F.A.Q / Fatwas

Frequently Asked Questions

Islam, as a matter of fact, cares about health and medicine. It is highly recommended for every Muslim to maintain strong body and good health. This is clarified by numerous Qur'anic verses and Prophetic Hadiths. For example, showing his great concern for the necessity of preserving personal hygiene, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made it recommended for Muslims to stick to purification and cleanliness, saying, "It is the right of Allah upon every Muslim that he should take a bath (at least) once every seven days and should wash his head and body." (Reported by Al-Bukhari) Islam encourages Muslims to seek cures for their ills. The hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) reads: "Seek medication, O servants of Allah, for Allah never created an illness without creating a cure for it." At the same time, a Muslim is always commanded to seek medications that are derived from lawful origins.

As regards your question, we would like to cite the following Fatwa issued by Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, in which he states the following:

Manufacturing medicines from non-animal sources may be of two types:

  1. Where they are made from permissible materials, so they are permissible, such as making them from permissible herbs.
  2. Where they are made from materials which are haram or najis, so the medicine is haram according to the consensus of the Muslim jurists, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:“Allah does not put your cure in that which He has forbidden for you.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

If the medicine is made from animal products, it may be one of three types:

  1. If it comes from an animal whose meat may be eaten and it has been slaughtered correctly (in Islamic way), then it is permissible to use it as medicine.
  2. If it comes from an animal whose meat may be eaten but it has not been slaughtered correctly, then it is not permissible to use it for medicine, because it is haram. This is in accordance to the abovementioned Hadith.
  3. If it comes from an animal whose meat cannot be eaten, then it is not permissible to use it asmedicine, for the reasons stated above. This includes pork.

Ibn Qudamah said: “It is not permissible to treat disease with haram things, or anything that contains unlawful things, such as the milk of female donkeys, or the meat of something that is haram; the same applies to using wine as medication, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), said when he was told about nabidh (date wine) that was used for medicinal purposes, ‘It is not a cure, it is a disease. ”

In his answer to the question "is it permissible to treat disease with alcohol?", Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him), said: "Using alcohol for medicinal purpose is haram, as stated by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). This is the view of the vast majority of scholars. It was reported in As-Sahih that he (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about alcohol that was made for medicinal purposes, and he said: ‘It is a disease, it is not a cure.’ And, in As-Sunan it is reported that he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘It is forbidden to treat disease with Khabith (evil) things.’ Ibn Mas`ud said: ‘Allah does not put your cure in that which He has forbidden for you.’ Ibn Hibban reported in his Sahih that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah does not put the cure for my Ummah in that which He has forbidden for them.” In As-Sunan it is reported that he (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about frogs which were used for medicinal purposes. He forbade killing them, and said, “Their croaking is tasbih (glorification of Allah).” This rule does not apply to eating carrion out of necessity, for that achieves the purpose of keeping the person alive when there is no alternative; and if a person is forced by necessity to eat dead meat, but he does not eat it and dies as a result, he will go to Hell. But in the case of treating disease, attaining cure is something under possibility and there is a variety of medicine which one may take, i.e. Allah may bring about a person's recovery through a variety of means. Seeking medication for disease is not obligatory according to the majority of scholars, so there is no analogy in this case." As for the second question, we can say that, based on the above Fatwa, it becomes evident that it is not permissible for a Muslim doctor to use haram medications in treating disease [irrespective of the religion of the patient]."

Egypt - Islam online - Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid
Source: INFAD, Islamic Science University of Malaysia.

Some jurists do not consider medicine to be necessary as food. They cited the following Hadith tosupport their argument. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says, "Allah has not madethings that are unlawful for you to consume to be your medicine." On the other hand, other jurists maintain that medicine is so important and necessary as food. Both of them preserve man and safeguard his life. They said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has allowed both `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and Az-Zubayr ibn Al-`Awwaam to wear silk garments, though male Muslims are not allowed to wear it, because of necessity. The two men were suffering from some sort of itching. It seems that the aforementioned view goes in harmony with the spirit of Islam. However, there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled in order to take a medicine containing haram ingredients. Such conditions may be classified as follows:

  1. The medicine containing haram ingredients (alcohol as stated in the question) must be necessary for the life of the person who takes it..
  2. A knowledgeable and trustworthy Muslim physician should recommend such type of medicine containing alcohol.
  3. The person is not allowed to take this particular type of medicine while there are other lawful medicines available

Netherlands - Islam Online - Yusuf Al- Qaradawi
Source: INFAD, Islamic Science University of Malaysia.

