Transmutation and Dilution of Additives in Food and Medication

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. 210 (6/22)

Transmutation and Dilution of Additives in Food and Medication

The Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, holding its 22nd session in Kuwait City, State of Kuwait, on 2–5 Jumādā al-Ākhirah 1436h (22–25 March 2015),

Having entrusted the commission established by the Academy to examine the issues of Transmutation (Istiḥālah) and Dilution (Istihlak),


First: Regarding Istiḥālah (transmutation), the Council reaffirms the adop- tion of the definition stated in its resolution no. 198 (4/21), which explains:

In Fiqh terminology, Istiḥāla means “occurrence of real change in the defiled or Shariah-banned material leading to its conversion to another material that differs from the original one in characteristics and attributes. In prevalent scientific terminology, this is taken to mean any complete chemical interaction such as transmutation of oils and fats of different types to soap and decomposition of the material to its original components 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, while 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 as transmutation and, therefore if the material in question is originally defiled, it remains as it is and should not be used.

As for dilution, it is the “immersion of one material into another in such a way that the characteristics and attributes of the submersed material completely vanish and the material is no longer identifiable in any of its different forms.”

In all points stated above, due consideration should be given to rules and standards agreed upon among specialists in this area.

Second: Regarding blood plasma – mentioned in the previous resolution – the Academy believes that the subject should be revisited due to new informa- tion. The Secretariat of the Academy shall convene a committee for this purpose. Third: Based on the definition of istihlak (dilution) stated above, the Council

resolved the postponement of discussion of the subject to allow time for fur- ther research.

Fourth: Alcohol, gelatin and their Transmutation

Participants agreed to what has been stated in the fatwā (Shariah opinion) and recommendation issued by the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS) in the seminar on Prohibited and Impure Materials in Food and Medicine held in Kuwait during the period 22–24 Dhū al-Ḥijjah 1415h (22–24 May 1995), at IOMS headquarters. The text of the fatwā and recommendation was as follows:

General Principles:

  1. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to observe Shariah rulings, especially in food and medicine, to ensure purity of his food, drink, and clothing. Among the uncountable forms of the mercy of Allāh and His will to facil- itate easy abidance by his directives, is that Shariah fully recognizes states of necessity and need and cover them by well-established principles such as (1) Necessities relax prohibitions; (2) Need can be treated as a necessi- ty; and (3) Benefits are permissible in principle unless a proof about their prohibition is established. Similarly, things are immaculate in principle unless a proof about their defilement is established and prohibition of eating or drinking something does not indicate its impurity in Shariah.
  2. Shariah does not consider alcohol as an impure material, based on the previously mentioned principle that materials are pure in This ruling holds true in the case of plain alcohol or when alcohol is diluted by adding water. Therefore, according to Shariah, there is no harm in using alcohol medically as a sterilizer for the skin (wounds) and instruments or as a germicide. There is no harm also in using perfumes (eau de cologne) in which alcohol is used as a dissolvent of volatile perfume materials or using cremes that contain alcohol. Nonetheless, such permissibility does not apply to wine because it is prohibited to seek benefit from it.
  3. Since alcohol is an intoxicant substance and its drinking is prohibited, and until Muslims achieve their aspiration of manufacturing alcohol-free medicines, especially for children and pregnant women, there is no Shariah restriction against using medicines, produced in our days, that comprise alcohol as a meagre component for conservation or dissolving of elements that cannot be dissolved by water without it being used as a sedative substance and as long as there are no other medicine substitutes (without alcohol). The seminar recommended in this regard that con- cerned health authorities may determine the ratio of alcohol to be used

in medicines according to relevant scientific norms and regulatory rules.

