Questions on Halal and Haram
Question No. 1
Question : Please define
the difference in fiqh between the terms Haram, Makrooh
tahreeman and Makrooh.
Answer: The Arabic word
'Makrooh' means detested, the opposite of liked or loved.
In the terminology of Shari`ah, it refers to something
which Allah swt asks us not to do, but the injunction
is not in a definitive manner. It may be said that it
means something refraining from which earns a person reward
as long as he does not do it out of obedience, but a person
who does it will not be punished, either.
As for the Arabic word
'Haram', it means forbidden. In the terminology of Shari`ah,
it refers to something that Allah swt requires us not
to do, the injunction here is in a definitive manner.
Haram is the opposite of Halal (permitted). A person will
be rewarded for keeping away from Haram as long as he
refrains from doing it out of obedience, not out of fear,
shyness or the inability to do it; in those cases he will
not be rewarded for not doing it.”
The Hanafi school defines
Haram for what is proven to be Haram in Qur'an or hadith
that are narrated by many chains of narration to make
the hadith as authentic as the Qur'an and the meaning
of that hadith or Quranic evidence is of certainty.
If the proof doesn't comply
with that level of standard, then it becomes Makrooh karahat
tahreem, which means that it is anticipated to be Haram,
but not certain.
The third category is
Makrooh karahat tanzih, which means that it is better
for you to avoid it, but not sinful to do it.
Question No. 2
Question : Could you please explain to us in brief about
Halal and Haram Food.
Answer : The following
are some brief guidelines on Halal and Haram
The general principle
in Islam is that any food is Halal except for the following
1. The dead animal
4. Animals that have been
dedicated to anyone other than Allah, that is those which
are slaughtered with the invocation of a name other than
that of Allah Almighty —for example, the name of
5. The animal (or bird)
that dies because of being strangled
6. The animal (or bird)
that dies because of being beat with something.
7. The animal (or bird)
that dies because of falling down from a height
8. The animal that dies
because of being gored by another animal.
9. The animal (or bird)
that dies because of being killed by a wild beast
10. Animals that have
been immolated to idols.
Accordingly, all the kinds
of food that Halal except what contains any of the prohibited
kinds of food that we have mentioned above. Still, any
food that contains any intoxicating substance, whether
little or much, is absolutely Haram (unlawful).
Question: Can we eat food cooked by a non Muslim when
we do not know whether or not it is clean?
Answer: A Muslim is allowed
to eat any food made by a person whose faith and religion
is not known to him, no matter whether that person touched
it with wetness or did not touch it, provided that he
does not know or is not sure that the food consists of
what is forbidden to him.
Question No. 4
Question: Can we eat a meal that has been cooked by a
non-Muslim whose religion we do not know?
Answer: It is permissible
to eat the food and it is not necessary for the Muslim
to question the person who prepared the food about his
beliefs or disbeliefs, or whether or not he had touched
the food, even if that inquiry is very convenient and
natural for one who wants to ask.
Question No. 5
Question: Can I eat Christians' foods that contain meat?
Answer: All kinds of food
with the exception of meat, fat, and their extracts are
permissible for a Muslim, even if he doubts that it might
contain something which is forbidden for him to eat or
doubts that its cook.
Question No. 6
Question: What is the general rule about foods made by
Ahl-e Kitab (People of the Books)?
Answer: Since the followers
of the past revealed religions (that is, the Jews, the
Christians and the Zoroastrians) are ritually pure, many
of the problems concerning the status and permissibility
of the food are resolved when we live in their midst.
It becomes permissible for us as Muslims to eat from their
food no matter whether they touched it with their wet
hands or not as long as we do not know or are not sure
that it consists of what is forbidden to us, like intoxicating
drinks. As for meat, fat and their extracts, they are
Haram and cannot be used unless one is sure that they
Question No. 7
Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim to attend a gathering
where intoxicating drinks are being served?
Answer: Eating and drinking
in those gatherings is forbidden. However, the prohibition
in attending such gatherings is based on obligatory precaution.
But there is no problem in attending such gatherings for
the purpose of forbidding the evil (nahi ‘anil munkar),
if one is capable of doing that.
Question No. 8
Question: We are unaware of the ingredients of food sold
in shops in Western countries: it might be free from those
ingredients that are forbidden to us or it might contain
them. Are we allowed to eat such items without looking
into their ingredients, or inquiring about them? Or is
that not allowed to us?
Answer: It is permissible
[to eat such food] as long as it is not known that it
contains meat, fat, and their derivatives that are forbidden
Question No. 9
Question : What does Halal certification mean?
