Pork Gelatin: Permissible or Not?

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: There seems to be a debate nowadays about the issue of pork gelatin. Since it is not the meat of the pig some say it is halal. Others, say it is part of the pig therefore it is impure. Can you please settle this and provide me with factual evidence like from a hadith or Quran?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

It would not be permissible to consume something that contains pork-gelatin based on the reasoning given in the question.

The pig is considered “essentially filthy” (najas al-`ayn) according to the Hanafi scholars. This means that every part of the pig is impure, whether its meat, hair, bones, or tendons.

This opinion is derived from the verse, “Say: I do not find in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden for an eater to eat of except that it be what has died of itself, or blood poured forth, or flesh of swine – for verily it is filthy (fa innahu rijsun)-…” [6: 145] Here, the attached particle “it” (hu) refers back to the word “swine”, not merely the word “flesh”. This is based not only on precautionary practice (ihtiyat) but also the fact that the prohibition of the flesh of a pig is already indicated by the category of “what has died of itself”, since the pig is not capable of being slaughtered.

Ibn Nujaym, commenting on this verse, adds that the statement “verily it is filth” is a legal cause for the prohibition of the flesh of swine. Stating that the attached particle “it” refers back to “flesh” would lead to deeming the legal cause as being the very filth of the flesh itself, adding nothing of substantial value. This is because the prohibition of something that can be eaten, which is the flesh of the pig in this case, already indicates its filthy nature. The legal cause, as such, must be something other than the flesh itself being filthy since this is already known. Therefore, the scholars stated that the particle refers back to “swine” as a whole, which would stipulate the legal cause of prohibition being the fact that the flesh is a part of the swine, and since the whole swine is filthy so is the part. [Ibn Nujaym, Bahr al-Ra’iq]

As such, according to the Hanafi school, it would not be permitted to consume gelatin made from any part of the pig. The only time it would be permissible is when the pig undergoes an essential transformation. However, since gelatin does not undergo such an essential transformation it will remain prohibited to consume if made of pig or any other unslaughtered animal.


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani