Halal In Foods And Its Connection Vis-À-Vis Man From The Islamic Perspective


One segment of the society perceives it sufficient when our food and drink attained lawful status from the aspect of their processing. However, from a more holistic view, the food and drink that we consume must also be observed from the aspect of their inner sources. This article investigates about the relationship between man and inner sources of food which are lawful, pure and doubt-free income from the Islamic perspective. This study was done using fully content analysis method by searching in the Islamic references such as holy Quran, books of hadith and books written by the prominent Islamic scholars. Data was analysed inductively to produce the findings. The result of the discussion illustrates that it is divided into two strong connections; first, the connection in the aspect of relationship between man and God and second, the connection in the aspect of the life of man himself. The discussion also discovers its connection with health, but the connection is weak because the reference pertaining to it is weak and insufficient as support. This illustrates that the sources of income has some connections in the aspects of man’s relationship with God, of man himself and of his health. Nevertheless, the connection with health is weak because the source of reference on this aspect is weak and no other sources were found to establish the former. In conclusion, this study suggests for applied research to be done to correlate all the variables and prove this theoretical research findings.

Keywords: Lawfulpuredoubt-freeIslamichalal


Eating style or habit is believed to have a direct influence over the hierarchical health of human body and it is among the most important factors to sustain good living (Manimaran & Samsudin, 2014). To sustain good health, food should contain various benefits and nutrition essential for human body. According to Islam, the connection of food vis-à-vis man do not end as physical influence, but also relates to human soul and spirituality (al-Ghazali, 2016). This article discusses about the inner sources of food which is lawful, pure and doubt-free (without shubhah) income in its connection vis-à-vis man from the Islamic perspective to determine how far is the connection between the two towards human’s life. The division of inner sources of food into lawful, pure and doubt-free is by the guidance of Halalan Tayyiba model built by Harun (2016) who suggested the connection of these three elements with human soul and spirituality.

Choosing Lawful Sources of Income

Islam requires man to earn and consume from lawful sources. Lawful sources are earnings obtained from trade permissible under Islamic law or in other words, activities whose involvement in them is not forbidden. It is thus mentioned in the Qur’an:

“O messengers, eat from the good foods and work righteousness. Indeed, I, of what you do, am knowing” (Holy Quran: chapter 23, verse 51).

The opposite of lawful ( halal ) is unlawful ( haram ) income, that is, the earnings from any trade forbidden by Islamic law, for example bribery (riba), gambling, fraud, appropriation of others’ properties without permission or other types of unlawful trade. This matter has been mentioned in the Qur’an: “But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest” (Holy Quran, chapter 2, verse 275).

Business transaction is permissible in Islam, indeed it is encouraged. However, when a transaction involves the elements of bribery (riba), the profits obtained from such business dealing becomes unlawful ( haram ) even if the goods are physically pure and permissible. This is called unlawful sources on income. Another example is gambling using money obtained lawfully. The earnings obtained from such gambling activity are called unlawful. It is similar in the case of earnings obtained from trade that involves bribery, which is unlawful. This matter has been stressed by the Qur’an and stated by the Prophet (pbuh): “Indeed (drinking) intoxicants, gambling, (sacrificing for) stone altars, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it.” (Holy Quran, chapter 5, verse 90). “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes a bribe” (al-Tirmizi, 1997).

Choosing Pure Sources of Income.

Pure sources refer to earnings obtained by self-effort from any trade permissible under Islamic law and the trade does not involve impurity or filth. Earnings gained through self-effort are of pure sources and the purest sources are the sources from booty because they are obtained through activities meant to exalt the religion (al-Asqolani, 2017). The next purest source according to al-Nawawi (2018) is the source obtained through farming activities because they involved the element of reliance upon Allah, and the activities can also give benefits to human and animal. After that, it is the earnings gained from self-effort. Accordingly, in ensuring his food and drink are from pure sources, Prophet Dawud (pbuh) only ate from what he gained through his self-effort (al-Bukhari, 2018) of making iron armour on his own, even though he was a king who ruled over a vast empire.

The trade that involves impurities can be divided into two classes. First, activities related to detectable impurities such as the earnings from cupping because it involves dirty blood or transactions involving something filthy like buying and selling dog as the animal is considered najs (unclean) in Islam: “Indeed the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) forbade earnings from price of blood (earned from cupping) and price from selling dog” (al-Bukhari, 2018).

