Question:

Is it permissible to take medicine that contains gelatin?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Most Hanafi fuqaha in our times consider gelatin to be an impure substance if derived from pork or an animal not Islamically slaughtered, holding that the change it undergoes from its original state is not sufficient to be considered ‘essential transformation’ (tabdil al-mahiyya).

As such, gelatin from such sources would be considered filthy (najis). Therefore, this issues goes back to using impure substances as medicine.

The general ruling is that it is impermissible to use impure substances for medical purposes.

However, as mentioned by Ibn Abidin and others, it is permitted to use impure substances for medical purposes if:

– it is reasonably known that the medicine will be effective, and is needed;
– there is no permissible alternative reasonably available;
– and this has been established by an expert Muslim doctor who is at least outwardly upright, or through part experience, or clear signs (e.g. it is clearly known to one and all that this is the only medical alternative, for example).

And Allah knows best.

By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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