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Eating Food Served by a non-Muslim

The locality where the restaurant is should seek the assistance of the local ulama

By Shaykh / 16 Aug 2013

Question:

As Salaamu Alaikum,

In my hometown, there is a Sikh owned restaurant that buys its meat from the local Zabiha shop.  Is it permissible to eat there? Can one eat at such a restaurant where there are non-Muslims working or who own it?

Answer:

Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

It is very important for a Muslim to eat what is permissible according to Islamic dietary guidelines. Perhaps some restaurants which are run by non-Muslims could claim to stock halal products while they do not have sufficient knowledge regarding the specifics of our dietary laws. Additionally, a non-Muslim does not have the Allah-fearing nature that a Muslim has pertaining to such matters. For instance, if the restaurant runs out of beef on short notice, would they consider a substitute for dhabihah sufficient until they get something else?

It is better to be careful. In some American cities, there are restaurants run by non-Muslims that claim to the customer at the door that they only stock halal products, while a bit of investigation may produce evidence to the contrary.

The locality where the restaurant is should seek the assistance of the local ulama to inspect the establishment, and verify whether or not Islamic dietary guidelines are being maintained.

What was mentioned above does not mean that we cannot eat lawful food which is served by a non-Muslim. It is permissible to eat what a non-Muslim or corrupt Muslim serves, so long as what they serve is permissible. In Sharh al-Muhadhdhab v. 9, p. 418, Imam Nawawi stated,

ولوامتنعمنأكلطعامحلاللكونهحملهكافرأوفاسقبالزناأوبالقتلونحوهلميكنهذاورعابلهووسواسوتنطعمذموم.

“If refraining from eating lawful food is due to it being served by a non-Muslim or transgressor by fornication, murder, etc., this is not scrupulousness; rather, it is neurotic misgiving and blameful over-strictness.”

And Allah Most High knows best.

 

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