Muslims are encouraged to ensure
that their food and beverages are Halal and good. However, to ensure a Halal
product today is not easy as many foods are now been processed with various
types of chemicals. It is difficult to verify its status except for those who
are well versed in the field of food science and nutrition.
Islam does not burden its people. In the above case, it is sufficient
for one to make sure that the main ingredient does not contain element which is
Should there be any doubt about
the status of the food, then it is preferable for one to avoid it because that
is closer to taqwa.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w once said
in a hadith as narrated by Abu Abdullah Nu'man Bin Basheer:
"فمن التقى الشبهات فقد استبرأ لدينه وعرضه"
means: " One who avoids the doubtful safeguards his faith and his honor.”.
by Bukhari and Muslim)
As Muslims, we must believe that
every commandment and decree from Allah is for our own good. God knows best
about us than ourselves. The knowledge we have is too little compared to the
Knowledge of God which is like a drop of water from the oceans of the entire
world and beyond that. And even a drop of water too comes from God.
The origin of the prohibition
comes from the Qur'an as in surah Al-Mai'dah, verse 3 which reads:
"حرمت عليكم الميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير وما أهل لغير الله به"
Which means: "It is
forbidden to you (eating) carcass, blood, pork, and (meat) slaughtered
mentioning name other than Allah has
Therefore as a Muslim, every
commandment and prohibition of God must be act upon without having doubts and
skepticism. We are encouraged to study, if possible, the reasons for such
commands and prohibitions. But it is not allowed that we begin to obey God's
commandments only after knowing the reason behind it. This is because we may
never know the reason behind the commandment of God as mentioned by Imam
Al-Ghazali;only the prophets would have knowledge on some of these reasons.
Animals that are lawful to be
eaten are animals that have no fangs that is used to hunt and eat other
This is based on a hadith of the
Prophet s.a.w reported by Ibn Abbas:
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نهى عن كل ذي ناب من السباع وعن كل ذي مخلب من
"Indeed the Prophet S.A.W prohibits all animals that have fangs and
birds that have claws". (HR Muslim)
What is the ruling on the consumption of animals living on land and in water?
Animals that live both in sea and on land, are called amphibians.
And there are 3 types of amphibians; frog families, ceacillian and salamander.
These animals are prohibited to be eaten
according to the Shafi’i school.
This is based on a hadith narrated by Abu Daud and Ahmad:
"أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نهى عن قتل الضفدع"
Which means: "Indeed the
Prophet SAW prohibits killing the frog".
The Prophet's prohibition against
his people from killing frogs indicates that it is not permissible for us to
eat the animal.
Imam Nawawi has said: "The dead fish that are floating are considered
halal i.e. fish that died by itself. So it is permissible according to our
opinion (Mazhab Shafi'i) for all kinds of sea animals except frog ... "
Crab belongs to marine life. They live entirely in water,
or their habitat is in water, whether in fresh or salt water. Confusion arises
because many assume that there is a kind of crab that is not halal as it can
live in two realms, the sea and on land. However, crabs can only survive in one
of these realms and not both. With that, crabs are halal as long as they are
not poisonous or harmful to humans.
Mazhab Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali opine that
all kinds of marine animals are halal, including their carcasses. This is based
on the word of Allah in surah Al-Maidah which reads:
لكم صيد البحر وطعامه"
Which means: "It is lawful for you to
hunt down the sea and the food (from the sea) as a delicacy for you." (Al-Maidah:
In a hadith narrated by seven
الطهور ماؤه الحل ميتته"
"The (sea) water is pure and its dead meat is halal."
There are some sea creatures that can live on
land for long periods of time such as penguins. These animals need to be
slaughtered before they are eaten.
Al-Kharshi has said in his book
("Hasyiah Al-Kharshi Alaa" Muskhtasar Sayidi Khalil): "what is
permissible to be eaten of sea creatures are all kinds of animals, whether they
are already dead, are drowned or floating”.
Imam Nawawi has said: "The dead fish that
are floating are halal i.e. fish that died suddenly. So it is permissible
according to our opinion (Mazhab Shafi'i) for all kinds of sea animals except
frog ... "
Is shark fin permissible to be eaten?
According to Mazhab Shafi'i, Maliki and
Hanbali, all kinds of sea creatures are halal, including their carcasses. This
is based on a hadith narrated by Abu Daud, At-Tirmizi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah,
Ahmad, Malid and Darimi which says :-
"هو الطهور ماؤه الحل ميتته"
"The (sea) water is pure and its dead meat is halal."
