Muslims living in non-Muslim countries or Muslim visitors to these countries often face a dilemma. Does Islam allow them to eat in a restaurant that serves pork and alcohol too apart from serving Halal or permissible food? The answer to this question is important for millions of Muslims living in non-Muslim majority countries.
`Abd al-Fattah Idris, professor of Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, said If you know that the meat or any other food that is originally Halal for Muslims but is cooked with fats or oils extracted from pigs, then it is haram (prohibited) to eat this food.
Similarly, if the food is cooked where pork was cooked, e.g. in the same pot or pan, it becomes haram to eat it too, because the impurity and defilement of the pork will then be transferred to the Halal food being served as well.
Permissibility of Eating Food in the Restaurants That Serve Pork Too
In Japan, we have seen a lot of mainstream restaurants that serve Halal food dishes apart from serving their regular food (haram food) to their mainstream customers. Should you eat in those restaurants? That may depend on a lot of factors. You may want to confirm the following issues before you make a decision.
Do They Use Separate Utensils?
Personally speaking, we cannot eat there as the smell of pork being served is too much for us to bear. But, we cannot issue any fatwa on this. You also need to verify whether they use separate utensils to cook and serve Halal food.
How Do They Store Their Food?
Food storage is another important factor to look at when deciding whether to eat at such restaurants. Do they use the same refrigerator or freezer to store Halal and haram foods? The best option for them would be to use separate fridges. If they can’t do so for whatever reasons they need to store Halal food over and above haram food so that Halal food does not become contaminated with the haram one.
Do They Keep Halal & Haram Foods Separately?
Another related question to ask them is whether they make conscious efforts to keep Halal and Haram foods away from each other while cutting and preparing food. Or do they properly wash their hands etc. when preparing Halal dishes?
The most important reason for confirming these matters is that you do not want any cross-contamination of foods. Whether cross-contamination happens or not depends on the circumstances and conditions of each restaurant.
So, you should eat other kinds of food that are not cooked this way, such as roasted fish, vegetables or the like if you have to go to these eateries. Alternatively, there may be many other restaurants in the vicinity that are owned by Muslims and provide Halal food. You should go to such restaurants instead.
However, in case you do not have any other choice the best way is to confirm all their cooking procedures before you order any dish at such a restaurant.
There is another reason for choosing a Halal restaurant over the ones where you are not sure what you will be served. You should support those restaurants which are owned by Muslims and serve 100% Halal food as well.
In some circumstances, it may be difficult for you to find such eating places in your vicinity. However, trying to search for these types of restaurants also brings peace of mind to you which most of us cannot get otherwise.