Sharing food without knowing its source   

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

In the girls’ hostel where I live, some of the students will share their food with their friends. Is it permissible to eat the food without knowing its source and the source of income of those providing the food?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

A distinction should be made here between food that comes from an edible, slaughtered animal or something else. If the food has been slaughtered and you are in a land that is majority Muslim, then it is permissible to eat the slaughtered animals of that land as long as you don’t know of any unlawfulness [of those animals].

And if you are in a majority non-Muslim land, where the people are a mixture of the People of the Book, Jews and Christians, and others [who are not People of the Book], like Zoroastrians, and there is a possibility that the meat was slaughtered [validly, in according to the conditions of valid slaughter] by a Person of the Book, or possibly by someone else, you are not permitted to eat this meat because of doubt surrounding the identity of who slaughtered it.

The only exception to this is if, for example, a Person of the Book informs you that he is the one who [validly] slaughtered this animal, then you are allowed to eat it, because the slaughtered animals of the People of the Book are permitted to us. Likewise, if a corrupt Muslim informs you that he was the one who slaughtered this animal, then it is also permissible for you. This has been stated by al-Allama al-Bajuri in his Hashiya (2/299).

If the food is not from slaughtered animals [if it is not from animals at all], then you can eat it with them as long as you know that it is not unlawful, for example, that it does not contain alcohol. If you have doubts about it, the operative principle is that the food is permissible and you can eat from it. Likewise, you can also eat someone else’s food even if you don’t know the source of his or her income, because the operative principle is that what someone owns comes from a permissible source. You can even eat the food of someone whose permissible income has been mixed with unlawful income, as long as you know for certain that this particular food was not purchased with unlawful income. If the latter is the case, then you are not allowed to eat it, as our Imams have already stated.

And Allah alone gives success.

Amjad Rasheed


[Editor notes:

  1. As for lands where the general case of meat is that it is not validly slaughtered by Islamic standards, then it would not be permitted to eat the meat until one establishes that it was in fact slaughtered.
  2. When in doubt about the food: if one has reason to doubt, then it is praiseworthy (and from piety) to exercise caution.]


السؤال : عند الإقامة في سكن طالبات تقوم الصديقاتُ أحياناً بمشاركة صديقاتهن بالطعام ، فهل يحل أكل الطعام دون معرفة مصدره ، ومصدر دخل صاحبه ؟

الجواب : يفصل في هذا بين ما إذا كان الطعامُ حيواناً مأكولاً مذبوحاً أو غير ذلك ، فإن كان مأكولاً مذبوحاً وكُنـتُنَّ في بلدٍ الغالبُ عليه المسلمون فيجوز أكلُ ذبائح تلك البلد ما لم يعلم حرمتها .

وإن كُنـتُنَّ في بلدٍ الغالبُ عليه غيرُ المسلمين وكانوا خليطاً من أهل كتاب وهم اليهود والنصارى وغيرهم كالمجوس وغيرهم واحتُمِل أن الكتابي أو غيره هو الذي ذبح فلا يحل أكلُ الذبائح حينئذ للشك في الذابح ، إلا إذا أخبر الكتابي بأنه هو الذي ذبح هذه الشاة مثلاً فيحل أكلها ؛ لأن ذبائح أهل الكتاب حلالٌ لنا ، وكذلك إذا أخبر مسلمٌ فاسقٌ بأنه هو الذي ذبحها فتحلُّ أيضاً كما بينه العلامة الباجوري في “حاشيته” (2/299) .

أما إن كان الطعامُ من غير الحيوانات المذبوحة فيحلُّ مشاركتُهن الأكلَ ما لم يُعلم أنه محرم كطعام فيه خمرٌ مثلاً ، فإن شككْـتُنَّ في ذلك فالأصلُ أنه حلالٌ فيجوز الأكل منه .

وكذلك يجوز الأكلُ من طعام الغير وإن لم يُعلم مصدرُ دخل صاحبه ؛ لأن الأصلَ فيما في يد الشخص أنه ملكُه الحلال ، بل يجوز الأكلُ من طعام شخص اختلط مالُه الحلالُ بمال حرام إلا إن عُلم أن هذا الطعام بعينه قد اشتراه بما هو حرامٌ فلا يجوز أكلُه حينئذٍ كما صرح بذلك أئمتنا .



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