As some marine life is endangered
(including that of shark and sea turtles) and as such, as steward of the earth
(khalifah fil ardh), we should exercise ‘rahmah” and so explore other Halal
permissible to eat seafood that has no blood or no spine such as shrimp?
Maliki and Hanbali are of the views that all kinds of seafood are halal,
including if it’s dead.
Nawawi has said: "The dead fish that are floating are considered halal
i.e. fish that died by itself. So it is permissible according to our opinion
(Mazhab Shafi'i) for all kinds of sea animals except frog ... "
This is based
on a hadith narrated by Abu Daud, At-Tirmizi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Malik
and Darimi which says:
of the scholars of the Hanafi School considered that when seafood is
concerned, only the fish are Halal.
Why are Muslims
not allowed to eat reptiles?
the hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w narrated by Imam Ahmad: "Snakes, scorpions,
rats and crows are filthy animals."
concluded from this hadith that all kinds of reptiles, including those of the
snake family, are unlawful. Among the reasons given by Ulama 'is that these
animals are considered filthy. This is based
on the word of God :
"ويحرم عليهم الخبائث"
Which means: "And forbid you all things that are
bad". (Al-A'raf: 157)
Is breeding of
frogs and selling them to restaurants allowed in Islam?
dealing with anything inpure, that has no benefit and leads to harm physically,
mentally or spiritually.
This is because
Islam forbade its people from damaging their property by buying non-beneficial
items. As explained in the Qur’an :
"ياأيها الذين آمنوا لا تأكلوا أموالكم بينكم بالباطل إلا أن
تكون تجارة عن تراض منكم"
It means: "O you who
believe, do not devour your property with falsehood except in trading which is
based on the consent of both parties." (An-Nisa ': 29)
Frogs are prohibited to be eaten.
Based on a hadith narrated by Abu Daud and Ahmad:
Which means: "Indeed the Prophet s.a.w prohibits
killing the frog".
The Prophet's prohibition against his people not to kill
frogs indicates that it is not permissible for us to eat the animal.
Imam Nawawi has said: "The dead fish that’s floating are considered as halal i.e the fish that died by itself. So it
is halal according to our opinion (Mazhab Shafi'i) of all kinds of sea animals
except frog ... "
So if frog is forbidden to be eaten, then selling it is
not allowed so as to avoid dealing with unlawful matters and consuming others’
There is a hadith that says we are
allowed to eat meat that is dubious (shubhah) after saying Bismillah on it. Is
"Some people have brought
meat to us, we do not know whether they mention the name of Allah or not? He
said: You say the name of Allah (i.e Bismillah) then eat" (Narrated by
This hadith is Sahih. However, it
is important to note that the meat was brought to the Prophet s.a.w and his
companions and not them who sought after it. Nevertheless, the nature of Islam
as a religion that is easy to practice, allows the meat of the syubhah to be
eaten in the following circumstances:
1) If it is
unknown how the meat was slaughtered, whether it is in accordance with Islamic law or not, then it is considered as
slaughtered by way of the Islamic method. This is based on the principle of Shari'ah 'Al-yaqeen
la yazulu bi syak’ which means that certainty is not overruled by doubt.
2) Eating every
meat that are brought to us should not be taken as a norm. This Hadith should
only be used as a reference if we’re facing the same situation.
3) The meat was
slaughtered by the Book of the People
(Jews and Christians) as their method of slaughtering is similar to Islam.
Today there are many ways of
killing animals such as injections, shots, stunning and others. It is
impossible for Muslims to determine whether the meat are from animals that is
slaughtered in a lawful way. Therefore, we are encouraged to get halal
certified meat and food as best possible.
Therefore, it is advisable that
the point of this hadith only be taken when you are convinced that the meat is
slaughtered in accordance with the
method of the People of the Book which is similar to Islam, and that
there is no other option except to eat that only meat. It is important to note
that this is permissible only if one has exhausted all efforts to find halal
meat but is not able to find any.
This analogy is just like someone who is
unable to find water for ablution. They are
allowed to do tayammum but only after they have tried to look for water
and did not find it. When water has been found, tayammum is no longer valid.
Can someone eat at a
restaurant that serves Halal food but does not have Halal certification as it
also provides wine?