Earnings from cupping are lawful, but at the same time it is impure. This matter was explained by al-Khottobi (2016) that the prohibition in the hadith against receiving wage from cupping even though it is lawful, is because the wage from cupping is impure due to it being a trade involving filth i.e. blood, thus man is asked to avoid earning a living from that which is filthy. The second class involves undetectable (hidden) impurities such as earnings obtained from begging, alms, and charity. It is explained implicitly in the following Hadiths (Sayings of the Prophet):

  • Earning from begging.

“Whomever begs not because of destitution (that befalls him), it is likened to eating hot flaming embers” (Ahmad, 2015).

  • Receiving alms.

“Indeed this charity (alms) is nothing but filth that comes out from people’s properties, and indeed it is unlawful for Muhammad and Muhammad’s family members (to accept it)” (Muslim, 2018)

  • Receiving charities

“…, if the Messenger (pbuh) received from the means of charity, he did not consume them but send them to the People of Suffah, and whenever he received any gifts, he sent half of the gift to them and only use for himself the other half” (al-Bukhari, 2018).

Alms (zakat) are the impure portion of wealth that needs to be taken out to ensure that the wealth gained becomes clean and purified. Since it is considered an impurity, the Prophet (pbuh) and his family cannot neither receive alms nor eating from its proceeds. If something which is gained not due to begging but from alms and charity are considered unclean, then the gains from begging is more unclean as it was called hot flaming embers when accepted not due to destitution. In another hadith, it was explained that the receiving hand is below the hand that gives (al-Bukhari, 2018), as a sign of abjection towards possessions gained from begging. Hence, in attaining the status of excellent Muslim, sources from detectable and undetectable impurities must be avoided.

Choosing Doubt-free Sources of Income.

Doubtful sources may be earned from the mixing of lawful ( halal ) and unlawful ( haram ) in any activity or trade. For example a person whose trade contains the elements of bribery, even when the goods being traded are permissible, such transaction becomes tainted by bribery resulting in all the proceeds from his trade becoming doubtful when no separation can be made between the two. Prohibition of doubtful sources was mentioned implicitly in the following hadith: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibited ...the dowry of a fornicator” (al-Bukhari, 2018).

Fornicator’s dowry is a metaphorical meaning of the prostitute’s earnings in prostitution activities (al-Mubarakfuri, 2015). In the hadith, it was called a dowry figuratively in reference to prostitute’s wages because the Prophet (pbuh) is someone who possesses high level of shyness to mention it explicitly. The interrelation between doubtful sources with the dowry of a fornicator was explained by al-Asqolani (2017) in that the prohibition towards earnings of a fornicator is due to the existence of ambiguity whether the money is from a lawful trade or from prostitution. Other than that, doubt can also arise from uncertainty about something lawful. For instance, a gift given by a stakeholder can be suspiciously regarded as bribery with the intention to gain certain benefits in the future. This is based on a general hadith about the doubtful ( shubhah ). “The lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear, and between them are matters unclear that are unknown to most people. Whoever is wary of these unclear matters has absolved his religion and honour” (Muslim, 2018).

On his commentary on the hadith, al-Nawawi (2016) explained that the lawful is clear, for example the activities of farming, trading and such. While the unlawful is also clear, for example in the case of fraud. But an unclear matter is something which status cannot be judged clearly whether it is lawful or unlawful. Hence, when the lawfulness of income status cannot be determined with certainty, then it must be avoided.

Problem Statement

Health science views food as a nutrition provider to body in order to maintain and improve physical health. However, in Islam, the connection does not end at the physical part, but it also extended to the connection towards human soul and spirituality as generally described by al-Ghazali (2016). The detailed and clear description of the food connection vis-à-vis man is remain unknown.

Research Questions

Question in this study is focused on one thing; how the connection of food vis-à-vis man?

Purpose of the Study

This study intends to explore the forms of connection that might be linked between food and human other than health aspects.

Research Methods

This study was done using fully content analysis method by searching in the Islamic references such as holy Quran, books of hadith and books written by the prominent Islamic scholars. Data was analysed inductively to produce the findings.


