When the Call to Prayer is Given and Food is on the Table What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally
Question: Assalamu ‘alaikum,
When the call to prayer is given and food is on the table should we eat first and then pray? This has bothered me a lot during Ramadan because my mother would have food prepared at maghreb time. I follow the Shafi’i school.
Answer: Assalamu ‘Alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Praying the prescribed daily prayers, like Maghrib, in congregation for men is a communal obligation (fard kifaya) and sunna for an individual. Doing so in a masjid is preferred; the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is reported to have said, ‘Whoever makes wudu at home, then walks to one of the houses of Allah to perform an obligatory prayer, one out of every two steps he takes would remove a sin, the other raising his rank’ (Muslim).
The status of the congregational prayer as a Sunna may be dropped for various reasons. One such reason given, as in the narration you have mentioned, is that food has become available while a person is in real need of it, such that one cannot focus properly on the prayer. In this case, it is recommended that a person eat first in a manner that will then allow him to pray in a focused manner. Your situation, alhamdulillah, appears to be different, in that praying in congregation in the mosque does not appear to cause you hardship, because you are able to break your fast in a light manner, then return, guilt-free, after the prayer’s completion.
In summary, while congregational prayer in the masjid is not obligatory for an individual, it remains a highly recommended act that should not be taken lightly, more so if one is blessed to be in close proximity to it.
May Allah reward you for your fasting and prayers, and grant us the ability to remain steadfast in His way.
Source: al-Hawashi al-Madaniyyah
Shuaib Ally
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is It Permissible to Eat at a Place Owned by a Non-Muslim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Asalamualaykum,
Is it permissible to eat dishes prepared with ritually slaughtered ingredients in non-Muslim restaurants? When eating at non-Muslim restaurants, there is a possibility that ritually slaughtered ingredients may be cross-contaminated with non-ritually slaughtered ingredients, but it is impossible to know with certainty.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Yes, ​you can eat the permissible at a place owned by a non-Muslim.
In general, you should exercise caution when there is a strong possibility of contamination. ​ If in doubt, you should ask the staff regarding their procedures. ​
Please also see: Should I Eat at Restaurants With Food Cross-Contamination Problems?
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Should I Eat at Restaurants With Food Cross-Contamination Problems?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: In the past I have seen food being contaminated in a restaurant/food selling place that also sells haram food. For this reason I have avoided such places for approximately 3 years. Should I go by these doubts? How did the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions go about in such situation? If it is allowed then how about the knife they use to cut sandwiches (if same knife used for vegetarian and haram food)? Are we allowed to eat from the same utensils on which haram food/alcohol has been served (provided it has been washed)?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that this finds you in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.
If you are reasonably sure that there are contamination issues, it would be an emphasized sunna to exercise caution in eating from such a place.
And yes, you can eat from utensils that were used for unlawful (haram) substances, but have since been washed.
What is Caution (ihtiyat)?
Linguistically, caution is preservation, protection, or guarding.
And technically, it is defined as “guarding oneself against falling into sin.” [Tahanawi, Kashshaf Istilihat al-Funun, quoting Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani]
In general, the legal ruling of caution (ihtiyat) is that it is recommended (mustahab).
Caution has differing rulings depending on circumstance:
It is obligatory to be cautious from the clearly unlawful (haram),
(2) Highly emphasised sunna when there is a reasonable possibility of the unlawful,
(3) Praiseworthy and encouraged when there is a reasonable possibility of the disliked,
(4) Disliked when there is no reasonable basis for it, and
(5) Impermissible when without basis, and it leads to a wrong or the unlawful.
Restaurants and the Presence of Sin
The primary purpose of a restaurant is to serve food. Thus it is not sinful in and of itself to sit in and eat from such a place, irrespective of any secondary activity.
However, it is disliked and blameworthy to choose to be in a place wherein sin is taking place, such as the presence of background music or alcohol. This is in the case it is not unavoidable.
Therefore, and according to our aforementioned principles, it would be praiseworthy to exercise caution in even eating from a place in which there is the secondary presence of sin.
Eating at Restaurants & Contamination Issues
If there is a reasonable possibility of contamination— whether due to bad practice of not using exclusive cutlery for vegetables and unlawful meat, or a shared use of oils for deep-frying, for example— then you should ask for details on how they prepare their food before deciding to eat something.
If you are certain that there are contamination issues, it would be obligatory to be cautious.
As an aside, Sheikh Nuh Keller writes, “Restaurants, coffee shops, and fast-food places are showcases of gluttony, nafs, and worldliness. They should only be used in unpremeditated cases that are not for the enjoyment of the self but for others, and not for the love of the fare or socialising but because they are pressing needs.” [Keller, Sea without Shore]
The Way of Taqwa
Mindfulness (taqwa) is an inward restraint that enables one to avoid that which displeases or distances from Allah–and to embrace all that pleases and draws close to Allah. It is a state of the heart, manifest in one’s attitude and actions–in one’s character and conduct. [see: The Book of Certainty: Qur’anic Themes & Reflections ]
When you have the choice, higher spiritual resolve and true Godfearingness (taqwa) would entail being cautious.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.” [Tirmidhi]
However, when difficult or there are other reasonable considerations, then you should stay within the limits, and you’ll be rewarded as per your intention and not as to what actually happened. This is the mercy of our Religion.
See also: Eating at Restaurants That Play Music  and: A Guide for Consuming Various Meats, Foods, Alcohol, Animal By-Product Ingredients, and Cosmetics
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Video: Importance of Halal Food – Mufti Abdullah Nana

Video: Importance of Halal Food – Mufti Abdullah Nana

Mufti Abdullah Nana gives a lecture on the importance of eating halal food at Masjid Omar Bin Abdul Aziz on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. He also discusses Halal Advocates of America and the work they do.

Learn more about Halal Advocates of America

Listen to the complete audio MP3

A Guide for Consuming Various Meats, Foods, Alcohol, Animal By-Product Ingredients, and Cosmetics

Answered by Shaykh Ilyas Patel

1. Is it permissible to eat foods with ingredients that come from animals that are not butchered in a halal manner (i.e. Kosher gelatin, mono and diglycerides, whey, etc.)?

2. Is it permissible to use products like soap, face wash, lotions, etc., which also contain animal by-products from an animal not slaughtered in a Halal manner? Some soaps even use fat from pigs… is it still permissible to use such soaps for cleanliness?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

A good site for information on halal and haram foods is:

The article and information mentioned below is taken from there.

Haraam Animals
Halaal Animals
Takeaways & Eating Out
School/Airline & Hospital Food
Processed food & E numbers Tabdeel-e-mahuyat
GM Foods
Glossary of terms


It is incumbent on every Muslim to ensure he/she consumes only what is Halaal and pure and to ensure that all the requirements of Thabeehah have been strictly adhered to when purchasing meat. Unfortunately, the Muslim Community is so gullible, whenever any sign or label is attached to a product as Halaal, even if the Company is non-Muslim they will accept and purchase the product.

Haram Animals

The following categories including any product derived from them or contaminated with them have been prohibited.

• Meat of dead animals [carrion].

• Meat of strangled animals, preventing their blood from flowing

• Meat of dead animals through beating

• Meat of dead animals through falling from a height.

• Meat of dead animals killed by [the goring of] a horn

• Meat of animals devoured by wild beasts

Blood that flows forth as distinguished from blood adhering to flesh or organs food on which any other name has been invoked beside that of Allah. Meat of swine [pig] including all its by-products. Intoxicants including all types and varieties of alcohol or intoxicating drugs. Carnivorous animals, like lions, wolves, dogs, cats. Birds of prey, such as eagles, vultures, falcons. Reptiles, like snakes, crocodiles, turtles. Mules and Asses. Pests such as rats and scorpions. Procreative organs of animals.

Halal Animals

Halaal animals for Muslims are cattle, calves, sheep, goat, camel, deer, poultry, rabbit, game-birds, fish, etc. These animals will only be considered Halaal when slaughtered according to the Islamic method.

Thabah, the Islamic method of slaughtering animals.

The Islamic system of slaughtering is a system ordained by Allah Ta’ala, the Creator of the animal being slaughtered. The Qur’aan mentions:

So eat of [the meat] on which Allah’s name has been pronounced [slaughtered by invoking His name] if you have faith in his signs [Surah Ma’idah: Verse 18]

The Consideration

Islam has adopted many measures to ensure humane treatment to animals.

• The animal should not be cruelly transported, handled and dragged to the place of slaughter.

• The animal should preferably be fed before slaughter.

• The animal should be laid down as calmly as possible and not be blindfolded during slaughter nor slaughtered in the presence of another animal.

• When bringing the second animal for slaughtering the blood of the first animal should be washed away from the spot.

• The knife should not be sharpened in the presence of the animal while it has been laid down ready for slaughter.

• The animal should not be stunned before slaughter.

• The animal should be slaughtered as quickly and professionally as possible.

• The animal should not be skinned or dismembered while there is some movement in the body.

This humane system can never satisfy the demands of commercial enterprise. The Islamic System is too slow to make money. Way must be made for an easy mechanical or electrical system conducive to material gain labelling Islamic Thabah as inhumane.

Objection to Stunning

Stunning entails the shooting of a 10cm [4 inch] steel pin or bolt into the skull or head of an animal. This causes brain haemorrhage and sometimes results in blood oozing out of the animals mouth, if the voltage is high. On occasions more than one bolt is fired into the animals head to bring about unconsciousness. Over time this causes death to the animal before slaughter, Whilst stunning, brutally renders the animal immobile, Thabah brings about immediate unconsciousness followed by death within seconds.

Method of Thabah

The animal is slaughtered with a sharp, prepared knife. The person doing Thabah must be an adult well versed with the laws and method of Thabah. He invokes the name of Allah [Takbir] verbally before each slaughter and with each uninterrupted movement cuts the Hulqum [trachea (windpipe) and oesophagus (gullet)] and the Wudjaan [both the jugular veins], immediately causing death to the animal. The combined circumference of the jugulars, the two major blood vessels make the neck the ideal place to cut and bleed the animal, which is thereafter skinned and dressed. Whilst ostensibly it may appear cruel as many animal rights group claim, it is painless and this is to be considered for the welfare of animals. The process of bleeding is pain-free and can be confirmed by any blood donor.

Cutting and Cleansing of Halaal Animals

All equipment used for cutting, hanging, and slaughtering the animal need cleansing in the Islamic way. These items should not be contaminated with Non-Halaal items, if this happens they need to be re-cleaned.

Storage of Halaal meat at Suppliers, Slaughters, and Site Freezers Halaal meat needs to be stored separately from other meat. This can be achieved in a number of ways;

• Separate storing facility.

• Meat is stored in a separate compartment within the same facilities.

• Loose meat should be packed and stored in an isolated corner of the facilities so that no kind of contact is made with other meat or anything


• Label, where appropriate, all Halaal meat when stored in the same facility.

• Ensure that handlers are versed in contamination and understand Halaal.

Contamination of Meat

Once the meat is slaughtered in the Halaal manner this does not certify that this same product will be consumed Halaal. The Halaal diet entails that the product, whether from the slaughter house or any other source, remains Halaal throughout the processing, storing, cooking and serving stages. An item can become Haraam if during these procedures it is contaminated by Haraam items.

