The world got its first fully Sharia-compliant airline in the form of Malaysia’s Rayani Air on December 20. Everything from in-flight service to the dress code of passengers is in line with the strict Islamic law.
The maiden flight, which took off from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, had halal meat in menu, no alcohol and had flight attendants dressed in full-body clothing complete with a hijab.
The plane took off only after passengers and crew offered namaz.
The company’s Managing Director Jaafar Zamhari said that the rules are “based on guidelines by relevant authorities”. “We are proud of this,” he said.
While Muslims must follow the complete Sharia law for dresses, non-Muslims too are required to be ‘decently dressed’.
“The Shariah-compliant aspects will be refined as time goes by,” Zamhari said.
Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country. Though the country has a secular-form of structure, there has been a rise in the numbers of conservatives who have been calling for the Islamisation of Malaysaia.
Some Sharia laws are also followed by the world’s leading airliners – the Emirates and Etihad. While Emirates does not serve pork in meals, Etihad requires a travel prayer before take-off.
Malaysia will not remain the only country with such an airline service. British dailies report that UK’s Firnas Airways might soon start flights on a similar pattern.
Firnas was founded by Kazi Shafiqur Rahman – a Bangladeshi. The flights plan to operate on the routes between UK and countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran. Whether or not airline services (or any commercial service) should be allowed to run as per rules of a specific religious code is something up for debate.