Based on the analyses of the Quranic verses and hadiths of the Prophet, connection of food vis-à-vis man can be divided into three main classes;

Connection from the aspect of relationship of man with his God.

There are three sub-connections under this class, i.e. the proximity of self with Allah the Almighty, the acceptance of prayers and the acceptance of good deeds.

  • Eating from lawful sources helps man in finding nearness to Allah the Almighty. It is explained implicitly in the Quran: O ye messengers! Enjoy (all) things good and pure, and work righteousness: for I am well-acquainted with (all) that ye do [Holy Quran, chapter 23, verse 51]. al-Razi (2012) in his explanation said, this verse signifies that act of righteousness must be preceded with eating from lawful sources. al-Sya'rawi (2016) also expounded, it is as if Allah SWT is saying to mankind through the verse, o mankind I know the nature of the beings I created, that you will not be bolstered to act righteously unless you precede it with food lawful and pure. Hence, lawful, pure and doubt-free food sources will bolster man towards righteous acts and as a consequence brings man closer to Allah SWT. On the contrary, unlawful food sources bring man closer to doing bad deeds and eventually distance man from Allah SWT.

  • Acceptance of prayers. Any food and drink that enter human body has a connection with the acceptance of prayers offered to the Lord by a servant. Without necessity to spend the night in vigil or fasting all day or chanting unbroken remembrances, someone’s prayers may be answered by Allah only by him observing what he eats and drinks. It was mentioned in the hadith: “Ibn Abi Waqqas once said: O Messenger of Allah, pray to Allah hence He made me among those whose prayers are answered. Thence the Messenger of Allah said: O Saad, better your food, surely you will be one whose prayers are answered” (Al-Tabrani, 1995). In the Hadith was also related a story about the situation of a man whose prayers was supposedly to be answered but was not, because his food and clothing were gained from unlawful sources. As a consequence, a man’s life can turn chaotic and tumultuous. Prophet Muhammad SAW once mentioned the case of a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky saying, O Lord O Lord... while his food is unlawful, his drink unlawful, his clothing unlawful, and he is nourished unlawfully, how can he be answered? (Muslim, 2018).

  • Acceptance of righteous deeds. Allah the Almighty in His essence is majestic and pure from any impurities and evilness. Then how the deeds of a man who fills his stomach with unlawful and unclean sources can ever reach the essence of purity? Never will the deeds be accepted.

“Never once a servant earns profits from a vile source, then he spends it, thereafter to be blessed. Never once he gives it for charity, then to be accepted and never he saves it unless as his provision in a journey to the hellfire. Indeed Allah does not obliterate evil with evil, but obliterate evil with kindness. Something despicable cannot erase another despicability” (Ahmad, 2015).

Connection from the aspect of the man himself

Man, himself bears the most influence from the sources of his food and drink because the food and drink enter his own body. Four sub-connections emerge from lawful, pure and doubt-free sources of income.

  • Blessings in life bring tranquility to human soul. Blessings according to al-Syaukani (2007) are divine kindness inherent in something. Thus, it is called a blessing because of the extant of innate signs of its interrelation with the divine. When divine kindness arrives at something which is small in quantity it may increase it abundantly. When it arrives at something which is already in abundance it may double its benefits. However, the greatest gift is that the blessings that arrive at something may eventually lead towards Allah the Almighty himself. In the hadith it was stated: “For two parties involved in a transaction there is an option to cancel it until they separate ways. If both are honest and transparent in their acts, the blessings are upon their transaction. But if both are involved in lies and concealment, the blessings upon the transaction is to disappear” (al-Nasai', 2014). An oath made to overdo selling may keep away blessings (Abu Daud, 2017). Hence, to sustain blessings, unlawful, impure and doubtful sources of income should be avoided because impurities and blessings are not meant to mix until the end of time.

  • Gentleness of the heart. The opposite of heart gentleness is its sternness, the condition in which the heart refuses to hear the truth, less afraid of God, becomes impious, less inclined towards supplication and spiritual matters (al-Mubarakfuri, 2015). One of the reasons is the sources of income. Hence, when Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked how to make the heart gentle? He answered: By eating those that are lawful (al-Ghamidi, 2016). In a hadith it was stated about the condition of the heart: “Verily there lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound. But if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily, this piece is the heart” (al-Bukhari, 2018, p. 52). In exposition of the hadith al-Asqolani (2017) stated that this hadith signals the splendour of the heart and encouragement of its betterment through observing the halal sources of livelihood because it can leave influence on the heart.