Muslim scholars unanimously agree that if wine turns into vinegar by itself, it is lawful. However, if it turns into vinegar with the aid of a chemical substance or by adding something, such as salt, bread or onion, to it, scholars hold different views regarding it. Although some scholars say that it is pure and lawful because it has been changed from its original state, others say that it is still impure and, thus, it is must be avoided. In his book, Al-Majmu`, Imam An-Nawawi states: 'If wine changes into vinegar by itself, it becomes pure according to the majority of scholars. However, if the change is a result of putting something in it, I say that it is still impure. Ahmad and most scholars also hold this view. Abu Hanifah, Al-Awza`i and Al-Layth consider it pure.' Malik has reported three hadiths on this, the most authentic one is that treating wine is prohibited. But once it is carried out, wine becomes pure. In the books of the Maliki jurists, it is stated that it is permissible to treat wine so that it becomes vinegar. What I see is that if wine changes into vinegar, it becomes pure and lawful as it has changed from its original state and this requires a new ruling as is the case with all other converted impurities regardless of whether this occurs naturally or by human interference. Wine itself is a pure substance as it was made from grapes. After becoming an intoxicant, it becomes prohibited. Once it changes and lacks the intoxicating characteristic, it regains its original ruling. The view of the Hanafi scholars and those who follow them in this respect seems to be strong. They say that treating wine is similar to its natural change into vinegar as both involve the removal of the reason of prohibition, which is intoxication, as well as the attainment of its benefit of nourishment and medicinal purposes. In addition, the reason for declaring it impure (i.e., intoxication) no longer stands. It is well known that a ruling is attached to its reason in terms of existence or otherwise. In his book, Sharh Mushkil Al-Aathar, Imam At-Tahawi states: 'Since treatment is a process of reformation, it is permitted as is the case for tanning impure leather. It is stated in an authentic hadith: 'When animal leather is tanned, it becomes pure.' This applies to the case in hand, i.e., vinegar, and it includes all its types." By and large, dear questioner, it’s clear from the above-mentioned statements and quotations that so long as vinegar originates from wine directly, without the aid of any additives, it is lawful according to the unanimous view of scholars. As for the vinegar that originates from wine through human interference, it’s somehow controversial among scholars, as you can see.

India – Islam online - Yusuf Al- QaradawiIndia – Islam online - Yusuf Al- Qaradawid
Source: INFAD, Islamic Science University of Malaysia - 02 October 2003

Allah says, “The game of the sea and its food are lawful unto you” (Al-Ma'idah: 96). The wording here is general and it should be applied generally. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about the sea, and his reply was, “Its water is pure (for the purpose of purification rites) and its fish is lawful for you to eat.” Since neither Allah nor His Messenger excluded any type of fish from this permission (and we know for a fact that “Allah is never forgetful”), the vast majority of scholars hold the view that all varieties of fish found in water (which includes the sea, lakes, rivers, ponds, wells, etc.) are lawful for us to consume. This was the view of imams such as Malik, Ash-Shafi`i and Ahmad. It is also the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah and his two foremost disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad, with regard to all types of fish, including shellfish. Those scholars who exclude shellfish from this category of lawful game of the sea have no solid proof. Therefore, the view of the former is considered to be the strongest. In conclusion: It is considered lawful for us to consume shrimps and lobsters.

Canada - Islam Online Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Source: INFAD, Islamic Science University of Malaysia - 08 May 2004

