Transmutation, Dilution, and Additives in Food and Medication
22 November، 2013

In the Name of Allāh,

the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.

Resolution No. 198 (4/21)

Transmutation, Dilution, and Additives in Food and Medication

The Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, holding its 21st session in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 15–19 Muḥarram 1435h (19–22 November 2013),

Having reviewed the recommendations of the Medical Fiqh Symposium on the Islamic view towards some Health Issues, organized in Casablanca on 8–11 Ṣafar 1418h (14–17 June 1997) by the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences(IOMS) of Kuwait, in collaboration with the Academy, and with the participation of Al Hasan II Foundation for Scientific & Medical Research on Ramadan, the Islamic Organization for Education Science & Culture(ISESCO), and the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO),

Having listened to the in-depth discussions on the subject, especially on Transmutation (Istihālah), Dilution (Istihlak) and Additives in Food and Medication,


First: Observation of Shariah rules is incumbent upon every Muslim, espe- cially in areas of food and medicine, in order for a Muslim to make sure that his food, drink and medicine are immaculate. Among the uncountable manifesta- tions of the mercy of Allāh the Almighty is the ease and facilitation He made His servants enjoy when following His directives by offering them many per- mits in case of necessity or need. This is clearly indicated in several Fiqh maxims such as “Necessities Permit the Forbidden”, “Need, whether public or private, can be treated as a necessity”, and “Benefits are permissible in principle unless a proof about their prohibition is established.” Likewise, things are immaculate in principle unless a proof about their defilement is established, and prohibition of eating or drinking something does not mean that it is impure in Shariah.

Second: Substances that are prohibited or considered as defiled on their own, or when added to food or medicine, change into Shariah-permissible subtances through one of the two following methods:

  1. Istihala (Transmutation)

In Fiqh terminology, Istihala (transmutation) means “occurrence of real change in a defiled or prohibited material leading to its conversion to an- other material that differs from the original one in name, characteristics and attributes.” In general scientific terminology, this is taken to mean any complete chemical interaction such as the transmutation of oils and fats of different types to soap, and decomposition of material to its original compo- nents, as in the case of dismantling oils and fats to acids and fatty glycerin.

As chemical interaction can be done intentionally through scientific means and techniques, it can also take place – invisibly – as per the forms that Fiqh scholars have indicated, including for instance, pickling, tanning and burning. If chemical interaction is partial, it is not considered transmutation and, therefore, if the material in question is defiled initially, it remains as it is and should not be used. Accordingly:

  1. Added composites that come from a prohibited or defiled animal origin and undergo transmutation as indicated above are considered immaculate and can permissibly be used as food or medications.

  1. Chemical composites extracted from defiled or prohibited origins like spilt over blood and sewage, and in which transmutation in the previously indicated form does not take place, cannot be used as food and Such materials include foodstuffs to which spilt over blood is added like: blood-stuffed sausage, black pudding, blooded hamburger, baby food containing blood, blood doughs, blood soup and the likes; and are considered as defile and prohibited because they contain spilt over blood that does not undergo transmutation.

As for blood plasma, which constitutes a cheap substitute of egg’s white, it is permissible and quite different from blood in terms of name, characteristics and attributes and therefore does not fall under the same ruling. Blood plasma is typically used in pies, soup, sausage, and hamburgers, in addition to different types of doughs such as cakes, biscuits, pudding, bread, milk products, and baby foods and medicine. It may also be added to flour.

  1. Istihlak (Dilution): The Academy sees its postponement for further


  1. Importance of using skins and bones of slaughtered animals for extrac- tion of gelatin to be used in food and medicine, and thus avoid waste of

livestock resources and ward off suspicion of using materials generated from Shariah-prohibited sources.

  1. Calling on concerned officials in Muslim countries to ensure abidance by Shariah-acceptable terms and specifications in medicine and food indus- tries, including raw materials used and manufacturing methods.
  2. Competent authorities in Muslim countries should oblige companies which produce and import conserved foods to clearly indicate in national language the detailed ingredients of the unit of any product of this
  3. Calling upon IOMS – Kuwait to closely monitor new developments in areas of food and medicines, and organize seminars in cooperation with the Academy for studying such developments and indicating Shariah po- sition regarding them.

Indeed, Allāh is All-Knowing.

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