  • Glow of kindness on the face. Every good deed has their influence. Good deeds affect the appearance of a man’s face, as bad deed also affected him. Uthman bin Affan (Khumais al-Said, 2008) once said: “There is no deeds done by someone but Allah SWT will put around him a drape, if his deeds are good so is his drape, if his deeds are bad, so is his drape”. The influence of good or bad deeds on the face can be known from experiences that a man has gone through in his social interaction with members of the society. This had also been related by Ibnu Abbas (Khumais al-Said, 2008):

  • “Verily in good deeds are glow on the face, glow in the heart, strength to the body, ample livelihood and benevolence in the hearts of other beings. And verily in bad deeds are gloom on the face, gloom in the heart, weakness to the body, decrease in livelihood and malevolence in the hearts of other beings”.

  • When the food and drink from unlawful income enter the body, they turn into bad flesh and blood as mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “No meat (i.e. person) that was nourished unlawfully will enter paradise, hellfire is what it (he) is most entitled for” (Ahmad, 2015). Thus, when bad meat is extant in a man’s flesh, the bad of it will spread and infect the whole body until it eventually affects the face.

  • The high dignity of human self. From positive angle, the consummation of food and drink from pure sources of income, that is, from self-effort will elevate the dignity of a man himself. From a man whose soul is depraved to a man whose soul is rich, from a man whose soul loves to beg to a man whose soul loves to give. This was alluded by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “The hand which is above is better than the hand which is below” (Malik bin Anas, 2015), that is to say the person who gives, his hand is always above the hand of the receiver as a symbol of dignity of the person who gives. On the other hand, pure sources only became nourishment to those of noble rank, i.e. the prophets. Hence, Prophet Dawud (pbuh) only ate from what he gained through his self-effort even when he was a great king during his time. Due to that, man who eats from lawful, pure and doubt-free sources of income is a man of high dignity.

Connection with man’s health

Relationship between the acquisition of sources of nourishment and health was never discussed in the realm of medical science because its nature is abstract and not evident. However, there is a hadith which is considered weak from the genealogy of narrators (ruwat) according to al-Arnawut (2001) which relates the sources of livelihood with man’s health as follows: “Verily alms are dizziness in the head and inflammation in the abdomen or illness” (Ahmad, 2015). The connection is however weak because the reference to it is weak according to the opinion of al-Arnawut (2001) and al-Albani (1988), since one of the narrators of the hadith named Ibn Lahi’ah is a person of weak memory. Other than that, in-depth research into other references in the field of Islamic medicine failed to bring any explanation about the connection related in the hadith. However, it is mentioned in this article as additional information that might be useful for future research. Based on the discussion above, it can be summarised that the relationship model of lawful, pure and doubt-free sources of nourishment in its connection vis-á-vis man from the Islamic perspective is as shown in the figure 1 .

Figure 1: Figure 01. Model of lawful, pure and doubt-free sources of nourishment in its connection vis-á-vis man from the Islamic perspective
Figure 01. Model of lawful, pure and
       doubt-free sources of nourishment in its connection vis-á-vis man from the Islamic
See Full Size >


This article investigates about the relationship between man and the sources of income which is lawful, pure and doubt-free (without shubhah) from the Islamic perspective. The discussion illustrates that the sources of income has some connections in the aspects of man’s relationship with God, of man himself and of his health. Nevertheless, the connection with health is weak because the source of reference on this aspect is weak and no other sources were found to establish the former.


We gratefully thank the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia for financial support by providing us with Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) (FRGS/1/2018/SSI03/USM/03/1) and Universiti Sains Malaysia for facilities support to conduct this study.


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Harun*, M. A. W., & Baharuddin, A. S. (2019). Halal In Foods And Its Connection Vis-À-Vis Man From The Islamic Perspective. In N. S. Mat Akhir, J. Sulong, M. A. Wan Harun, S. Muhammad, A. L. Wei Lin, N. F. Low Abdullah, & M. Pourya Asl (Eds.), Role(s) and Relevance of Humanities for Sustainable Development, vol 68. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 465-473). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.52