Certification and Site Appraisal

The certification for Halaal meat supplied by slaughterers and suppliers, although sufficient for governmental institutes as proof of authenticity, can easily be misused. Any site Appraisal for Halaal suppliers needs to be done by an expert on Halaal procedures and should be done without prior notice and open access.

Takeaways and Eating Out

Many people eat take-away nowadays and this is something the Muslim Community will have to live with in the future. Muslims are however urged to exercise great caution when eating in non-Muslim outlets as there is either very little or NO awareness regarding Halaal. A vegetarian Pizza or Fillet-o-fish can be contaminated by utensils or even filtered oil!

School/Airline & Hospital Meals

In order for any meal to be considered Halaal, it is necessary that the entire process from the raw source; meat, ingredients to preparation; cooking, freezing, storage and dispatch to consumption be strictly monitored and supervised by authorised Muslim personnel. If Islamic requirements are not followed, it would not only be incorrect and unethical but illegal to make any claim that this food is Halaal. Even if such food bears the Halaal logo!

Our recommendations to you, the Consumer, the Muslim Abattoir, the Muslim Butchers is;

Insist that your butcher is certified by an expert authority, or in turn is supplied by an Abbattoir certified by an expert authority. Unfortunately, a large number of Haraam meat arrives from abroad, which is much cheaper than local meat, many unscrupulous butchers take advantage of this and sell it to their customers. To do this for financial gain is indeed lamentable and a sad day for Muslims when we cannot even trust our butchers anymore!

Muslim Abattoirs and Butchers must liase closely with Ulama versed in Halaal supervision, even if this means paid personnel.

As long as Muslim Countries import meat and goods from non-Muslim countries, they have the responsibility to inform food producers about Islamic rules and regulations in food.

Muslim Countries should recruit trained Muslim personnel whose specialty is food and it’s Halaal availability.


All Fish are permissible for Muslims. There is, however, difference of opinion among Jurist regarding the permissibility of other marine life, like prawns, crayfish etc. There is no requirement to slaughter marine animals.


All plants are permissible for Muslims, except when fermented to contain alcohol, intoxicants or ingredients otherwise harmful to humans. Certain species of wild mushroom are poisonous for human consumption, hence it should be avoided. The Vegetarian Society has done the Muslim Consumer a great favour by campaigning for their symbol to be displayed on products. This means that there is NO animal content in that particular product but a product can still contain alcohol, making it Haraam. Please check Islam forbids the eating of insects, when preparing vegetables examine them carefully especially lettuce, parsley, watercress, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and beans. Soak or wash before consumption. As most farmers become more conscious of the hazards of pesticides the occurrence of infestation is on the increase, and all vegetables should therefore be thoroughly washed before use.


Cheese is made using rennet, an enzyme which can be animal or microbial, to coagulate the curd. This rennet is a mixture of two enzymes, chmosin and pepsin, both derived from calves stomachs. Hence if the rennet is derived from pig it is Haraam for Muslims, whilst the rennet from animals slaughtered through Islamic Thabeehah is Halaal, The rennet from non-Thabeehah animals is Mashbuh as per the ruling of the Hanafi Madhab.


During cheese making, a coagulum is formed by clotting milk with rennet. When the coagulum is cut, a watery liquid known as whey is released and drained off leaving the curd to be salted and further processed into cheese. Whey contains water, fat, protein, lactose, minerals and lactic acid. Some of the products made from whey are cream, butter, cheese, drinks, syrups and powder.

Islamic Law regarding Rennet

The rennet extracted from the stomach of a Halaal animal who is slaughtered in accordance to Islamic Thabah is unanimously Halaal for consumption. But if the animal was not slaughtered in accordance with Thabah then the Honourable Sahibayn hold the view that although the rennet itself is Halaal it would be Haraam to use because of its contamination with impurity in the stomach. Rennet is fluid or viscous hence it would be impossible to purify, therefore such rennet would remain Haraam. The Noble Imam Abu Hanifah does not regard the moisture found in the stomach of such animals as impure and holds such rennet as Halaal.

The difference of opinion between Imam Abu Hanifah and his students, the Sahibayn, results in the issuance of a Fatwa [legal opinion] whereby it is permissible to use rennet [in the form of cheese etc.] for consumption. Whilst according to Taqwa [piety] abstinence would be desirable. As far as possible buy cheese suitable for vegetarians. Whey will come under the same ruling as rennet because of being a by-product of cheese.


Gelatin is not a naturally occurring protein, but is derived from the fibrous protein collagen, which is the principal constituent of animal skin, bone, sinew and connective tissue. A very complex chemical procedure is undertaken to extract the gelatine from its raw stage and make it usable for consumption and otherwise. A detail follows on how gelatine is extracted from animal hides in 8 different stages to form the final product.

Raw Material

Raw materials intended for medicinal use and food production are generally skin and bone of pig or calf. Some plants use animal tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage’s and hooves. In the case of animal hides, the prime source of gelatine, leather tanneries wash them in lime solution and chemicals are added to dissolve the hair from the surface. The hides are then sent through various machines which remove traces of meat from underneath the hide and then split the hide horizontally into a number of thin sheets. The top sheets are used in leather production as it has the grain pattern on the surface whilst the bottom layers, known as split hides, are used in gelatin production.

Chemical Treatment

Animal hides are preserved in lime solution [pH 13-14] The hides are chopped into pieces 6-8 inches in size and allowed to soak in caustic soda solution. Approximately 1% strength is used, reducing a little in the warm summer months. The soak in caustic soda lasts about 2-3 weeks which has the effect of breaking down [denaturing] the protein, enabling it to be extracted into hot water.