First of all, we’d like to state that Almighty Allah has blessed His servants by creating all kinds of provision on earth for them and He has permitted them to eat everything that is Halal (permissible) and good. Allah says: "O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! He is an open enemy for you." (Al-Baqarah: 168) However, Allah forbids a limited number of foods that are bad and can be detrimental to one’s health. It is the duty of every Muslim to seek what is Halal and keep away from Haram not only as regards food but also in all the other affairs of his life. As regards your question, we’d like to cite for you the following Fatwa: “Mono and diglycerides are emulsifiers used in the food industry. Emulsifiers are food chemicalsubstances which keep oils dispersed in water or water droplets dispersed in fat. They can be Halal or Haram depending on their source. Emulsifiers can be extracted from animals or plants. For example: gum Arabic, egg yolk (lecithin), mono and diglycerides, bile salts, soya bean, etc. are all sources of emulsifiers. Emulsifiers containing lecithin are OK for Muslims to eat. If the emulsifier is mono or diglycerides, you have to find out their sources. Recently, food manufacturers started labeling the source of mono and diglycerides. But if the source is not mentioned, then the only way to find out is to ask the bakery or the food manufacturer of the product that you want to consume.” [Source: www.islamicity.com]

United States - Islam Online - IOL Shariah Researchers
Source: INFAD, Islamic Science University of Malaysia - 12 July 2003

The basic ruling on food and drink is that things are halal except for those which are specifically described in Shari`ah as being haram, such as alcoholic drinks. It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every intoxicating substance is haram.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari) And it was narrated that `A’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Every intoxicating substance is haram, and whatever intoxicates in large amounts, a handful of it is haram.’” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi). Focusing more on the question in point, we’d like to cite the following relevant fatwa: “Non-alcoholic beer is haram because although it is claimed that it is alcohol free, it does have some alcohol in it. We checked with beer manufacturers and confirmed that non-alcoholic beers do have a minimum amount of alcohol in them because during the manufacturing process, a small amount of alcohol is unavoidable. Also, we checked the matter from the legal perspective and found that U.S. law (and probably European law, too), allows beer manufacturers to claim that it is alcohol free if it contains less than one percent alcohol. We wish all Muslims were aware of this fact and if they are not, then we should make this known through the proper educational and media channels.” Source: www.islamicity.com Thus, non-alcoholic beers are haram and all Muslims should be aware of this. So, you can approachyour husband kindly and tell him of the Hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the above mentioned fatwa so that he knows what is halal and what is haram and the right attitude regarding this issue.

Mono and diglycerides are types of fat that are used to prevent water and oil from separating. They are found in a wide variety of products including baked foods, peanut butter, margarine, and shortening. Mono and diglycerides come from animal or vegetable sources. When they come from vegetable sources, they are Halal. When they come from animal sources, they may be Haram. More information is needed to find out if they are Halal. If the mono and diglycerides come from an animal that is slaughtered according to Islamic law (Zabihah), and the preparation that follows is Halal, then they are Halal. Halal consumers should avoid products containing mono and diglycerides unless they are labelled as 100% vegetable mono and diglycerides.

Shortening is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature, and is used for making many baked foods. Animal shortening, such as lard, must be avoided. Pure vegetable shortening is Halal.

Vanilla is a plant product, however, it is taken from the vanilla bean using alcohol. Vanilla is available in powder or liquid form. If you look at a bottle of liquid pure or artificial vanilla extract, you will find alcohol listed as an ingredient, along with the percentage of alcohol it contains. Some people may feel it is okay to use baked products containing vanilla extract because the alcohol evaporates during the baking process. However, studies have shown that the alcohol does not completely evaporate during baking. Vanilla is also available in a powdered form. In this form, the beans are either crushed without the addition of alcohol, or they are crushed and dissolved in alcohol and then purified. During purification, the alcohol is removed. Powdered vanilla is Halal. For specific products, the label will only list vanilla or vanilla flavouring. In such cases, contact the manufacturer of the product to determine which form of vanilla was used.

Gelatin is a protein product obtained from pigs, cattle, and fish. The main sources of gelatin include pigskins, cattle bones and cattle hide. Of these, the most common source is pigskins. Gelatin is used in the preparation of some baked goods, ice cream, yogourt, jellies and other food products. If the word gelatin appears on a label, it is usually made from pigskins and cattle bones, so it is Haram. It is possible to produce Halal gelatin by using the bones and hides of cattle slaughtered according to Islamic Law. In this case, the gelatin would be certified Halal and labeled as Halal gelatin. Gelatin made from any fish is Halal.

Rennet comes from the stomach of a young cow (calf). If the calf was slaughtered according to Islamic requirements, the rennet is Halal. Check for the Halal symbol or call the food manufacturer to determine if the cattle were slaughtered according to Islamic Dietary Law.