Answer : For a product
to be Halal, it must be as a whole, and in part: free
from any substance taken or extracted from a Haram animal
or ingredient; made, processed, manufactured and/or stored
by using utensils, equipment and/or machinery that has
been cleaned according to Islamic law ;and free from contact
with, or being close to, a Haram substance during preparation,
manufacture, processing and storage ;Halal certification
means that a product’s contents and manufacture
has been endorsed by an accredited religious authority
as meeting these standards.
Question No. 10
Question : Why do manufacturers
seek Halal certification of food and drinks?
Answer :Many food manufacturers
seek Halal certification of their facilities and processes,
in order to label their products as Halal and ensure they
are able to be enjoyed by Muslim and non-Muslims worldwide.
In the same way that food labeled as gluten-free is suitable
for consumption by a broad range of consumers, Halal certified
foods are commonly enjoyed by non-Muslims.
Question No. 11
Question : Can non-Muslim people consume Halal-certified
food and drinks?
Answer : Yes. Halal certified foods are commonly enjoyed
Question No. 12
Question : A product I often buy has now been Halal certified
– what has been done to it?
Answer : In many cases, existing manufacturing processes
and product ingredients are already compliant with Halal
standards. The manufacturers may change production processes
(for example, replacing alcohol as a cleaning agent with
an alternative) or change ingredient/s in order to achieve
Question No. 13
Question : How do I find out whether a product is Halal
Answer : The best way to know if a product is Halal certified
is to check the label. As Halal certification generally
applies to production sites and processes rather than
brands per se, the same food or drink manufactured at
different sites around the world may vary in terms of
its Halal certification status.
Question No. 14
Question :Is it haram to use balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar?
What is criteria for anything Halal?
Answer : Any type of Vinegar
are Halal unless it contain alcohol or any other Haram
Question No. 15
Question : Can we eat the meat or any food that is cooked
in the oil in which pork was fried? I am not asking about
the pork but any other food fried in that oil? Is it halal
Answer : No, you are not
allowed to eat meat or food prepared in the oil in which
pork was fried, because such oil contains ingredients
from pork or at least has contact with pork, which is
considered najas and impure. So, stay away from them."
Question No. 16
Question: It it permissible for a Muslim to eat with non
Muslims people who drink wine on the same table.
Answer: Name of Counselor
: Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
It is not permissible
to sit with people who are drinking wine (alcohol), whether
they are kaafirs or Muslims. Allah says concerning the
one who sits with those who are speaking of kufr and falsehood:
you hear the Verses of Allâh being denied and mocked
at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk
other than that; (but if you stayed with them) certainly
in that case you would be like them….” (An-Nisaa’
Al-Tabari said: this aayah
clearly indicates that it is not allowed to sit with the
people of falsehood of any kind, when they are indulging
in their falsehood. “…but if you stayed with
them) certainly in that case you would be like them…”
(An-Nisaa’ 4:140). Ibn Katheer said: i.e., you would
be like them in sinning.
According to a hadeeth
narrated by Jaabir, the Prophet (pecace and blessings
of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in
Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where
wine is being served.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi,
al-Adab, 2725; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh
Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2246). The commentator on the hadeeth
said: even if he does not drink with them, it is as if
he is approving of their evil action.
So it is not permissible
to sit with them or to converse with them, even if one
does not drink, because if he does that he is like a silent
If you see them, then
you have to denounce them for that, and if they do not
respond then leave them and keep away from them. We ask
Allah to keep us safe and sound. May Allah bless our Prophet
Question No. 17
Question : Both in Christianity and Judaism, wine is permitted.
Why is it haram in Islam?I can understand the reason for
drinking too much alcohol and being "drunk".
Wine, however, is said to be healthy in moderation and
was also drunk by Prophet Jesus?
Answer : Wine is forbidden
in all divine religions including Christianity. Jesus
did not drink wine though it is written in one of the
four Gospels. In the Last Supper, Jesus drank wine but
this incident, even if we accept as true, was never repeated
by Jesus. I mean there is no report that he used to drink
wine and Jesus is not an exception.
He is one of the Prophets
of God who came to fulfill the message of Allah not to
destroy anything revealed to Prophets preceding him. Also,
wine was forbidden by all the Old Testament.
In the Qur’an, Allah
says that wine is an evil act and it breeds enmity between
people and take them away from the right path. Allah says
in the Qur’an, “O ye who believe! Strong drink
and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are
only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in
order that ye may succeed (90) Satan seeketh only to cast
among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and
games of chance, and to turn you from remembrance of Allah
and from (His) worship.” (Al- Ma’idah 5:90
To talk about the evil
consequences of wine, the evil effects of wine are widely
known and many western scholars, doctors and scientists
warn their societies against indulging in drinking wine.
