder (no alcohol is used)
  • Vanilla-Vanillin extract (extracted with alcohol)
  • Vanilla-Vanillin flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  • Vanilla-Vanillin powder (Vanillin may be obtained with or without alcohol)

There is no animal derived ingredients used in the products above.


  • New Methods of Extractions: Modern methods of extraction are used such as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction (C02 Extract) and reverse osmosis for concentration. These methods produce useful products for industrial flavoring but they either fail to fit the regulatory requirements (alcohol extraction) for USFDA Standard products, and they are extremely expensive. These specialized products differ in solubility, flavor profile, and appearance but add to the list of natural vanilla flavoring available to food and beverages manufacturers. This product is halal.
  • Vanilla beans: Pure Vanilla beans are readily available for both food manufacturers for processed foods and common consumers for home bake products
  • Vanilla Flavor: A vanilla flavor may be in fact being non-alcoholic.
  • Vanilla Powder: This is a standard vanilla product. Vanilla powder is a mixture of ground vanilla beans or vanilla oleoresin or both with one or more of the following optional blending ingredients (a) Sugars, (b) dextrose, (c) Lactose, (d) Food Starch, (e) dried corn syrup, (f) Gum acacia. Vanilla sugar is different from vanilla powder with sugar. Vanilla Sugar made with sugar and vanilla extract is considered as Haram ingredient because of the alcohol content in the extract.
  • Vanilla-Vanillin Powder: This is the same, as vanilla powder but contains not more than one ounce of added vanillin. This is also a standard product. But this product is Halal only if added vanillin is obtained from vanilla bean without alcohol.


Artificial or synthetic vanillin do not contain alcohol and it is also Halal or Kosher certified. It is a Halal ingredient.

Artificial or synthetic vanillin is made with all Halal ingredients and Halal process without alcohol. Lignin, used to make the artificial vanillin, when derived from botanical product is Halal. Methane when used as a solvent is considered as a Halal solvent.


Some Islamic Scholars considered a food product Not Halal if it is made with a flavor containing alcohol as a solvent. But others considered it Halal because they said the small or large quantity (less than 2%) of the product does not intoxicate a person. Please consult your Sheikh or Imam on this topic.

The ruling depends on a few factors:

• First, If a large quantity of a substance intoxicates, then a small quantity of that substance is forbidden. Conversely, if the large quantity did not intoxicate, then that substance is not forbidden for the reason of intoxication. That is confirmed by the following hadeeth

” ما أسْكَر كَثيرُه فقَليلُه حَرَام “

“Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is forbidden.” [Related by Abu Dawood, an-Nasaey and others authentically]

Now, does the ice cream made with vanilla extract intoxicate? No one would say that. So, when does it become an intoxicant? If you extract the Alcohol from that extract in the ice cream and isolate it, then it becomes intoxicant and forbidden to consume even if it were trivial in amount, because more of the same will result in intoxication.

• Second, would the mixing of Alcohol with the food products make them impermissible or filth?

According to the stronger position (of the minority), Alcohol is not physical filth. Thus, it doesn’t turn the mixture into filth. Even, if it was filth, submersion in a large quantity of tahir (pure substance) according to the stronger position, will not affect the ruling of the pure substance unless one the characteristics of Alcohol prevailed (color, smell or taste).

Does mixing it with another substance change the ruling of the new substance even if it was not filth? Yes, if it made the new substance intoxicant.

• Third, would it be permissible for Muslims to add Alcohol to food products? No – as in the case of turning Alcohol into Vinegar – that would not be permissible for Muslims, though, it would be permissible for them to consume it if it was added by others, and most certainly if it occurred naturally in a food (even bread goes through fermentation) so long as the consumed substance is not intoxicant even in large quantities.

Based on the aforementioned, we believe that it is permissible to use food products that contain the vanilla extract.

Tasbih after Salah —

Tasbih after Salah

There are many du’as which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to say after Tasleem (Salutation of Peace). Some of the du’as are mentioned below. 

Recite the following aloud or silently.

“Astagh ferrullah (3 times)Allah humma antas salamu wa minkas salamu tabarakta ya thaljalalee wal ikram.”

(I ask Allah to forgive me (3 times), Oh Allah, You are the Peace, and You are the Source of Peace, You are Blessed, Oh Possessor of Glory and Honor)

Always recite the following du’as silently.

