food & drink -Permitted & Prohibited

"O People, eat from the land what is permitted & good & do not follow in the footsteps of Shaitan, for he is an open enemy to you."
(Al Baqarah, 2:168)

Allah swt has given clear guidelines on what can and cannot be consumed. In addition we have also been instructed in manners and behavior of eating. Eating and drinking also becomes a way by which a Muslim remembers the bounties of Allah swt and by observing the rules of Shariah, he also shows his commitment to his religion.

 The 25th Greater Sin: -Consumption of Harām  |  Non-Halal Meat is Unhealthy  |  Eating Habits in Islam

On this page-> Zabiha matters  |  Question & Answers   | Eating /Drinking MannersAlcohol

Foods can be primarily divided into two sections:

1 - Plants, fruits, vegetables and grains: All these can be eaten as long as they are not harmful to human beings. This means that they must not contain poisonous or narcotic substances.

2 - Living creatures.
These can be divided into three: A. Sea creatures ,B. Land creatures &  C. Birds

A- Sea creatures.
We are allowed to eat any fish as long as it has scales (see list here) . All other sea creatures such as whales, sharks, turtles, lobsters and crabs are Haraam. The only exception is for prawns and shrimps, which can be eaten.
In order for the fish to be Halaal, it must be removed alive from the water. It does not matter who has done the fishing or what method has been used to catch the fish. See question answer on Fish

B- Land creatures.
This term covers all animals that live on the face of the earth. Allah has permitted the eating of some and forbidden others. The first five verses of Sura 5 Ma'idah give a summary of the commands regarding what is permitted to eat.

Amongst domestic animals, camels, cows, goats and sheep are permissible to eat. They all possess a hoof or cloven hoof. From amongst wild animals, which mean animals that are not normally kept in enclosures, mountain sheep, wild cows and asses, gazelles and deer are permitted.

It is Makruh (undesirable) to eat the meat of a horse, donkey or mule.

It is not permitted to eat the meat of animals that possess canine teeth or fangs. Examples of such animals that are sometimes eaten by man are dogs, rabbits, elephants and monkeys. There are specific verses in the Holy Qur'an forbidding the eating of a pig.

It is not permitted to eat reptiles such as snakes and tortoises. Insects such as fleas and lice are also forbidden. However, locusts are permissible.

C- Birds.
Birds that comply with the following two conditions can be eaten.

i- The body is covered with feathers.
ii- They are not classes as birds of prey (possessing talons).

           There are two other principles by which one can distinguish between birds that are permitted and those that are not:-

i- Every bird which, when in flight glides more than the flapping of its wings cannot be eaten.
ii- If a particular bird's movement is not known, then before eating one must check for the presence of one of the following: a craw (where grain collects in the throat), a gizzard (part of the stomach) or a projection (a fork-like extension on the bird's foot which performs the function of a talon).

Thus chickens, turkeys, pigeons and all small birds are permissible to eat. Even ostriches and peacocks are allowed.

Birds of prey like eagles, hawks and vultures are Haraam to eat. Crows, rooks and ravens should not be eaten either.

Other animals, which fly but are not, classified, as birds such as bats, bees and other flying insects are Haraam.

Note that in cases where one is in danger of dying through starvation, anything, including forbidden things, can be consumed to save life. However, this must be done as a last resort and only the absolute minimum must be eaten.

Slaughtering (Zabiha) Method according to Shariah:

All animals and birds that are permissible to eat are nevertheless forbidden to a Muslim unless they have been correctly slaughtered. The laws for hunting differ slightly and can be obtained from books of Islamic Laws of various jurists.

The correct method of slaughtering involves the simultaneous cutting of the gullet, windpipe, carotid artery and jugular vein of the animal with a sharp knife. The conditions for the slaughtering are as below:

-1 The one who carries out the slaughtering must be a Muslim.
-2 If possible, the instrument used to slaughter should be made of iron.
-3 The creature to be slaughtered must be made to face the Holy Ka'aba.
-4The person performing the slaughter must mention the name of Allah as he slaughters the animal.
-5 Here must be a normal emission of blood from the animal after the slaughter.
-6 The animal must show some sign of movement after being slaughtered, especially if there was some doubt whether the animal was alive before being slaughtered.

However if a Muslim has slaughtered it as per his own sects fiqh rules ,which do not comply with all ?of the above ,the meat can still be considered as Halal

Zabiha & Halal Meat Fiqh Issues                 Download Word Document here


Muslim Country: A country in which the majority of population is Muslim.

