Q: Is the eating of vegetarian items (e.g. a cheese roll or plain pizza/pasta) from a non-Muslim establishment that serves haraam food and/or alcohol deemed haraam in all instances? My family argue that they tell those preparing the food to do so separately. Would this make it halaal for them?
A. One should abstain from restaurants that serve alcohol or that sell Haraam foods, even if one is only consuming vegetables.
As for alcohol, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa Sallam) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day shall not sit at a table on which wine is served.” (Narrated by Imams Ahmad and Bayhaqi) This means that it is Haraam to be in an eating place where wine is served.
When the establishment prepares Haraam food as well, then the possibility of cross-contamination is quite high; hence it becomes obligatory to abstain from food prepared under such circumstances.
The staff preparing the food are non-Muslims, and they obviously have no concept of Halaal and Haraam. They may claim that the utensils and cutlery for Halaal food are kept separately but this cannot be guaranteed. If a knife used to cut a meat pizza is used to cut the vegetable pizza without being washed first, the vegetable pizza may not be eaten.
Furthermore, food prepared under such conditions can be spiritually detrimental. People who are sensitive to spiritual changes have experienced weakness spiritually after eating such foods. From any angle one looks at it, the safest is to abstain from such foods.
Allah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Siraj Desai