“Subhana-Allah” (33 times)

(Glory be to Allah)

“Alhamdulillah” (33 times)

(Praise be to Allah)

“Allahu Akbar” (33 times)

(Allah is the greatest)

“La ilaha illa Allahu wahdahu la shareeka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu, wa huwa ‘ala kullee shay’in qadeer”

(There is none worthy of worship except Allah alone, no associate does He have, His is the Kingdom, to Him is All-Praise, and He is well able to do all things.) Reciting this supplication 100 times would get the reward of manumitting ten slaves, one hundred good deeds would be written for him, one hundred sins would be remitted from him, it would be a shield for him from the Shaytan that day till night, and nobody would arrive with better than what he arrived with except for one that had done more than him.

Ibn Abbas (RA) said: “I used to know the end of the Prophet’s (SAW) prayer by the takbir .” (Sahih – Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa’ee and Abu Awaanah)

After having ended his (SAW) salah the Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to ask for forgiveness three times (for example: Astagh Ferrullah), then he would say: “Allah humma antas salamu wa minkas salamu tabarakta ya thalijalali wal ikram.” (Sahih – Al-Bukhari, Muslim and At-Tirmithi)

It is reported by way of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) that he said: “Whoever makes tasbeeh (Subhana-Allah) after each Salat 33 times, tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) 33 times, takbir (Allahu Akbar) 33 times, and completes a hundred by saying: ‘La ilaha illa Allahu wahdahu la shareeka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer.’ His sins would be forgiven even if they were as plentiful as the foam of the sea.” (Sahih – Muslim)

What he’s best at :-) —
To-do list for Laylat al-Qadr: —

To-do list for Laylat al-Qadr:

1. Take a vacation for Allah

We take a break from our jobs for almost everything in life. Why not this time to focus on worshiping and thanking our Creator.

If this is not possible at least take a few days off if you can. This can make it easier to stay awake at night to do extra Ibadah, not having to worry about getting to work the next day.

It will also facilitate doing I`tikaf.

2. Do I`tikaf

It was a practice of the Prophet (SAW) to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in the masjid for I`tikaf.

Those in I`tikaf stay in the masjid all this time, performing various forms of zikr (the remembrance of Allah), like doing extra Salah, recitation and study of the Qur’an. They do not go outside the masjid except in case of emergencies, therefore, they sleep in the masjid. Their families or the masjid administration takes care of their food needs.

Itikaf of a shorter period of time, like one night, a day or a couple of days is encouraged as well.

3. Make this special Dua

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW), “O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?” He said: “Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).

The transliteration of this Dua is “Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee”

4. Recite the Quran

Perhaps you can choose Surahs or passages from the Quran which you have heard in Tarawih this past Ramadan to recite.

If you attend a class where the recitation of the Quran is taught, this is a great time to put your knowledge into practice.

5. Reflect on the meaning of the Quran

Choose the latest Surah or Surahs you’ve heard in Tarawih and read their translation and Tafseer. Then think deeply about their meaning and how it affects you on a personal level.

6. Get your sins wiped out

Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger said: Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven. [Bukhari and Muslim).

Don’t just pray using the shorter Surahs that you know. Try to make your prayers longer, deeper and meaningful. If you are familiar with longer Surahs, read the translation and explanation and then pray reciting these Surahs, carefully reflecting on the meaning while you pray.

Even if you are only familiar with the shorter Surahs, read the translation and explanation beforehand, and then pray reflecting on the message of the Surahs.

This is a good way to develop the habit of concentration, even in regular prayers, where many of us tend to be fidgety and/or easily distracted.

7. Make a personal Dua list.

Ask yourself what you really want from Allah. Make a list of each and everything, no matter how small or how big it is, whether it deals with this world or not. Allah loves to hear from us. Once this list is ready, you can do three things:

• Ask Allah to give you those things
• Think about what actions you have taken to get those things
• Develop a work plan to get those things in future.

8. Evaluate yourself.

Ask yourself those questions that need to be asked. Do an evaluation of where you are and where you are going. Let this evaluation lead you to feel happiness for the good you have done and remorse for the bad you have done.  This latter feeling should make it easier to seek Allah’s sincere forgiveness when making the Dua mentioned in tip number one above.

