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Should You Ask about Halal Ingredients of Everything?

17 September, 2022
Q I live in a non-Muslim country. Everything has animal ingredients in it. For example plastics, leather, medicine, lotions, creams, shampoos, detergents, brushes, paints, food containers, and lots more. I feel like I need to inquire about every single thing, but that is not even possible, and even if it’s possible, these things are almost impossible to avoid. Even if I become extra cautious myself, I can’t expect that from everyone around me. Because of these things, I have waswasa that everything is filthy and worry that everything has animal fats (which is quite true), and this is causing me immense hardship. Can you give rukhsa due to hardship living in non-Muslim land? Can I assume tabdeel al-mahiya for everything where the fat was used to make something else? I can’t inquire about everything, and even if I do, it is too difficult to avoid such things.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

There is no need to worry about this issue. As per the rules of jurisprudence, we have relaxation in unavoidable matters. So, even if these things may contain ingredients that are considered haram, they are excusable. Learn more about the rules of fiqh that you can apply in such situations in the detailed answer below.


Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

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Rules of Fiqh pertaining to relaxation in unavoidable matters.

There is no need to worry about this issue. As per the rules of jurisprudence, we have relaxation in unavoidable matters. So, even if these things may contain ingredients that are considered haram, they are excusable.

There are two rules in fiqh from which the above ruling has been deduced: The first is the rule of Umum al-Balwa. According to this rule, if something is so rampant or so widely used so that it becomes virtually impossible to avoid them, then we are excused.

Another rule that can apply is the rule of Istihalahor Tabdil al-Mahiya. According to this rule, if a substance that was haram has been chemically transformed so that its original traits are changed, then it is no longer haram.

An example is the permissibility of alcohol turned into vinegar. Since the vinegar, in this case, has been wholly transformed in such a manner that the original traits of liquor have been diluted and rendered ineffective, it is unquestionably halal.

Based on the above rules of fiqh, the use of the products you have mentioned above can be considered halal.

Don’t be obsessed with the issue of halal ingredients

Finally, I would advise you against being obsessed with this issue. The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us against being rigid in religion. He said, “Woe to those who are rigid.” He repeated the words thrice. He also said, “Whoever adopts an attitude of rigidity in religion, he will be defeated by it.”

Therefore, you should ignore such issues and instead focus on far more critical matters.

Finally, never leave the habit of reading the last three surahs of the Quran; by reading and reflecting upon them, we can guard against unknown fears and insinuations of Satan.

I pray to Allah to guard us against the whisperings of Satan until we breathe our last.

Almighty Allah knows best.