Research on Edibles and other Items
The Dietary Shari‘ah
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

uestion: The Government of the United Arab Emirates has published a paper by Prof Ahmad Saqr of Beirut in which a list of different items has been given in the manufacturing of which some pig part or other is used. Some of the listed items are: Prince Chocolate, Kraft Cheese, Pepsi Cola. Similarly, pig fat is also used in manufacturing Lux Soap and Brylcream and Colgate toothpaste. So should we avoid using these items and edibles?


The items that have been referred to in this report are all widely used throughout the globe in Muslim countries. In other words there is a very large Muslim clientele as far as these products are concerned. Their manufacturers very well know that Muslims would not go near drinks and edibles about which there is even the slightest possibility that they are manufactured from ‘pig parts’.

So I think that before burdening the common Muslim with its effects, the UAE government should send this research to the manufacturers of these products and give a patient hearing to their response. If they are not satisfied with their answer, they can even take the matter to the judicial forums of the country in which the manufacturers are located. I assure you that if the products really contain prohibited stuff, one such case would be enough to settle this matter.

It is only after passing through this process that this research can assume the significance of being considered seriously. It is only then that Muslims should be asked to refrain from these items.

The UAE government should also keep in mind that without undertaking this process they are causing chaos and spreading confusion among the ranks of the Muslims. Secondly, if this research is by any means proven to be incorrect, then they would be guilty of dis-information and bringing the name of certain people into disrepute. This we all know is a great sin. Not only does this entail the wrath of the Almighty but it may also lead them to pay millions in damages.

Another thing that must be kept in consideration is the fact that the prohibition of items containing pig material pertains specifically to edibles and drinks. Things which do not come under these categories like, soap, shampoos and perfumes are not required to be abstained from even if they contain the prohibited material. We know that the meat of a dead animal is prohibited. Once the Prophet (sws) saw a dead goat rotting at a place. He expressed his wonder and remarked that eating such an animal is definitely prohibited, but using it for some other purpose like tanning its hide for use is perfectly allowed:

A goat was given in charity to Maymūnah’s maid. The goat died. [It so happened that] the Prophet (sws) passed by. [Seeing the dead goat], he said: Would that you had taken its hide, tanned it and then made use of it. People said: It is a dead animal. At this the Prophet declared: Only eating it is forbidden. (Muslim, Kitābu’l-Hayd)

The Prophet’ wife Sawdah reports:

One of our goats died. We tanned its hide. Then we used it for storing nabīdh1 in it until it became a [hard] drinking vessel. (Bukhārī, Kitābu’l-Imān)


1. An Arabian drink

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