Al Arabiya TV reports that Saudi sheikh Mohammed al-Jazlani issued a statement that food prepared by non-Muslims should be considered halal. He puts up a few fences, however, noting that this doesn’t apply to meat; it doesn’t apply to dishes previously containing non-halal meats or alcohol; it doesn’t apply if the food is prepared by followers of non-monotheistic faiths… at least is one knows their faiths.

One way to avoid ethical conflicts, the sheikh suggests, is to stop hiring non-monotheistic maids.

‘All you can eat’: new fatwa labels non-Muslim food as ‘Halal’
Al Arabiya

All food, except meat, that is cooked or prepared by non-Muslims is “halal” (permissible) for Muslim to eat, a Saudi Sheikh and former judge told Al Arabiya in an interview Wednesday.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Jazlani’s statement came after another religious scholar, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manie who is member of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Religious Scholars, issued an edict banning food prepared by foreign non-Muslim maids working in Saudi Arabia.

In the kingdom, Indonesians and Filipinos make up the majority of household workers, including maids, drivers and gardeners. Filipinos, most of whom are non-Muslims, make up about 250,000. Indonesians are estimated at 900,000.

“Muslims are allowed to eat food prepared or cooked without prayers… and this is agreed on by Muslims scholars,” Sheikh Jazlani told Al Arabiya.

January:10:2013 - 08:43 | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink
4 Responses to “Dancing around the Halal Borders”
  1. 1
    Chiara Said:
    January:10:2013 - 11:50 

    I’ll have to re-read this carefully to
    figure out how far I can get in disqualifying myself from cooking dinner! Probably not very far, my husband is about my cooking dinner for him. :( :P :)

  2. 2
    Jerry M Said:
    January:10:2013 - 14:05 

    I went to a Shia site Most of the details are about the slaughtering of animals. It appears that Shiites don’t care much about who prepares the food:

    I haven’t found any Sunni sites that present this subject in as detailed and easy to navigate form. I know that there are differences between Sunni and Shia so this ruling probably would not mean anything to a Sunni.

    I wonder if the al-Sistani’s ruling comes out of an experience of living in an urbanized society where one cannot always know much about who is the cook in a restaurant or who prepared the food in a market. An Iranian in the past might have actually known a Christian or a Jew, in Saudi Arabia all non-Muslims are foreigners.

  3. 3
    John Burgess Said:
    January:10:2013 - 16:58 

    @Jerry M: I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that Muslims are traveling to and living in more non-Muslim countries, where halal butchery may be difficult to find? I know that during the 70s-80s, Syrians on scholarships to Eastern European countries made their peace with ‘pink veal’, but that goes further than this fatwa.

  4. 4
    Jerry M Said:
    January:10:2013 - 18:30 


    I am sure that Muslim traveling is a good part of it. In either case, Saudi Arabia has been more isolated than most of the Muslim world so Saudi cleric is more likely to make a ruling that is simply not a practical solution.

    Al-Sistani’s rulings on a number of issues sound as if they are meant for the traveler. I could imagine a US imam telling people, when in doubt buy kosher.

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