Gelatine – Haraam or Halaal?

Q. Is animal gelatine halaal? The MJC and a number of other Ulama are saying that animal gelatine even from un- Islamically slaughtered animals, even pigs, is halaal because in the process of making gelatine, the Shariah’s principle of Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat (metamorphosis – a total change) takes place. They say that Pakistan gelatine is halaal. What is the fatwa?

A. Animal gelatine is haraam. As far as the MJC is concerned, never should their word be accepted. The MJC is a totally mercenary organization. It has no understanding of Shar’i principles nor has it any relationship with halaal and haraam in the Shar’i sense. Its objective in life is only to make money, and in this pursuit the MJC has fed the masses haraam meat, carrion chickens and even pork. The MJC operates a ‘lucrative’ money-making haraam ‘halaal’ certificate industry. Those who consume meat on the strength of the MJC’s certification do so at the peril of destroying their Imaan, for the MJC is a body lacking in entirety in Shar’i scruples. They claw at different Math-habs to eke out a basis for proclaiming haraam maitah ‘foods’ halaal – ‘food’ which Islamically is fit for only the shayaateen and vultures. And SANHA is hot in the heels of the MJC.

As far as the other Ulama are concerned – those who say that animal gelatine is halaal because of a metamorphosis – they are extremely short-sighted. They lack depth and they do not understand the meaning of Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat, hence the one Mufti states with ambiguity (in the article you have sent):

“However, if it undergoes a complete change of metamorphosis (Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat), the gelatine will be permissible, i.e. if metamorphosis takes place in pork gelatine or gelatine derived from an animal not slaughtered according to the Shariah, it will be halaal.”

This answer is unbecoming of a Mufti. Despite his uncertainly and ambiguity, he ventures to proclaim even pork gelatine halaal. Gelatine is an ingredient which is widely and intensively utilized in industrial food products. But the Mufti says: “if metamorphosis takes place”. From this uncertain statement it is clear that the Mufti lacks knowledge regarding gelatine. Either metamorphosis takes place in gelatine manufacture or it does not.

If the Mufti is unaware, he should not have given this ambiguous answer thereby opening up the doorway for haraam consumption. If he is 100% convinced that tabdeel-e-maahiyat takes place, then he should state so unequivocally and not sit on the fence with the word ‘if’ to enable him to jump out of the window if cornered. If he does not know how gelatine is manufactured, then he should state so with clarity and not conceal his unawareness. There is nothing wrong if a Mufti does not know. There are thousands of things about which we all are ignorant. But he must say so and not conceal his unawareness in ambiguity. It is not incumbent for a Mufti to answer every question, whether he knows or not. He utilized the word “if” to open a doorway for even pork gelatine – Walahoula!

Metamorphosis does not take place in gelatine manufacture. Our detailed article in refutation of the metamorphosis view has been published in book form. Just remember that animal gelatine is HARAAM, even the gelatine from Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan or ‘Napakistan (the Impure state) is perhaps one of the worst offenders in matters of halaal and haraam. That is not an Islamic state. The meat in that Impure state is haraam, diseased, rotten carrion. Those who visit Napakistan should never commit the mistake of consuming meat there. Although our booklet on Gelatine answers the arguments of the halaalizers of gelatine, we shall, Insha’Allah, publish a further detailed rebuttal of the arguments of the MJC.

 ADDENDUM

HIDES AND SKINS

In gelatine production, hide/skin pieces obtained from ghairmathbooh (un-Islamically killed) animals are used. Such hide pieces are acquired locally as well as imported from other countries.

Gelatine is actually the collagen – an insoluble fibrous protein – which is a fundamental constituent of the hides. The hides are not transformed into any new substance which has its own existence in nature. An extract from the skins is not the effect of Qalbul Maahiyat (total metamorphosis). The components which make up the hide are blood, fat, collagen and some other substances.

