Gelatine and Animal rennet
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Before tackling the issue of gelatine one should bear in mind that pork and all its by products are forbidden in the Quran. Therefore, if gelatine is made from pork or any other animal upon which Allah’s name has not been mentioned then they are forbidden also.
Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran has said: “He has only forbidden you dead meat and blood and the flesh of swine and that on which any other name has been invoked other than Allah.” (Surah Baqarah V.173)
Gelatine is a protein obtained by partial hydrolysis of animal collagenous tissues such as skin, tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage and hooves. Generally skin and bones of pigs and calves are used for products of food and medicine. (Muslim Food guide)
In regards to your question, if gelatine is derived from haraam sources namely pigs or any other animal upon which Allah’s name has not been mentioned, it is not permissible to use it. The gelatine, which is commonly found in the production of sweets and jellies, are derived mainly from pigs, thus, it will be unlawful to consume. Even if they are not derived from pigs, it will be more likely be derived from animals whom Allah’s name has not been recited, thus it will also be unlawful.
Cheese made from milk contains an ingredient called infaha in Arabic and rennet in English. It is a mucous membrane lining taken out from the stomachs of suckling lambs or kids. It is used to coagulate or curdle milk. If rennet is taken out of the stomach of an animal slaughtered in the name of Allah, there is no harm in using it. The meat, fat of an Islamically slaughtered animal are permissible. But, in the event they are taken from the stomach of an animal slaughtered unislamically, there is difference of views among Muslim jurists. Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Malik consider it clean and pure while Imam Abu Yusuf, Muhammad and others call it unclean and impure.
There is a strong likelihood that rennet from unislamically slaughtered animals is used in cheese made in non-Islamic countries. Under the juristic position taken by Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, leeway exsists. However, it is more precautious to act upon the views of Imam Abu Yusuf and Muhammed and refrain from it. (Maariful Quran P.428 V.1)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.