Regarding Eatables

Question

I appreciate your answers very much. Presently I have some practical questions and need their answers. We live in UK and here all the eatables contain some gelatine (wheat /pork/beef/meat) in them. Examples of such food include ice-cream, biscuits, medicine etc. My questions in this regard follow:

1) If we don't know whether the ice-cream has gelatin or not what should we do? Sometimes the management also does not know about them.

2) My wife bought medicine for lactation for my two months old son. We came to know that the shell of cod liver oil tablets contains gelatin in the ingredient. What should we do now? Origin of Gelatin is not mentioned.

3) What about Mcdonald's fish Burger? Can we eat that or not?


Answer

There are overall two ways of looking at the issue of gelatin:

One is to consider it to be originally from what that was included in the directives of the Qur'an about Zabiha and about sine. If we accept this view then we need to look at different conditions where gelatin might be from swine or from a non-Zabiha animal.

The other way is to consider the fact that gelatin, being from swine or non-Zabiha animal, is not really part of the flesh of the animal and therefore does not even belong to the category of things that are referred to in the Qur'an when instructing about Zabiha and swine. According to this view, all the religious instructions of the Qur'an when it comes to swine and Zabiha are about flesh of the animal and not other parts of the animal. According to this view gelatin cannot be termed as Haram because it is not coming from the flesh of animal and therefore it is not even relevant whether it is coming from swine or non-Zabiha halal animal.

I am at present more inclined towards the latter view as I do not believe that we need to or should extend the limits of Haram things out of our own Ijtihaad. Of course one, out of his own preference might decide not to take gelatin that he knows for sure is coming from swine. This however will be his personal preference based on his religious observation and cannot be seen as a religious obligation.

As for eating fish in McDonald's, if the oil that is used is vegetable oil or (in case of animal fat) it is not from the fat of an animal that is Haram or is slaughtered without observing Zabiha rules, then in principle there shouldn't be any problems in eating fish from McDonald's. (Please note that animal fat is normally considered as part of the fresh of animal and therefore regulations with regard to Halal and Haram and Zabiha applies to it.)

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