Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
Dairy products such as cheese state that they are suitable for vegetarians, they still can contain DNA extracted from calves in the rennet, but they can also be rennet from plants or fungi and mold. It is hard to know which rennet is used as companies may not give that information out, so would it be haram to consume the products if they contain animal DNA?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
One can consume cheese even though it is animal produce because
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. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Marghinani, Al-Tajnis Wa-al-Mazid; Ibn Abd al-Razzaq, Fatawa al-Walwaliji]
Cheese with Rennet other than a Pig Source
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. [Salih al-‘Awd, Sana‘at al-Ajban al-Haditha Wa Hukmu Akliha]
Why Does Cheese Say Suitable for Vegetarians?
Since dairy — including cheese — does not require the slaughtering of an animal, it’s usually permitted by lacto- and lacto-ovo-vegetarians, as well as some pescatarians. On the other hand, vegans avoid all animal products or animal byproducts, including dairy and milk.
However, if you would like to avoid and prefer only vegetarian cheese, it may stop giving you any doubts. See the link below for the alternatives.
Check these links:
Cheeses That Are Vegetarian — And Exactly What To Look For | mindbodygreen
Cheese.com – World’s Greatest Cheese Resource
Is Rennet in Cheese Halal or Haram to Consume? (seekersguidance.org)
A Guide for Consuming Various Meats, Foods, Alcohol, Animal By-Product Ingredients, and Cosmetics – SeekersGuidance
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I pray this helps with your question.
[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.