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Please, I Want a Subway Sandwich

Posted on May 10, 2015 by in Blog, Fiqh | 3 comments

SubRoastBeef

Question: Are we allowed to buy meat from “halal subway” or other similar outlets?

Answer:

Subway is a popular sandwich restaurant which has over 43,000 franchises in various countries of the world, such as: Australia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. There are franchises in the west and Muslim countries which claim to be fully or partly halal. But, there are potential problems raised which might bar people from consuming meat in these restaurants. This article will briefly look into these issues and conclude permissibility.

The first potential problem of eating at Subway would be the doubt that some have of whether it supports armies who are at war with Islam. This has not been confirmed and is a mere suspicion. A boycott would become necessary if one is certain that the money used to purchase food (or whatever the product is) will be used for these purposes. Subway does not fit under this banner. Hence, this potential problem does not tarnish its permissibility.

The second potential problem of eating at Subway would be whether one can take their word that their meat is halal. If the owner of the franchise is Muslim and he testifies to the meat being halal, then one can trust him. If the owner is non-Muslim, but a Muslim body testifies to the meat and procedures being in accordance with shiaria standards, than one can eat. Finally, if one is certain that the person, regardless of his religion, is telling the truth and the meat is halal one can eat.

The third potential problem would be contamination. Some halal Subway restaurants only serve halal meat. In these restaurants there is no worry of contamination. Other halal Subway restaurants serve both halal and haram meat. The worry of contamination is present because the sandwich ingredients can easily rub against the najis meat and become najis, or the person preparing the sandwich might have touched najis meat and then used their hand, transferring najis substances to your sandwich.

When pondering over potential contamination, one must remember the jurisprudential principle: everything is tahir (pure) unless it is known to be najis. Therefore, if there is any doubt, one can consider it to be tahir. Hence, the only way one would be forced to refrain from eating at Subway due to contamination would be if one sees his sandwich become najis. Otherwise, there would be no problem. This would to true for Subway franchises that do not serve halal meat as well. One may purchase a veggies and cheese sub and if he does not see contamination he can eat it.

Therefore, as long as Subway’s support for armies at war with Islam is unconfirmed, their halalness is trusted, and one does not witness the contamination of his sandwich there would be no Islamic restraints from eating at this restaurant.

And Allah knows best.

By: Shaykh Hamid Waqar

3 Comments

  1. Salaam

    Thanks a lot for posting this article sheikhna, you are most kind :)

    • Salam

      To which degree must we be satisfied that a muslim body has testified to their halal-ness? For example, if I see a certificate on their wall from a muslim halal regulation organisation saying all meat here is halal then I might be 98% or 99% sure that it is halal, but there is always a tiny chance of a typo or a lie. Will that 99% sureness that a muslim organisation endorses them be sufficient enough to eat there?

      Ws

      • Yes, 98-99 percent would be sufficient.

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