Foods and Drinks - I

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 • Ruling of foods and drinks: 

According to principle, all good and beneficial things are lawful and all harmful and evil things are unlawful. Moreover, all substances are lawful and permissible to use, except those proven otherwise by evidence, or those which cause certain and evident harm.

1- Allah Almighty has made all that which entails benefit for the soul and body from among foods, drinks, and clothes lawful so that the slave can make use of them in obeying Him, the Exalted. Allah Almighty says (what means): {O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.} [Quran 2: 168]

2- Similarly, Allah Almighty has made all that which entails harm or that of which the harm outdoes the benefits unlawful. He, the Exalted, has made all the good things lawful for us and prohibited all the bad things for us. This complies with the statement of Allah Almighty in which He describes His Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) with the words (which mean): {And makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil.} [Quran 7: 157]

• Food's impact on humans:

Food provides man with nourishment and has an effect on his character and conduct. Good foods positively affect man, while bad foods negatively affect him. Therefore, Allah Almighty orders people to eat that which is good and forbids them that which is bad.

• Basic ruling regarding foods and drinks:

The basic ruling concerning foods and drinks is that they are lawful. So, every pure food or drink that involves no harm, such as meat, grains, fruits, honey, milk, dates and so on, is lawful.
It is unlawful to consume impurities such as the flesh of a dead animal and spilled out blood. Also, it is unlawful to consume all that which entails harm such as poison, alcohol, hashish, narcotics, tobacco, khat and similar materials, because they are evil and cause physical, financial, and mental harms.

• What one should do if he is invited to have food?

1- As a Sunnah directive, if a Muslim who is visiting another Muslim is invited by the latter to eat, then the former should eat without asking about it. The same thing applies if he gives him something to drink.

2- A Muslim should not answer the invitation or eat the food of those who compete in preparing extravagant meals for the purpose of showing off and ostentation.

• Excellence of Dates:

Dates are one of the best foods. The inhabitants of a house that lacks dates are likely to be hungry. Dates serve as a shield from poison and magic. The dates that are of the highest quality are those of Medina, especially ‘Ajwah dates.

Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever starts his day by eating seven ‘Ajwah dates will not be harmed by any poison or magic on that day." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

• Benefits of Dates:

- Dates strengthen the liver, serve as a laxative, and decrease blood pressure. It is one of the most nourishing fruits to the body and is rich in sugar. Eating dates on an empty stomach kills worms. Hence, dates are a kind of fruit, nourishment, medicine and dessert.

• If someone would eat old dates, he should open it and get mite out of it.

• Every animal which is prohibited of being eaten is impure, to the exclusion of three kinds:

- Mankind.

- Creatures that have no blood, except those which generate from impurities such as cockroaches, for they are impure whether they are alive or dead.

- Animals that are difficult to keep away from, such as cats and donkeys. Dogs are not included in this ruling.

- Animals and birds that are unlawful to be consumed:

- Specific animals whose impurity is stated by the sharia such as domestic donkeys and pigs.

- Species that are deemed prohibited in the sharia such as beasts that have fangs and birds with claws.

- Kinds of creatures whose impurity is well known such as mice and insects.

- Kinds of animals whose impurity is accidental such as the jallalah (i.e. animals that feed on impurities).

- Kinds of creatures which are ordered by the sharia to be killed such as snakes and scorpions, or prohibited in the sharia to be killed such as hoopoes, shrikes, frogs, special kinds of ants, bees and the like.

- Those known to be carrion eaters such as eagles and crows.

- The offspring of two animals of which one is lawful and the other is unlawful, such as a mule, for it is born to a female horse which is mated by a domestic donkey.

- A dead animal or that on which the Name of Allah was not mentioned while being slaughtered.

- What is usurped or stolen since it is impermissible to consume such things in the sharia.

• Categories of prohibited wild beasts:

It is prohibited to eat wild beasts that have fangs by which they devour their prey such as lions, tigers, wolves, elephants, cheetahs, panthers, leopards, dogs, foxes, wild pigs, jackals, cats, crocodiles, tortoises, hedgehogs, monkeys, and the like; except hyenas for they are lawful to eat.

• Categories of prohibited birds:

It is prohibited to eat birds that have claws by which they hunt such as eagles, falcons, hawks, accipiters, kites, owls and the like.

It is also prohibited to eat birds that devour carrion and dung such as eagles, crows, Egyptian vultures, hoopoes, martins and the like.

• Lawful animals and birds:

1- All land animals are lawful, except what has been previously mentioned as well as the like of them that are included under the same category. Hence, it is permissible to eat cattle such as camels, cows, and sheep. It is also permissible to eat wild donkeys (onagres), horses, hyenas, desert lizards known as dhabb, wild cows, antelope, deer, rabbits, giraffes, and all other wild animals; except the predatory beasts which have fangs, for they are prohibited.

2- All birds are lawful, except what has been previously mentioned and the like of them. So, it is permissible to eat chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, ostriches, sparrows, nightingales, peacocks, stock dove and the like.

It is narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that he said: "The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey and all the birds having talons." [Muslim]

• Sea animals, large and small, that live only in the sea are lawful to eat. There is nothing excluded from them, for Allah Almighty says (what means): {Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food.} [Quran 5: 96]

• Prohibited foods:

1- Allah Almighty says (what means):

{Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you and the travelers, but forbidden to you is game from the land as long as you are in the state of ihram [state or ritual consecration]. And fear Allah to whom you will be gathered.} [Quran 5: 96]

{Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin—then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 5:3]

• Any part that is cut off from the lawful animal while it is still alive is prohibited to be eaten, for it is considered dead.

• Lawful exceptions concerning dead animals and blood:

Both dead animals and shed blood are prohibited to be eaten, except what is authentically proven to be lawful based on a statement of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): "There are two dead animals that are lawful for us (to eat): fish and locusts; and there are two bloods that are lawful for us (to eat): the liver and the spleen." [Ahmad and Ibn Majah]

• Ruling of fats added to foods:

As for fats, oils, and gelatin added to foods and sweets and the like: if they are from plants, then they are lawful, as long as they are not mixed with impurities. Also, if they are extracted from prohibited animals such as swine or dead animals, then they are unlawful.

If they are extracted from lawful animals which were slaughtered according to the Islamic instructions, and they are not mixed with impurities, then they are lawful; otherwise, they are unlawful.

• Ruling of eating jallalah (animal that eats dung or other impurities):

The jallalah from among cattle or chickens and the like are those whose fodder is mostly impure. It is prohibited for a Muslim to ride them or to consume their meat, their milk, and their eggs until they are detained and fed with pure fodder, to the degree that one becomes almost certain of their purity.

• Cases where it becomes permissible to consume what is unlawful:

Whoever is forced by necessity to eat something that is prohibited – other than poison: it becomes permissible for him to eat thereof that which causes him to survive.

Allah Almighty says (what means): {But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 2: 173]

to be continued...

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