Istihalah: Analysis on The Utilization of Gelatin in Food Productsmore

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Istihalah: Analysis on The Utilization of Gelatin in Food Productsmore

Istihalah: Analysis on The Utilization of Gelatin in Food Productsmore

 2011 2nd International Conference on Humanities, Historical and Social Sciences
IPEDR vol.17 (2011) © (2011)IACSIT Press, Singapore

Istihalah: Analysis on The Utilization of Gelatin in Food Products

Mohammad Aizat Jamaludin + 1 , Nor Nadiha Mohd Zaki 2, Mohd Anuar Ramli 3, Dzulkifly MatHashim 4 and Suhaimi Ab Rahman 5
1 PhD. Student, Halal Policy and Management, Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia
2Research Officer, Laboratory of Halal Science Research, Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti PutraMalaysia
3Lecturer, Department of Fiqh and Usul, Academy of Islamic Studies, Universiti Malaya
4Head, Laboratory of Halal Services, Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia
5Head, Laboratory of Halal Policy and Management, Halal Products Research Institute, University PutraMalaysia
This paper discusses the issue of gelatin used in food products from Islamic and science perspective. With the development of food technology, variety of food has been produced and some of themare from gelatin based products. Issue arises when the halal status of gelatin is questionable. In food industry,gelatin could derive either from pig skin and cattle hides which are not clear about the status of halalness.This cause concern among muslim and therefore a careful study needs to be done. This paper uses  Istihalah  method in order to determine the halal and haram status in modern food products.  Istihalah or complete process of transformation from one substance into another substance has been applied in gelatin based food products. It is suggested that chemical composition of gelatin remain unchanged in food products because theamino acid in gelatin is still intact and did not undergo any chemical transformation although the production process involve extreme condition.

Gelatin, food products,Istihalah, halal and haram, Islam


The Muslims community represents 23.4% or 1.6 billion of the world population. The majority of Muslims are from Asia Pacific which represent 61.9% and Middle-East, 20.1%. These numbers areexpecting to increase 2.2 billion in 2030. This means that the demand for halal (permitted by Islamic Law) products will be increased.
Food industry is one of the main concerns in Muslims community. The rapid development in foodtechnology results the emergence of various food products and food ingredients in market.
Many foodingredients are produced from doubtful sources. In addition, lack of awareness from Muslim consumersmight lead to the difficulties in choosing purely halal food products in market. One of the most controversialissues in food industry in Muslims world is gelatin based food products.
Gelatin uses as value-added ingredient in foods because of its unique properties. Issues arises because of the main sources of gelatin used in food industry are from pig and cattle. These animal sources are used because they provide best quality of gelatin as compared to other sources such as fish, poultry and marine.Furthermore, the abundance sources of pig and cattle decrease the issues of shortage of raw materials.Therefore, the uncertainty in determination of halal and haram gelatin sources needs to be clearly defined by Islamic Law.

Generally, most of Muslim jurist agreed that gelatin derived from slaughtered and permitted animals ishalal. However, there is argument on gelatin that is derived from pig and carrion.
The halal and haramsources of this matter have been debated among Muslim jurists. Some of them agreed that gelatin extractedfrom the prohibited sources is haram. Whereas the other opinion supported the idea that gelatin from haramsources is halal because it does already undergo Istihalah process (Hammad, 2004).

Istihalah literally means transformation and conversion of one material to other material. It is one of alternative methods of determination on halal and haram. Basically, the main sources of Istihalah
are from Quran,Sunnah (prophetic tradition), Ijma’ (consensus of legal opinion) and Qiyas
(analogy) (Nyazee, 2000).While, secondary sources of Istihalah namely, Maslahah(public interest),
‘Uruf (custom),al-Istihsan (juridical preference), Sad al-Dhari’ah(blocking the means),al-Istishab
(presumption of continuity) andothers (Audah, 2010).

In addition, there are also an alternative sources such as al-Dharurah(necessity), al- Istihalah(transformation), al-Istihlak (decomposition) and al-Istibra’ (quarantine) (Hammad, 2004).
This paper is an attempt to apply an Istihalah
method on gelatine and to scientifically analyze theseissues. The scientific evident obtained will be a guideline for researcher to choose which opinion of Muslim jurist is more relevant to be applied on current issues of gelatin.

