I need to take some vitamin supplements that are enclosed in gelatin capsules of unknown origin. I a apprehensive about consuming them since gelatin in the capsules may come from haram sources like pork. I need to take the supplements owing to weakness. Can I take the capsules?
This is a very interesting question especially to those living in Western countries such as myself. In many cases, such as the one you mention, we are unaware of what is contained in the ingrediants of gelatin for example. In this case, it is better to fear Allaah and be cautious. Avoiding doubtful things may be preferable to using them in these circumstances, as stated in the hadeeth narrated by al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say – and al-Nu’maan pointed to his ears – “That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain, and between the two of them there are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allaah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it is sound, all the body is sound and which, if it is corrupt, all of it will be corrupt. Truly it is the heart.”
(Narrated by Muslim, 1599).
From the above hadith, we can succumb to the fact that if you're not sure, it is best to stay away. If you are not sure whether they contain anything haraam or not – without being paranoid or succumbing to the waswaas (insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan) – then it is preferable to avoid them as a precaution out of fear of Allaah.
However, your question raises to the fact when something is of an unknown origin. Clearly, if you know the origin of what your are eating, then you can know for sure if it is haram or not. Allah says:
“Say (O Muhammad): “I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maitah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering).” [al-An’aam 6:145]
“O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” [al-Baqarah 2:168]
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