Friday, December 18, 2009

Boundaries of Waswasa and Mashbooh

Views: 1108177
Last Updated: 07/12/2009
There is a danger of cross-contamination with just about everything
we eat in the WEST; where do we draw the line?

I am NOT trying to debate; but trying to understand the doundaries


Last Updated: 07/12/2009 23/ February 2005:

Jazakallah for your query on the subject of Mashbooh and Waswasa.  In these days especially, it is a valid issue that needs to be addressed.  Notwithstanding a pinch of common sense and taking the middle way will ensure safety without having to compromise.

What is Mashbooh? -The status of a product is ..

doubtful or questionable.   Mashbooh can include ingredients which maybe from a Halaal or Haraam source e,g, emulsifiers thus when the specific source is not known, the products are deemed suspect or questionable. Some examples of these are given below:
  1. A product contains E471 or any other constituent which can be derived or sourced from a Haraam or Halaal source.  
  2. A Halaal product like fries which is deep-fried in pure vegetable oil however there are Haraam meats also cooked on the premises and there are no monitored procedures to separate the Halaal from the Haraam.  There is a certainly a high risk of contamination in some form or another.
  3. Jelly sweets which contain beef gelatine from  a Muslim country (it has to be ascertained that the beef gelatine is not mixed or bought from an unreliable supplier).
Until we find out the source, the product would be Mashbooh.

What is Waswasa - Linguistically Waswasa is derived from the word whisper.  In  Islamic terminology it refers to unfounded and baseless doubts - merely whispers from Shaytaan.  Some of examples of these are given below:
  1. Doubts in a restaurant operated by a Muslim restaurant owner whose meat has been checked by an authentic Ulama Organisation.
  2. When we eat food (which is Halaal in itself and no other Haraam ingredients) made in a nonMuslim factory we think "perhaps they didn't wash their hands when they went to the toilet" or "maybe they added an impurity in a vat". 
  3. We see something tasty with a Haraam meat product and think that it maybe dhabeehah (though, there is nothing authentic to suggest this at all)
  4. We see a product that contains gelatine and we deem it to be fish gelatine (so Halaal) rather it is at least Mashbooh if not Haraam. 
  5. We are given a food invitation by an upright Muslim who is conscious and sensitive to Islamic requirements.  We want to check ingredients and ask them where they buy their meat. 
I am sure we could all think of many more.

Back to your original query with Gregg's and how this subject relates to it.  Gregg's has stated quite categorically:

"All our non meat products are made using vegetarian ingredients, but due to our processes there is always the possibility of some cross contamination from meat products. The same would apply when shops are making the sandwiches, as there is no designated equipment that is used for non meat sandwiches, although the area is wiped down after making each type. Therefore although we produce meat-free products we do not claim to meet Vegetarian Society guidelines."

High Risk of Contamination
It is manifest that these products are Mashbooh due to the high-risk of contamination.   Non Muslim Outlets similar to KFC, Burger King and MacDonald's would understandably not be concerned about contamination nor should they be expected to.  After all, they are a business that needs to prepare and serve food very fast.  Separate desktops, changing oils that have been mixed, separate utensils would be unworkable in practice in most situations especially when busy. 

Macdonalds themselves say: †During preparation, the Grilled Veggie Melt may come in contact with meat and/or chicken products.

Why risk it when there are so many Muslim places we can go to?   Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam said Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.” Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, and Ahmad; Tirmidhi deemed it soundly authentic (hasan sahih), and this was confirmed by other hadith masters Rahmatullahi Alaihim] courtesy

Mufti Desai on this subject:


This is not the case per se with non-Muslim factories, manufacturing plants and the like.  A legal maxim may apply here: "Permissibility is assumed in things unless proved otherwise."  To be in such doubt without reasonable rationale is inevitably Waswasa.  There are strict demarcation of meat products and ice cream for example, necessity of clean uniform, face and hair masks and washing of hands.  In the Gloucester Wall's Ice cream factory for example, cameras film the sink area to ensure that hands are washed by workers.   The sinks are outside of the lavatories.  The law demands various procedures are implemented for safety, prevention of food poisoning etc.  Further, where a company guarantees a "suitable for vegetarians" emblem then they would have to be more careful to  ensure that indeed their products do not become contaminated by "reworks" or non vegetarian products.

To conclude, one must exercise much caution and common sense to ensure that one eats Halal.  One need not be plagued by baseless Waswasa.  The Halaal is clear-cut and the Haraam is clear-cut.  It is clear from the aforementioned that your query of contaminated foods in the West can be easily applied and practised. 
Please do tell your friends and Ulama about this site.
Allah reward you for using the Foodguide Service.  Allah give us tawfique to eat Halaal all the time. Please tell your friends and please pray for us too.

Jazaakumullah and request for Du'aas
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

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Almighty Allah (SWT) says, "O people of Imaan! Eat of the pure things (Halaal) that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah" (Surah Baqarah 2:172)
 The Holy Qur'aan

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