2. Theory and Methodology
Basically, Istihalahis derived from Arabic word. Etymologically, it is derived from the root “halaa” see arabic
,which means transform or change (Ibn Manzur, 1990).
While the term  Istihalah”  is derived from Astahala.
It is synonym with the word in arab Yastahiel, Istihaal. It is synonym with the words anqalab(change) and taqoel (exchange).L gelatine

Istihalah can be defined as a transformation of materials to other materials (non-reversibletransformation) (Qal’ahji, 1996). Zuhayli (1997) also defines Istihalahas transformation or conversion of material to other material which involves conversion of the composition and properties includes theconversion of filthy (najs) materials into pure(thahir) materials. Hammad (2004) add that Istihalah is atransformation of filthy or haram materials to other materials which include physical appearance and its properties such as name, odor, taste, color and nature.

Therefore, Istihalah can be defined as a completetransformation occurred physically and chemically (Aizat & Radzi, 2009). Besides, there are two opinions on Istihalah application by Muslim jurist. First opinion suggested thatapplication of Istihalah can be applied into various situations as agreed by Hanafi, Maliki, Ibn al-’Arabi, IbnTaimiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Syawkani and Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri school of thoughts. They widely applied Istihalah method in natural and synthetics transformation (Ibn Taymiyyah, 2005).

As an example, thefermentation of wine to vinegar is considered halal whether it undergoes natural or synthetic process. On theother hand, the Syafii and Hanbali school of thoughts tended to limit the application of Istihalah
in certainissues only. They only accepted natural process of transformation without any intervention of synthetic process. i.e. natural transformation of wine to vinegar (al-Syarbini, 1994).

Therefore, it is agreed that the first opinion from Hanafi school of thoughts is more appropriate to beapplied in this research because it widened the scope of transformation process, in this case for gelatin based products. In addition, this opinion is relevant with the current development in food processing because itinvolve various treatment (chemically and physically).

2.1 Istihalah Process
Figure 1 shows the process of Istihalah.


Figure 1:Istihalah Process

There are three main elements, namely raw materials,conversion agents and finish products. The mixing process occurred as a result of the interaction betweenraw material and conversion agent, naturally or synthetically. Then, the finished product will undergoconversion process which is differed physically and chemically from the original material.

3. Analysis of Gelatin Based on Istihalah

Gelatin is a protein which is derived from partially hydrolyzed collagen obtained mainly from skin and bones of vertebrates (Karim & Rajeev, 2008). Collagen consists of tertiary, secondary and primary structure(Figure 2a). Partially hydrolyzed collagen could means of the cleavage of tertiary and secondary structureinto smaller molecules. Meanwhile, primary structure of gelatin consists of amino acid (Figure 2b) which isthe smallest molecule could be found in gelatin. According to Schrieber & Gareis, (2007), the composition of collagen encompasses all 20 amino acids. Glycine, proline and hydroxyproline are the largest numbers of amino acid exist in gelatin.

Gelatin is a very important ingredient as value-added properties in food products. It is widely used astexture stabilizer, foaming agent, emulsifying agent, thickener and other. Gelatin can be found in variousfood products such as ice-cream, dairy products, jelly, puddings, beverages and meat products. The broadusage of gelatin in food products leads to the argumentation among Muslim consumers because of itsquestionable sources.
The Gelatin Manufacturer’s of Europe (2011), states that main source of edible gelatinis extracted from pigskin (80%), cattle hide split (15%) and the remaining 5% comes from pig and cattle bones, poultry and fish.
Islam forbade it followers to consume haram and doubtful (syubhah) ) foods. It isstated in Al-Quran:

Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked thename of other than Allah. that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or bybeing gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety.(Al-Maidah, 5:3)

From the versus above, it is evident that Muslims are forbidden to consume foods classified as deadanimals or carrion (maytah ), blood, pork and meat dedicated for other than Allah (Nurdeng, 2009). It is alsostated in the Quran that all animal that is allowed by Islam must be slaughtered according to Islamic Law(Riaz, 2004).

Therefore, it is obvious that Muslim consumers are not allowed to consume pork products. However,argument from Muslim jurist arise on the issues of pork derivatives that is claimed already undergo an Istihalah process. 

Hammad (2004) suggested that the complete transformation has been occurred in finished products.
In food production line, gelatin can be extracted from pigskin, cattle bone and hide, thus it is clearlystated that gelatin can be derived from both halal and haram sources. Gelatin will be added with other ingredients, mixes together and undergo various processing methods include heat treatment, enzymatic reaction, pasteurization and others.
This method involved extreme/minimal condition that can physically and/or chemically modify the food matrix structure, in order to produce satisfy food products.
In Istihalah application, raw material must mix with other substances and produce another material (Figure 1).