The skin of the haraam animal is impure (Najis) on account of the presence of these moist impurities. The hair, hooves and horns of haraam animals are taahir (pure), but not so the skin. The horns and hooves do not contain substances which remain impure if the animal is not slaughtered Islamically, hence these are considered pure.

On the other hand, the skin, on account of its composition of moist substances will be impure and haraam if thabah or dabaaghat is not effected. Dabaaghat or tanning is the process which expels all the moist substances from the hide. After expulsion of the impurities, the skin does not decompose.

In gelatine manufacture, the hide is not transformed into a new substance. What happens, is that the substance called collagen which is the primary constituent of the hide, is extracted, and this in fact is the gelatine. The very constituents which render the hides of non-thabeehah animals are the end product which they call gelatine. The hides of haraam animals are impure/haraam on account of the very presence of the constituent ‘gelatine’ in them. The only thing which is accomplished in the factory is the preparation of this raw ‘gelatine’ into processed and so-called ‘purified’ gelatine. This is clearly borne out by Waterval’s inspection and Fatwa which states in this regard:

“The effect of this treatment on the hide tissue structure (matrix) is that the material is further clarified, hydrolyzed and has a fairly good swelling texture with a considerable ‘plumping’. This is now sticky and jelly-like. At this point the hide pieces are referred to as ‘neutralized molecules’, a ‘collagen protein’, or a ‘gelatine protein’. This is still the original hide tissue structure. There is no difference at all in the molecular set-up of a hide, collagen protein or gelatine protein.”

It does not require the brains of a genius to understand that absolutely no metamorphosis of the type envisaged by the Shariah, and known as Qalbul Maahiyat or Tabdeelul Maahiyat occurs in gelatine-production. Nor is it necessary for an unbiased Muslim in search of the Truth to be an expert in chemistry and physics to understand that the only action which occurs in the lengthy process of gelatine-production is the extraction of the impure gelatine from the haraam and najis hides. This raw gelatine is processed and presented in what they will term ‘refined and purified’ state ready for use by people who have become immune to the consumption of maitah (carrion) and najaasat (impurity).

WHAT IS DABAAGHAT?

Some molvis and muftis have gravely erred in the opinion that during the process of gelatine-production Dabaaghat takes place. They contend that in view of dabaaghat, the impure and haraam hides are rendered taahir (Islamically pure). Gelatine is made from these ‘purified’ hides, hence it is ‘halaal’. Those who have made this preposterous claim are either ignorant of the meaning of dabaaghat, or ignorant of the process of gelatine-manufacture, or simply evil and corrupt, following in the footsteps of the corrupt scholars of the Yahood and Nasara who would fabricate corrupt and baatil fatwas for pecuniary gains.

Dabaaghat or tanning is the process of tanning or treating the skin to eliminate every vestige of moisture/impurity from the hides. After dabaaghat, the hides become leather fit for manufacturing leather products such as shoes, belts, bags, etc. A madboogh hide (tanned/treated skin) cannot be utilized for producing gelatine. Should it be assumed that even after dabaaghat by some chemical process the skin can be used for gelatine-production, then too, the irrefutable fact remains that no dabaaghat is effected to the hides in the process of gelatine-production.

This could be ascertained with clarity from the report and Fatwa of Waterval Islamic Institute. Even the manufacturers of gelatine concede that whole hides are not used in gelatine-production. Whole hides are used in the tanning industry for leather production. Dabaaghat is effected to the whole hides in the tanning industry for preparing leather. For the production of gelatine, hide trimmings and hide waste matter are used.

The very constituent, collagen which is the main protein component of the hide, is the gelatine embedded in the hide. This ‘gelatine’ is acquired from the hides which are by no stretch of even imagination, madboogh. Absolutely no dabaaghat of the hides takes place during the entire process of manufacturing gelatine, neither prior nor afterwards.

There are only two ways in which animal gelatine can be halaal.

