Is Rennet in Cheese Halal or Haram to Consume?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


I have found three opinions concerning cheese made with animal rennet.

  1. One is that since the rennet is haram, the cheese is haram.
  2. Another is that since the rennet doesn’t remain a part of the cheese- it is only used to separate the curds from the whey, the cheese is halal.
  3. Another is that the Prophet (saws) ate cheese. Therefore it is halal. I am unclear about this particular one and would like to find out in more detail, i.e., was this cheese made using animal rennet?

So, is cheese/whey made using animal rennet halal or haram, according to the Hanafi School?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

A1. In the Hanafi School, rennet obtained from an animal slaughtered by a non-Muslim or Muslim in accordance with Islamic law or contrary to it, in all cases, is permissible, as long as the animal in question is not a pig.

Most well-informed people are adamant that rennet, which is used to make cheese, is not derived from pigs.

A2. Rennet, Rennin as an enzyme, is used in the food industry for the preparation of cheese by curdling milk. The only way to know whether the source of rennet is animal, plant, or microbe is to ask the food industry about it or have it written on the label.

The lawfulness of rennet does not depend on the slaughterer being a Muslim or non-Muslim, in fact, it depends upon whether there is life in it or not. The circulation of blood in an organ is the cause of life. No blood flows through the rennet. Therefore rennet is not a living thing. Therefore, it cannot “die,” and it is thus permissible to consume rennet.
[Muslim Food Guide, pg 25-30, ]

A3. It has been narrated in the major hadith collections from Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him and his father) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was brought cheese in the Battle of Tabuk. He asked for a knife, then recited “bismillah” and cut the cheese. [Abu Dawud]

Cheese made with animal rennet other than a pig source is halal. The fuqaha explain, however, that it is better to avoid whenever reasonably possible when its source is unknown because of the difference of opinion between the Sunni schools of fiqh regarding its permissibility and the doubt therein.

And Allah alone gives success.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.