Following the soak, the hide pieces are pumped into special washing equipment. Acid is added to acidify the hides [pH 1.5-2.0] and then washed to remove impurities and salts for 8 hours.


The washed hide pieces are pumped into large extraction tanks where hot water is added and temperature maintained at about 50c. The hides break down slowly in the slightly acid solution [pH 3.0-3.5] to form gelatine. This is drained off once at certain strengths and then fresh hot water is added at a higher temperature to give another extraction. 3 further extractions are made, producing gelatines of different physical properties, [e.g. setting strength and viscosity].


The gelatine solution drained from the heated hide pieces is then purified. The first stage is filtration and the final stage is through a 2 micron filter to give a solution of high clarity. The gelatine is then de-ionised in order to remove excess salts not removed during washing.


Following purification, the gelatine solution is evaporated in large vacuum evaporators to a strength of about 30%.


Before drying, the Gelatine is sterilized to remove all bacteria. The conditions used are standard in the Food industry – 140c at 4 seconds minimum.


The Gelatine solution is chilled to make it set, and then placed in a drying tunnel for 2-3 hours. It leaves the tunnel dry, and is broken into granules for storage purposes.


Gelatine is commercially available in sheets, shreds, flakes or coarse powder. It is white or yellowish, has a slight but characteristic odour and taste and is stable in dry air but subject to microbial decomposition if moist or in solution. It is insoluble in cold water but swells and softens when immersed gradually absorbing 5 to 10 times its own mass of water. In hot water it dissolves to form a thick colloidal mucilage which forms a jelly on cooling. Gelatine varies widely on quality and is usually graded in jelly strengths.


In its raw form it is used for the treatment of brittle finger nails and other non fungal defects but proof of efficiency of such treatment is lacking. It is also used in the preparation of many pastes, throat pastilles, vaginal pessaries and rectal suppositories. Gelatine is the main ingredient in all hard and flexible capsules. Many older tablet formulations still contain gelatine as a binding agent. The most important value in therapy is as an easily digested adjuvant food-when supplemented, it is very widely used for various forms of malnutrition, gastric hyperacidity and ulcer, convalescence and general diets of the sick.

Edible Gelatine is used throughout the food industry, for example in confectionery, ice-creams, jellies, chocolates, sweets, jams, pastries, desserts, dairy products and the meat industry. It acts as a stabilising and smoothing agent in foods. Gelatine is also used in the manufacture of rubber substitutes, adhesives, cements, lithographic and printing inks, photographic plates and films, matches, sizing papers and textiles.

Islamic Law Regarding Gelatin

If the source of Gelatine is derived from a Halaal source then its usage is permissible, whilst if the source is Haraam or Mashqook [doubtful] then it will be considered Haraam. The hide matrix or gelatine protein is basically a piece of skin, which is hydrollised, washed, melted and extracted, purified, evaporated, sterilized, chilled, dried and granulated for further shelf life and easy use. Alkaline treatment tends to remove amide groups present on certain amino acid residues on the collagen protein chains resulting in a lowering of the isoelectric point and consequently an alteration not a transformation of the chemical and physical properties of the protein occurs. Despite the above method of changing a raw product into gelatine under tremendous chemical pressure still retains much of its chemical equation. The collagen triple helix structure is lost during this procedure but the resultant Gelatine product retains the original coil structure. The aspect of Tabdeel-e-Mahiyyat does not take place.

Muslims should avoid choosing Haraam and doubtful ingredients. If a comparable medication is available in tablet or liquid form it would be advisable to ask for them instead of taking capsules. In the area of food we have such a vast selection of products whereby foregoing a certain brand containing Gelatine should pose no problem. In the UK it is a legal requirement to list ingredients in products and a reference to this guide will indicate what can be consumed or not. Muslim countries as well as local associations should provide finances to initiate and promote research to develop alternate forms to Gelatine to overcome this problem.


Alcohol is an Arabic derivation of alghul meaning ghost or evil spirit. An Arab Alchemist by the name of Jabir Ibn Hayyan, known to the west as Geber, first distilled alcohol in 800 AD. He suggested the name for its most effective result. The prohibition of alcohol in Islam is found directly in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed, Peace be upon him. liquor are cursed by Allah, but all those who deal with them directly or indirectly. It was reported by Anas, a Companion of the Prophet, that Muhammad, peace be upon him said:

Allah’s curse falls on ten groups of people who deal with alcohol.

The one who distills it;

The one for whom it has been distilled;

The one who drinks it;

The one who transports it;

The one for whom it has been brought;

The one who serves it;

The one who sells it;

The one who utilizes the money from it;

The one who buys it and the one who buys it for someone else.

From this it is clear that alcoholic beverages in all varieties and forms are unlawful for Muslims. This includes all types of wines, liquors, fermented beverages, pure alcohol and the like. There are many reasons why alcoholic beverages have been prohibited in Islam.

Alcohol is an abomination and handiwork of Satan, preventing the remembrance of Allah. It prevents and/or delays Muslims from performing their daily prayers. Even if they pray they will not understand the meaning and significance of what they are doing and saying. Those who drink Alcohol will be denied Paradise . Those who drink Alcohol are considered by Islam to be similar to those who worship idols, something totally prohibited in Islam. At the time of drinking Alcohol a person is not considered to be a believer.

Alcohol is the mother of evil in society. Muslims believe that the Prophets of Allah did not taste alcoholic beverages and that Alcohol was prohibited in the original scriptures of other divine revealed religions.

Alcohol brings Allah’s curse on those who drink it as well as on those who plant or cultivate its raw materials, produce, sell or deal with it and those who participate in drinking parties.