Question No. 18
Question : I would like to know if it is permissible to
take medicine containing alcohol which is used to preserve
Answer : Responding to
the question in point, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh
Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:
"Some jurists do
not consider medicine to be necessary as food. They cited
the following Hadith to support their argument. The Prophet
(peace and blessings be upon him) says, "Allah has
not made things 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
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
1) The medicine containing
haram ingredients (alcohol as stated in the question)
must be necessary for the life of the person who takes
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."
Question : I know that drinking alcoholic beverages is
Haram according to Islamic law. What about other uses
of alcohol in the following categories: rubbing over an
injury, cologne or perfumes that contain alcohol, toothpaste
that contains alcohol and using any soap or any cleaning
material that contains alcohol?
Answer : In his response
to the question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former president
of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), states
“There are many
types of alcohol, actually there are hundreds of members
in alcohol family. Among them ethyl is the best known
and this alcohol is generally used in beverages. There
are some types of alcohol that are denatured and are used
in perfumes and other cleansing agents. The rubbing alcohol
does not contain ethyl alcohol. It is dangerous for drinking
and may cause blindness and death. The external use of
such alcohol is not forbidden in Islam.
According to the Qur’an
and Sunnah, it is Haram to drink alcohol or alcoholic
beverages. Even a small amount of alcohol is Haram and
it must be avoided. However, jurists have differed on
the Najasah or the physical impurity of alcohol. Some
of them consider it Najis (impure), meaning that if it
touches the body and clothes then it must be washed. There
are others who do not consider it Najis. There are many
jurists who have allowed the use of rubbing alcohol and
the use of perfumes that contain alcohol.
As far as toothpaste or
mouthwash that contain alcohol is concerned, it is better
to avoid them, because they go inside the mouth.”
Question No. 20
Question: What is the ruling on eating lobsters, crabs
and shrimps. I have read that Hanfis regard this as haram
while I have seen recipes for lobster and shrimp on authentic
Islamic websites. Other scholars say that every thing
from sea is halal to eat.
Answer: The basic rule
is that all sea food is halal, according to the hadith
of the Prophet about the sea: “Its water is pure,
and its meat is halal.” And also in the Qura’n:
“It is He Who has made the sea subject, that ye
may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender….”
(An-Nahl 16: 14)
These texts are general
and we don’t have any evidence that modify them.
So, eating ….is Ok and opinion of the Hanafi is
substantiated by solid proofs.
Question No. 21
Question : I’m studying in the US. I stay in the
hostel which provide meat which is not slaughtered by
Muslims. With this, can I eat that meat because if I don’t
eat it I have to be a vegetarian which I can’t?
Answer : As it has been
clarified in a number of fatwas on this website, the meat
slaughtered by Christians and Jews are not considered
haram for us. Allah says: "Today I have declared
all good foods permissible for you, and the food of the
People of the Book is lawful for you, and your food is
lawful for them…" (Al-Maa'idah 5:5)
Based on this, the vast
majority of scholars do not consider it Haram to consume
such meat, especially in cases like yours."
Question No. 22
Question : What is the Islamic ruling on wearing perfumes
that contain alcohol?
Answer : As for your question, some Muslim scholars say
that wearing alcohol-based perfumes is allowed in Islam.
In this regard, Al-Azhar House of Fatwa issued the following
"In Islam, it is
unanimously held that all things are supposed to be deemed
pure, and that it is not necessary that all what is declared
forbidden is considered impure. This is because impurity
is a legal ruling that needs evidence. For example, drugs
and fatal poisons are forbidden, yet this by no means
qualify them to be impure.
For this reason, some
scholars including Rabi`ah, Al-Layth Ibn Sa`d, Al-Muzani
(the companion of Ash-Shafi`i) and some other scholars
hold that wine is pure regardless of its being unlawful,
and that only drinking it is forbidden. However, the majority
of jurists are of the view that wine is impure and forbidden.
Thus, we conclude that
all that is impure is deemed forbidden, but not vice versa.
This is because regarding something as impure is to forbid
any physical contact with it, whereas regarding something
as unlawful is not necessarily to forbid any contact with
it. To illustrate, wearing gold and silk is unlawful (for
men), yet they are considered pure by the consensus of
scholars and thus can be touched by men.