You can eat halal
food that is served in an eatery where there is also selling liquor. But if you
are in doubt, fear of doubtful things and the likes if it, then it is best to
avoid it. Based on the hadith of the Prophet s.a.w narrated by Abu Abdullah Nu'man
"فمن التقى الشبهات فقد استبرأ لدينه وعرضه"
Meaning: "Whoever avoids doubtful
things, then he has saved his religion
(deed) and dignity". (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
According to Islamic
Shari'ah, all plants are Halal, as long as they are not poisonous or lead to
any harm to humans. Allah S.W.T says in
the Quran :
"إنما مثل الحياة الدنيا كماء أنزلناه من السماء فاختلط به نبات الأرض مما يأكل
الناس والأنعام ....."
Meaning: "The likeness of
the life of this world is as water which We sent down from the sky and it grows
fertile as the water plants the earth, of which it provides food for man and
animal (Yunus: 24)
Therefore, pure "vegetarian" food that has been
certified and certain of its authentication is Halal to be eaten.
Another thing to consider is also
whether it contains alcohol and things related to it.
However, with the availability of
options such as restaurants or foods that has been certified, it is better to
choose those that is Halal certified.
Can a Muslim eat at a
"vegetarian" restaurant or a food stall with a "No pork / No
A Muslim may opt to dine at a “vegetarian”
restaurant after confirming all the ingredients used are of plant-origin and
/or of non-animal origin, no alcohol (e.g. wine,beer, etc) was used during
preparation and cooking and that the
utensils are dedicated for use of the “vegetarian” dishes.
Food claims such as “No Pork, No
Lard” do not necessarily imply that the food is “Halal”. This is because Halal
food is more than just no pork and no lard. Among others, Halal food must not
contain non-halal ingredients/processing aids/food additives such as wine, or
meat / poultry that is not slaughtered in the Islamic manner.
In all matters including food
choices and consumption, it is best to choose those that are clearly Halal /
permissible and to avoid those that cast (was-was/doubt.)
Muslims are allowed to eat and
drink in the house of People of Other Faith’s as long as the following
conditions are not violated:
1) Food and drinks provided are
Allah S.W.T orders us to eat only
Halal food, as in the Qur’an:
"ياأيها الذين آمنوا كلوا من طيبات ما رزقناكم واشكروا لله إن كنتم إياه تعبدون"
He said: O ye who believe! Eat
of the good things which we have given you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is
Him ye will worship. (Al-Baqarah: 172)
2) Liquor is not served.
3) No participation in
celebration of other religions.
If these conditions were not
violated, then it is allowed to visit People of Other Faith’s house and eat and
drink there as it will further strengthen racial ties among the multiracial
Allah S.W.T has said:
"لاينهاكم الله عن الذين لم يقاتلوكم في الدين ولم يخرجوكم من دياركم أن تبروهم
وتقسطوا إليهم إن الله بحب المقسطين"
It means: "God does not
forbid you to do good and to be fair to those who have not fought you for
religion, nor have you driven you out of your land. Lo! Allah love those who do
right. (Al-Mumtahanah: 8)
Having good relationship with
others in a community can lead to the progress and harmony of the country when
there’s no confusion or misunderstanding among its people. Therefore, it is
good if to be inclusive of other races and accept the pluralistic life without
neglecting the principles and values of Islam.
Legally, products containing less
than ½ of 1% alcohol are not regarded as alcoholic, is it still considered
prohibited in Islam?
Ethanol is divided into 3 types:
1) Naturally formed ethanol,
found in very small quantities, in most fruits and plants.
2) Ethanol formed from the
carbohydrate fermentation process.
3) Ethanol formed from other
The scholars have agreed that the
first type of ethanol is not impure and is permissible to be consumed. This is
because the process of extracting ethanol extracts will damage the fruits or
plants that contain them.
They have also agreed that the
second type of ethanol is impure, even in a very small quantities or if it does
not cause intoxication..
This is based on the hadith of
the Prophet s.a.w :
"ماأسكر كثيره فقليله حرام"
Meaning:: "anything that cause
intoxication in large quantity, then even a little is haram". (Narrated
by Imam Ahmad, Abu Daud and Ibn Majah)
The total prohibition is to
prevent from rampant consumption of liquor.
Therefore drinks or products that
are not alcoholic based on legal definitions but can cause intoxication are
still considered prohibited. This second type of ethanol is also considered to
be impure, and anything that has been mixed with it is impure and prohibited o
The scholars differs on the third
type of ethanol. However, most of them argue that it is not impure as it is
formed for industrial purpose and not for the purpose of drinking.
Is it permissible to eat cakes
that contain little amount of alcohol and does not cause intoxication?
Alcohol is forbidden not just
because it is intoxicating but because it is impure.
