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Gelatin

Is Gelatin made with pork ingredients halal (permissible)?
According to Quran and Sunnah

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The following article claims that Gelatin derived from pork ingredients is halal due to a protein chemical change. The evidence in this article is flawed, as we will discuss immediately following it.

Subject: [SalafiEducation] Re: Pork in Frito Lay-Chips and the 'asl of istihala

As Salaam `Alaykum wa RahmatAllaah,

Concerning the issue of the pork in the frito-lays brand chips, more research needs to be done as to whether it is changed from one form or state to another. There is a fiqh principle known as istihala which states, "Ruling upon an object is upon what it is named (what it is), if the name (what it is) changes then so does the ruling."

This was principle was discussed in detail in a lecture by Shaykh Muhammad Bazmool (hafidahullah) , Professor at Umm ul Qura Makkah, based on a fatwa given by Shaykh Al-Albaanee (rahimahullah) on gelatin. The principle is also discussed by Ibn Hazm (rahimahullah) , the exponent of the Literalist school, in his manual Al Muhalla. As the Shaykh so perfectly described it in his lecture, "We must be careful when we call things haraam because it is a form of thulm (oppression) . Scholars have said that it is   worse that you make something halaal to haraam rather than making something haraam to halaal. This deen of Allaah has been made yusr (easy) let us not make it 'usr (hard)."

I am not a scholar, nor do I like potato chips (frito-lays or any other) but we should get a fatwa from the `ulema on this before we make our own fatwa, because the enzymes used in these frito-lays come from pork, but they could have changed over in the chemical process to something entirely different, and so the ruling would now be different. Wallahu Ta'ala 'Alim.

The following is the transcription of the lecture given by Shaykh Muhammad Bazmool (hafidhahullah) :

The Fiqh Principle of Istihala – Changing from impure to pure

(Taken entirely from a dars given by Sh. Muhammad Bazmool, Professor at Umm ul Qura Makkah translated by Moosa Richardson and a fatwa given by Shaykh al-Albaani)

Istihala is when something becomes pure. It was najis (impure) but it is now taahir (pure). A good example would be maitah (animal carcass): it is najis, but should it be burned and become ashes, or decompose and become earth, then it is taahir, it is no longer najis. This can happen with dung or feces or whatever. Whenever something changes from one property to another, then the ruling likewise changes.

Example: Let us say that someone uses the fat of a dead animal to make soap. That fat is najis, but the chemical change that it was put through makes it taahir.

Ibn Hazm put it concisely when he said, "Ruling upon an object is upon what it is named (what it is), if the name (what it is) changes then so does the ruling."

He also mentioned in his book of fiqh, Al-Muhalla: "If the quality of the substance of naturally impure objects changes the name which was given to it so that it is no more applicable to it and it is given a new name which is given to a pure object, so it is no more an impure thing. It becomes a new object, with a new rule."

Meaning that if the natural composition of a substance changes to another substance of a different composition, so much so that you can no longer call the new substance by the name of what it was-- ruling upon that substance changes too.

Proof/Example 1:

The companions (radyallahu anhum) used to eat a cheese that came from the land of the disbelievers. In that cheese was a part of the calf which was slaughtered by the disbelievers in a way that is not in accordance with Islaam. The companions knew this, but they also knew that the prohibition was upon the calf, what is directly from the calf, and what could be properly called part of the calf; the ruling is not upon that which you cannot identify as part of the calf nor is it called any longer such-and-such part of the calf. This is called istihala.

Proof/Example 2:

Another proof from the Sunnah: The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) forbade making vinegar out of wine, but he said that if you should come across vinegar that has been made from wine then it is halaal.

Why?

The ruling is upon what the object is, and not what it was. Wine is haraam; vinegar is not, and before the wine became an intoxicant, it was halaal. Why? Because it was fruit before that.

Proof/Example 3:

Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle we give you to drink of what is in their bellies from between the feces and blood, pure milk, wholesome to those who drink it." (16:66)

Allah is putting forth an example for us of how something pure can come from something impure.

And we can also use as proof something that we've already gone over.