Alcohol is responsible for a large number of road accidents. Alcohol causes many broken families, Because of Alcohol homicide, rape and other offenses are committed.

Islamic Law regarding Alcohol

If it is known with certainty that medicine or food contains Alcohol derived from one of the four sources [Ashribah Arba’] raw grape juice, processed grape juice, dried grape (raisins) juice and date juice then such medicine and food are not permissible.

Medicinal Alcohol

Regarding medicine if on the authority of a competent doctor, no alternative medication is available, then the usage of such medicine in limitation and necessity will be allowed. In these circumstances Hanafi Fiqh allows Tadawi bil Haraam [medicine from Haraam sources]. If it is known with certainty that alcohol derived other than the four sources have been used as ingredients in medication or food then according to Imaam Abu Hanifa and Imaam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullah Alayhima. It will be permissible to use such medication providing it does not intoxicate.

Food Alcohol

However food containing this ingredient will not be permissible to consume whether it intoxicates or not, providing Halaal and pure food is freely available. If Halaal food is not freely available and this food containing alcohol, as one of its ingredient in some form or other, is the only food available and it is extremely difficult to abstain therefrom. Then in such circumstances both, Imaam Abu Hanifa and Imaam Abu Yusuf allow the consumption of such food providing it does not intoxicate. It should be remembered that this second type of alcohol if used as an ingredient in food and medicine is not permissible. The ruling is on the Fatwah of Imaam Muhammad but because of [Umoom Balwa, public predicament it] will be allowed following the ruling of the Shaikhain, Imaam Abu Hanifa and Imaam Abu Yusuf.

Another solution to the problem can be to inquire from a specialist in the field of medicine and nutrition when alcohol, used in this manner, remains in its original state in the final product or undergoes significant chemical changes causing it to lose its original properties. If it is transformed after the process not remaining as alcohol then all the Imaams agree to it’s usage and consumption, citing the case where wine turns into vinegar losing all its former properties thus making it permissible for Muslims because of the change to the original properties of wine.

Shampoos and Deodorants

This area is very complex. Alcohol generally refers to ethyl alcohol commonly known as Ethanol, a liquid generated by the fermentation of sugars from cane, forming the intoxicating element of all fermented liquors. The chemical structure of Ethanol is C2 H5-OH. The entire alcohol family have one or more Hydroxyl OH group. Benzyl alcohol despite being part of this group is used as a preservative in baby products and can never be used to ferment liquors. There is a clear distinction between ethanol and other types of chemical alcohol, hence it would be permissible to use deodorants and shampoos containing alcohol except ethanol and the alcohol derived from grapes or dates, which is in itself Najas [impure] making the body as well as clothing impure!

Processed Foods and E Numbers

Food additives are added to food to make it safer, keep it longer, stop the growth of bacteria, mould, and stop food going stale. They also aid processing as emulsifiers, raising agents, preservatives and improve food in terms of colour, taste, texture and nutritional value. Additives increase the variety of food available to consumers keeping prices down, allowing safe delivery of food to urban populated areas and create alternatives to traditional food like meat substitutes for meat, low fat products for butter and yoghurt and sugar free drinks for diabetics. The ‘E’ numbers were introduced to make it easier for EEC countries to come to a uniform system of regulating the additives industry.

The E Numbers are divided into 9 categories

Permitted Colours Numbers 100-180

Preservatives Numbers 200-290

Permitted Anti-oxidants Numbers 300-321

Emulsifiers and Stabilisers Numbers 322-494

Sweeteners Numbers 420-421

Solvents Numbers 422

Mineral Hydrocarbons Numbers 905-907

Modified Starches Numbers 1400-1442

Miscellaneous Additives Numbers 170-927

The use of additives is strictly controlled by law. They may not be used in food unless they are on a approved Government supervised list, proving their safe and effective usage. Once approved by the EC it is then given an ‘E’ number and is constantly monitored by local Government and the EEC. EEC directives require all food to list ingredients of the various products used because additives being so complicated by way of understanding leave alone pronouncing would have ingredients look like a chemist’s dictionary. We are publishing a list of numbers, some of which are Haraam and some of which are doubtful, because of its doubtful nature Muslims have to refrain from them as well.

E120 Cochineal (Carmine of Cochineal Carminicago, C.I.75490

Derived from the cochineal beetle, Dactilopius Coccus.

E160a Alfa-Carotene, Beta-Carotene, Gamma-Carotene.

E471 Mono and Di-Glycerides of fatty acids.

When Glycerol is used one has to find out the source whether animal or synthetic.

E472[a-e] Lactic acid esters of Mono-and Di-glycerides of fatty acids. Prepared from esters of Glycerol.

E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids prepared from Glycerol and Sucrose.

E474 Sycroglycerides prepared by reaction of Sucrose on natural triglycerides Derived from palm oil, lard, etc.

E475 Polyglycerol esters of Fatty acids. Prepared in the laboratory.

E476 Polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids of castor oil [polyglycerol polyricinoleate] Prepared from Castor Oil and Glycerol esters.

E477 Propane-1,2-idol esters of fatty acids [Propylene Glycol esters of Fatty acids] Prepared from Propylene Glycol.

E478 Lactylated fatty acid esters of glycerol and propane-1,2-idol. Prepared from esters of glycerol and Lactic acid.

E542 Edible Bone Phosphate Degreased steam extract of animal bone. Used as an anticaking agent preventing particles sticking together.

E570 Stearic Acid Naturally occurring fatty acid found in animal fats and vegetable oils. Used as anticaking agent.

E572 Magnesium Stearate Prepared synthetically from commercial stearic acid.

E631 Insine [Disodium Phospate, Sodium and Inosinate] The Disodium Salt of Inosinate Acid which can be prepared from insect or fish extract.

