Praying and Eating with Buddhist Parents
The Dietary Shari‘ah
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

My question has to do with praying in the homes of non-Muslims. I am a revert to Islam, and my father’s side of the family are traditionally Buddhists. They have statues of Buddha surrounded by all kinds of offerings (foods and flowers) and pictures of my grandparents and probably other dead relatives in one specific room where they do their worshipping. I was wondering if I am allowed to pray in their home when prayer time arrives or if I have to leave their house in order to pray. Another question pertains to eating the food they have cooked. I know that a part of the food cooked is usually ‘offered’ to the Buddha statues. I was wondering if I am actually allowed to eat their food at all considering the fact that they often offer some of it to the Buddha statue.


Praying between or among statues or images does not nullify the prayer – though it may affect your concentration. But then as you have mentioned that all the statues and images are in a specific room. So you can easily pray in a different room.

As far as eating with your parents is concerned, if the food is specifically cooked with the intention that it would be presented to the Buddha statues, then such food should be abstained from. Islam forbids a Muslim to eat food that is offered to some deity since this is an idolatrous practice. You can eat food (except meat) cooked by them which is not made with this intention. As far as eating meat of animals slaughtered by them is concerned, this should be abstained from. The reason is that Islam wants people to eat the meat slaughtered by people who basically subscribe to monotheism. Buddhists cannot be regarded so.


For Questions on Islam, please use our