The transformation of raw materials to other products could happen physically (by observation)or chemically changes. Basically, the physical appearance of gelatin has been transformed. Gelatin also has been mixed with other substances in order to produce particular products.
However, it is believed that the chemical composition of gelatin is remained unchanged.
It is suggestedthat the amino acid in food products is still remained intact and did not undergo any chemical transformationalthough the production process involve extreme condition.
Denaturation of protein (which involves heattreatment or alcohol or acid and alkali or heavy metals) could only disrupt the tertiary and secondarystructure of protein (Figure 2a) and do not break the peptides bond and amino acids
(Figure 2b). Furthermore,Hoque et al. (2009) suggested that excessive heating could degrade the gelatin; meanwhile lower heattreatment could only influence the stretching and unfolding of gelatin strands.
Thus, the amino acidmolecules in gelatin are not affected by physical or chemical treatment
(Figure 3).


Hence, it is suggested that gelatin only transforms physically, not chemically.
Because of that reason, Istihalah method in gelatin cannot be fully applied. Most of Muslim scholars suggested that the application of Istihalah only can be applied when the complete transformation (physically and chemically) occurredduring the process (Ghananim, 2008; Aizat & Radzi, 2009).

For examples, the conversion of wine intovinegar undergo complete changes physically (odour, colour and taste) and chemically (chemical structure).Because of this reason, the halal and haram status determination in these issues should be referred to thesources of origin of extracted gelatin. As a result, the argument which claims that Istihalah
process occurredon pork after undergo conversion process cannot be accepted.

4. Conclusion

All gelatin derived from halal sources and slaughtered according to Islamic Law is permitted for Muslim.
Meanwhile, gelatin extracted from pig and not slaughtered animal are prohibited.
This prohibition based on the characteristics of gelatin that remains unchanged chemically; hence Istihalah
or transformation process in gelatin is not completely occurred.
Therefore, the opinion of Muslim jurist that claim gelatin derived from pork are permitted by Istihalah
process are not acceptable because it is not parallel with scientific evident.

5. References

[1]  A. Jasser. Script-Based Rational Evidences. In A. Jasser (ed.). Maqasid al-Shariah as Philosophy of Islamic Law .Kuala Lumpur. Islamic Book Trust. 2010. pp. 107-135.
[2]A. A. Karim, Rajeev Bhat. Fish gelatin: properties, challenges, and prospects as an alternative to mammaliangelatins. Food Hydrocolloids. 2008, 23, (3): 563-576.
[3] D. Nurdeng, Lawful and unlawful foods in Islamic law focus on Islamic medical and ethical aspects. International Food Research Journal. 2009, 16: 469-478.
[4] Ibn Manzur. Lisan al-‘Arab . Beirut. Dar Sadir. 1990. pp. 185.
[5] Ibn Taymiyyah. Majmu‘ah al-Fatawa Ibn al-Taymiyyah . 3 rd edition. vol. 21. Egypt. Dar al-Wafa’. 2005. pp. 308-310.[6] I. A. K. Nyazee. The Sources of Islamic law. In I. A. K. Nyazee (ed.). Islamic Jurisprudence . Pakistan. TheInternational Institute of Islamic Thought. 2000. pp. 144.

[7] M. J. Aizat & C.W. J. W. M. Radzi. Theory of Istihalah In Islamic and Science Perspective: Application For Several Food Processing Products. Jurnal Syariah . 2009, 17, (1): 169-193
[8] M. S. Hoque, S. Benjakul, T. Prodpran. Effect of heat treatment of film-forming solution on the properties of filmfrom cuttlefish ( sepia pharaonis ) skin gelatin. Journal of Food Engineering . 2010, 96: 66-73
[9]M.R. Qal‘ahji. Mu‘jam Lughah al-Fuqaha’ . Beirut. Dar al-Nafa’is. 1996. pp. 39.
[10] N. Hammad. al-Mawad al-Muharramah wa al-Najisah fi al-Ghiza’ wa al-Dawa’ bayna al-Nazariyyah wa al-Tatbiq. Syria. Dar al-Qalam. 2004. pp. 16.
[11] N. R. Mian & M. M. Chaudry. Halal Food Production . London. CRC Press. 2004. pp. 15.
[12] Q. I. Ghananim. (ed.). A l-Istihalah wa Ahkamuha fi al-Fiqh al-Islami. Jordan. Dar al-Nafais. 2008. pp. 85.
[13] R. Schreiber, H. Gareis. The raw material ‘Ossein’. In. R. Schreiber and H. Gareis.(eds.). Gelatine Handbook-Theory and Industrial Practice. Weinham, Wiley-VCH. 2007. pp. 63-71
[14] Syarbini. al-Iqna‘ fi Halli Alfaz Abi Syuja’ . Beirut. Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah. 1994. pp. 108.
[15] W. al-Islami wa Adillatuh . vol. 1. Syria. Dar al-Fikr. 1997. pp. 100. 178

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