In this article, we will explore the various viewpoints of Islamic scholars regarding soybean’s halal status, and understand the factors that contribute to these opinions. By doing so, we hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic for Muslims who seek clarity on whether soybean can be included in their halal diet.
Does Soybean Hit the Sweet Spot or Miss the Mark
Halal refers to any object or action that is permissible to use or engage in according to Islamic law. It is often used to indicate foods that Muslims are allowed to consume. Haram is the opposite of halal and refers to anything prohibited under Islamic law.
Soybean is an edible legume native to East Asia that is a common ingredient found in many food products today. Soybean-derived ingredients like soy protein, lecithin, and soybean oil can be found in foods ranging from vegetarian burgers to chocolate bars, as well as non-food items like cosmetics and candles.
Given soybean’s widespread use globally, questions have arisen regarding its halal status for Muslim consumers who strictly adhere to dietary regulations outlined in the Quran and Hadith. The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive examination of scholarly opinions and present evidence on the permissibility of soybean consumption in Islam.
Key questions to be addressed:
- What are the criteria for determining if a food is halal according to Islamic law?
- What are the main scholarly stances regarding the halal status of soybean?
- Is there consensus among Islamic scholars and bodies that soybean is halal?
- What is the evidence to support the halal certification of soybean products?
By thoroughly analyzing the scholarly discourse surrounding soybean in Islam, this article will seek to provide clarity on the halality of this globally utilized crop.
Overview of Islamic Dietary Laws
Islamic dietary laws regarding food and drink are derived from the
Hadith teachings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The main factors that determine whether a food is considered halal (permissible) or haram (prohibited) are:
- Ingredients – Certain foods and ingredients like pork, alcohol, and carnivorous animals are expressly forbidden in the
- Method of preparation – Food prepared using utensils, machines, or surfaces that have come in contact with haram foods can be rendered haram.
- Human intervention – Muslims are prohibited from consuming blood. Slaughtering techniques matter, as blood must be drained from the animal.
Foods are classified into three categories:
- Halal – Permitted to be consumed
- Haram – Strictly forbidden
- Mashbooh – Questionable or doubtful
For a food to be certified halal, it must comply with the following conditions outlined in the
“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (2:168)
Hadith also lays down specific guidelines regarding zabiha (ritual slaughter) and further clarifies what foods are forbidden for Muslims. Scholars have derived rulings and conditions based on these primary sources to determine the halal status of various foods.
Examination of Soybean’s Halal Status
Soybean (Glycine max) is an annual legume that originated in East Asia but is now grown and consumed globally. Soybeans have a high protein content (around 40%) and are processed into various food ingredients like:
- Soybean oil
- Soy protein isolates
- Soy lecithin
- Soy milk
These soy-derived ingredients are commonly found in many packaged foods today including vegetarian products, protein bars, baked goods, infant formulas, and more.
In determining the halal status of soybean according to Islamic law, the following key considerations need to be made:
Plant source – As an edible legume crop, soybean is a vegetable by origin and thus permitted by default. Plant foods are halal unless exceptions are made.
Intoxicating or hazardous effects – Consuming soybean has no intoxicating or hazardous effect on humans.
Method of processing – Soybean oil and other ingredients do not require non-halal additives or equipment.
Resulting product – Soybean derivatives like soy lecithin are pure extracts from the original plant and do not change its inherent characteristics.
Scholars have analyzed these points in light of Quranic verses and teachings within the Hadith to derive rulings on the permissibility of soybean for Muslim consumption.
Scholarly Consensus of Soybean being Halal
Based on analysis of Islamic sources and legal precedents, there is a scholarly consensus among Sunni and Shia authorities that soybean is considered halal.
Major Islamic advisory boards and halal certification organizations have declared the permissibility of consuming soybean products:
- The International Halal Integrity (IHI) Alliance, representing over 90 halal certifiers globally, confirmed soybeans as halal.
- The Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) states: “Soybean and anything originated from soybean is considered Halal.”
- The Halal Monitoring Committee acknowledges all soybean-based foods as permissible.
The reasons underlying this consensus include:
- Soybean meets all the basic criteria for a halal food outlined in the Quran and Hadith.
- No evidence from primary sources prohibits or cautions against soybean consumption.
- Traditional scholarly opinions and modern research show soybean has a permissible plant-based origin, is safe for human use, and processing does not affect its inherent nature.
A minority of more conservative Hanbali jurists had expressed doubts in the past regarding soybean’s halal status when it was newly introduced. But mainstream scholars have rejected this view due to lack of supporting evidence. As the Hanafi scholar Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi states:
“No particular school of thought has ever explicitly forbidden soy; there is no valid basis for avoiding it.”
Therefore, there are very few remaining dissenting opinions, and the overwhelming consensus is that soybeans and soy products are permissible for Muslims to consume.
FAQ – Is Soybean Halal
Yes, soybean is considered halal under Islamic dietary guidelines. It is permissible for Muslims to consume soybeans and products made from soybeans.
Is soy sauce halal?
Soy sauce can be halal if it is made from permissible ingredients and does not contain any haram (forbidden) substances. It is important to check the ingredients label and ensure that it has been produced according to halal standards.
Is soy sauce considered halal?
Yes, soy sauce is considered halal when it is made from halal ingredients and prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary guidelines.
Are Nutrela soyabean chunks halal?
Nutrela soyabean chunks are made from soybeans which are permissible for Muslims to consume. However, it is recommended to check the packaging for any additional ingredients that may affect its halal status.
Is soya sauce halal?
Yes, soya sauce can be halal if it is made from permissible ingredients and does not contain any haram substances. It is advised to check the ingredients list and ensure that it is produced according to halal standards.
Can soy sauce be fermented from wheat?
No, traditional soy sauce is not fermented from wheat. The key ingredient in soy sauce is soybeans, which undergo a fermentation process. However, there are some variations of soy sauce that may contain wheat, so it is important to read the label carefully.
Is it considered halal if soy sauce is made without alcohol?
Yes, if soy sauce is made without alcohol and other haram substances, it is considered halal. Islamic dietary guidelines prohibit the consumption of alcohol, so it is crucial to ensure that soy sauce is alcohol-free.
Can soy sauce be used as a dipping sauce by Muslims?
Yes, Muslims can use soy sauce as a dipping sauce as long as it is halal and does not contain any haram ingredients. It is recommended to check the halal status of the specific brand or variant of soy sauce before consuming it.
Is it permissible to consume soy sauce that has been made with or contains pig’s fat?
No, it is not permissible for Muslims to consume soy sauce that has been made or contains pig’s fat
In conclusion, the preponderance of evidence from Quranic verses, Hadiths, and Islamic jurisprudence indicates that soybeans are halal and permissible to consume.
Mainstream Islamic scholars and religious authorities overwhelmingly endorse the halal status of soybean products. This consensus is based on the following key points:
- Soybean has a plant source, and plants are permitted by default.
- No evidence from the Quran or Hadith specifically prohibits soybean.
- Soybean has no intoxicating or hazardous effects.
- Soybean processing does not involve addition of haram ingredients.
However, as always with matters of Islamic law, only God knows absolute truth. While the evidence strongly supports the halal nature of soybeans, Muslim consumers should analyze scholarly opinions and make their own informed decisions.
In the face of near unanimous agreement among experts on this issue, companies and certifiers can confidently label soybean ingredients and derivative products as halal. Nevertheless, it is advisable to exercise responsibility and caution out of piety.
This thorough examination and compilation of scholarly views on soybean aims to alleviate doubts within the Muslim community and provide guidance on this globally relevant food.