(1) All the hides used must be from only halaal animals (goats, sheep, cattle) which have been slaughtered Islamically.

(2) If the hides are of halaal animals which were slaughtered un-Islamically, then such hides should first be subjected to proper dabaaghat. Thereafter, the madboogh (tanned/treated) hides may be subjected to further processes to extract the collagen protein for producing the end product, gelatine.

There is no third method of producing halaal gelatine.

WHAT IS QALBUL MAAHIYAT?

Qalbul Maahiyat means the changing of the natural constituents of a substance to produce another substance which has its own independent existence. A substance undergoes a total metamorphosis which completely eliminates the earlier entity/substance resulting in the production of another substance which has its own independent existence.

The simple example which the Fuqaha give of Qalbul Maahiyat is a dead animal in a saltpan. The animal decomposes and by the natural process of putrefaction is in time converted into salt, not leaving a trace of the dead animal. The resultant salt is halaal since the process of Qalbul Maahiyat has been validly effected. Qalbul Maahiyat is not a process of extraction by means of which the impurities in the dead body are leeched out, then subjected to chemical treatment to merely change the outward form of the impurities, or the transformation of impure flour and water into bread or cake, or the transformation of impure fruit pulp into jam. Giving such transformed impurities a fanciful name does not mean that Qalbul Maahiyat has occurred.

An important stipulation for valid metamorphosis is that there should be no manifestation of any sign whatsoever of the original impurity (najaasat). But the end product, gelatine has a beefy odour and a beefy taste. This is merely an additional factor. The hukm of haraam South African gelatine is not based merely on this condition of gelatine. Nevertheless, by itself, this stipulation is an adequate refutation of the Qalbul Maahiyat claim.

Furthermore, Qalbul Maahiyat is a weak and defective purifying action. There is no consensus of the Fuqaha of the various Math-habs on the validity of metamorphosis being a purifying agent. In fact there is no consensus even among the Fuqaha of the Hanafi Math-hab on this issue. The determinant in the fatwa of permissibility of certain products said to be pure by virtue of Qalbul Maahiyat, e.g. soap made from impure fat/oil, is the intensive and extensive need and involvement (Balwa) of the masses. However, in the case of gelatine, there is no Balwa. Muslims are generally abstaining from consuming the myriad of luxury edibles such as sweets, chocolates, puddings, jellies, etc., which contain gelatine. But, now these evil ‘halaal authorities’ are hell-bent on creating a ‘balwa’ for the future by addicting the Muslim masses to the consumption of haraam luxuries certified ‘halaal’ by the scraps of papers doled out for exorbitant fees.

GELATINE – A MISLEADING ARRAY OF NAMES

In the attempt to peddle the permissibility of haraam gelatine, a pamphlet issued by the NIHT vendor of haraam certificates, purveys a list of 18 dignitaries who have given the green light of ‘halaal’ to the filth known as gelatine. With this misleading array of names, the NIHT vendor seeks to impress gullible Muslims and to stampede them into acceptance of the haraam ‘halaal’ certificates which these miscreant vendors are doling out to manufacturers for exorbitant haraam fees.

In the list comprising mainly of non-entities furnished by the NIHT pamphlet, two are of concern, namely, Hadhrat Mufti Rashid Ludhyaanwi (rahmatullah alayh), and Mufti Taqi Usmaani. Both these Ulama are from Pakistan. There is a need to examine the fatwas of these two senior Ulama.

MUFTI RASHID LUDHYAANWI’S FATWA

The following question was posed to the venerable Mufti Saahib:

“Bread is eaten with jelly (i.e. in Pakistan). Some people say that it (the jelly) is not permissible because it is made from the skins and bones of animals. What is your research in this matter?”