E635 A mixture of disodium guanylare and disodium inosinate. Same source as 631.

E640 920 L-Cysteine Hydrochloride and L-Cysteine hydrochloride mono hydrate. A naturally occurring amino acid manufactured from animal hair and chicken feathers.

All other ‘E’ number additives at the time of publication are Halaal, because of the ruling of Tabdeel-e-Mahiyat [See the article below], except the following:

E473 E474 E475 E476 E477 E478 E542 E570 E572 E631 E635 E640 E920

Tabdeel-e-Mahiyat [Change in the Original Properties of a Substance]

Tabdeel-e-Mahiyat is the total transformation of something whereby the original substance retains NO properties of its former state and differ completely from it in application. One must understand that to include everything and anything under this analogy or cite modern food production techniques does not necessarily satisfy the condition of Tabdeel-e-Mahiyat. A classic example is Gelatin, a thickener used in food derived from skins, tendons, ligaments, bones, to produce a gelling agent. However some remnant of the original product still remains in the final packaged product making it impure and improper for use despite the great chemical changes it underwent. Hence this will not be considered Tabdeel-e-Mahiyat or Halaal. The example given by ‘Allamah Ibn Aabideen in his Fatawa Radd-ul-Muhtaar on Nutfah [a drop of sperm] which is impure and changes after conception into ‘Alaqah [germ cell or clot] also impure but fertilizing into a Muzqah [embryonic lump] which is pure.

The second example quoted by him is of ‘Aseer [grape juice] which is pure but ferments and changes into Ghamr [wine] becoming impure and thereafter can further change into Khal [vinegar] which is pure again. Vinegar is prepared by two successive microbial process. The first being an alcoholic fermentation [which is Haraam] and the second an oxidation of alcohol by aceto bacter, when its molecular structure is changed and it ceases to be an intoxicant. Other varieties of vinegar are produced from beetroot, tarragon and alcoholic spirits. In vinegar the intoxicating factor is destroyed by the microbial process of oxidation hence it becomes permissible. Islam permits any variety of vinegar to be used as a condiment or preservative. In both cases the original state undergoes tremendous changes making the final product something altogether different. Soap also undergoes tremendous changes from its original substance, hence all soap will be permissible to use for Muslims.

‘Allamah Ibn Aabedeen says: We recognize that the changing of the original state of a substance is necessarily followed by the change in the qualities of the substance. We now come to the point whether the cause for the changes in the substance is purity or public predicament. Allamah Ibn Aabedeen rules that the actual case is public predicament and cites the example of soap made from impure oil which is pure because of public predicament. Fatawa

Mazahir ul Uloom vol.1 page 84-85 Fatawa Ibn Aabideen [Shaami] vol.1 page 217-218

GM Foods

What is GM Food

Genetic Modification involves a gene from one living creature being isolated and spliced onto the DNA of another plant or animal to give it a new characteristics

Multi-biotechnological companies claim they will give us better and more nutritious food, reduce the use of pesticides and save the world from hunger and eradicate poverty, but this has to be addressed by the first world countries in relation to third world countries to balance the equation. The advocates for GM foods present them as risk free, unthreatening, unharmful to the environment or humans. They compare this with cross-pollination, hybridisation and cross-breeding in cattle, yet this was only carried out within established species barriers: corn with corn, horses with horses and so on. Modern GM is substantially different making instant changes and allowing genes from totally diverse species to be used.

What are the risk factors

The BSE disease in cattle is pale comparison to what GM experiments have done. A soy bean given a Brazil nut gene to boost its protein level caused allergic reaction to people with nut allergies. Fish geneticists produced a super salmon which was deformed. These products did not reach the market or media because their faults were easily spotted, but complex changes could take time to show up like BSE.

How damaging is it to health and environment

Once foreign genes are inserted into food, they disturb the chemical functioning of that food. This could produce in itself unseen health risks in the form of new allergies, toxins and health hazards. Genes inserted into crops to give them antibiotic resistance can be passed on to bacteria in humans, causing antibiotics to be ineffective and drug resistant. Many wildlife groups fear that GM crops will lead to a further intensification of agriculture, combined with increased pesticide usage that would step up the alarming decline of habitat. Even in conventional breeding, farm animals are very often pushed beyond their limits, undermining their health. GM in animals will also speed up this process.

Government Regulations

GM food is well regulated in UK but this cannot be said of other countries. Most companies developing GM foods want to introduce and legalize it as quickly as possible, but without adequate research or precautions.

Regulatory bodies should carefully look at potential problems such as risks, allergies or the transfer of toxins. Public awareness and the campaign of information must be made to people at all levels. The public should demand that ALL GM foods are clearly labeled. They have a right to know what they are eating and a right to choose. Many organizations are calling for a ban on their current development and research. If the introduction of GM foods goes wrong it will make BSE seem like a joke!

Islamic Law regarding GM Foods

The modification of crops is nothing new, plant breeders have been doing it since agriculture began. We urge Muslims to exercise caution with regard to GM foods, as there will be nothing to lose by holding back until scientists know more about the long-term effects of GM foods. When there is product that has no genetic modification it is safer to select that product than a GM product. Islam teaches caution to its followers and the injunction of eating wholesome food, GM foods These types of products may not be Haraam but are best avoided. The introduction of animal genes into food plants presents considerable ethical difficulties for Muslims and members of other religions which forbid the eating of certain animals and more so for Vegetarians, who do not eat any animals or its by products. These types of products fall into the category of Haraam.

Glossary of Terms

Fisq : To carelessly, unmindfully contravene the Laws of Islam

Halaal : This is a term meaning something permissible and lawful in the Islamic faith. This term can be used both in the materialistic and spiritual aspects. The term Hillat is also used in this respect. The term Halaal should not be misunderstood as relating to dietary needs only, but is used in a much wider sense for all things permissible.

