Is Gelatin Permissible?
Almighty Allah has blessed His servants by creating all kinds of provision on earth for them and He has permitted them to eat everything that is Halal (permissible) and good. Allah says: “O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! He is an open enemy for you.” (Al-Baqarah: 168)
However, Allah forbids a limited number of foods that are bad and can be detrimental to one’s health. He Almighty says: “Say: I find not in that which is revealed unto me naught prohibited to an eater that he eat thereof, except it be carrion, or blood poured forth, or swine flesh for that verily is foul or the abomination which was immolated to the name of other than Allah. But whose is compelled (thereto), neither craving nor transgressing (for him) Lo! Your Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-An`aam: 145)
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has forbidden Muslims to eat any carnivorous animal with fangs and any bird having talons. (Narrated by Muslim) He is also reported to have forbidden the flesh of domesticated donkeys. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
As far as the Islamic ruling on gelatin is concerned, Dr. Su`aad Salih, professor of Fiqh atAl-Azhar Univ states that: “Gelatin is a brittle substance extracted by boiling bones, hoofs, and animal tissues. So it depends on the animal itself. If it is an animal whose meat is Halal, such as cow, camel, sheep and so on, then gelatin is Halal, and so is the case with all foods prepared from it. However, if the animal is of Haram meat such as pigs, then the gelatin made of it is unlawful. Thus, gelatin is Halal unless it is derived from an animal whose meat is Haram to consume. This is the ruling on gelatin extracted from animals. As for vegetable and artificial gelatin, they are Halal and there is nothing wrong in eating and using them.”
And as for gelatin extracted from animals that have not been slaughtered according to Shari`ah, Sheikh `Abdus-Sattar F. Sa`eed, Professor of the Exegesis of the Qur’an at Al-Azhar Univ., states that:
“If the animal is slaughtered by one of the People of the Scripture, or if the butcher is unknown, then the meat is Halal and the gelatin is Halal too. However, if the animal is slaughtered by means of electric shock, suffocation, and other unlawful ways, then the meat is Haram and gelatin is Haram too, because it is a product of that unlawful animal”