What is the ruling of sugar processed with bone char?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


What is the ruling of sugar processed with bone char?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Bone char was extensively used in the sugar refining process.  Modern technology has largely replaced bone char decolourisation but it is still used in a few refineries.  Bone char, primarily from cows is used to remove colour from raw cane sugar and whiten it.[1]

Although the use of bone char and the existence of bone char in the final product is questionable, nevertheless, the following rules apply:

1. The body parts of a ḥalāl animal are divided into two:

a)    Those which life enter – Such as the meat and skin.  Slaughtering (dhabh) is a condition for such parts to be ḥalāl for consumption.  All the body parts will be ḥalāl  after slaughter except flowing blood, the penis, testicles, vulva, glands, urinary bladder, gall-bladder.

b)    Those which life does not enter – Such as rennet, horns, hooves, bones, feathers and hair.  These parts will be ḥalāl regardless if the animal was slaughtered according to the Shar`ī principles or not as long as no external impurity is found on them.

2. If the animal is a ḥarām animal, then every part of the animal is ḥarām to consume.  Slaughtering will make the animal ṭāhir (pure) but not ḥalāl.[2]
From the above principles, bone char derived from ḥalāl animals will be ḥalāl even if the animal was not slaughtered according to Shar`ī principles.

Bone char from ḥarām animals will not be ḥalāl for consumption.

And Allah Ta’ālā Knows Best
Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,


[2]  وعصب الميتة وعظمها وقرنها وريشها وشعرها وصوفها وظلفها وكذا حافرها ومخلبها و كل ما لا تحله الحياة منها طاهر مطلقا إذا لم تكن عليها دسومة (حلبي صغير ص-٩٧، دار النشر العلمية)

كل ما يستباح من الحيوان في حال حياته بغير ذكاة، فحاله بعد الموت كهي قبله، وذلك لأنه لا يلحقه حكم الموت لأنه لو كان يلحقه حكم الموت لما حل له إلا بذكاة الأصل كاللحم وسائر أعضاء الحيوان، لما لحقه حكم الموت بموت الحيوان، لم يحله إلا الذكاة…ولهذه العلة نفسها قلنا فى الشعر والصوف والريش والقرن ونحوها أنها لا تكون ميتة بعد موتالحيوان (شرح مختصر الطحاوي ج ٧ ص ٢٩٦-٢٩٧ دار السراج)

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi, the student of world renowned Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Hafizahullah).

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