Haraam: Haraam is the term opposed to Halaal, meaning not allowed or non-permissible. Just as Halaal is used in all aspects of Islam and not restricted to diet so is Haraam. A Haraam item can also be referred to as

Non-Halaal: Muslims are not allowed to do, use or consume any thing Haraam.

Hulqum: The wind pipe, part of the upper gullet and esophagus leading from the mouth and upper nasal passage, through the front of the neck, to the lungs.

Mubaah: Refers to that which is neutral or indifferent, which may be avoided or consumed. This principle applies to all matters of the Shariah not forbidden or reprobated.

Makruh Tahreem: Refers to that which is strongly prohibited by the Sunnah, though not to the extent of Haraam, but still deserving of retribution. This is closer to Haraam

Makruh Tanzeeh: Refers to that which is mildly prohibited by the Sunnah. This is closer to Halaal

Mushtabah: This is the grey area between Halaal and Haraam. Islam instructs its followers to refrain from doubtful matters, in order to safeguard their Faith.

Mathbuh: The animal which is slaughtered according to the Shariah

Nahr: This is the Sunnah method of slaughtering a camel, which is standing and the front legs are bent at the knee and thereafter tied. The blood carrying vessels are cut at the bottom of the neck, nearest to the chest.

Taahir: To be clean and free from all impurities by Islamic Law.

Tayyeb: Good, pure, wholesome and nourishing food

Thabah: The Muslim method of slaughter, where the animal is laid down on it’s right side and the blood carrying veins are cut. This method is Sunnah for birds, cattle, sheep and goats.

Tusmiyyah: The verbal pronouncement of the name of Allah, when making Thabah or commencing any good deed.

Wudjaan: There are three [main] large veins of the neck that return blood to the heart from the head and face. Wudjaan refers to two of the jugular veins. Thabah requirements is that two of the veins must be cut during slaughter to allow the quick outflow of blood.

Is It Permissible To Eat Shrimp?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What is the ruling on shrimp and scampi? Are they permissible to consume?


In the Hanafi school, it is permitted to eat shrimp according to the soundest position.

The basic criterion is that anything that the Arabs considered ‘fish’ (samak) at time of revelation is permitted. Other produce of the sea is not permitted in the Hanafi school.

Therefore, if “scampi” refers to a shrimp dish made with garlic butter, as in America, then it would be permitted to consume. If it refers to a lobster dish, as commonly done in Europe, it would not be permitted to consume.

A lot of times though, “scampi” served in restaurants is cooked with white wine and so consuming it in such a case would be impermissible. Generally, a person should inquire as to what’s in the recipe, given the abundant usage in the West of wine and pork in dishes.

Faraz Rabbani

Cutting Off the Animal’s Head Directly After Being Slaughtered

Answered by  Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Cutting Off the Animal’s Head Directly After Being Slaughtered

Answer: It should always be remembered that although Islam gives permission to slaughter certain animals and consume their meat (provided certain conditions are met), it never permits making animals suffer unnecessarily. The guidance of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is clear in this regard. He emphasized in many narrations the prohibition and sinfulness of mistreating Animals. Before the advent of Islam, all possible ways and means were used in acquiring the meat of animals and no consideration was taken in preventing the pain and suffering of these defenceless and innocent creatures of Allah.

The beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) came with clear guidelines regarding animal treatment.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that “the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade making animals suffer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The Shafi’i jurist, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Allah have mercy on him) mentions in his work on the major sins, al-Zawajir an Iqtiraf al-Kaba’irthat causing animals undue harm, such as hitting them painfully, without a sound reason is a major sin (kabira). (al-Zawajir 1/208-209)

As such, in general, harming animals, causing them undue pain or making them suffer is unlawful and sinful. When slaughtering an animal, Islam demands that maximum effort is made in minimizing the suffering of the animal. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill (an animal), kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Sahih Muslim related by Shaddad ibn Aws, no: 1955)

For this very reason, Islamic jurists (fuqaha), in light of the guidance given in the Qur’an and Sunnah, have highlighted many malpractices that need to be avoided when slaughtering animals. These practices do not render the slaughtered animal as unlawful (provided the basic and necessary requirements for a valid slaughter are met), but they are considered to be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman):

1) Pulling animals with excessive force and placing them down harshly onto the ground when being slaughtered,

2) Delaying the slaughter after the animal is placed onto the ground,

3) Sharpening the knife or blade in front of the animal,

4) Totally cutting off and separating the head of the animal from the remainder of its body when slaughtering,

5) Cutting the animal from the neck (rear) rather than the throat,

6) One should sharpen the knife as much as possible in order to hasten the act of slaughter. (See: al-Hidaya 2/438, Radd al-Muhtar6/296 al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 5/288)

Cutting off the animal’s head directly after being slaughtered

From amongst these reprehensible and prohibitively disliked practices is to cut off the animal’s head and peel off its skin directly after the animal is slaughtered.