The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said that when the hide of maitah (the carrion) is tanned, then it is taahir. He (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) gave us a method to purify something which was first impure.

Let us examine things we are familiar with: mono and diglycerides, whey, gluten, emulsifiers, gelatin, and whatever else is on the international haraam list. These by-products sometimes come from animals, pigs even, in which case the ruling on the initial substances is that they are haraam. But the initial substances (e.g. fat, marrow, cartilage, etc.) are put through chemical change so that you no longer can even call it "pig fat" or "animal bone" or "skin" or "cartilage", etc. because it is no longer that, hence it is taahir, it is halaal.

What is gelatin? As Oxford dictionary of science defines: "A colorless or pale yellow, water-soluble protein obtained by boiling collagen with water and evaporating the solution. It melts when water is added and dissolves in hot water to form a solution that sets to a gel on cooling." (page 290)

Is this a chemical change or is this not a chemical change? Is it protein any longer? No, it is not.

You are in disbelief so you ask, "But how can it be halaal when it came from something haraam?"

Because of the proofs mentioned above, the ruling is not based upon what it was, the ruling is based upon what it is. A Hanafi scholar, Ibn Abedin gave the example: "the swine which drowns in a salt lake and decomposes and becomes salt itself, is now halaal."

And other Hanafi scholars go on to say: "salt is different from meat and bones. If they become salt, they are salt."

To take the salt example further: salt consists of sodium chloride (NaCl) when together they are the halaal food known as salt, when separated they make up two poisonous substances which are then haraam for consumption.

The ahnaaf (Hanafis) also use as an example the human semen, saying that it is najis, then when it inseminates the egg and becomes a blood clot it is still najis, but when it becomes flesh it is no longer najis. And the ahnaaf are not the only ones who take this position.

The examples are numerous and they extend beyond food: Yesterday a man was kaafir and going towards Hell, today he is Muslim, so what is the ruling upon him? It is based upon what he is today.

We must be careful when we call things haraam because it is a form of thulm (oppression) . Scholars have said that it is worse that you make something halaal to haraam rather than making something haraam to halaal. This deen Allah has made yusr (easy) let us not make it 'usr (hard). Wallahu 'Alim.

End of Dars



Regarding the article in which it discusses
proofs for why gelatin is believed to be permissible

These two things are not similar: decomposing things that change into something later ... and putting pork into a big pot with other ingredients, stirring it all up, and then baking it in an oven. How can it be halal to knowingly eat any food in which one of the ingredients is pig or pig oil? It doesn't go through a naturally occuring transformation like salt just because it's been cooked. Sure, it may change from thin to thick, etc. But the name of something isn't what matters. WHAT is in it, is what matters.

Intoxicants are haram. If it's no longer capable of causing intoxication, then it's not haram. Intoxication is an effect of the food. Comparing this to pork is like comparing apples and oranges. They don't compare. Pork is haram to ingest, period.

A REFRESHER ON THE HARM OF PORK INGREDIENTS

* Pork Tapeworm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taenia_solium

  • "In Muslim countries, it is found only very rarely, due to religious dietary restrictions."

* Pork tapeworm infection: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=18494

  • The signs and symptoms of the disease depend on the location and number of cysticerci in the body.

    • Cysticerci in the muscles: Cysticerci in the muscles generally do not cause symptoms. However, you may be able to feel lumps under your skin.

    • Cysticerci in the eyes: Although rare, cysticerci may float in the eye and cause blurry or disturbed vision. Infection in the eyes may cause swelling or detachment of the retina.

    • Cysticerci in the brain or spinal cord (neurocysticercosis): Symptoms of neurocysticercosis depend upon where and how many cysticerci (often called lesions) are found in the brain. Seizures, and headaches are the most common symptoms. However, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, difficulty with balance, swelling of the brain (called hydrocephalus) may also occur. Death can occur suddenly with heavy infections.

Yes, it is inconvenient to have to rule out several more store bought foods. But since when was anything good or worthwhile in life easy?

It is related in al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet, sallallahu aleihi wa sallam, said: "The value of [one's] deeds is determined by [one's] intentions; and thus for each shall be according to his intentions."