Mufti Rashid Saahib answered:

“Firstly, there is no incumbency for manufacturing jelly (gelatine) from bones and skins. It is also made from the leaves of trees, etc. Secondly, if it is made from skins, etc. then it is not necessary that the skins are from dead (haraam) animals. The skins of halaal Thabeehah (Islamically slaughtered animals) are overwhelming. Thirdly, in the manufacture of jelly (gelatine) there is the possibility (emphasis ours) of Tabdeel-e- Maahiyat (metamorphosis). In this event, gelatine made from the skins of haraam animals is also halaal.” (Ahsanul Fataawa, Vol., 8, Page 128)

Comment

(1) The issue of ‘incumbency’ is irrelevant in our context here in South Africa. No one here questions the status of plant / vegetable gelatine. While the questioner did not specify the type of gelatine, we state categorically that our discussion and concern pertains to only animal gelatine. The doubt which Hadhrat Mufti Rashid Saahib presented thus has no relevance in the context of our discussion. Here in South Africa animal gelatine is specified. The discussion is thus restricted to this issue. Thus, the first argument of Mufti Rashid has no relevance to our situation.

(2) Mufti Rashid Saahib’s view of the skins being overwhelmingly from halaal animals slaughtered Islamically, is applicable to Pakistan where 99% of the animals are slaughtered by Muslims. The overwhelming possibility of halaal skins alluded to by him therefore has validity in Pakistan, not in South Africa where even the vendors of haraam certificates concede that the overwhelming supply of skins is haraam.

(3) In his third argument, Hadhrat Mufti Rashid bases his conclusion of ‘halaal’ on uncertainty. He speaks of the ‘possibility’ of metamorphosis. It is clear that the venerable Mufti Saahib lacked expert knowledge of gelatine manufacture, hence he was constrained to postulate ‘possibility’, and not certitude. The venerable Mufti Saahib’s conclusion of the ‘possibility of Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat’ occurring in gelatine manufacture is peculiar, untenable and unacceptable. His fatwa was not based on fact.

We therefore have to dismiss this fatwa. It has no relevance to gelatine manufacture in South Africa where this haraam substance is made from impure and haraam skins which has retained its fundamental structure along with much of its inherent impurities. Absolutely no Tabdeel-e- Maahiyat takes place. The conclusion based on a possibility is therefore baseless.

MUFTI TAQI USMAANI’S FATWA

The Bid’ati NIHT states in its pamphlet that according to Mufti Taqi Usmaani, gelatine is ‘HALAAL’. This statement is highly misleading. Mufti Taqi Saahib’s full statement on the gelatine question is as follows:

“The substance of the Fatwa is that gelatine acquired from the bones can be held as pure (Taahir) and the gelatine acquired from the hides of un-slaughtered animals can also be held as pure because chemical process fulfils the requirement of tanning (Dabaghah) but there are two points to be kept in mind. This ruling applies only to the animals other than pig. Secondly, my ruling was to the extent of purity of gelatine. So far as its oral use is concerned there is difference of opinion among the Muslim jurists. Some Fuqaha are of the view that hides of a halaal animal can be used orally after being tanned but the majority of the jurists are of the view that it is not allowed for oral use. The latter view has been preferred by most of the Hanafi jurists. However, some of the Hanafi jurists and a large number of Shaafi jurists have preferred the permissibility of oral use of the hides of Halal animals after dabaghah. Consequently, the use of gelatine taken from halal animals, like cow, should be avoided as far as possible acting on the opinion of the majority of the jurists. However, since Imam Shaafie in his latter view has opined it to be Halal and a large number of the Shaafie jurists as well as some Hanafi jurists take it as such, the view of these Fuqaha can be acted upon in the cases of genuine needs.” (This is a verbatim reproduction of the English fatwa of Mufti Taqi Sahib).

Concluding his Urdu fatwa on gelatine, Mufti Taqi says:

“……In the preparation of gelatine, does Inqilaab-e-Maahiyat (total metamorphosis) occur or not? On this question, I am still in doubt.”