The great Hanafi jurist, Imam Ala al-Din al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

Giving the animal unnecessary pain (ta’dhib) in any way is (prohibitively) disliked such as cutting off its head and peeling off its skin before the animal cools down, meaning the animal stops moving and shaking…(See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar 6/296)

Likewise, it is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya

It is (prohibitively) disliked for the slaughterer to reach the spinal marrow (i.e. close to the neck) of the animal with a knife (nukha’) (m: or to cut off its head completely) before the animal cools down. Similarly, it is disliked to skin the animal before it cools down. However, if the slaughterer did cut off its head or skinned it before it cooled down, there would be nothing wrong in eating of its meat.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 5/287)

As such, in conclusion, cutting off the head of an animal, peeling off its skin and generally dissecting its body-parts is considered to be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) directly after the animal has been slaughtered, for this would be regarded giving the animal unnecessary pain. One must wait until the animal cools down by coming to a complete standstill and it stops shaking and moving. This period may vary from one animal to another. However, if the head of the animal was cut off directly after slaughter, the meat of this slaughtered animal will not become unlawful (haram) provided all the necessary conditions for a valid slaughter are met.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Can I Eat Meat Slaughtered by Jews and Christians?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Can I Eat Meat Slaughtered by Jews and Christians?

Answer :   The general ruling is that if an animal is slaughtered by a Muslim, or a genuine Christian or Jew, then it would be halal to consume from it, provided the other two conditions of a valid slaughter are also met, namely the cutting of veins with a sharp tool, and pronouncing the name of Allah Most High. (See: The major Fiqh references)

Allah Most High says:

“Today are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them.” (Surah al-An’am, V. 5)

However, if there is a valid reason to doubt the belief of a particular Christian or Jew, then it will not be allowed to consume the animal slaughtered by them. If one is a Christian or a Jew merely by name, and in reality he is an atheist, then his slaughtered meat would remain unlawful. If a Jew denies the existence of God, he is not really a Jew; hence, his slaughtered meat would be haram. The condition is that the slaughterer is a genuine Christian or Jew, even if that means he does not believe in the Qur’an or considers Sayyiduna Isa (peace be upon him) to be the son of God.

As regards to kosher meat, the fatwa of most contemporary scholars is that it is in itself halal, as such meat fulfils the conditions of a valid slaughter. However, scholars say that Muslims should avoid kosher meat due to the Zionist oppression in Palestine.

In conclusion, the general ruling is of the permissibility of consuming meat slaughtered by a true and genuine Jew. However, if one lives in an area where meat is slaughtered by individuals who are only considered Jews by name, and in reality they deny the existence of God, then the ruling would be otherwise.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Commencing and Concluding One’s Meal With Salt

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Commencing and Concluding One’s Meal with Salt

Some people take salt before and after every meal religiously. Is it a Sunnah to have some salt before and/or after meals? Is there any reference in the life of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alyhi wa sallam or the Sahaba that this was done?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Answer : Various classical jurists (fuqaha) of the Hanafi School mention in their respective works that it is from the general Sunna and recommended acts to commence and conclude one’s meal with salt, and that there are numerous medical benefits in doing so.

The renowned Hanafi jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It is from the Sunna to commence and conclude one’s meals with salt, rather in doing so; there is cure from seventy illnesses.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala ‘l-Durr al-Mukhtar 6/340. The same, more or less, has been mentioned in Al-Muhit al-Burhani 5/204, Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq 8/209 and Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 5/337. Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali also relates the same in his famous Ihya Uloom al-Din).

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) explains in his brilliant Fatawa-collection titled ‘Imdad al-Fatawa’ that although there is no clear Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) establishing this practice, and that the report attributed to him (Allah bless him & give him peace): “O Ali, commence and conclude your meal with salt, since salt is a cure for seventy illnesses such as insanity, leprosy, stomach pain and tooth ache” is deemed fabricated (mawdhu’) by many Hadith scholars, the act of commencing and concluding one’s meal with salt can not be considered totally baseless due to two reasons:

Firstly, Imam Bayhaqi relates in his Shu’ab al-Iman that Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said, “Whosoever commences his meal with salt, Allah will eliminate seventy types of illnesses from him.” Imam Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) also records this report of Sayyiduna Ali in his Ihya Uloom al-Din, and the commentator of the Ihya, Allama Murtadha al-Zabidi after providing reference to Imam Bayhaqi’s Shu’ab al-Iman does not judge the report to be fabricated. As such, this Mawquf report (a report traced back to a Companion of the Messenger of Allah, and not necessarily a saying of the Messenger of Allah himself) indicates some basis for this practice.

Secondly, there is a sound Hadith recorded by Imam Ibn Majah, Imam Tabarani and others from Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “The best of your curries is salt.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, no: 3315) The term used in the Hadith to describe the good nature of salt is “Sayyid (leader)” and “leadership” requires it being at the beginning and end of one’s meal. Mawlana Thanawi further states that this could be the possible origin of commencing and concluding one’s meal with salt. However, he states, this practice should not be taken as a categorical religiously-established ruling, but rather, a desired course of action. (See: Imdad al-Fatawa 4/111-113)

So, in conclusion, one should not consider commencing and concluding one’s meal with salt to be firmly established through the Sunna, and as such, avoid placing exaggerated emphasis on it. At the same time, it should not be considered a totally baseless act having no origin whatsoever. It would be wrong to insist on taking salt before and after every meal, and likewise, it would be wrong to condemn someone who chose to do so. If salt is readily available on the table, one may commence and conclude the meal with it based on the fact that classical Hanafi jurists consider it a commendable act. However, if salt is not present, one should not go out of one’s way in seeking and demanding it. This is the middle way, Insha Allah, and as always, the best of ways is the middle way.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Leaving Food on One’s Plate

Answered  by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it sunnah not to finish all the food on your plate, and to leave some food for next time? I ask because someone told me this is a very good thing to do, and someone else said this is illogical. Please clarify this, insha’Allah.

leftover-food-plateAnswer : The sunna is to finish all the food one took on one’s plate.

Leaving food is from wastefulness: leaving just a little is better not to; leaving more than this is blameworthy; that which would be considered ‘excessively wasteful’ is sinful.

This is if the food on one’s plate got there of one’s own accord. Otherwise, the waste is from the one who gave too much.

Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani