No Time to Cook Food
Question :

I live in a place where I do not have time to cook food due to work and extreme fatigue after work hours; seafood restaurants are very far away from my office and home, and they are very expensive; halal restaurants are not easily available. In such circumstances, if I eat the meat of the People of the Book, even though I have heard that it is not permissible; would it be considered a sin?

Answer :

The mentioned circumstances provide no justification to consume prohibited food, and it is a sin to do so.

Rennet
Question :

Some of the cheese products manufactured in non-Muslim countries contain rennet extracted from the calf or other animals. We do not know whether the rennet was taken from the animal that was slaughtered according to Islamic laws; nor do we know whether it has transformed into something else. So, is it permissible to eat such cheese?

Answer :

It is allowed to use the rennet that is extracted from the animal that was not slaughtered according to Islamic laws, since it is tahir and exempted from the prohibition of using parts of the animal corpse.

Attending a Wedding
Question :

If we attend a wedding reception held by Christian friend, and they serve separate halal food, is it permissible for us to dine there and consume what they claim to be halal food, while we also know that the food was cooked by Christians who may not know the Islamic dietary laws?

Answer :

If the food does not contain meat then one can consume it if he does not know that it is najis.
If the food contains meat then it must be established that it is slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia, in addition to not knowing that the food is najis.
One can establish the lawfulness of the meat by knowing so himself, or by being informed by a Muslim who one expects to say the truth, or if the provider of the food claims that he obtained it from a Muslim as being slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia. The provider of the food can be non-Muslim who one does not expect to lie.

Tasting Food
Question :

I am working in a kitchen as a cook. I was wondering if it was permissible for me to taste food that is not permissible to consume.

Answer :

You can taste the food that is prohibited to consume provided that you do not swallow it, and you should make your mouth tahir too if the food was najis.

Wife's Milk
Question :

Is it permissible for the husband to drink his wife's milk?

Answer :

Yes, it is permissible.

Vegetarianism
Question :

I just reverted to the Shi'a Islam. I would like to know the Islamic position of vegetarianism?

Answer :

You can refuse to eat meat even if it is not recommended in some religious texts.

Doubtful Meat
Question :

One found out from a reliable source that a brand of meat claiming to be halal is in fact not. He told his mother. She asked another source who claimed otherwise. She is asking him to buy the meat for her. Is it permissible for him to buy such a meat for her?

Answer :

If the meat is taken from a Muslim or Muslims’ market, then one is permitted to sell it and buy it and do so on behalf of others. It is not permissible to buy or sell it if he came to know or two Adil witnesses testify that the said meat is not slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia. Doubting of some people is not sufficient to consider it as non-Halal meat as long as it is possible to be slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia and it is taken from a Muslim or bought from Muslims’ market.

Protein Shakes
Question :

I use a protein powder and on the back of the product it says under the sub-title: “Biological Value: Biological value relates to how much of the protein consumed is actually absorbed, retained and used by your body. Beef: 80. Chicken: 79.”
I do not really understand whether they mean that it is the equivalent of this amount of beef and chicken or whether it contains beef and chicken. It also says that it is suitable for vegetarians. Would it be permissible to consume this?

Answer :

If it is doubted whether a prohibition applies to something or not, then it is permissible to consume it. If it is confirmed later that it contained meat products that are prohibited to consume, then it will be considered as najis, and anything it touches will be considered najis as well like any utensils or the mouth or the hands of the person that handled it.
However, if it says ‘Suitable for vegetarians”, then this will indicate that there is no meat product in the product

Najis Food
Question :

If we eat food and later realize it was touched by a polytheist and is therefore najis, are we still going to have the spiritual side-effects of it, or will Almighty Allah relieve us from them as we did not intend to eat something najis?

Answer :

We cannot be certain of such an issue but it is best to ask Almighty Allah to raise such effect as He is All Merciful.

Food in Non Muslim Countries
Question :

Approximately 75 to 82 percent of the population where I live are polytheists. If we buy any food already prepared from shops or elsewhere, there is maximum probability that this food is prepared or touched by the hand of a polytheist. In these kind of countries, is it permissible to eat foods prepared by them?

Answer :

It is not permissible to eat food prepared by a polytheist if one knows that the food is najis or that the polytheist has touched it with dampness.
If one is not sure of that, then it can be consumed, unless it contains meat products. In such a case, one must make sure that the meat is slaughtered according to the Sharia, by obtaining it from a Muslim who one does not expect to give unlawful meat.

Gelatin
Question :

Is it permissible to eat food containing gelatin?

Answer :

If this substance is extracted from non-animal sources, then it is considered as tahir and permissible to consume.


If it is extracted from an animal, then there are possibilities:
If it is from a permissible to consume animal and it has been slaughtered in accordance to the Islamic faith, then the body of the animal is tahir, and the extracted gelatin is also tahir, so it is permissible to consume.
If it is from a najis animal, like a pig, then the gelatin extracted from it is najis and prohibited to consume.
If it is from a consumable animal which is not najis – such as a cow – but has not been slaughtered in accordance to the Islamic faith, or has been taken from a non-Muslim, then the body of the animal will be najis apart from the bones, hair and such parts of the body which do not have life. Gelatin extracted from such an animal will be prohibited, unless it is known that this gelatin has been extracted its bones and has not come in contact with the rest of the najis flesh of the body or any other najasah.

Gelatin
Question :

It says in the ingredients of a food product that it includes gelatin, but it doesn't specify whether it is meat-based gelatin or vegetarian gelatin. Is it permissible for me to still eat it?

Answer :

If it is known that this substance is originated from prohibited to consume source like impurity – najasah or meat of an animal not slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia then it is not permissible to consume. If such is not known, then it is permissible to consume.

Food of the People of the Book
Question :

I have read in the Holy Quran that the food of the People of the Book is Halal. I am living in a place where the majority of people (about 70 %) are Christians. Is the meat in their shops Halal? Also, sometimes it is difficult and expensive for us to buy meat from Muslim butchers. It becomes very awkward and unsocial if cannot eat our Christian acquaintances’ food with them.

Answer :

The Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) have interpreted the food that is mentioned in the verse: “The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you” to be grains and such food which do not have the requirement of religious slaughtering. Meat is not included in this verse, as it is unlawful to consume it unless some special conditions are met, and there is no doubt that those conditions are not met in the meat in western countries. The embarrassment or awkwardness that this law causes when dealing with non-Muslims is not a justified excuse to consume prohibited food, and it can be avoided by explaining the reason in a nice and a calm way.

Sitting in a Place that Serves Alcohol
Question :

If I am sitting in a place in a cafe and a person is sitting with me with wine or beer, should I go away from that particular place because he has an alcoholic drink?

Answer :

You should not use same dining table with a person drinking alcohol. If you and that person are dining separately – e.g. you are both using separate trays – but using the same table, or happening to be in the same place, then it is not obligatory to avoid the table.

Cheese with Walnut
Question :

Is it true that eating cheese without nuts is undesirable (makruh)?

Answer :

It is has been reported that eating cheese with walnut is recommended.