What do the scholars and muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter, are McDonald’s fries halāl, considering they are fried in completely separate oil [to the meat]. Some people say that there is a possibility that they cook the fries in the same oil as the harām meat, therefore the oil becomes impure (najas), hence their fries are harām. Will this minor doubt cause the consumption of these fries to become harām. What is the position of doubts in such matters?
Questioner: Mohsin from UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
If it is such that they cook the fries in vegetable oil that harām meat is not placed into, then fries cooked in such a manner are halāl, and to label them ‘harām’ is incorrect. A minor doubt of the oil being impure will not cause it to become impure and neither will it cause the fries to become harām, this is because all things are halāl and pure by default; this is established self-evidently and is not in need of any evidence, whereas, in order to establish unlawfulness or impurity [of a thing], certain proof is required. The reason being that unlawfulness and impurity are temporary, and they will not be established by mere doubt.
Just as ‘Alā Hazrat states,
“[A thing] being pure and lawful is default in shari’ah, this is self-evident and does not require any proof, and [a thing] being unlawful and impure is temporary, requiring specific evidence to be established, it is not possible that they be established by mere doubt or conjecture.”
[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, Volume 4, pg 476]
If we were to contemplate on how much doubt and uncertainty there is in those foods and sweet meats (mittai) which are prepared by disbelievers and Hindus; we are well acquainted with their carelessness and we also know that none of their products are free from dung and impurities, furthermore, we are aware that they consider the dung and urine of cows and buffalo to be pure and clean, even extremely blessed and honoured. Even so, the scholars deem the consumption of their products and sweet meats permissible.
Thus, it is stated in Radd al-Muhtār, with reference to Tatarkhāniyah,
طاھر ما یتخذہ اھل الشرک او الجھلۃ من المسلمین کالسمن والخبز والاطعمۃ والثیاب
“Those things which the polytheists or ignorant Muslims make, for example, ghee, bread, food and clothes etc., are pure”
[Radd al-Muhtār, Kitāb al-Tahārah, Volume 1, pg 111]
In fact, in order to win over hearts, The Prophet (upon him be peace and blessings) himself accepted the invitation of a disbeliever.
عن انس رضی اللّٰہ تعالٰی عنہ ان یھودیا دعا النبی صلی اللّٰہ تعالٰی علیہ وآلہ وسلم الی خبز شعیرو اھالۃ سخنۃ فاجابہ
On the authority of Sayyidunā Anas (may Allāh be pleased with him), “a Jew invited the Prophet (upon him be peace and blessings) to [eat] some barley bread and old oil, so he (upon him be peace and blessings) accepted”
[Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, ‘an Anas RadiAllāhu ‘anhu, Volume 3, pg 270]
It is the practice of the noble scholars that they issue the verdict of purity and lawfulness [of a thing] even based upon the slightest possibility [of purity]. Whereas, they do not give the ruling of impurity based on slight possibility, even great possibility, then how can the ruling of unlawfulness be given based upon mere assumptions.
Consider a cow, goat or similar animal, if they were to fall into a well and come back out alive, we would certainly consider that well to be pure, even though nobody can say with certainty that it’s thighs are free from urine splashes, however, the scholars state that there is a possibility that it could have entered a large body of water prior to falling into the water [of that well], therefore it’s body would have been washed and become clean. Hence, if there is a possibility of purity, the verdict of impurity will not be given. As stated in Radd al-Muhtār:
قال فی البحر وقیدنا بالعلم لانھم قالوا فی البقر ونحوہ یخرج حیا لایجب نزح شیئ وان کان الظاھر اشتمال بولھا علی افخاذھا لکن یحتمل طہارتھا بان سقطت عقب دخولھا ماء کثیرا مع ان الاصل الطھارۃ اھ ومثلہ فی الفتح
“It is mentioned in al-Bahr, we have attached it with knowledge (certainty) because they have said that if a cow or its like was to come out alive (from a well), it is not necessary that anything be taken out, even if it is apparent that there is urine upon it’s thighs, however, there is a possibility that the impurity was washed away after it entered into a large body of water, thus becoming pure, in addition to purity being the default [state], and something similar is stated in Fath al-Qadeer”
[Radd al-Muhtār, Fadl fī al-Bi’r, Volume 1, pg 142]
Two situations that should be noted:
 If there is such a pre-dominant assumption about a thing being impure or harām that it is attached to certainty, then it being impure or harām will be established.
 If the assumption is such that on one hand, the mind considers a thing to be impure or harām and this is dominant i.e. the mind is more inclined towards this, however, the mind also goes towards it being halāl, even though the inclination towards this is less, nevertheless, this thing will not be said to be impure or harām, rather, it will be better to avoid it. Even though some scholars regard it as pre-dominant assumption, as one side is dominant, however, purity and lawfulness is the default state of things, therefore, impurity or impermissibility will not be established except with certain proof.
Just as Sayyidī ‘Alā Hazrat states in Fatāwā Ridawiyyah,
“One situation is that the heart is so convinced and determined upon the preferred side that it completely removes the other side from your mind and it is considered unworthy of being accepted [by the mind], thus, it is as though it does not exist, such a pre-dominant assumption, which is attached with certainty, is considered certainty in fiqh (jurisprudence).
The second situation is that the heart does not become firm on the preferred side and neither is the other side dismissed, rather, the mind also inclines towards it, even though [the inclination] be weaker and less, this situation will not give the benefit of certainty nor will it go against certainty, rather it will be considered as doubt and uncertainty. In the terminology of the scholars, it is sometimes known as pre-dominant assumption, even though in reality, it is mere assumption, not pre-dominant assumption.
It is mentioned in Hadīqah Nadiyah,
“When the heart does not accept pre-dominant assumption, then it is like doubt, and certainty is not removed by doubt.”
Certainly, we consider this type with such caution that it is better to avoid it, not that it is necessary or imperative to act upon it. Observe how the clothes of the disbelievers, cutlery of the polytheists, food cooked by them, their children’s hands, feet etc., those places where there is a dominance, abundance, excess and intense amount of impurity at most times and pollution and contamination in most situations, due to which the mind inclines towards purity once, but towards impurity ten or twenty times, even about such a place, or regarding any of the things mentioned thus far, they cannot be said to be certainly impure without actually observing. The heart accepts the possibility of it being pure. Therefore, the scholars declared that performing ablution with that water, eating that food, utilising that cutlery and praying in those clothes is correct and permissible, and by no means is the one who does this a sinner, nor is he worthy of punishment. Their response to pre-dominant assumption is that although most cases might be like this, there is no confirmation or certainty, so how will the default ruling of purity be nullified, nevertheless, due to pre-dominance and apparentness, abstinence is superior and better, and such an action will makrooh tanzīhī (slightly disliked) i.e. it is not appropriate that one do it unnecessarily, and if he did do it then there is no harm either.”
[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, Volume 4, pg 498]
Ergo, that oil about which there is doubt in regards to its impurity, i.e. maybe impure and harām meat was fried in it, will not be labelled impure on the basis of doubt, therefore how can the fries which are cooked in it be harām. In spite of that, if the mind inclines more towards it being impure, then it will better to avoid it; even then, it will not be permitted to call it harām. One should not apply these rulings in the matter of meat and poultry, their matter is different; as the default state of meat is unlawfulness. As mentioned in Fatāwā Ridawiyyah.
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Zameer Ahmed
Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0382] Are Mcdonald’s fries Halal? Can I eat them if I have doubts?