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Halal and Haram

Below are a selection of questions that have been answered by Dr Musharraf Hussain, if you have a question, then please use the contact form to get in touch.

Q: What is the difference between Halal and Haram?

A: The famous principle in Islamic law is of permissibility is that all things are permissible unless specifically prohibited. Haraam is a term that refers to things that have been prohibited by the Quran and the sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him), this includes some foods, pork, blood, the meat of carrions and animals killed without being properly slaughtered, in social activities like gambling, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, in business using interest, in relationships, cheating and to be dishonest etc. Halal, on the other hand, means things that are allowed by the Sharia.

Q: I would on occasions purchase food (halal) from a Muslim brother. Only recently I discovered (by his own admission) that he considers the Beloved Prophet to be a regular person (astaghfirullah). And additionally, he insists that such love and respect should not be shown to the Prophet. Should I continue supporting his business by purchasing meals from him?

A: I am sad to read that a Muslim thinks that the blessed Messenger (peace be upon him) is ordinary, or regular, and shocked that a Muslim does not regard his love and respect important. Here is what the Quran teaches; “Those who believe him, honour him, help him and follow the light which has been sent down with him, they are those who will succeed” (Al Araf: 157). According to the Quran, there are four duties of the believer; to believe, honour, help and obediently follow. The other two duties; to love him and to send blessings on him are mentioned in Sura Tawbah and Ahzab.

What more can I say? The question here is, are you willing to educate this brother? Can you teach him and change his wrong ideas?

Q: I have a question regarding stunned chicken. Are we allowed to eat chicken that has been stunned?

A: Yes, stunned and then slaughtered with Takbeer is halal as long as the chicken does not die from stunning.

Q: Are cremations forbidden in Islam?

A: Cremation is absolutely haram, forbidden. In fact, we are told that we must respect the body and that no kind of harm should be done to it in any shape or form. We are told that the water that we wash the dead body with should be lukewarm, not too cold, not too hot, meaning that the body has to be respected in every sense.

Q: What does Islam say about post-mortems?

A: If they have to be carried out because of legal reasons, if there are suspicious circumstances surrounding death and a post-mortem is the only way to clarify the situation, then it has to be done. It might help to solve future problems, which could arise between family members. There is a group of scholars from Al Azhar University who think that post-mortems are okay even for scientific research; in fact, one of the great professors at Al Azhar gave his body for that purpose, but the majority seem to not agree with this decision.

Q: Am I allowed to wear a T shirt that has a print of someone’s face on it?

A: I would regard that as makruh certainly, I wouldn’t be able to call it haram. I certainly wouldn’t pray in it.

Q: Some Muslim parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated with the influenza nasal spray due to it containing porcine as a stabiliser. So, in the bigger interest of the society’s health can this vaccine be given to children? What do the scholars say about the permissibility of a flu vaccine that contains pork gelatine, is this allowed?

A: The flu vaccine that contains porcine gelatin is a simple nasal spray that is particularly useful and easy to administer to children. It is administered to children who are susceptible to flu and have other health problems like asthma, which is exacerbated by the flu. It has been shown to reduce A&E admissions and other complications considerably.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the nature of porcine gelatin. This is a pure product and is exactly the same as cow gelatin, goat or any other animals’ gelatin. It has the same protein structure, same properties and same colour, texture and taste. You would not be able to distinguish the porcine gelatin from the others. In light of this fact, it is argued that it doesn’t matter what its origin is. A similar fatwa was issued by Mufti Ali Gomaa the Grand Mufti of Egypt about Pig products including insulin. Click HERE to read the full article.