Can I Sell Halal Food from Home If the State Law Prohibits Such Business?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

my wife is looking to start her own halal home catering business. We live in Texas and just recently found out that the state has ‘cottage laws’ that, on paper, do not allow for the sale of any cooked foods from home (they require a commercial kitchen, etc.). With that said, hundreds of folks are running home catering businesses, and no one enforces the cottage laws, so long as the food is hygienic and prepared adequately.

Given this scenario, what is the Shari’a ruling on ‘following the law of the land,’ especially when my wife is trying to fill a need for zabiha halal healthy meals in the community? Is she still able to operate the business like many others are?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

This issue falls under the general question, “Is it obligatory to follow the laws of the land?”

The answer to this is found here:
Obeying the Law of the Land in the West

Thinking Creatively

Although it may take some research or reaching out to your local municipalities, there may be a workaround that will allow you to continue this endeavor. For example, there may be secondary ways to earn money, and the food could be given away (not sold) as part of the package.

In the end, it may be worth the investment to upgrade your facilities to meet the civil requirement, under the ‘cottage laws.’ Or you may want to petition your local representative to allow for religious exemptions.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.