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Is bovine gelatin derived from cow hide halal when the cow has not been slaughtered according to Islamic law ?
In the scenario mentioned, it should be clear that the bovine hide only undergoes an insignificant change during its manufacture whereby the collagen in the hide modifies to become gelatin. Indeed, scientifically it has
also been shown that this modification is tantamount to that found in cooking whereby the collagen in meat beomes gelatin. Accordingly, this change does not render it a completely new substance through a process
known in Islamic law as Istihala (substance transformation) and is therefore impermissible to consume.
It should though be noted that, as the bovine hide does undergo a liming process which has been ruled to fall under the ruling of tanning (dibagha), such a tanned hide is ruled to be pure (tahir). Accordingly, if this hide is then used to derive gelatin it has been considered to be halal to consume according to some scholars, whereas most still consider it impermissible to consume.
However, in the case of a genuine medical need and in the absence of a suitable halal alternative, a product containing the said bovine gelatin may be used when it is medically advised.
More details on the issue are covered in the attached fatwa endorsed by Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani here: Urdu Fatwa on Bovine Gelatin
And Allah knows best
Answered by FCB Fatwa Department