Halal is an Arabic word which means permissible or lawful. In the Holy Quran, God commands Muslims and all of mankind to eat of the Halal things - "O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome, and follow not the footsteps of the devil.  Lo! he is an avowed enemy of you." (2:168)
 
 
 
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Frequently Asked Questions on Halal and Haram

FAQ

Frequently Asked 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 kinds:


1. The dead animal

2. Blood

3. Pork

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 an idol.

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 No.3


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 are Halal.

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 to us.


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 by non-Muslims.


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 certification.


Question No. 13


Question : How do I find out whether a product is Halal certified?


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 ingredients.


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 or haram?

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:

“…. when 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’ 4:140)

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 shaytaan (devil).

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 Muhammad.


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 - 91)

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 it.

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 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."

 

Question No. 19


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 the following:

“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 Fatwa:

"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, adds:

"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 based perfumes."


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." (Al-Baqarah 2:279)"


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 Gambling?

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." (Al-Ma'idah 5:90)

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)

GAMBLING, THE 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 to gambling.

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.

CONCLUSION

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?” (Al-Maidah 5:90-91)

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?

Answer :

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 to.

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 impure.

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 you.

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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