Questions & Answers 5

It is requested of you to answer the following two questions: a: In itself is gelatin considered pure (tahir)? b: If we have doubt whether or not istihala (chemical change) has occurred [in the process of manufacturing the gelatin] because of uncertainty about the concept and the extent of applying the rule of istihala, do we extend the previous knowledge (istishab) that gelatin is still impure? Question:
a: As for the gelatin derived from animal source, if the impurity of the origin is not established (for example, if there is a probability that the animal was slaughtered according to Islamic laws), it will be considered pure; however, it should not be added to the food, except in such amounts that it would be completely absorbed. [That is, it is pure (tahir) but should be used in food items in very minute quantities only.] This [latter caution] is for a case where it is neither established that the animal was slaughtered according to Islamic rules, nor had istihala taken place. [If any of these two issues were established, then there would be no restriction in using gelatin in food items.] The above ruling does not differ whether the gelatin was derived from parts of the animal that has feeling (like cartilage, gristle) or has no feeling (like bones). This ruling about parts with no feeling is based on obligatory precaution. However, if its impurity was established (for example, it is known that it comes from an essentially impure animal or from the cartilage of an animal not slaughtered according to Islamic rules, or from its bones without purifying them, in which case it would be considered mutanajjis by coming into wet contact with an impure item), then considering it pure and permissible for use in food items depends on establishing istihala. And in this matter [whether istihala took place or not], one should refer to the common perception of the people. We have explained its criterion earlier. b: [Istishab is a principle that says that in case of doubt one should extend the previous knowledge about that particular issue until proven otherwise.] The principle of istishab is neither applicable in cases of doubt concerning the concept [of the law], nor in cases of the law themselves—as has been proven in its appropriate place in the Science of ‘Usûl. However, since the issue of impurity (najasat) is related to the generic concept in a common man’s perspective and extension of judgement about najasat depends, in the eyes of sensible people, on continued existence of its elements — this makes the doubt about occurrence of istihala (whether its application is limited or broad) into a doubt about continued existence of impure elements [in the gelatin]. And this is a matter of application of the law. There is therefore no problem in applying the principle of istishab in this case. Allah knows the best. Answer:
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? Question:
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. Answer:
Is it permissible to use, in our foods, oils derived from fish that are forbidden to us? What about using such oils for other matters? Question:
It is not permissible to eat such oils but their other usage is permissible. Allah knows the best. Answer:
Is it permissible for a Muslim to attend a gathering where intoxicant drinks are being served? Question:
Eating and drinking in those gatherings is forbidden. However, the prohibition in attending such gatherings is based on compulsory 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. Answer:
Is it permissible to eat lobster, crayfish, and snails? Question:
Is it not permissible to eat from marine animals anything except fish that has scale; shrimp is considered from that category [of permissible sea animals]. But other than fish, like lobster, and similarly the fish that does not have scale is forbidden. Allah knows the best. Answer:
We Muslims in Europe buy shoes, belts and other clothing items made of leather which may come from animals killed in non-Islamic way. At times such items are imported from Muslim countries or obtained from Muslim abattoirs here (since there are a few Muslim abattoirs in the U.K. for example). Can we consider such leather to be pure (tahir) in the probability that it might have been imported from Muslim countries or obtained from abattoirs adopting Islamic way of slaughtering, even if such a probability is very weak? Question:
If the probability is so weak that the opposite is more likely (for example, 2%), it should not even be considered. Otherwise [if the probability is high], there is no problem in considering it to be pure (tahir). Allah knows the best. Answer:
Jurists have decreed that it is forbidden [for men] to wear pure and natural silk. Is it permissible for a man to wear silk that is mixed with other material if that clothing item is a necktie [or the normal tie]? And is it forbidden for man to wear the necktie, if it is made of natural and pure silk? Question:
It is not forbidden to wear a tie, even if it is from pure silk because it is not [big enough material] to cover the private parts that must be covered [in prayer]. As for the item that is mixed with other material to the extent that it cannot be described as “pure silk,” it is permissible to wear, even if it [is big enough so that it] can cover the private parts that must be covered [in prayer]. Answer:
Even though some manufacturers write on their products that they have been made of natural silk, we doubt such a claim because of the goods very low price. Is it permissible for us to wear such an item and say salat in it? Question:
With doubt [whether the silk is pure], it is permissible to wear and say salat in it. Answer:
Is it permissible to wear clothes that have pictures of intoxicanting drinks as a promotion for drinking them? Is it permissible to sell such items? Question:
It is forbidden to wear and sell them. Answer:
Is it permissible for a man to wear a watch that contains parts made from gold or a watch whose strap is made of gold? Is it permissible to say salat with it? Question:
It is permissible to wear the first item and pray in it but not the second. Answer:
If a Muslim tries to get from the bank’s cash dispensing machine some of his own money and more money than what he had asked for is dispensed, is he allowed to take the extra money without the bank knowing about it? Question:
It is not allowed. Answer:
A Muslim buys a commodity from a foreign company in a non-Muslim country; the seller by mistake gives more than what was ordered. Is the Muslim customer allowed to take the extra? Is he obliged to inform the seller about the mistake? Question:
It is not lawful for him to take the excess amount; if he did so, it is obligatory for him to return it. Answer:
A Muslim employee of a non-Muslim company is in a position to misappropriate company’s products. Is he allowed to do this? Question:
It is not permissible. Answer:
Is it permissible to tamper with electric or water or gas meters, in non-Muslim countries? Question:
This also is not permissible. Answer:
A Muslim in the West claims that he used to drive in his country for many years and supports his claim with a document from a given source so that he gets a preferable rate for his insurance premium. Is he allowed to change the fact in his statement, even if it is by tawriya (equivocation)? Is it permissible to help him for this purpose? Question:
Lying for the above mentioned purpose is not permissible, nor is it allowed to claim money in this way; and duplicity in this is helping in committing a sin. Answer:
Is it permissible to cheat insurance companies in non-Muslim countries when one is confident that it would not tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims? Question:
It is not permissible. Answer:
A Muslim deliberately tourches his insured house so that he may receive compensation from the non-Muslim insurance company. Is he allowed to do this? And is it permissible for him to receive the compensation? Question:
It is not permissible for him to destroy and waste the property, nor is it allowed for him to give false information to the insurance company for the purpose mentioned above. The money received [in this process] is not lawful. Answer:
Is it permissible to cheat [in the exams] at public schools in Europe? Is it permissible to cheat [in the exams] at the private Islamic and non-Islamic schools? Question:
Cheating is not allowed in any of these [schools]. Answer:
In some means of transportation, there are signs that say, “No Smoking”. Is it permissible to ignore those signs and smoke? Question:
If that sign is like an additional condition for riding in that vehicle, or an official by-law of the government, and the passenger has given commitment to abide by the official laws, it is necessary for him to act according to that condition and his undertaking. Answer:
Is it necessary for the person who has got a visa to enter a non-Muslim country to abide by the laws of that country in all fields, like traffic laws, laws regarding work and employment, etc.? Question:
If he has given an undertaking—even if indirectly [as is implied in the immigration documents]— to abide by the laws of that country, it is necessary for him to fulfill his commitment in issues that are not contrary to the sacred laws [of Islam]. As for example, it is necessary to obey traffic regulations regardless [of the fact whether you have given a commitment or not], if not obeying those rules could eventually lead to harming people’s lives and properties which are sacrosanct [in Islamic laws]. Answer: