[Q 140] Ruling On Rennet (Cheese) Obtained from Halal and Haram Animals

Question

What is the Shar’i ruling on Rennet and how is it to use the cheese made from it?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الجواب بعون الملك الوهاب اللهم هداية الحق والصواب

Answer

If the animal is slaughtered according to the correct Shar’i method, then the rennet taken from it is halal according to all of the scholars, and the subsequent cheese made from this rennet is also halal and permissible.

If the animal is halal but dies without being slaughtered or it is not slaughtered according to the correct Shar’i method, then according to the opinion of Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifa رضي الله عنه the rennet taken from it is pure and to use the cheese made from it is permissible and halal. And this is the chosen opinion, though as a precaution it is still better not to use such cheese.

And the rennet taken from a pig, or any haram animal is impure and haram, and to use the cheese made from it is also impermissible.

If cheese made by non-Muslim reaches us and it is not known from which animal the rennet was taken from, then to the usage of it will still be permissible. Yes, if it is proven that this cheese was made from the rennet of a haram animal so now it will be impermissible to use.

One clear evidence to support the opinion of Imam al-A’zam رضي الله عنه is the hadith and the action of the Sahabah, because the beloved Messenger ﷺ gave permission to the Sahaba to eat the cheese made by the مجوس (Zoroastrians) who are not from the people of the book, and who’s slaughter is in the ruling of carrion. Likewise, it is also shown from the companions عليهم الرضوانthat they ate cheese made by the مجوس and other disbelievers. Hence from this hadith and the action of the Sahaba it becomes clear that rennet taken from the stomach of a dead animal (animal not slaughtered according to the Islamic method) is halal.

It has been narrated by ibn Umar رضي الله عنه in Sunnan Abi Dawud:

“أتي النبي ﷺ بجبنة في تبوك فدعا بسكين، فسمى وقطع”

Translation:
He said “The Prophet ﷺ was given cheese in Tabuk so he asked for a knife then recited بسم الله and cut it.

(Ref: Sunnan Abi Dawud, Vol 3, Page 359, Publisher مكتبة عصرية، بيروت)

Further in Mirqaat Sharh al-Mishkaat:

”وروى الطبراني بسند جيد، لكنه غريب، أنه عليه الصلاة والسلام «أتي بجبنة في غزوة فقال له عليه الصلاة والسلام: ” أين يصنع هذا؟ قال: بفارس، أي: أرض المجوس إذ ذاك. فقال عليه الصلاة والسلام: ” ضعوا فيها السكين وكلوا ” فقيل: يا رسول الله، نخشى أن يكون ميتة. فقال ” سموا الله وكلوا»”

Translation:
“Imam Tabrani narrates with a strong chain, however the chain is “غريب”, that he ﷺ was given cheese in a war (Ghazwa) so he ﷺ said to him (the one who gave it) “Where was this made?” He replied, “ In Persia i.e., the land of the مجوس.” So, he ﷺ said “ Put a knife in this (cut it) and eat it”, then it was said to him ﷺ “Oh Messenger of Allah ﷺ We fear that it is (made) from dead (meat)” so he ﷺ said “Recite Tasmiyah (بسم الله) and eat it”.

(Ref مرقاة المفاتيح, Page 474, Publisher دار الفكر، بيروت)

It has been mentioned in al-Mabsut of Sarkhasi:

“ولا بأس بالجبن، وإن كان من صنعة المجوس لما روي أن غلاما لسلمان – رضي الله عنه – أتاه يوم القادسية بسلة فيها جبن، وخبز، وسكين، فجعل يقطع من ذلك الجبن لأصحابه، فيأكلونه، ويخبرهم كيف يصنع الجبن؛”

Translation:
“There is no harm in (eating) cheese, even if it is made by the مجوس because of that which was narrated that a slave of Sayyiduna Salman رضي الله عنه came to him on the day of Qadisiyyah (قادسية – An Islamic battle during the reign of Sayyiduna Umar رضي الله عنه ) with a basket containing cheese, bread, and a knife. So Sayyiduna Salman رضي الله عنه cut that cheese for his companions then they ate it, whilst informing them on how to make cheese.”

(Ref: المبسوط للسرخسي, Vol 24, Page 27, Publisher دار المعرفة)

Note: According to our knowledge, the method described in the question is not the only method in the industry for making cheese, the enzymes used to make cheese can also be found from other sources such as trees etc. Rather these other sources are more common in the industry. The cheese made from other than animal rennet is completely permissible without there being any difference of opinion.

Answered by: Mufti Sajid Attari

Translated by: Aqib Attari

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