Souq al- Muslimin: A market situated in an area where majority of population is Muslim.

Yakeen: 100%    | Itminan: 90%-99%     |  Shak : 50%    | Ehtemal: 10%-20%

Sahibe Yad: Owner of the restaurant or the manager under whose supervision meat is taken i.e. the person who will take the decisions regarding the meat for the restaurant.

There are 3 methods with which it can be established whether meat is halal or not: 

Ř      1) Yakeen (Certainty): If you have yakeen that meat is zabiha then no matter where the meat is coming from its jaiz for you to eat & if you have yakeen that the meat is not zabiha then no matter where it’s coming from it’s haram for you to eat. 

Ř      2) Shak(doubt) whether Zabiha was done properly or not: 

·        A) Meat is coming from a Muslim country: It’s halal even if it’s sold by a non Muslim establishment.

·        B) Meat is coming from a non Muslim country: AND

o       B i) You’re in a muslim country or in a Souq al-Muslimin


Flowchart: Process: Sahibe Yad is unknown then since you are in a Muslim country you will take him as a muslim & if you have ehtemal that he will have ascertained that the meat is zabiha it’s halal for you to eat the meat.


Flowchart: Process: Sahibe Yad is a     Muslim then if you have ehtemal that the sahibe yad has ascertained that the meat is zabiha it’s then halal for you to eat the meat


Flowchart: Process: Sahibe Yad is a non Muslim it’s haram for you to eat the meat.









·        B) Meat is coming from a non Muslim country:  AND

                            B ii) You’re in a non muslim country  



                                      Flowchart: Process: SahSahibe Yad is unknown it’s haram for you to eat the meat.
                    Flowchart: Process: SahSahibe Yad is a non Muslim it’s haram for you to eat the meat.

Flowchart: Process: Sahibe Yad is a     Muslim then if you have ehtemal that the Saibe Yad has ascertained that the meat is zabiha it’s then halal for you to eat the meat






·        C)  Do not know where the meat is coming from:-

 This will depend on the country you’re in ,while taking the meat. The conditions for a Muslim (Bi) as well as a non Muslim country(B ii )will  apply as given above.  

3) Shari Witness: In case two Aadil Momins give witness that the Meat is halal, it’s halal for you to eat.

   Notes :

1) Note does not deal with Najis / Paak but only Zabiha matters

2) If u r sure (yaqeen) that in a particular muslim majority country/souq al muslimeen, people eat haram meat; then this benefit is withdrawn


Eating /Drinking Manners Mustahab rules

Imam Ali [a.s.] told Imam Hassan [a.s.]:Shall I teach you four traits by which you will be in no need of any medical treatment?" "Yes," Imam Hassan [a.s.] answered. Then, Imam Ali [a.s.] said:

- Do not sit for food (in order to eat) unless you are hungry;
- And, do not leave the (table of) food but you still have an appetite for it;
- Chew (your food in your mouth) well;
- And, when you want to go to bed, (primarily) go to the water-closet to ease nature.
- If you take these in action, you will be in no need of any medical treatment. (Wasa'il-ush Shi'ah, vol. 24, p. 245)

There are certain acts that are encouraged when taking a meal:

(a) Washing both the hands before taking a meal.
(b) After taking a meal, one should wash one’s hands, and dry them with a dry cloth.
(c) One should say Bismillah before starting to eat, and if there are several dishes, it is Mustahab to say Bismillah before partaking of each of the dishes.
(d) One should eat with one’s right hand.
(e) One should eat using three or more fingers and should not eat with two fingers only.
(f) If several persons are sitting together for their meals, everyone of them should partake of the food placed in front of him.
(g) One should take small bits of food.
(h) One should prolong the duration of taking a meal.
(i) One should chew the food thoroughly.
(j) After taking one’s meal one should praise and thank Allah.
(k) One should lick one’s fingers clean after taking food.
(l) One should use a toothpick after taking a meal.
(m) One should collect and eat the food which is scattered on the dining cloth. However, if one takes meal in an open place, like a desert, etc., it is better to leave the food which has fallen aside, so that it may be eaten by the animals and the birds.
(n) One should take one’s meal in the earlier part of the day, and in the earlier part of the night and should not eat during the day or during the night.
(o) After taking one’s meal one should lie on one’s back, and should place one’s right foot on one’s left foot.
(p) One should take salt before and after the meal.
(q) When eating a fruit, one should first wash it before eating.

