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Last Updated: 2006/09/05
Summary of question
What causes jello to become haram or halal?
question
What is in JELLO that makes it haram, and what is in halal jello that makes it halal? The reason I want to know is because I heard that types of pudding, particularly those by jello brand, have similar ingredients and I want to be able to tell from the ingredients list whether or not I can eat it. In the meantime, I haven't been eating it. Thanks
Concise answer

There exists different types of jello; some are deemed halal, others haram. The criterion which classifies jello as being either halal or haram to consume, is that of its initial ingredients. Assuming the latter are all ‘herbal’, all jello types – domestic/foreign – are halal and permissible to consume. However, assuming the production of jello entails using ‘animal’ components, such jellos will be deemed halal on the condition that the animal, in question, (i) is of the halal-meat genre and (ii) has been Islamically slaughtered. Assuming either of these prerequisites are not met, the jello will be deemed haram save in cases where the ingredients are said to have been transmuted (i.e. to have undergone an essential state-to-state alteration). Hence, the basis upon which some jellos are decreed haram is due to (a) the prohibition of its initial ingredients or (b) the absence of the phenomenon of transmutation.

Detailed Answer

There exists different types of jello; some are deemed halal, others haram. The criterion which classifies jello as being either halal or haram to consume, is that of its initial ingredients. Assuming the latter are all ‘herbal’, all jello types – irrespective of its name or brand – are halal and permissible to consume save on occasions where one beholds certainty with respect to the jello’s najasah. However, assuming the production of jello entails using ‘animal’ components, such jellos will be deemed halal – irrespective of its name or brand, whether its domestic/foreign – on the condition that the animal, in question, (i) is of the halal-meat genre and (ii) has been Islamically slaughtered. Assuming a jello is derived from either haram-meat ‘animal’ components or halal-meat animals which haven’t been Islamically slaughtered (e.g. where the slaughterer is not Muslim), it will be deemed haram – save on occasions where transmutation occurs during the preparation of jello – albeit in very small quantities, and therefore impermissible to eat.

 

Assuming a given jello is bought from a non-Muslim market or shopping area/precinct (in non-Islamic countries) and that one acquires doubt either with respect to (a) its ingredients najasah or (b) whether its ingredients consumption is prohibited, a number of possibilities arise:

 

  1. assuming one knows that the jello is prepared from herbal ingredients but beholds doubt in relation to the jello’s najasah/taharah, one may deem the jello as tahir (ritually pure)[1]

  2. assuming one doesn’t know whether the jello has been extracted from herbal or animal components, one may deem it as being halal

  3. assuming one knows that the jello is derived from animal components but bears doubt vis-à-vis its being Islamically slaughtered, one ought to regard the jello on a par with a carcass (meetah) and thus deem it as being najis and forbidden to consume, save in cases where either (i)the aforementioned animal ingredients transmute during the formation of the jello or (ii) one acquires certainty with regards to the animal’s being Islamically slaughtered.[2]

 

Please note the following questions and answers:

 

Question: Are jellos extracted from porcine bones decreed haram?

 

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei’s Response

Assuming one acquires certainty that something has been prepared from porcine components, it would be deemed impermissible to employ and consume such things. However, one must note that jellos may be found at Muslim markets/shops and so they will be deemed halal and tahir as long as one doesn’t acquire certainty in relation to its prohibition or najasah.[3]

 

 

Question : We have brought lots of jello-containing pastilles from abroad and do not know whether or not the jello is of porcine origin. Whats the ruling with respect to its consumption?

 

Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s Response

Its not deemed problematic as long as the jello’s ‘animal’ origins is not known (acknowledged).[4]



[1]. The Catechism Questions of Imam Khomeini (May Allah have mercy on his soul): Vol.1 Pg.259,260,261,262 & 263.

[2]. The Catechism Questions of Imam Khomeini (May Allah have mercy on his soul): Pg.252,253,254,255 & 256

[3]. http://www.nahad.net/Q_A/questionsDetail.asp?code=8172

[4]. Http://Hozeh.tebyan.net/qa/html/qa/sistani/khordan.html

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