What's unclean can turn halal, says Dr Asri

What's unclean can turn halal, says Dr Asri
DR ASRI: When something has lost its original characteristics, it would not be judged through its original nature. -File Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Gelatin or DNA derived from pigs could be deemed halal if it has gone through a process of transformation, based on the Islamic concept of istihalah, according to Prof Madya Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

The former Perlis mufti was commenting on the views of renowned Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf Al-Qardhawi, who is of the opinion that gelatin, even those derived from pigs, was halal.

“I say this issue is not such a big deal because amongst Muslim scholars themselves there is no consensus on this particular topic. They have different views on it,” Dr Mohd Asri told Astro AWANI, who seemingly agreed with Yusuf.

Dr Mohd Asri stressed that every Muslim has the right to read, listen, evaluate and decide for himself which view he or she wants to follow based on those presented arguments.

“Islam is a very open minded religion which always recognises facts and truths.
“Then, Muslims also have to think about how to answer their deeds before God in the Hereafter, not only to respond to emotional reaction,” he added.

Elaborating on Dr Yusuf’s argument, Dr Mohd explained how something that is considered unclean can be in fact halal if one uses the concept of ‘istihalah’.

Istihalah is the transformation of the natural characteristics of a forbidden substance into another substance with a different name, properties or characteristics.

“When something unclean has gone through a process and has lost its original characteristics it would not be judged through its original nature because it has truly changed,” he said, adding that the substance should be judged through its new characteristics.

"Simply explained; the changing in nature of a substance having gone through this particular process is referred to as istihalah,” he said.

Dr Mohd Asri, who explained about this on his Facebook page, gave the example of fertilizers used for planting banana trees.

"Bananas are halal. It does mean that a banana is unclean because the fertilizer was unclean, "he wrote.

He also cited examples of wine alcohol that has turned into vinegar; or the carcass of an animal that had been dissolved into salt or soil.

Dr Asri said that the same argument is used by the European Fatwa Council, Al-Qaradawi, and al-Zuhaili Wahbah. Their views on pig DNA was found widely cited for the manufacturing of food and goods worldwide now.

Recently, Malaysians were shocked after the Health Ministry revealed that two Cadbury chocolate products were found to contain pig DNA.

However, later tests by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) has confirmed that there were no traces of pig DNA found in chocolate products and thus deemed halal.