9. Make long, sincere and deep Duas

One of the best times to do this is during the last part of the night.

Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet (SAW) said: When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One descends towards the heaven of the earth and proclaims: Who is that who supplicates for Me, and I grant his supplication? Who is that who begs Me for anything and I grant it to him? And who is that who seeks My forgiveness, and I forgive him? (Bukhari, Muslim).

That means for instance, waking up one hour before Suhoor time to ask Allah for anything and everything you want that is Halal. This can be done using the Duas of the Sunnah, but also Dua in your own language, with sincerity and conviction.

10. Memorize a different Dua every night

They don’t have to be long. They can be just one line. And be sure to know what they mean generally at least, even if you don’t know the exact translation in English.

You can put them on index cards (or and keep them with you during the day, glancing at them during work, at traffic signals, waiting in line, etc.) Then practice them at night in prayer.

11. Have Iftar with the family

If you’ve spent Iftar time on weekdays in your cubicle at work alone with a couple of dates, now is the last few days you’ll have this Ramadan to spend with your family. Use it wisely.

12. Take the family to Tarawih

Have your spouse and kids missed Tarawih most of Ramadan because you weren’t there to drive them to the Masjid, which is too far away to walk to? If so, do all of yourselves a favor and bring everyone for Tarawih in these last ten nights.

13. Attend the Dua after the completion of Qur’an recitation

Almost all Masjids where the Imam aims to finish an entire reading of the Qur,an in Tarawih prayers in Ramadan will be completing their recitation in these last ten nights. They may try to end on one of the odd nights and read the Dua at the end of a reading of the Quran. Attend this particular night’s Tarawih prayer with your family. See if you can attend different Masjids’ Tarawih prayers the night they finish reading the Quran.

14. Finish reading a book on the Prophet (SAW)

Read about the Prophet’s life, which can increase your love for him and Islam by seeing how much he struggled for Allah’s sake. It may inspire you to push yourself even harder during these last ten nights. This community is built on sacrifice.

15. Plan for the next year

Once you’ve done a self-evaluation, you can plan on where you want to go, at least in the next 12 months. Laylatul Qadr is a great night to be thinking about this (without taking away from your worship), since you’ll Insha Allah, be in a more contemplative state. You may choose to dedicate one night of power for evaluation and one night for planning for the next year.

16. To do list for the Night of Power

Make a to do checklist for each Night of Power. This should define how you would like your night, the one better than a thousand months, to be used. Pick things from this list and define the sequence you would like to do things in. This will help you avoid wasting your time in unproductive chats which common in the festive atmosphere of Masjids at the Night of Power.

Laylat Al-Qadr — August 27, 2011

Laylat Al-Qadr

Al-Qadr is the 97th sura of the Qur’an with 5 ayat.

إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ فِى لَيۡلَةِ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: (1)

وَمَآ أَدۡرَٮٰكَ مَا لَيۡلَةُ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ

And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? (2)

لَيۡلَةُ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَلۡفِ شَہۡرٍ۬

The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months. (3)

تَنَزَّلُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ فِيہَا بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّہِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمۡرٍ۬

Therein come down the angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (4)

سَلَـٰمٌ هِىَ حَتَّىٰ مَطۡلَعِ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ

It’s all Peace!… until the rise of Morn (Dawn)! (5)

Laylat al-Qadr is the anniversary of the night that the Qur’an was revealed. The Revelation of the Qur’an occurred in two phases, with the first phase being the revelation in its entirety on Laylat Al-Qadr to Gabriel in the lowest heaven, and then the subsequent verse-by-verse revelation to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by the angel Gabriel (Jibril). The revelation started in 610 CE at the Hira cave on Mount Nur in Mecca. The first Surat that was revealed was Surat Iqra. Iqra means ‘read’, the prophet was told to read by the angel Gabriel.

