Can we use dishes that non-Muslims had formerly used to cook pork or other unlawfully slaughtered meat or used to eat such meat from? I ask in reference to the hadith about the dishes of the people of the Book: "Do not eat from them unless you do not find anything else to eat from. In that case, wash them and eat from them.”
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
This is an authentic hadîth related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî
and Sahîh Muslim
Abû Tha`labah al-Khushanî said to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him): "We come from a land populated by the People of the Scripture. Can we eat from their dishes?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "Do not eat from them unless you do not find anything else to eat from. In that case, wash them and eat from them."
The wording of the hadîth gives a general prohibition of using such dishes if other dishes are availible, meaning that this prohibition applies even if we know that those dishes are clean and free from impurities. The basic assumption in Islamic jurisprudence would be that the prohibition of the Prophet (peace be upon him) indicates the unlawfulness of doing the prohibited act.
However, in this case, we have Allah’s statement in the Qur’ân: “The food of those who have been given the Scripture is lawful to you.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah
Moreover, there are many cases where the Prophet (peace be upon him) ate the food of the People of the Book. All of this shows us that the prohibition given in the hadîth under discussion cannot mean that eating from such dishes is unlawful. Scholars differ as to whether doing so is generally disliked or generally permissible.
The strongest opinion on the matter is that such dishes are lawful to use, even if it is known that they had formerly been tainted by impurities like pork or the meat of unlawfully slaughtered animals. This is the position of the Hanbalî school of thought. It is supported by a large body of evidence which is as follows:
1. Allah says: “He is the one who created for you everything that is on the Earth.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah
: 29] This verse indicates that the default ruling for everything is an underlying assumption of permissibility. These dishes fall under the general