As far as perfumes containing
alcohol is concerned, they consist of many ingredients
like water, perfume, and alcohol that comprises the highest
percentage. It is known that alcohol is produced from
sugarcane by way of distillation. Thus, according to the
juristic rule, which states that all things are presumed
to be originally pure and that being prohibited does not
render something impure, perfumes that contain alcohol
are pure, particularly if we bear in mind that they are
used for cleaning and perfuming the body. Thus, it is
permissible to use these perfumes and there is nothing
wrong in that."
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi,
former President of the Islamic Society of North America,
"It is forbidden
to drink alcohol. In the perfumes usually denatured alcohol
is used. This alcohol is not unclean (najas). According
to some jurists even natural alcohol is not najas. According
to the Shari`ah, there is nothing wrong in using alcohol
Question No. 23
Question ;My husband once bought himself a watch out of
money gained from "Qimar" (gambling). Almost
a year ago, he has repented and now he carefully follows
the instructions of our religion. He was wondering if
he could wear that watch or disregard it? Thank you.
Answer : "May Allah
accept your beloved husband's repentance to Him. However,
it is an obligation upon him to clear himself from the
watch he gained from gambling through donation to a needy.
This is similar to the case of somebody who gained wealth
from Riba, he or she has to clear himself or herself from
it by disassociating him or herself from that wealth.
This is based on the Qur'anic verse: "And if ye do
not, then be warned of war (against you) from Allah and
His messenger. And if ye repent, then ye have your principal
(without interest). Wrong not, and ye shall not be wronged."
Question No. 24
Question: I want to ask if the lottery is Halal according
to Islam, and can we get money in this way? What about
Answer : "The best
way to earn money in Islam is to work hard and employ
thought. Islam prohibits a Muslim from earning vast amounts
of money without making any effort. Allah Almighty says:
"O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance
and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's
handiwork. Leave it aside in order that you may succeed."
Islam wants people to
give their money for good and charitable causes out of
the goodness of their hearts, love of God and humanity,
and not through devious and dubious ways and means. The
Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says, "Allah
does not accept except that which is good and pure."
(Reported by Al-Bukhari)
COMPANION OF DRINKING
While permitting a variety
of games and sports, Islam prohibits any game which involves
betting, that is, which has an element of gambling in
it. Prophet said, "He who says to his friend, 'Come,
let us "gamble,' must give charity."
It is not lawful for the
Muslim to seek relaxation and recreation in gambling,
nor is it lawful for him to acquire money through it.
There are sound and noble objectives behind this strict
prohibition of gambling:
1. The Islamic teachings
urge the Muslim to follow Allah's directives for earning
a living, to use natural laws and direct means for the
attainment of his objectives, and to employ such causes
as produce the desired effects. Gambling, which includes
raffling or the lottery, on the other hand, makes a person
dependent on chance, "luck" and empty wishes,
taking him away from honest labor, serious work and productive
effort. The person who depends on gambling loses respect
for the laws of causation, which Allah has established
and commanded people to use.
2. In Islam, an individual's
property is sacred; it may not be taken from him except
through lawful exchange or unless he gives it freely as
a gift or in charity. Accordingly, taking it from him
by gambling is unlawful.
3. It is therefore not
surprising that gamblers develop hatred and enmity toward
one another, although they may claim that losing does
not trouble them. There is always a winner and a loser.
The loser may seem composed but behind his composure is
frustration, anger, and regret: frustration due to disappointment,
anger at the loss of money, and regret for not having
played a winning game.
4. Gambling has its own
compulsion. The loser plays again in hope of winning the
next game in order to regain his earlier losses, while
the winner plays again to enjoy the pleasure of winning,
impelled by greed for more. If one who finally loses,
may have lost all his saving (sometimes wife is also lost)
thus getting himself in extreme frustration (and some
may suicide). However if luck changes hands, the loser
becomes the winner and the winner the loser, and the joy
of winning changes into the bitterness of loss. Thus the
gamblers may persist at playing the game, unable to bring
themselves to leave it; this is the secret of the addiction
5. Because of this addiction,
gambling is a danger to the society as well as to the
individual. This habit consumes gamblers' time and energy,
making them non- productive idlers and parasites on society,
who take but do not give, who consume but do not produce.
Moreover, due to his absorption with gambling, the gambler
neglects his obligations toward his Creator and his duties
toward his community, even family. It often happens that
a gambling addict sells his honor, property, family, religion,
and even country for the sake of the gambling.
How correct the Qur'an
is in mentioning drinking and gambling together in its
verses, since their harmful effects on the individual,
the family, and society are very similar. What is more
like alcoholism than addiction to gambling? This is why
one usually is not found without the other. Again, how
correct the Qur'an is when it teaches us that both of
these, drinking and gambling, are inspired by Satan, that
they are akin to idolatry and divining by arrows, and
that they are filthy and abominable habits which must
be shunned. Allah says:
“O you who believe,
truly intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows
are an abomination of Satan's doing; avoid them in order
that you may be successful. (90) Assuredly Satan desires
to sow enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants
and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of
Allah and from salat. Will you not then desist?”