Laylat al-Qadr is to be found in the last five odd nights of the 3rd decade of Ramadan. There is no history in the Qur’an as to when the specific date is. Therefore in the Sunni communities of all the Islamic countries, the Laylat al-Qadar is found to be on the last nights of Ramadan. Mostly it is on one of the odd nights, i.e., 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. And most probaly it falls on the 27th night of Ramadan. It is the night when Qur’an was revealed (as a whole on the 4th sky) and then was revealed piecemeal on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in 23 years, 10 years in Makkah and 13 years in Madina. Qur’an says about Lailat al-Qadr in Surah ‘Qadr’ that this single night is better than thousand of months! Any action done on this night such as reciting the Quran, remembering Allah, etc. is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the night of Qadr. So Muslims remain engaged whole nigh in prayers and seek jannah for them.

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time. (Muslim).

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, related that the Prophet (SAW) said: Look for Laylat al-Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan (Bukhari).

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari and Muslim recorded from Abu Huraira).

Boycott KFC! — August 23, 2011

Boycott KFC!

All around the world, including in India, KFC’s suppliers cram birds into huge waste-filled factories, breed them to grow so large that many can’t even walk, and often break their wings and legs. At slaughter, the birds’ throats are slit and they are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious.

KFC’s own animal welfare advisors have asked the company to take steps to eliminate these abuses, but KFC refuses to do so.

PETA India obtained graphic video footage documenting the following at a Venkateshwara Hatcheries farm, which supplies KFC India:

Chickens were stuffed into extremely crowded warehouses, where they had to push and shove in order to reach their food.

Birds were bred to grow so large so quickly that many suffered in agony when their weak legs could not support their weight.

Barns were littered with the carcasses of chickens who died from fatal diseases.

Many sick and injured chickens never received medical attention.

Chickens suffered at the hands of callous workers who neglected to observe even minimum animal welfare standards.

These wretched conditions mimic the abuses found at KFC supplier farms and slaughterhouses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.


One Step Closer to Bullhooks Going Away! — August 20, 2011

One Step Closer to Bullhooks Going Away!



I’m writing about a very exciting development that will make a world of difference for captive elephants!

After more than a decade of efforts by PETA’s elephant experts and other concerned animal protection groups to push for an end to “free contact” between elephants and their human handlers—a system based on negative reinforcement, physical punishment, and domination—the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has just adopted a new policy requiring all AZA-accredited facilities to switch to protected-contact elephant management. That means no more use of abusive bullhooks—sharp, steel-tipped weapons that resemble a fireplace poker—for any zoo that wants to be accredited by the AZA.

With your support, PETA has worked hard to end free contact between elephants and their human handlers, starting with our investigation into an incident at the El Paso Zoo in which an elephant named Sissy killed her handler. More and more facilities have already made the switch to the safer, more humane protected-contact management system. Most recently, in the wake of an elephant keeper’s death, PETA called on the Knoxville Zoo to make the switch and urged Tennessee officials to fine the facility for using free contact despite its known risks. Officials agreed and recommended $8,400 fines in connection with the death, and more importantly, the Knoxville Zoo also agreed to permanently switch to protected contact.

Over the past 20 years, human interactions with captive elephants in the U.S.—often interactions in which a keeper has beaten an elephant who has then retaliated—have resulted in 15 human deaths and more than 135 reported injuries. No deaths and only one injury (the result of disregarded protocol) have occurred at zoos that use protected contact.

The AZA’s policy calls for phase-in steps to be taken, with protected contact to be implemented no later than September 1, 2014. But it is likely that zoos will come into compliance sooner. There will be limited exceptions for some medical care, although elephants can be humanely taught to present parts of their bodies for injections and pills.

Although circuses are not AZA-accredited and thus not subject to the new policy, the AZA’s recognition of the enormous benefits of protected contact—for both elephants and people—is of huge significance in our battle to end the cruel use of bullhooks on any elephant and an important milestone in our campaign to end elephant use and abuse everywhere.

Thank you for making this all possible through your support and for helping us to continue being the strongest advocate for elephants.

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

BMW X3 in India on 25th August 2011 —

BMW X3 in India on 25th August 2011

The German luxury brand BMW is all set to launch the new BMW X3 on August 25, 2011. According to sources, the new BMW X3 will be launched with all-diesel variants and 3L inline six turbo diesel engine. The new BMW X 3 price is expected to be in the range of Rs 41.2 lakh to Rs 42.2 lakh. The 2011 BMW X3 crossover model has been launched with a 2 liter diesel engine producing a maximum power output of 180 Bhp and a maximum torque of 350 Nm.