Comment

This is a far cry from the emphatic attribution of ‘halaal’ to Mufti Taqi Saahib. He has stated his uncertainty on this issue with clarity. The salient facts in his fatwa are:

He has no certitude on the issue of Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat in gelatine manufacture. If dabaaghah (tanning) does take place, it will render the resultant gelatine taahir for external use, but consumption should be avoided in view of the majority view of prohibition. There is scope for consuming gelatine (if it is pure) only “in cases of genuine need”.

The claim of ‘halaal’ which has been unconditionally attributed to Mufti Taqi by the Bid’ati NIHT is palpably dishonest and misleading. Assuming that dabaaghat does occur (but in reality it does not), then too, according to Mufti Taqi, there is scope for consuming only in “cases of genuine needs”. The myriad of products which the haraam certificate purveyors and marauders of morality and Imaan contemplate certifying are never “cases of genuine need”.

MINORITY

Furthermore, the view of the minority should not at all have been cited by Mufti Taqi. In this era of liberalism and admut taqleed (abandonment of Taleed) it has become fashionable to set aside the fourteen century rulings of the Shariah for invalid reasons – for nafsaani motives to satisfy nothing but carnal emotions such as the inordinate desire to consume haraam luxury food items, e.g. ice creams, sweets, chocolates and the numerous other kinds of absolutely non-essential foodstuff which in fact are injurious to the health on account of the permeation of chemical poisons – preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, colourants, flavourings, and host of haraam ingredients camouflaged with E-numbers.

To soothe the conscience, views of the minority are cited in justification and to reject the rulings of the Jamhoor Fuqaha (the overwhelming majority of the Fuqaha). The view of the minority may be availed of only in situations of dire need, not for gratifying the nafs with non-essentials which are even injurious for the health of the body.

It was highly improper for Mufti Taqi to acquit himself in his fatwa so ambiguously by the presentation of the discarded view of the minority in the endeavour to water down the significance and importance of adherence to the ruling of the Jamhoor. Even according to the Shaafi Math-hab, the Jamhoor refutes the minority view. Imaam Nawawi states:

“The most authentic of the two versions according to the Jamhoor is the Qadeem (i.e. the original view of Imaam Shaafi), and that view is Tahreem (i.e. it is haraam). And, this mas’alah is among those (masaa-il), the fatwa of which is given on the Qadeem.” (Al-Majmoo’ Sharhul Muhzzab)

Anyhow, this permissibility according to the minority applies only if the skin is halaal and taahir. In the case of the skins from which gelatine is made, they are neither halaal nor taahir since the alleged dabaaghat does not take place.

TABDEEL

It is clear that Mufti Taqi Saahib is also unaware of the factual position regarding gelatine production. He wavers on the issue of Tabdeel-e-Maahiyat claimed for gelatine. Mufti Taqi has based his view of the purity (tahaarat) of gelatine on the erroneous understanding that the process of dabaaghat (tanning) occurs prior to the obtainment of the end product, viz., gelatine. This is a misunderstanding and an error based on either insufficient or incorrect information furnished to Mufti Taqi.

Dabaaghat (tanning) is a purifying act (mutahhir) because it expels every vestige of impurity and moisture in the skin. Partial extraction of impurities and moisture is not dabaaghat according to the Shariah. Stating the definition of dabaaghat, Mufti Taqi Saahib cites Allaamah Kaasaani (rahmatullah alayh) as follows:

“Verily, the impurities of carrion such as the moistures and flowing blood are eliminated by means of dabaaghat. It (the skin) is thus purified just as impure garments are purified when washed with water.”

If all the impurities and the moist substances of the skin are not eliminated, dabaaghat does not take place, and the skin remains impure and haraam for use of any kind, even external use. There is consensus of all Math-habs on this issue. If dabaaghat is to be truly effected to the hides and skins, these would become totally unfit for producing gelatine. Gelatine cannot be made from skins with which shoes, belts and other leather products could be manufactured. On the contrary, leather products cannot be manufactured from gelatine or from such skins which retain moisture, tissue, and which have been converted into a slimy sludge from which comes forth the gelatine. When dabaaghat has been effected, the skin is ready for manufacturing leather products. But gelatine cannot be made from such dried out skins from which every vestige of moisture and impurity has been expelled.