The four schools, Hanafi, Maliki,
Shafi'i and Hanbali have agreed that alcohol is impure. This is based on
Allah's word s.w.t in Surah Al-Ma'idah, verse 90 which says:
"ياأيها الذين آمنوا إنما الخمر والميسر والأنصاب والأزلام
رجز من عمل الشيطان فاجتنبوه لعلكم تفلحون"
Meaning: "O you who believe! That indeed wine, gambling, idolatry,
and the fate by arrows, are filth of the deeds of Satan. So leave it that you
Alcohol is intoxicating. Rasulullah s.a.w said:
Meaning:: "anything that
cause intoxication in large quantity, then even a little is haram". (Narrated
by Imam Ahmad, Abu Daud and Ibn Majah)
Thus, even if it’s only a drop of
alcohol and does not cause intoxication, it is still prohibited and impure to
Therefore, any amount of food
that have been exposed to alcohol are impure and are prohibited from eating
them. These include cakes containing alcohol.
Can I use "wine" to
cook if the essence disappears (evaporate) during cooking?
Alcohol is forbidden not just
because it is intoxicating but because it is impure. The four schools, Hanafi,
Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali have agreed that alcohol is impure. This is based
on the word of Allah S.W.T in Surah Al-Ma'idah verse 90 which reads:
"O you who believe! That indeed wine, gambling, idolatry, and the fate
by arrows, are filth of the deeds of Satan. So leave it that you may succeed.
in any form and name, is impure and haram to be consumed by Muslims.
applying vinegar or any ingredients that contain alcohol is unlawful to be
consumed, even when after cooking the alcohol will disappear and dry. This is
because once alcohol is exposed to food, the food will become impure hence
should not be eaten by Muslims.
permissible to take medicine that contain non-halal substances such as alcohol?
non-halal matters should be avoided. But some things commonly used may have an
exception. In some cases, if a drug that contains non-halal substances is the
only drug that can cure illnesses and there’s no other medicines, then this is
This is based
on one of the legal maxims in Fiqh :
"الضرورات تبيح المحظورات"
The method is
based on the Quranic verses on halal food / haram food to be used / eaten in an
emergency situation. In Surah Al-Maidah, verse 3 states:
"فمن اضطر في مخمصة غير متجانف لإثم فإن الله غفور رحيم"
"Then whoever is forced (in a state of emergency) not inclining
wilfully to sin, verily Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
one has to keep in mind that the emergency can only be used at a certain limit.
This is in accordance with the other Fiqh method:
"Necessity is determined according to its degree".
Therefore, you should consult your
doctor for medicine that has no doubtful ingredients.
Alcohol is divided into 3 types:
4) Naturally formed ethanol, found in very small
quantities, in most fruits and plants.
5) Ethanol formed from the carbohydrate fermentation
6) Ethanol formed from other petro-chemicals.
The type of alcohol normally used in products of which
its purpose is not for consumption is made from industrial petro-chemicals and
not from the carbohydrate fermentation process. According to scholars, this
type of alcohol is not impure and can be used.
However, it is safer to use a non-alcoholic mouth spray,
Can a Muslim attend cooking courses using alcohol and
Cooking with non-halal ingredients is permitted if the
following conditions are met:
1) The cuisine is not served to Muslims.
2) The dish is not eaten by the Muslims. If you need to
taste it, it should be in small quantities and should not be swallowed. For
pork it should not be tasted at all.
3) If the hands or any limb are exposed to non-halal
substances, the parts should be cleansed. For example, the affected part which
has directly touches the pork should be cleansed ritually.
It is important to note here that it is permissible for
study purposes only. When the student has become a professional chef, he should
avoid the use of alcohol in his cooking, although it is catered to non-Muslims,
as Muslims are prohibited from associating themselves with alcohol.
permissible to take a dish or drink water with left hand while the right hand
is being used to eat rice?
It is Sunnah to
use right hand at all time. As reported by 'Umar bin Abi Salama: "My hands
will usually surround the plates when eating, then Allah's Messenger said to
me," Call upon the name of Allah and eat with your right hands and eat
from the dishes nearest to you ". 'Aishah r.a. also has narrated that the
Prophet s.a.w likes to start something from the right.
But if doing so
will cause inconvenience to other people, such as staining the spoon and cup,
then there's nothing wrong with using the left hand.
Can I use any tableware made of "bone China"?
Bone China is a new kind of pottery that uses animal
bones as one of its contents. The bones were burned up to 1000 degrees
centigrade till it has changed their properties and shapes. It is then mixed
with other materials such as clay to make it hard, and known as "bone China".
Since the properties of the bones have changed, and
blended with other materials, then the tableware from "bone China"
can be used to provide food. It is not impure.