The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » People of the Book

1 Question: Can Muslim, who rents a fully furnished house in the West, consider everything in it to be ritually pure as long as he does not find any trace of impure things in it, even if the previous occupant was from Ahlul Kitab, i.e., a Christian or a Jew? What if the previous occupant was a Bhuddhist or an atheist who does not believe in God and the prophets?
Answer: Yes, he can consider everything in the house ritually pure as long as he does not know that it has become impure. Just conjecture or doubt about impurity is of no value.
2 Question: Are the Bhuddhists among the Ahlul Kitab?
Answer: They are not from them.
3 Question: Are the Sikhs considered to be among the followers of the past revealed religions like the Jews and the Christians?
Answer: They are not counted among the People of the (Revealed) Books (the Ahlul Kitab).
4 Question: What is the fatwa about Ahlul Kitab? Are they clean or unclean?
Answer: The Ahlul Kitab (that is, the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians) are ritually pure (tahir) as long as you do not know that they have become ritually impure (najis) by coming into contact with an impure object. You can follow this ruling when dealing with them.
5 Question: Is it permissible permissible to eat from non Ahlul Kitãb people?
Answer: A Muslim is allowed to eat the food prepared by a non-Muslim who is not from Ahlul Kitãb [for example, a Hindu or a Buddhist], provided that he does not know or is not sure that the non-Muslim touched the food with wetness; and provided that he does not know or is not sure that the food consists of what is forbidden to him like intoxicating drinks. As for meat, fat and their extracts, there are specific rules that will come later on.
6 Question: Is it permissible to eat foods prepared by Christians and Jews?
Answer: Since the followers of the past revealed religions (that is, the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians) are ritually pure, many of the problems concerning the status and permissibility of the food are resolved when we live in their midst. It becomes permissible for us as Muslims to eat from their food no matter whether they touched it with their wet hands or not as long as we do not know or are not sure that it consists of what is forbidden to us, like intoxicating drinks. As for meat, fat and their extracts, there are specific rules that will be discussed later on.
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