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, there are specific rules that will be discussed later
A Muslim is allowed to eat the food prepared by a non-Muslim who is
not from Ahlul Kitab [for example, a Hindu or a Buddhist],
provided that he does not know or is not sure that the non-Muslim touched the
food with wetness; and provided that he does not know or is not sure that the
food consists of what is forbidden to him like intoxicating drinks. As for
meat, fat and their extracts, there are specific rules that will come later
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. As for meat, fat, and
their extracts, there are specific rules that will come later on.
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.
In short, 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 —whosoever he may be— had touched it with wetness. (See the question-answer section below.)
Just as it is not obligatory on him to inquire about the
ingredients of such food to ensure that it is free from what is
forbidden to him, it is not obligatory on him to ask the cook whether he
touched it while preparing the food or after it.
All kinds of packed food with the exception of meat, fat and their
extracts, are permissible for a Muslim, even if he doubts that its ingredients
might contain what is forbidden for him or even if he doubts that the cook
—whosoever he may be— had touched it with wetness. It is not obligatory on him
to inquire about its ingredients to ensure that it does not contain anything
that is forbidden to him.
A Muslim is allowed to buy all kinds of halal meat from a
Muslim shopkeeper who sells it to Muslims. Such meat would be considered
halal even if the vendor belongs to a school of thought which have
different conditions for slaughtering from ours as long as there is a
possibility that the animal was slaughtered in accordance with our conditions.
This latter statement applies to all conditions except the one that says that
the animal’s belly should be facing the qiblah at the time of
slaughter. Not observing the condition of qiblah because the
slaughterer’s school of thought does not consider it a necessity will not
detract from [the permissibility of the meat].
If a Muslim knows and is sure that this meat is from an animal which is
permissible for Muslims to eat (like cow, sheep or chicken) but that it is not
slaughtered in accordance with Islamic laws, that meat is to be considered
Mayta is not permissible for a Muslim to eat even if its seller is a Muslim. Similarly, such meat is impure (najis) and would make other things impure, if it comes into wet contact with it.
If a Muslim buys or receives meat from a non-Muslim, or from a Muslim who
got it from a non-Muslim and did not inquire about its slaughtering according
to Islamic laws, such meat is haram for him. But if the Muslim does not
know that the animal was not slaughtered according to Islamic laws, it would
not be considered najis, although it is still
Some experts say that by letting out the blood by way of slaughtering,
the meat of the animal becomes healthier for the consumer than an animal that
was not slaughtered. And so you should not be surprised to see some
non-Muslims buying the meat that had been slaughtered according to Islamic
laws from halal meat stores.
In order for fish to become permissible for a Muslim, it must have
the following conditions:
(a) The fish must have
scales on it. [That is, it should not be a skin fish.]
(b)The Muslim should be certain or satisfied that the fish has come out of the water alive or that it died while it was already in the fishing net.
not necessary for the fisherman to be a Muslim or to utter the name of Allah
for the fish to become halal. So, if a non-Muslim catches a fish and
brings it alive from the water or it dies after getting caught in his fishing
net or fishing line, and it has scales on it, it is permissible to eat.
A Muslim can ascertain the first condition by examining the fish if it is being displayed or by observing its name [which can tell you whether it is a skin fish or a scale fish] as long as you can trust the authenticity of the label. A list of scale fish has been appended at the end of this book.
The second condition is fulfilled in almost all the countries, as they say, because the universal method in fishing ensures that the fish comes out of the water alive or they die after they are caught in the fishing net. Based on this, it is permissible to eat the fish that one gets from a non-Muslim just as one gets from a Muslim, irrespective of whether it is canned or uncanned. (See the question-answer section below.)
It is permissible to eat shrimps, if they are brought out of the
water alive. It is forbidden to eat frogs, lobsters, turtles, every amphibious
animal, snails, and crayfish. (See the question-answer section
The law concerning eggs of fish follows the fish itself: the eggs
of a halal fish are permissible to eat and those of a haram one
Some experts of fisheries say that scaleless fish mostly feed upon the
waste of the sea and are in a way purifier of the filth, the squalor and the
garbage of the sea.
It is forbidden to drink wine, beer, and everything that causes
intoxication or drunkenness in solid or liquid form. Almighty Allah says in
the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Intoxicants and games of chance and
(sacrificing to) stones set up and (dividing by) arrows are only an
uncleanness, the Shatan’s work; shun it therefore that you may be
Our noble Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “One who drinks intoxicants after Allah has made them haram by my statement is not worthy of marriage [to your daughter] if he proposes to her, or of intercession when he asks for a good word, or of any credibility when he speaks, or of being entrusted with anything.” (1)
In another hadith, he says, “Allah has accursed alcohol, its growers, those who squeeze it [from the grapes], its drinkers, its servers, its buyers, its sellers, those who live on its income, its transporter, and the one to whom it is being transported.” (2) There are many more ahadith you will find in books of hadith and jurisprudence. (3)
It is haram to eat at the table on which alcohol or any
other intoxicants are being consumed. Based on obligatory precaution, it is
haram to even sit at such a table. (See the question-answer
It is permissible for a Muslim to go to places where wine is being served
with the food, provided that it does not lead to promotion of those
restaurants. However, he cannot eat from the table on which wine is being
consumed and should not, based on obligatory precaution, sit at that
table. There is no problem though, in sitting at a table near the table on
which wine is being consumed.
It has been mentioned in Chapter Three, Part One that all kinds of
alcohol whether derived from wood or other sources are pure
(tahir). Therefore, the food in whose preparation alcohol was used is
tahir; the liquids in which it has been dissolved are also
tahir. (See the question-answer section below.)
It is haram to use anything that causes serious harm to the
human being like taking poison. It is also haram for a pregnant woman
to drink something that would cause miscarriage. Similarly, anything that is
known to be harmful or supposed to be harmful or has the probability of harm
[is also haram], if that probability is considerable in the views of
sensible people and that harm is serious enough to cause death or to disable a
limb of the body.
There is certain etiquette to be observed at the dining table. Starting with the name of Allah; eating with the right hand; making small morsels; sitting longer at the table; chewing the food well; thanking Allah after the food; washing the fruits and vegetables before eating; not eating after satisfying the appetite; not over eating; not looking at the faces of others while eating; not taking away the food from others who are sitting at the table; and tasting the salt at the beginning and the end of the dinner.
1. Al-Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya'qûb, Furû'u 'l-Kafi, vol. 6, p. 396.
2. As-Sadûq, Man La Yahdhurhu 'l-Faqih, vol. 4, p. 4.
3. See Furû'u 'l-Kafi, vol. 6, p. 396.