Yes, this religion has been made easy for us. But that is no excuse to do whatever we want. That means we are to pick the easy path when faced with two or more HALAL choices.


LOOKING AT THE INGREDIENTS LABEL ON THE BOX

If a label on food from the USA says LECITHIN, this is various oils from animals including pork. If, however, the label says SOY LECITHIN, this is the oils from soy and okay. Look on your labels. If it a box from the usa and it says GELATIN or LECITHIN, do not eat it. Well, unless you don't care about those pig tapeworm and other garbage from the pig possibly entering your body. Or maybe you think Allah will just "understand" that it's okay because of the inconvenience of having a diet different from the majority. In Muslim countries, they usually do not use the pork oils when creating gelatin and so they are usually ok to eat. You don't have to use pork oil to create gelatin.

Ideally, one would contact the food manufacturers to determine the ingredients for all the processed food we tend to eat. Or, baring time constraints, one would rely on the Muslim organizations that have already done the research for us.

Creating food called "gelatin", which isn't the same as something becoming salt over a long natural process, is simply a cooking process.

Why would we want even a drop of pork or the oils from pork ..... in our food? It's not like we're starving or there is no alternative.


CHEMICAL CHANGE?

Using words like enzymes and proteins just seems to complicate a very simple matter.

The motion of cooking something doesn't make it halal. If that were the case, cook pig meat all by itself until the proteins and enzyme content has changed (which is what happens when you cook food) and then eat it. Even though the pig meat has gone through a chemical change, it is NOT halal.

If you cook a slab of pig meat, it also goes through a chemical protein change, but it is NOT halal to eat. The fact that something results in a chemical protein change IS IRRELEVANT.

Here is some proof that SIMPLY COOKING FOOD can cause a chemical change:

From "Cooking Eggs, Chicken and Pork"
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1005183


Eggs, chicken and pork all benefit from not being overcooked. Overcooked scrambled eggs will be watery. Why? Well, when the eggs first set, they've reached a temperature of about 145°F. They are ready to eat at this point. If the temperature of the eggs rises further, to about 165°F, the protein in the eggs undergoes a second chemical change which results in a tighter protein matrix. This squeezes water out of the eggs, resulting in tough watery eggs.

A similar process occurs in pork. When pork is just done, it's at about 145°F as well. It is as tender as it will ever be. If the temperature of the pork is allowed to rise over about 170°F, water will be squeezed out of the pork, and the pork will toughen. Unlike the ruined eggs, however, the pork can be brought back to salvation. Heating to 185°F for an extended period of time results in a third chemical change in the pork. This change affects the interconnectedness of the individual strands of muscle constituting the pork. The pork will break into pieces after heating this hot over a long period of time. This is the fundamental goodness of Carolina Bar-B-Que.

Chicken breast behaves much like pork in that it possesses a similar set of three chemical changes that occur as it's cooked, at similar temperatures. Another aspect of cooking to the second degree of tender is that a smaller piece of meat is produced. Some pork will shrink by as much as 50% during good pulled pork cooking.


APPLYING THE RULING CORRECTLY

>From the article in question, it says, "The ruling is upon what the object is, and not what it was."

Yes, that is correct. It is food with pig as one of the ingredients when cooking. It is therefore not halal.


CONCLUSION

While someone may want to chide others for "making halal into haram," it should be noted that there are other valid differences of opinion in which one of the opinions is that something is halal and the other opinion is that something is haram. So, just picking the side of "halal" doesn't always make a person to be on the right side of an issue. One could equally argue that making something haram into halal is a form of oppression, as it physically can harm the body and can anger Allah if done. However, we would get nowhere.

We simply have to just discuss the point, which is whether or not cooking food (resulting in a chemical change) makes something haram into halal. If that were true, then we could just cook pure pork meat and because it goes through a chemical change, we would then believe it is ok to eat.

Please don't over-complicate a very simple directive. It's really quite simple: don't ever eat a food that you believe contains or may contain pork.

Allah is our Protector.


