Islamic-Compliant Rayani Air Brings Sharia Cabin Service to Malaysia

A passenger plane takes off from Heathrow airport on April 21, 2010 in London, England. Airlines are beginning to resume a normal service following six days of airport closures due to volcanic ash from Iceland covering British airspace. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Rayani Air of Malaysia, described as the country’s first Islamic-compliant airline, has begun offering cabin service compliant with sharia law.

“In-flight meals served on board its flights are completely halal, with alcohol consumption strictly prohibited,” reports the UK Daily Mail. “The dress code is also reflective of Shariah guidelines, as Muslim flight crew must wear the hijab while non-Muslim crew have to be decently dressed. There will also be prayer recitals on the plane before take-off.”

Rayani Air’s managing director, Jaafar Zamhari, said the company was “proud” to offer the sharia-compliant service, which would be “refined as time goes by.”

AFP describes Malaysia as a Muslim-majority nation that has “long practiced a moderate form of Islam, but conservative attitudes are rising.” Other examples of this rising attitude include the introduction of sharia-compliant bottled water, a halal food and cosmetics convention with thousands of attendees held in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, and a new Islamic speed dating service where the women are chaperoned.

The Daily Mail notes there are several other “sharia-friendly” carriers already operating around the world. Russian propaganda outlet names three: Royal Brunei Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Iran Air.

Bloomberg News reported in October that a company called Firnas Airways, founded by Bangladeshi businessman Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, plans to begin offering a “sharia-compliant approach to funding, alcohol and food with a more upscale cabin product than available to many Islamic destinations” to London-based Muslims next year.

The upscale Firnas cabin product will include “larger-sized 20-inch-wide berths with a 36-inch pitch, Wi-Fi and a tablet entertainment system.” It will also be “alcohol-free, serve halal meat, use interest-free finance and offer a staggered cabin layout to enhance privacy” to comply with Islamic law. (Sharia forbids collecting interest on loans, so the lender’s profit must be built into the loan some other way, typically by marking up the sale price.)