All food, except meat, that is cooked or prepared by non-Muslims is “halal” (permissible) for Muslim to eat, a Saudi Sheikh and former judge told Al Arabiya in an interview Wednesday.
Sheikh Mohammed al-Jazlani’s statement came after another religious scholar, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manie who is member of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Religious Scholars, issued an edict banning food prepared by foreign non-Muslim maids working in Saudi Arabia.
In the kingdom, Indonesians and Filipinos make up the majority of household workers, including maids, drivers and gardeners. Filipinos, most of whom are non-Muslims, make up about 250,000. Indonesians are estimated at 900,000.
“Muslims are allowed to eat food prepared or cooked without prayers… and this is agreed on by Muslims scholars,” Sheikh Jazlani told Al Arabiya.
He stressed however, that Muslims should be careful not to eat in dishes previously used for serving pork or alcohol.
Sheikh Manie had called for recruiting less non-Muslim maids from abroad. He urged immigration agencies to be more selective in their recruits. He said maids from non-monotheistic religions should only be hired to do non-cooking jobs such as cleaning.
“Do your own cooking and eat whatever you like. You have nothing to do with non-Muslim maids and those who are of non-monotheistic religions, because they are pagans,” Sheikh Manie said in his Fatwa.
When asked about Muslims eating at restaurants, he said: “do not ask or be suspicious about it except if you were told that the workers in the restaurant were Buddhist; only then, it will be a sin if you buy food from there.”