There are certain acts that are discouraged when taking a meal:

a- To eat when not hungry.
b- To over-eat.
c- To gaze at others while eating.
d- To eat food while it is very hot.
e- To blow on food or drink to cool it.
f- To throw a fruit before one has fully eaten it.
g- To scrape off meat from a bone in such a manner that nothing remain on it.
h- To peel those fruits which are normally eaten with their skins.

Imam Kadhim [as] said: "Had people a moderate habit in eating, their bodies would become strengthened. (Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 66, p.334)


There are certain acts which are Mustahab while drinking water, they are as follows:

(a) Water should be drunk slowly as if it were sucked.
(b) During daytime, one should drink water while standing.
(c) One should say Bismillah, before drinking water and Al-Hamdulillah after drinking water.
(d) One should drink water when one feels thirsty.
(e) After drinking water, one should remember Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.), and curse their murderers.

Note: It is unworthy to drink too much water; to drink water after eating fatty food; and to drink water while standing during the night. It is also unworthy to drink water with one’s left hand; to drink water from the side of a container which is cracked or chipped off, or from the side of its handle.



PAPER NO. 32 /33/34

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “To refrain from eating a single morsel of Harām is, near Allah, more valued than the performance
of two thous& Rak’ats of recommended prayer.”
MEAT & MARINE ANIMALS Q. What kind of marine animals are Halal?

A. It is not permissible to eat from marine animals anything except fish that has scale; shrimp is considered from that category (of permissible sea animals). But other than fish, like lobster, & similarly the fish that does not have scale is forbidden. Allah knows the best.

Q. Is Kosher meat Halal?

A. It is not Halal.

Q. On the package of meat that is produced in Muslim countries by non-Muslim Companies, it says, “slaughtered according to Islamic laws”.  Are we allowed to eat that meat ?Can we eat that meat, if it comes from Muslim Companies in non-Muslim countries? & what is the ruling, if the source is non-Muslim company from a non-Muslim country?

A. The writing (on the package) has no value at all. If the producer is a Muslim or it was produced in a place where Muslim are in the majority & it is not known that the producer is a non-Muslim then it is permissible to eat it. But if the producer is a non-Muslim or it was produced in a place where Muslims are not in the majority & it is not known that the producer is a Muslim, then it is not permissible to eat it.

Q. Is it permissible to eat halăl food which has been steam cooked with the steam of meat not slaughtered according to Islamic laws?

A. It is not permissible since the food, as mentioned in the question, will be considered impure (najis) because of coming into contact with the wet parts from the steam of the impure meat. (to be continued next week)


MEAT & MARINE ANIMALS (continued from last week) Q. We enter some Super Markets in Europe & find meat in tin containers produced by a European company with the writing on the package that conveys the sense of it being “Halal” or “slaughtered according to Islamic Laws”. Is it permissible to buy & eat such meat?

A. The writing (on the package) has no value if it does not lead to certainty (that it is actually Halal)

Q. Meat companies slaughter a large number of chickens at one time [that is, simultaneously]. Now if the person running the slaughtering machine is a Muslim, who says takbír & says the name of Allăh only once at the time of slaughtering all the chicken [simultaneously], is it permissible for us to eat those chickens? If we have doubt about these chickens being halăl, can we [ignore that doubt and] eat them & consider them pure (tăhir)?

A. If he repeats the name of Allăh as long as the machine is continuing to slaughter, it is sufficient. In the event of doubt about its being halăl (a doubt which arises concerning the mentioning of the name of Allăh), it can be considered pure & be consumed.

Q. Is it permissible to buy meat thinking that it is slaughtered according to Islamic laws from a super-market owned by a Muslim who [also] sells alcoholic drinks?

A. Yes, it is permissible; & it is halăl to eat, even if it previously came from a non-Muslim as long as there is a likelihood that the shopkeeper has ascertained that it was slaughtered according to the shari‘a laws; but not if there is no such likelihood. (to be continued next week)


MEAT & MARINE ANIMALS (continued from last week) Q. Commercial fishing vessels place their huge nets [in the sea] & catch tons of fish which are then sold in the markets. It is well known that modern methods of fishing are based on catching the fish alive, & that the fishermen throw the dead fish back into the water for fear of contamination.

