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As there as many positive similarities between Jewish law (halakhah) and Islamic law (fiqh), I was wondering about the following:

In Jewish dietary law there is a concept of "nullification" of forbidden substances in food. This means that when there is below a certain percentage of a forbidden substance in a mixture, the mixture or food item is deemed kosher because the forbidden substance is considered to be "nullified" due to its very negligible amount. This is especially true if the forbidden substance cannot be either seen, tasted, or smelled.

For example, we as Jews are not allowed to eat mixtures of meat and milk together. But, if we use a pot (clean of course) that has had meat cooked in it to cook a dairy soup, the meat residue (if there is any) is considered nullified as long as it does not produce a meaty taste in the soup. In essence, it is treated as though it is not there.

This principal helps to mitigate obsessive and compulsive worry about foods, since unless they are prepared in a laboratory, all prepared foods have some sort of foreign substances mixed in. This is just a reality. If we didn't have a point at which we stopped taking foreign substances into account, we would have to worry about particles and dust - making the preparation of food nearly impossible.

So, I am wondering if there is a similar concept in Islamic dietary law that allows for a negligible amount of possible haram to be [not intentionally] mixed into foods and still have those foods be halal.

shukraan.

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What you're describing is a concept called istihlak (extreme dilution). The basic idea is, if a forbidden substance is diluted to the point that its traits (e.g. color, taste, smell) are undetectable, it does not render the final product haram.

I don't know the specifics of the Jewish practice, but from what you've explained here they sound to be pretty much the same thing.

  • Is there a specific ratio at which this concept is invoked? (For example, in Judaism the ratio is [usually] 60:1) – Daniel Jul 16 '15 at 15:18
  • @daniel I remember seeing a scientific paper (can't find the link right now) which actually calculated the permissible percentage of alcohol based on a number of ahadith regarding date-wine, but I don't think it's actually a widely established idea. The only major criteria I'm aware of is the one I mentioned here: If its traits are undetectable. Which could well vary depending on the contaminant, as some would have much stronger odors/colors/tastes than others, and be detectable at lower quantities. – goldPseudo Jul 16 '15 at 15:22

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