Is It Permissible to Eat Food When One Is Not Certain about Its Ingredients?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle 


Is it permissible to eat an item of food that may be haram, but it is not known for sure?


Dear questioner,

Thank you for your valued question.

The assumption on all things and food is that is pure, and therefore edible. [Millibari, Fath al-Mu‘in] For this reason, you can just assume it is halal, and eat it.


Firstly, the assumption on all things and food is that is pure, and therefore edible. [Millibari, Fath al-Mu‘in]

Secondly, the default assumption on meat is that is not edible unless there is a clear reason to assume that it was slaughtered in an Islamic way.

When we apply these to something like Doritos that might have some cheese in them that might have been made with pig rennet, the assumption is that it is pure and edible until proven otherwise. There is no obligation to find out.

That said, it may be more precautious (wara‘) to avoid eating it if there is some genuine reason to doubt. “Let that which you are not sure about, for that which you are sure about.” [Tirmidhi]

Taking some reasonable steps to find out from the company’s website whether or not it is halal, would be a good thing to do.

But at the same time, one should not go to extremes. “Religion is ease, and none makes it too difficult save that it overcomes him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language