Foods produced in the West, such as gelatin

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


Question:

For a great time now my community and I have been concerned with the issue of foods such as Gelatin, mono and dyglycerides, pepsin and rennetAll these thing are in our foods today and yet we do not know what we can eat and the reason for each. PLease give me a very detailed response that could end this trouble.

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

Allaah has blessed His slaves by creating for them all kinds of provision on earth, and He has permitted them to eat from that which is halaal (permissible) and good; this includes very many things, it is not limited. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” [al-Baqarah 2:168]

Allaah forbids a limited number of foods, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): “I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maitah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering).” [al-An’aam 6:145]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the eating of every carnivorous animal that has fangs, and every bird which has talons. (Narrated by Muslim, 6/60)

And he forbade the flesh of (domestic) donkeys (narrated by al-Mukhari in al-Fath, no. 4215).

Of the foods which are to be found nowadays, some of them are clearly haraam, such as dead meat [from an animal which has died naturally as opposed to being slaughtered properly] and pork. Some foods may contain ingredients and derivatives which come from haraam sources, so we have to find out where they come from so that we may know what the ruling is concerning them. The gelatin which was mentioned in the question may originate from the skin, muscles and bones of haraam animals such as pigs. Hence gelatin which is derived from collagen which comes from pigs is haraam, because it is as if the pig had been turned into salt. The most correct view is that it is haraam even if it has been changed, so long as it originally came from a pig, which is haraam.

The fats which are used in foods come either from vegetable sources or animal sources.

If they come from vegetable sources they are halaal, so long as they have not been mixed with anything that is impure (najjis) or anything that could contaminate them. If they come from animal sources, they are either from animals that we are permitted to eat or animals that we are not permitted to eat.

If they come from an animal that we are permitted to eat, then they come under the same ruling as the meat of that animal.

If they come from an animal which it is haraam for us to eat – such as pigs – then we look at whether they are used in foods or for other purposes.

If they are used for non-food purposes, e.g. many fats are used in making soap, then there is a difference of scholarly opinion, but the most correct view is that they are haraam.

If they are used in foods, e.g., pig fat (lard) is used in making sweets and other foods, this is haraam.

With regard to cheese: if it is made from the milk of an animal which we are not permitted to eat, then according to scholarly consensus it is not permissible to eat it. If it is made from the milk of an animal which we are permitted to eat, and it is known that it is made with rennet that has been derived from an animal slaughtered according to sharee’ah and it has not been mixed with any najaasah (impurity), then it may be eaten.

If it was made with rennet derived from dead meat, there is a difference of scholarly opinion as to whether we may eat it, but the most correct view is that it is haraam.

If it was made with rennet from a source which is inherently naajis (impure), such as rennet derived from pigs, then it should not be eaten.

See Ahkaam al-At’imah fi’l-Sharee’ah al-Islamiyyah by al-Tareeqi, p. 482

In many cases these matters are unclear to the Muslim (he does not know the source of food ingredients). In this case, it is better to fear Allaah and be cautious. Avoiding doubtful things may be preferable to using them in these circumstances, as stated in the hadeeth narrated by al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say – and al-Nu’maan pointed to his ears – “That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain, and between the two of them there are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allaah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it is sound, all the body is sound and which, if it is corrupt, all of it will be corrupt. Truly it is the heart.”

(Narrated by Muslim, 1599).

From the above we learn that the basic principle concerning food is that it is halaal, apart from those things for which there is clear evidence (daleel) that they are haraam, such as dead meat, blood, animals sacrificed to other than Allaah and meat over which the name of Allaah was not pronounced at the time of slaughter. Concerning the foods mentioned in the question: if it is proven that they contain ingredients derived from haraam sources, it is necessary to avoid them, otherwise they need not be avoided. If you are not sure whether they contain anything haraam or not – without being paranoid or succumbing to the waswaas (insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan) – then it is preferable to avoid them as a precaution out of fear of Allaah.

And Allaah knows best.

Action Items for the Muttaqun:

  • Don't ever eat a food that you believe contains or may contain pork.

Remember... Allah, subhana watala, sees everything we do!


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