Shellac E 904 is halaal safe.

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Bismihi Ta`ala


The Shariah is intolerant towards meat of animals illicit for consumption. Swine, carnivors, hunting birds, insects etc cannot be eaten unless one is in starving condition and has no other halaal food options. In fact the shariah impose a meticulous procedure of a muslim slaughtering with a knife pronouncing  Bismillah while slaughtering. That is why the shariah negate and does not endorse the modern mechanical slaughtering facility. This is a challenge for the Arab and non Arab world to hand pick and choose muslim knife slaughtered animals. Unfortunately many suppliers of Saudi meat, UAE, Europe, America, China, Brazil, Australia, etc have adopted the mechanical slaughtering modernization concept. This is a great challenge for a muslim traveller to find halaal meat to eat. Rather choose vegetarian and make sure that the kitchen don`t mix alcohol/wine with your vegetarian menus. 

As far as cheese is concerned, then know that rennet that are from cows or sheep can be tolerably be eaten. This is irrespective of the slaughtering procedures used to kill these calves. This is mentioned in ahadiths and fiqh book that rennet cheese from Iran was consumed by Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam and sahabahs.(Ahmad; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah; Shami)

 حَدَّثَنَا عِيسَى بْنُ يُونُسَ ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ مَنْصُورٍ ، عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ ، قَالَ : أُتِيَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي غَزْوَةِ تَبُوكَ بِجُبْنَةٍ ، فَقِيلَ : إِنَّ هَذَا طَعَامٌ يَصْنَعُهُ الْمَجُوسُ ، فَقَالَ : اُذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ ، وَكُلُوهُ.مصنف ابن ابي شيبة فَإِذَا جِيءَ بِالْقَرِيشَةِ أَوْ الْجُبْنِ مِنْ بِلَادِهِمْ لَا يُحْكَمُ بِعَدَمِ الْحِلِّ مَا لَمْ يُعْلَمْ أَنَّهَا مَعْمُولَةٌ بِإِنْفَحَةِ ذَبِيحَةِ دَرْزِيّشامي 

Fuqahas treated rennet as milk. Nonetheless, we are aware that some ulamas goes microscopic on these issues and hence does not tolerate the animal rennet. These ulamas should be aware that washed intestines still contain microscopic ingredients of the excrete and also that raw honey does contain microscopic remains of honey bee.Cow and sheep rennet is tolerable, not swine rennet. Swine rennet production is not common in our era.

 Alhamdulillah, I have witnessed several extractions of raw honey from honey hives. A negligible amount of honey bees does fall in the raw honey and afterwards they are filtered. As the insect break in the honey, it is obvious that some small body parts of the insect does go through the filter to join the pure raw honey. The Shariah has tolerated this throughout ages.

 In the same analogue, we find shellac ingredient. Shellac is an excretion of the insect lac. Alike the honey bee, the female lac insect secretes the shellac resin. We are aware of the process to make liquid the resin. Just as we are aware of the process of food essence and sugar production. 

So basing on the analogue of honey, shellac is halaal safe and pure. We should not go microscopic with it. Shellac is also named E 904. Note that the resin Shellac used in nail polish, etc should be avoided as it is water proof and prevent completion of one`s wouzu. 

Mufti Mackoojee


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