  1. It is not permissible to take foodstuffs that contain wine even if at a meager ratio, particularly foodstuffs which are widely used in the west- ern countries like some types of chocolates and iced food (ice cream, gelati and booza) besides some kinds of carbonated drinks, based on the Shariah rule that it is not permissible to take a small quantity of a sub- stance that is toxicant when taken in big quantity, in addition to una- vailability of any Shariah-acceptable reason that justifies permissibility of taking such food.
  2. Foodstuffs in which a slight amount of alcohol is used as a dissolvent of the elements that cannot be dissolved by water, such as colourants, con- servation materials and the like, are permissible to consume due to its becoming a commonly accepted evil (Umum al-Balwa) because most of their alcohol component evaporates and vanishes during the process of manufacturing according to regulations and instructions of health and food Nevertheless, manufacturers and Muslims should always be keen to use alcohol-free substitutes whenever possible.
  3. Foodstuffs that comprise pig fat-like, for instance, some types of cheese, oil, fat, ghee, and butter; and also some types of biscuits, chocolate and ice cream, are strictly prohibited, due to unanimous consensus among Shariah scholars about the impurity of pig and prohibition of eating it, besides lack of necessity of taking substances of these types.
  4. Gelatin: The Academy considers assigning its Secretariat to conduct fur- ther research and study of the issue.

Hormones and Enzymes

  • A hormone is a chemical substance that the endocrine glands secrete in the blood to regulate several autonomous and constructive biological A hormone affects the entire body.
  • The enzyme is a protein molecule secreted by the body cells and has a po- sitional effect that accelerates chemical interaction in organisms without being consumed.
  • Heparin extracted from pigs should not be used except under necessity. Modification of heparin for obtaining low molecular weight heparin does not constitute a transmutation process that can form a basis for an inde- pendent judgement. On the other hand, there is no harm in using heparin prepared through genetic engineering without any pig-related
  • The use of insulin extracted from pigs is not permissible except under ne- cessity due to the availability of permissible substitutes, whereas the use of human insulin and its likes prepared through genetic engineering is
  • Heart valves: Substitute valves can be either metallic or biological (human or zoological) and can be used, while pig valves cannot be used as substi- tutes except in case of necessity.

Further, Resolves

Cheese Manufactured by Rennet Curdling
  1. Pig rennet is prohibited and considered as
  2. If rennet is extracted from an meat-eatable animal that has been slaugh- tered in accordance with Shariah, it is considered pure and
  3. If rennet is extracted from a dead animal that has not been slaughtered in accordance with Shariah, most of the participants are of the opinion that it is impure and not permissible, and some consider it
  4. It is permissible to use rennet prepared through genetic engineering from the gene that produces it.
Treated Sewage water

It is water that people have already used for their living, household, services and industrial requirements, and which carry a diversity of human and indus- trial wastes.

Uses of Treated Sewage Water

The Academy resolved the permissibility of using treated sewage water for pur- poses like floor and clothes washing. It can also be used for irrigation of uneat- able agricultural crops unless it is harmful. If treated sewage water is proved to be harmful when used for irrigation of uneatable crops, it should not be used to avoid its harmful consequences.

Treated sewage water should not be used for cooking and drinking unless its safety in such uses is proved. It is also not permissible to use treated sewage water for worship-related purposes except after ensuring its purity.

General Recommendations

  1. Efforts for the treatement of sewage water are a Shariah duty even in the absence of intention to use it, in order to eliminate human and environ- mental dangers that could arise from its Avoidance of such

dangers should taken into consideration, besides economic benefits that could be generated from sewage water recycling. Even if sewage water is just rechanneled into rivers and seas after treatment, that would consti- tute abidance by the Shariah maxim that “Aversion of harm has priority over the achievement of interest.”

  1. Raising awareness about rationalized water use for all purposes, including household, services and irrigation purposes, because our wise Shariah encourages to do so.
  2. Continuation of scientific research on most suitable, cost-effective and less power consuming methods of sewage water treatment to avoid harm- ful consequences of the accumulation of sewage water.
  3. Continuation of scientific research and experiments that ensure utilizing treated sewage water for suitable and Shariah-permissible purposes.
  4. Strict control over facilities and people in-charge of sewage water
  5. Continuous monitoring of safety of food and nonfood crops irrigated by treated sewage water.
  6. People should be informed about products that depend on sewage water irrigation to facilitate access to such information before making purchase
  7. Utilizing wastes in sewage water in energy production and to limit envi- ronmental

Fodders Containing Prohibited Components

The Academy resolved the prohibition of using fodders that contain waste of dead animals, blood, pork, hormones and antibiotics, based on the fact that these components cause severe harms to human health.


Muslim countries should make due investigations when importing fodders from foreign countries, to ensure that fodders imported do not contain the above-mentioned components.

Indeed, Allāh is All-Knowing.

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