Darul Uloom Deoband has a long history of issuing controversial fatwas. Deobandi Islam is said to be the most widely practiced form of Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with many senior Afghan and Pakistani Taliban leaders attending Deobandi seminars.
A large number of questions on the website of Darul Uloom Deoband website ask for solutions in Deobandi school on family, health, marital relations and other topics. Here are some questions posed by observant Muslims to scholars about eating foods prepared or served by Hindus and visiting Hindu temples.
Tips on Food Prepared by Hindus
A practicing Muslim asked about food cooked by Hindus. His question had two sections, the first being whether it is advisable to sit next to a Hindu and eating your own food, and the second being whether it is acceptable in Islam to eat foods cooked by Hindus. It is pertinent to note that the issue was raised from Pakistan.
In the answer to the first part of the question, it is written that sharing a table with a non-Muslim is only acceptable when meals are separate. It is also mentioned that the Muslim person should eat in such a way that the non-Muslim will be persuaded to convert to Islam. “If you have a separate meal, it’s okay to share a table with a Hindu. Islam allows tolerance, rather if you eat according to sunna with the intention of impressing your colleague and inviting them to Islam, you might be rewarded for the same,” the response reads.
In particular, it was advised to avoid foods prepared in a Hindu home. “One should avoid eating food prepared in a Hindu household; especially foods which may contain questionable haraam ingredients or may be offerings from their gods, these foods are haraam and prohibited. Yes, you can eat the food you are happy with,” the answer continues.
Eating halal food brought by a non-Muslim friend
The next question is from Australia and is about eating halal food but prepared by a non-Muslim. The questioner asks if it is desirable to eat halal food cooked by a non-Muslim who eats pork. The answer indicates that it is advisable to stop eating the food and instead invite the friend to eat the food you prefer and prepare. The answer advises the questioner to eat and drink separately in order to protect the religion.
“…it is better, in accordance with the question mentioned above, to completely excuse eating with him and if you feel bad, tell him that in the future you will cook the food for yourself and for him and that you will both eat it together. If he does not accept your proposal, you also reject his proposal, it is better and safer for you. By arranging separate meals and drinks, there is the security of your religion which should take priority over friendship,” the response read.
Eating foods donated in temples
This question asks for permission to eat foods that have been donated by a temple. The answer says it is haram to eat food from temples. “It’s illegal and haraam to eat if it is certain that the items have been offered to their gods and goddesses or that the items are unclean. However, a Muslim should avoid entering temples,” the response read.
Eating food in a non-Muslim canteen
This questioner inquires about eating food in a canteen which is run by non-Muslims and serves halal food, but as the staff are non-Muslims, they cannot be trusted. The questioner asks if it is advisable to eat eggs and Biryani vegetables. The answer mentions that it is okay to eat egg and vegetable biryanis, but chicken should be skipped.
Hindu hotel food
This interlocutor’s question is about eating in restaurants owned by Hindus. The interrogator is from India and asks if it is okay to eat in a hotel run by Hindus. The answer states that while one can eat halal food in a restaurant or hotel run by Hindus, it is not advisable to go to a hotel run by a non-Muslim.
Uloom Darul Uloom Deoband originated the Sunni Islamic movement Deobandi and an Islamic seminary (Darul Uloom) in India. It is located in Deoband, a town in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Deoband has also issued a number of bizarre fatwas in the past. They had ordered Muslim women not to allow shopkeepers to touch them while putting on bangles, and they had banned DJs and music from playing at Muslim weddings. Some of them can be checked here.