Therefore, is it permissible for us to buy such fish in the markets of non-Muslims? Is it permissible for us to buy such fish from Muslims who are not considerate of religious laws? In both the cases to ascertain that this particular fish in front of me was taken out of the water alive, should seek the advice of an expert & reliable witness to testify to that fact which may prove difficult, impractical, & unrealistic.

So, is there a solution for practicing Muslims who face difficulty in ascertaining whether or not the meat of chicken, cow or sheep is halăl, & therefore take to eating fish instead?

A. There is no problem in buying it from Muslims or non-Muslims; as there is no problem in eating it, if they are satisfied that the fish was caught by the method mentioned above & that it belongs to the category of scale fish.

Q. At times we find the name or picture of fish on the cans & come to know that the fish is a scale fish. So, is it permissible for us to rely on the name or the picture in determining the category of fish, knowing well that a wrong statement of this kind would put the manufacturers in great loss or even more serious [situation] than just a loss?

A. If one is satisfied it is the truth, it is permissible to act upon it.

Q. Is it permissible to buy a fish from a Muslim who is not a Shi‘a while we have no knowledge whether it is from the category of scale fish or not?

A. It is permissible to buy it but one cannot eat it unless he makes sure that it is from the category of scale fish.


Question: Kindly explain the kinds of fish & the conditions required to be fulfilled for fish to be Halaal to eat.

Answer: All types of fish that have scales (even if it is not fully covered with scales & even if it has but a single scale) & are caught alive from water are allowed to eat. Details as under:

1] If a fish with scales is caught alive from water, & it dies thereafter, it is Paak & Halaal to eat, even if the scales are shed off later due to some reasons. It is also lawful to eat if it dies in the net of the fisherman. 
2] If a fish falls out of water or a wave throws it out, or the water recedes & the fish remains on dry ground, if some one catches it with his h& or by some other means before it dies, it will be Halaal to eat it after it dies. 
3] It is not necessary that a person catching a fish should be a Muslim or should utter the name of Allah while catching it. It is, however, necessary that a Muslim should have seen or ascertained that the fish was brought alive from the water, or that it died in the net in water. 
4] If a dead fish about which it is not known whether it was caught from water alive or dead, is bought from a Muslim, it is Halaal, but if it is bought from a non-Muslim, it is Haraam  even if he claims that he has brought it alive from the water; EXCEPT WHEN A MAN FEELS SATISFIED THAT THE FISH WAS BROUGHT ALIVE FROM THE WATER OR THAT IT DIED IN THE NET IN THE WATER.




Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"They ask you about wine and gambling. Say: in both these there is great sin and also (some) profit for men; but their sin is greater than their profit..." (al Baqarah, 2:219)

"The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance, and to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. (al Ma'idah, 5: 90)

Imam Ali ar-Ridha (A) says:

"Allah has prohibited liquor on account of the evils resulting from it and because it renders reason and intellect of no effect and destroys 'Haya' - modesty and sense of shame."

The following sayings are by Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) and also repeated by other Imams (A):

"Do not associate with drunkards because as and when calamity befalls upon them, it will also engulf their associates (friends)" "One who sits at a dining place at which others drink liquor is cursed (by Allah)"

In modern society alcohol is the most dangerous legal drug. Under its influence, man is not only a danger to himself, but to those around him also. While it is accepted universally that excess alcohol is harmful, it is thought that in moderate amounts it can be beneficial. Islam totally forbids the consumption of alcohol in any amount. It also forbids Muslims from any involvement in its production, distribution or sale.
The greatest gift of Allah to humans is their ability to reason. This distinguishes us from all other creatures. Without our ability to reason, we become no different from the animals. It is because alcohol destroys this faculty of reason that it is Haraam.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A) says: "Alcohol is the root of all evils and sins. A person who drinks alcohol loses his sanity. At that time, he does not know Allah, does not fear committing any sin, respects the rights of no one and does not desist from committing evil openly. The spirit of piety and faith departs from him and only the impure and vicious spirit, which is far off from the Mercy of Allah, remains in his body. Allah, His angels, His prophets and the true believers curse such a man, and his daily prayers are not accepted for forty days. On the Day of Judgment his face will be dark, his tongue will come out of his mouth and saliva will fall on his chest and he will desperately complain of thirst."

To eat at a table where alcohol is being served is Haraam.