Gelatine is made from impure pieces of haraam skins to which dabaaghat is not applied. It is a misconception to assume that the raw material for gelatine is obtained from skins after dabaaghat. Mufti Taqi Saahib has wrongly inferred that gelatine is produced from the skins after the process of dabaaghat. No dabaaghat whatsoever takes place in the process of gelatine-manufacture. After reading this booklet, every honest and unbiased person will conclude that gelatine is haraam filth.

CONCLUSION

It should now be quite clear and conspicuous that:

• In gelatine-production there is no occurrence of Qalbul Maahiyat (metamorphosis).

• Gelatine is not made from madboogh (treated/tanned) hides and skins.

• Gelatine is in reality the primary extract obtained from the impure and haraam hides.

• Gelatine is thus najis (impure) and haraam.

• All edible products containing gelatine are haraam.

 

Q. Some Ulama are of the view that animal gelatine is halaal even if the raw material is from animals slaughtered un- Islamically or even from pigs. They claim that the gelatine is the end product of a process in which total change takes place. Is this correct?

A. Tabdeelul Maahiyat means metamorphosis or a complete change of one substance into another substance which has its own independent existence with its own distinct properties. The popular example given in our kitaabs is that of a dead animal in a saltpan. Putrefaction in time totally transforms the animal into salt. Not a vestige of the animal remains. It is only salt and nothing but salt. This salt is halaal. Tabdeelul Maahiyat has occurred.

Another example is liquor changing into vinegar. These are two entirely different, independent substances. The resultant liquor which is formed from vinegar is not a hybrid substance such as bread for example. In bread-baking there is also a change. In fact a total change from the flour and the other raw ingredients into bread which is not the flour, etc. But the Shariah does not regard metamorphosis as having taken place in bread-baking. Hence if the flour is najis, (impure) or some urine is added to the mixture, or any haraam ingredient, the resultant bread will be haraam despite bread being another item apart from flour.

When an impure substance is burnt and reduced to ash, Tabdeedul Maahiyat has taken place, hence the ash is taahir (paak/pure). Ash is not a hybrid substance. It is an independent substance, not a hybrid substance. In gelatine manufacture no such metamorphosis occurs. We have explained the process in detail in our book, titled,

Gelatine is a hybrid product such as bread, cake, jam,  pudding, ice-cream, etc., etc., etc. It is made from 100% haraam items, including a considerable amount of pork products. The end product stinks and will rot if not refrigerated. It is most assuredly not an independent substance which exists in nature for example. Thus gelatine made from haraam substances is haraam. If you see gelatine manufacture, you will be so nauseated that even if the raw materials are halaal, you will shrink from consuming it.

 

Q. Malaysian sweets containing bovine gelatine are currently being imported by Muslim traders on a large scale. These sweets containing gelatine, bear a Malaysian halaal stamp. These sweets are also approved by SANHA who affixes its halaal sticker to the sweets. Can we consume these sweets on the basis of the country of origin being Muslim?

A. There is no proof that the Malaysian gelatine is halaal. Malaysia imports huge quantities of meat – haraam ‘halaalized’ meat from various countries. There is valid reason to believe that the gelatine is not halaal. Besides gelatine, the sweets contain all the ingredients which sweets usually have such as emulsifiers, stabilizers, colourants, flavourants, etc. All these substances at a minimum are mushtabah. These substances are obtained from both plant and animal sources. It is therefore necessary to abstain from all these imported sweets regardless of the country of origin. In this era Muslim countries are not governed by the Shariah. They all, without a single exception, have embraced kufr law and kufr lifestyle.

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