What is known as the lottery
or raffle is likewise a form of gambling.
Question No. 25
Question :Is the income of employees who work in food
stores/shops that sell alcohol considered halal (lawful)?
Also, is it permissible in Islam to eat from "halal"restaurants
which also sell alcohol?
Is it permissible for
Muslims to work in places like McDonalds, etc., where
the majority of food is haram, and you have to touch pork?
Also should Muslims try not to work in such places as
they are owned by Americans?
Income in compensation
for working in stores that sell alcohol is permissible
provided that the work itself does not include handling
of alcoholic beverages, because handling these liquors
is not permissible and consequently payment received for
such a prohibited action is not earned lawfully from the
Shari`ah point of view.
Eating in halal restaurants
that sell alcohol is permissible as long as you don't
share the same table with a person who drinks. It is,
however, shameful for such restaurants to offer Halal
meat side by side with alcoholic beverages.
Working in places like
McDonalds is permissible provided that you do not handle
the sale of pork.
Besides, dear brother,
the majority of the food is not haram. According to the
majority of Islamic schools of fiqh (Jurisprudence), meat
from animals slaughtered by Christians and Jews is permissible.
This means that chicken, beef, and mutton offered by McDonalds
and other food sellers are permissible. And it is also
permissible to work in places owned by Americans regardless
of their religion, the same way it is permissible to work
in places owned by people of other nationalities regardless
of their religion.
The minority opinion about
meat requires the name of Allah be mentioned while slaughtering
the animal (does not require the person who slaughter
should be Muslim); this opinion is respected though it
is the minority opinion, although those people who take
this opinion working in a place that provides meat without
mentioning the name of Allah on slaughtering is also permissible,
because the Hanafi school does not prevent a Muslim from
working in a place that applies the other opinions.
Question No. 26
Question:Is it haram or even undesireable for us to touch
dogs? I have heard many Muslims say that dogs are dirty
and Satan has spit on them. Also, that if we do touch
a dog, we have to wash our hands several times. I haven't
been able to find anything concerning this in the Qur'an,
Hadith, or Islamic books. Please help.
Answer: The answer to
this question is twofold:
1 – The
ruling on keeping a dog.
It is haraam to keep a
dog unless it is for the purposes for which Islam permits
keeping dogs. Whoever keeps a dog – except a dog
for hunting or farming – his reward will decrease
each day by one or two qeeraats.
It was narrated that Ibn
‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I
heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah
be upon him) say: ‘Whoever keeps a dog, except a
dog that is trained for hunting or a dog for herding livestock,
his reward will decrease each day by two qeeraats.’”
(Bukhaari, 5059; Muslim, 2941; according to another version
narrated by them both, “one qeeraat”).
The word qeeraat refers
to a large amount of reward; if a person’s reward
decreases by one qeeraat, that means that he is sinning,
for losing reward is like earning sin, both indicate that
something is haraam because of the consequences it leads
The impurity of dogs is
the greatest of animal impurities. The impurity of a dog
can only be removed by washing seven times, one of which
should be with earth. Even pigs, which the Qur’aan
states are haraam and describes as an abomination (rijs)
are not naajis (impure) to such an extent.
Dogs are impure and filthy,
but unfortunately we find that some people are attracted
to the ways of the kuffaar and their filthy habits, so
they have started to keep dogs unnecessarily for no reason,
keeping them, training them and cleaning them even though
they can never be clean, even if they were washed with
the waters of the ocean, because they are essentially
Our advice to them is
to repent to Allah and to get the dogs out of their homes.
But in the case of dogs
which are needed for hunting, farming and herding livestock,
there is nothing wrong with that because the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave permission for
that. If you throw this dog out of your house, you will
no longer be responsible for it, so do not keep it with
2 – The
ruling on touching a dog
If you touch it when it
is not wet, then your hand does not become impure, but
if you touch it when it is wet, this means that the hand
becomes impure, according to the opinion of many scholars,
and the hand must be washed seven times, one of which
should be with earth.
With regard to vessels,
if a dog has licked a vessel (i.e., drunk from it), then
the vessel must be washed seven times, one of which should
be with earth, as was proven in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere,
in the hadeeth narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be
pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If a dog
licks the vessel of any one of you, let him wash it seven
times, one of which should be with earth.” It is
better if the washing with earth be the first washing.
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