Lecithin is used to prevent oil and water from separating. It is found in plants such as soybeans, as well as egg yolks and other animal sources. If lecithin is derived from plants, egg yolks or Halal animals slaughtered according to Islamic Law, it is Halal. Most lecithin is made from soybeans, however, it is possible that some may come from animal sources. Unless the ingredient label specifically lists "soy lecithin" or "vegetable lecithin", call the food manufacturer to determine the source of the lecithin.

Ingredients called enzymes are needed to make cheese. Three enzymes used to make cheese are pepsin, lipase and rennet. These enzymes can be from animal, vegetable or microbial sources. Animal sources include pigs and cattle. Pepsin is derived from pigs, and is Haram. Lipase derived from pigs or cattle are Haram. Lipase from cattle slaughtered according to Islamic requirements or lipase produced by micro-organisms is Halal. Rennet is derived from the stomach of calves. If the calf was slaughtered according to Islamic requirements, the rennet is Halal. Microbial enzymes are not derived from meat and are Halal. Cheese products manufactured with microbial/bacterial cultures are Halal. Most cheese products do not list the source of the enzyme. Call the food manufacturer to find out the source of the enzyme. In addition, it is possible that the source may change without notification.

Whey is the watery part of milk that is separated from the curd in cheesemaking. The enzyme most commonly used to make cheese is rennet, which comes from the stomach of calves. The rennet is Halal if the calf was slaughtered according to Islamic requirements. Whey prepared with microbial enzymes is Halal. Whey is used in processed foods such as crackers. Call the food manufacturer to determine the source of the whey.

Halal and Kosher foods are not similar. Here is an excepert from Eat-Halal.com "Kosher is from the Hebrew word kasher, which means, "fit" and "proper". The term is usually used for food that Jews are permitted to eat under dietary laws that are derived from passages in the biblical books. Some elements of Jewish and Islamic dietary laws are common, while some are not". Therefore, not all Kosher foods are Halal for Muslims. Here are a few differences: Kosher HalalBlessing of Animals Blessing before entering slaughtering area, not on each animal. Blessing on each animal while slaughteringPreparation of meat Soaked and salted to drain all blood No special preparation. Blood is drained during slaughteringGelatinDry bonesSkin and bonesFishPork From Kosher animalsFrom Kosher animalsFrom Kosher fish only From Halal bones onlyFrom Halal animals onlyFrom any fish Fish and other seafoods Permitted except fish that do not have fins and scales (e.g. catfish, eels, rays, sharks, swordfish). Shellfish (e.g. oyster, clam), crustaceans (e.g. crab, lobster), and mollusks (e.g. scallops) are not permitted PermittedAlcohol Permitted except for grape derivatives such as wine, brandy, or some liqueurs. Alcohol needs to be certified as Kosher before they are permitted Not permittedCombining dairy and meat products Not permitted PermittedSpecial occasions Additional restrictions during Passover Same rules apply all the time.

Muslims believe that eating is part of worship, good health and survival. Overeating and self -indulgence is not permitted. The dietary pattern varies from one culture to another, but three meals a day is the standard practice. Prayer times change with seasons and with time of the year. In winter for example, people can pray between 6 to 7 am, while in the summer months it can be as early as 4:30 am. To eat at this time of the morning is a matter of personal choice. Encourage Muslims to report all foods eaten within a 24 hour period for the purpose of a dietary recall.

When buying or serving Halal foods, it is very important to know which ingredients to avoid. Give special consideration to foods like cheese, cheese flavour chips, cakes, cookies, French fries, candies, soups (may contain meat), sauce (may contain meat), margarine, yogourt etc. Remember to check the label for questionable food ingredients. If you are not sure about a product, call the food manufacturer.Question: Are all Halal stores reliable?Answer: There are many Halal stores in the city. There are also other grocery stores that sell Halal products. For food products such as cheese, yogourt, baked products, etc., it’s very important to be familiar with the ingredients to avoid. You can buy these products in any grocery store as long as you give special attention to the ingredient list. Meat products (meat and poultry), however, must be certified as Halal. This means that the product must originate from a Halal certified slaughterhouse and carry the Halal symbol. Zabihah is sometimes written on the product. Whether you buy these products from a Halal store or the regular grocery store, these symbols should visible on meat and meat products.

Allah Almighty knows best.