Food: Prepared by non-Muslims

Q227 :A friend of mine advises me not to eat any food cooked or prepared by anyone other than a follower of Islam, Christianity or Judaism. According to him, it is not permissible in Islam to eat any food prepared by a Hindu or Buddhist, etc. How far is this correct?

A227 : Perhaps your friend has a very restricted view of the Qur'anic verse which states that "the food of the people of earlier scriptures is permissible for you to eat". There is no disagreement among scholars that this verse refers to slaughtered animals. What is meant is that animals slaughtered by Christians and Jews are permissible for Muslims to eat because it is forbidden in their religions to consecrate the slaughter of any animal for any one other than Allah. This does not apply to other religions. Hence, the restriction on Muslims not to eat the slaughtered animals of the followers of other religions. This ruling does not apply to the preparation of food which does not include anything unlawful for a Muslim to eat. If you are eating vegetable dish, you need not ask who prepared it, because it does not matter from the viewpoint of Islam what religion the cook follows. Allah has made it permissible for us to eat anything the earth produces with the exception of those items which He has specifically forbidden. What is forbidden for Muslims to eat is that which Allah has forbidden for a specific reason. He has not forbidden anything due to the identity or the faith of the person who handles or cooks it. When something is forbidden, it remains so, even though a Muslim may prepare it. We cannot eat pork, or something consecrated for anyone other than Allah, even though it may have been handled throughout its process of preparation by a Muslim. Similarly, vegetables and fruits and lawful meat do not become unlawful if they are handled by a Hindu or an atheist or anyone else. Otherwise, Muslim countries would not have allowed any imported food from Korea, Japan, Thailand or other countries where the overwhelming majority of the population do not follow any of the three divine religions.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )