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J Relig Health

DOI 10.1007/s10943-017-0403-3


Cultured Meat in Islamic Perspective

Mohammad Naqib Hamdan1 Mark J. Post2

Mohd Anuar Ramli1 Amin Rukaini Mustafa3

 Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Abstract Cultured meat is a promising product that is derived through biotechnology that
partially circumvents animal physiology, thereby being potentially more sustainable,
environmentally friendly and animal friendly than traditional livestock meat. Such a novel
technology that can impact many consumers evokes ethical, philosophical and religious
discussions. For the Islamic community, the crucial question is whether cultured meat is
halal, meaning compliant with Islamic laws. Since the culturing of meat is a new dis-
covery, invention and innovation by scientists that has never been discussed by classical
jurists (fuqaha), an ijtihad by contemporary jurists must look for and provide answers for
every technology introduced, whether it comply the requirements of Islamic law or not. So,
this article will discuss an Islamic perspective on cultured meat based on the original
scripture in the Quran and interpretations by authoritative Islamic jurists. The halal status
of cultured meat can be resolve through identifying the source cell and culture medium
used in culturing the meat. The halal cultured meat can be obtained if the stem cell is
extracted from a (Halal) slaughtered animal, and no blood or serum is used in the process.

& Mohd Anuar Ramli
Mohammad Naqib Hamdan
Mark J. Post
Amin Rukaini Mustafa
Department of Fiqh and Usul, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Jalan Universiti,
50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Department of Physiology, Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER Maastricht, The
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Kings Building, West Main Road,
Edinburgh, UK

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The impact of this innovation will give positive results in the environmental and sustain the
livestock industry.

Keywords Cultured meat  Halal  Slaughtered animal  Islamic view


Cultured meat is one of the latest products in the world of nutritional science. It is produced
not through the conventional method of animal husbandry, but it is produced in the
laboratory. Currently, it is still at the level of laboratory study and has yet to penetrate into
the consumer market. When cultured meat is to be marketed later, the acceptance of
consumers of this product should be carefully considered. For instance, if it is intended for
Muslim consumers, cultured meat should fulfil the Halal standards in Islam. Complying
with the Halal standards is a must-have opportunity considering the halal market is so
substantial as it is expected to reach USD 1.6 tn by the year 2018 (Beer 2014). Further-
more, it is relatively easy to comply with the Halal standard and ignoring this possibility
could mean a big loss to the industry.

Cultured Meat

The Concept of Cultured Meat

Scientists have resorted to various terms to depict cultured meat. Among the terms used are
cultured meat (Tuomisto and de Mattos 2011), cultured beef (Post 2014), lab-meat
(Coghlan 2011), lab-grown meat (Russell and Giner-Sorolla 2011), artificial meat
(Orzechowski 2015) and in vitro meat (Zuhaib Fayaz Bhat et al. 2015). In general, cultured
meat is produced outside of the animals body through cell production from specific stem
cells in combination with tissue engineering for tissue generation (Bhat et al. 2014). The
stem cells and tissues are placed in the right medium for growth and maturation into
muscle fibres, which is the main component of meat. The medium must have all the
nutrients and substrates needed for cells and tissues or the stem cells to proliferate and
mature (Bhat et al. 2015).
In short, the concept of cultured meat production evolves and may differ in several key
ways including type of stem cells used, the production methods and conditions and the
intended products. Normally, the stem cells should be originally extracted from specific
tissues of an animal such as a cow. These cell lines are then grown ex vivo or outside the
animal bodies normally on a petri dish for a small scale production under proper condi-
tions. Once, the new grown cells (forming tissues) have grown in an appropriate amount,
the original source of tissues are discarded. The new grown cells are retrieved and con-
ditioned physically to achieve cultured meat with relatively similar appearance and taste as
traditional meat.

The History of Cultured Meat

In 1932, Winston Churchill had predicted that in the future, meat can be produced in
isolation from the animal body (Churchill 1932). In reality, the idea was not his brainchild,

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because 2 years earlier, a writer Fredick Edwin Smith had first introduced the idea (Smith
1930). It is also believed that Winston got this idea from his friend (Post 2014), a scientist
named Alexis Carrel, who had successfully ensured that the embryonic chicken heart could
live ex vivo for a long period of time (Carrel 1937). It was the first success of that kind. In
1943, a novel writer who wrote science fiction had reflected on the use of cultured meat in
restaurants in his novel entitled Ravage (Bhat et al. 2015).
At that time, cell and especially tissue culture technologies were still in their infancies
and making meat with this technology was not an urgent priority. Therefore, the idea of
cultured meat remained a dream for several decades. However, after the discoveries of the
muscle stem cells (Seale and Rudnicki 2000) and its ability to differentiate and proliferate
into muscle cells, the idea of cultured meat was gradually revitalized (Post 2014; Van-
denburgh et al. 1996).
In 1999, Willem van Eelen who came from the Netherlands became the first scientist
who had applied and attained the patent at the international and USA level for the concept
of meat processing using the meat culture technique (Schneider 2013). The patent is titled
Industrial Production of Meat Using Cell Culture Methods (Eelen 1998). The main reason
he was very interested in culturing meat was his experience with starvation as a prisoner of
war in the Second World War (Specter 2011).
Three years later, a group of scientists led by Benjaminson had successfully cultured the
muscle tissues of a gold fish (Carassius auratus) in a petri dish. The technique used is
almost similar to the technique adopted by Alexis Carrel. The main purpose of his study
was to find an alternative food resource to sustain a long journey in space from the Earth to
the Moon. His study was funded by NASA through a Small Business Innovative Research
(SBIR) grant with a value of USD 62,000 (NASA 1998). His study outcome was presented
to several panel members for testing. The cultured gold fish meat was cooked with olive oil
and several types of spices. The panel members had concluded that the meat was some-
thing edible (Benjaminson et al. 2002).
Mark Post was the first scientist to produce cultured beef burger meat. The meat was
cooked and tested by two panel members in the Riverside Studios on August 5, 2013 (Beef
2013). The panel comprised of Josh Schonwald, the writer of the book The Taste of
Tomorrow, and Hanni Rutzler, a nutritionist from Austria. The cost to produce the cultured
beef (85 g) was USD 330,000, and the whole process of production took 3 months (Post
2014). He used stem cells that were extracted from live cattles thigh. According to Mark
Post, the meat was yellowish rather than red, and although it tasted like meat, it was still
blend. To make its appearance looks like a beef, he added a little red beet juice and saffron
for the colour. The panel members were very satisfied with the taste and stated that it tasted
very similar to actual meat (Fountain 2013; Ghosh 2013; Zaraska 2013).

The Factors for the Production of Cultured Meat

There are many factors that motivate scientists to produce cultured meat such as the rise in
world population, increase in meat demand resulting from prosperity, environmental
pollution, animal welfare, mitigating costs especially of breeding, processing and transport
and finally health concerns.
According to the calculation done by WHO and several other researchers, the global
population in 2014 has reached 7 billion (WHO 2014), and it is expected to reach 9.7
billion in 2050 (Wilson 2013). It is estimated that the consumption of meat is expected to
increase with approximately 73% from the year 1999 to 2050 (FAO 2011). If the increase
in food demand, in particularly meat, is not sustainable, the future of global food security

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will certainly be compromised. Among the alternatives that have been developed by sci-
entists includes the introduction of meat substitute from vegetables (Post 2012), insects
(DeFoliart 1992), and cultured meat (Post 2014).
The increase in world population has also caused a lot of problems to the environment,
either directly or indirectly (Hill 2001). As an example, between 1950 and 1990 the
consumption of energy has increased five times, water consumption three times, wheat
consumption 2.6 times, fish consumption 4.4 times, and the number of slaughtered cows
has increased from 2.1b (1950) to 4.4b (1990) per annum. The production of carbon
dioxide (CO2) was reported to triple in size (Corson 1994). Among the methods suggested
to curb these environmental hazards is the production of meat in the laboratory, or cultured
meat. The production of cultured meat will be environmentally friendly, require less land
use and consume less water in comparison with conventional meat production method.
Based on the studies done by the European Union, breeding of livestock such as cattle
and chicken is a major contributor to environmental pollution. Some of the impacts include
the greenhouse effect (Greenhouse GasGHG) 9.1% and land effect 12.8% (Weiss and
Leip 2012). Based on these statistics, if this cultured meat manages to widely penetrate the
market across Europe, it is expected to reduce the pollution rate of GHG, land use and
water by 7896, 99% and 8296%, respectively (Tuomisto and de Mattos 2011; Tuomisto
and Roy 2012).
Animal welfare seems to attract major concern in the West. This is based on the
assessment done by Mark Post who observed an increasing trend of awareness on animal
welfare among the Western community. For instance, there were an increased number of
writings on animal welfare about it in the time period of 19822008 (Post 2014). There-
fore, there are some animal activists who can readily accept the concept of cultured meat
and some have labelled the cultured meat as victimless meat (Bhat et al. 2015). Through
meat culture, the number of slaughtered animals can be reduced significantly. In theory,
this approach can replace the need of huge processing plants as one single stem cell can be
used to sustain the worlds demand (Bhat and Bhat 2011; Bhat and Fayaz 2011).
Current conventional meat production involves the uses of huge energy, land, water and
time. Indeed, a report by FAO in 2006 indicates that 30% of the land in this world has been
used for meat production and 8% for clean water (FAO 2011). Other study shows almost
50,000 to 100,000 L of water was needed to produce a kilogram of meat (May 2012).
Through meat culture approach, scientists can quantify the nutritional content for
human requirements. This makes cultured meat a healthier and safer choice compared to
the conventional meat as there is a causal relationship between meat consumption and
increased risk for several diseases such as heart attack, diabetes and cancer (Larsson and
Wolk 2006; Song et al. 2004). The nutritional content of the cultured meat can be con-
trolled by adjusting the material and fat composites used in the medium of production. The
ratio between the saturated fatty acids and the poly-unsaturated fatty acids) can be con-
trolled as well. The saturated fats can be replaced by other types of fats, such as omega-3
(Eelen 1998).


The production of cultured meat can be seen in three aspects: (1) type of stem cells
resource, (2) culture technique and (3) culture medium. There are two type of stem cells;
Embryonic Stem Cell (ESCs) and Adult Stem Cell (ADSCs/Non-Embryonic Stem Cell).
Generally, ESCs is the best choice for the production of cultured meat because of its
ability to proliferate and expand without limit (Bhat and Bhat 2011; Bhat and Fayaz 2011;

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Edelman et al. 2005). Theoretically, the ability to proliferate and expand also means it is
plausible to produce enough meat to sustain the current global meat demand with only one
single ESC. In spite of this advantage, there are several weaknesses related with the use of
ESCs in cultured meat production including lack of information regarding the signal
(cues) which serves to promote the transformation of ESCs into differentiated muscles
cells (Schneider 2013), and some major ethical issues with the use of embryos as a source
of ESCs in laboratory studies or real production settings (Langelaan et al. 2010).
A second type of ESCs resource is Myosatellite Cells (MCs) which is one of the adult
stem cells. MCs can be extracted from several tissues of adult animals and transform into
muscle cells (Wagers and Weissman 2004). MCs cells are considered to be the best choice
for cultured meat production because no external signals are needed to promote trans-
formation into muscle cells. MCs can be isolated from animal livestocks such as cows
(Dodson et al. 1987), pigs (Wilschut et al. 2008), chicken (Yablonka-Reuveni et al. 1987),
turkey (McFarland et al. 1988), fish (Powell et al. 1989) and sheep (Dodson et al. 1986).
However, these adult stem cells also have several weaknesses. Their isolation from animals
is not straightforward and typically requires a biopsy (Datar and Betti 2010; Schneider
2013). Moreover, prolonged expansion and division of these cells can lead to a cellular
phenomenon known as Hayflick limit: Over a long period of cell division, the MCs will
lose their ability to divide due to the shortening telomeres (Lazennec and Jorgensen 2008).
The large scale production ESCs and MCs, require a large number of cell divisions with
the inherent potential for cells to become genetically altered, which may lead to formation
of benign or malignant tumour cells (Datar and Betti 2010). There are two stages in meat
(tissue) production:
1. Cell Culture Any tissue culture technique needs massive amounts of cells. This part
includes cell harvest and proliferation under a suitable medium (growth medium).
2. Tissue Formation and Maturation In this phase, one takes groups of cells and allows
them to make a tissue, a muscle fibre. For this, the cells are seeded onto a scaffold, mix
them in a gel (self-organization) or print them in a 3D configuration.
Cell culture begins with the isolation of the stem cells from animal livestock such as
cows or goats and quick transfer into a bioreactor containing appropriate serum- or plant-
based medium. The composition of the medium should closely imitate the original in vivo
conditions. It may take a few weeks or even months for the stem cells to grow and
proliferate within the bioreactor. The stem cells will differentiate into muscle cells based
on the available signal (cues) from the medium. Once fully grown, the muscle cells can be
harvested, processed and ready to cook. However, this technique is unable to produce
three-dimensional structure similar to conventional meat, but is more appropriate as sub-
strate for minced meat products that are subsequently suitable for cooking (Bhat et al.
2015; Datar and Betti 2010; May 2012; Smith 1930).
The second technique known as self-organizing was adopted by a group of scientists led
by Benjaminson. The group cultured meat taken from a gold fish, Carassius auratus, by
isolating and growing on a petri dish containing appropriate culture medium for 7 days.
This technique is able to generate meat that resembles the actual meat but still lacks blood
vessels which functions to provide nutrients to the living muscle cells. The result of the
shortage of nutrients and oxygen will cause the meat to die prematurely if it grows beyond
a certain (small) size (Benjaminson et al. 2002; Dennis and Kosnik II 2000).
The final technique was introduced by Dr. Gabor Forgacs in 2011 (Lu 2012). In general,
meat is a combination of billions of muscle cells, fat cells, blood cells and so on. By using a
3-D printer, cells can be inserted and injected in the form of ink to a surface, usually a

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piece of removable paper (Aldous 2006; Mironov et al. 2003). The printed cells such as
muscle cells, fat cells or blood cells can then be cultured in an appropriate medium similar
to the steps taken in scaffold techniques.

Islams View on Cultured Meat

Islamic Ruling on Cultured Meat Based on the Use of ESCs as the Source
for Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) are animals embryonic cells formed as a result of fertil-
ization between male and female gametes. Based on this source of stem cells, ESCs should
fall under the Islamic ruling on the use of foetuses. This is due to the fact that embryo is a
part of foetal growth phases. There is a narration from the Prophet Muhammad peace be
upon him (PBUH) that described the relationship between the slaughtering status of the
foetus and its mother. The Prophet Muhammad PBUH said: The slaughtering of animals
foetus includes the slaughtering of its mother (Al-Tirmidhi 1996; Ibn Majah 1998). Based
on this hadith, two important points were discussed by Islamic scholars.
Firstly, the foetus mentioned in that hadith represents all stages of foetal development
including alaqah and mudghah. Abadi defines foetus as: Child that is still in the womb
(Abadi 2005; Al-Jawhari and Hammad 1990; Ibn Abidin 1994). From a linguistic point of
view, the definition of foetus (janin), originated from the verb (janna) which means pro-
tected or hidden and thus signifies that the foetus is sheltered or hidden in the mothers
belly (Manzur and Ali 1993). Thus, the embryos used in the process of making cultured
meat are related to this hadith because the embryo is a part of foetal development.
Secondly, prophet Muhammad PBUH, his companions, tabiin and majority of Islamic
scholars agree that animals foetus can be eaten if the mother is firstly slaughtered, but
some of them include a conditionthe foetus must be mature enough based on its fur
appearance. The majority of Islamic scholars from the Maliki school of thought (Al-Qarafi
1994; Al-Qayrawani 1999; Ibn Rusyd 1988), Shafii (Al-Mawardi 1994; Al-Shafii 2001;
Al-Shirbini 1997) and Hanbali (Al-Buhuti 2000; Ibn Qudamah 1996, 1997) state that the
foetus is considered slaughtered with the slaughtering of the mother. However, if the foetus
is still alive when it is taken out of the slaughtered mother, it must be slaughtered. This
opinion was also narrated by Saidina Umar ra, Saidina Ali ra, Said bin al-Musayyib, al-
Nakhai and Ishaq (Al-Khattabi 1997; Ibn Abd al-Barr 1993). Their arguments were based
on the Quran, hadith of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, deductive analogy (qiyas) as well
as intellectual arguments.
The argument sourced from the Holy Quran is the command of Allah Glory upon Him:
O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing
livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Quran] - hunting not being
permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends.
(Quran, 5:1).
According to them, what is meant by animals of grazing livestock (Bahimah al-
Ancam) in the above verse is animal embryos. These embryos would be lawful (halal) with
the slaughtering of the mother. This interpretation was narrated by Ibn Abbas RA and Ibn
Umar RA (Al-Mawardi 1994; Al-Tabari 2000).
They also use deductive analogy (qiyas) to compare the foetus and other parts of the
foetal body. Each body part is only edible once the animal is slaughtered. The same holds

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for the foetus parts since it is considered as part of the animals body: the soul of the
foetus depends on the mothers life (Abadi 2005; Al-Mawardi 1994).
Intellectual arguments (caqli) used for animal slaughtering are bound to the condition
and the situation of the animals to be slaughtered. For example, if a hunted animal fell and
got stuck in a hole or well, then the slaughtering can be carried out straightaway on any
accessible body parts if the neck cannot be reached. The same goes for the foetus because it
is impossible to slaughter it since it is in the mothers belly. Thus, the status of foetal
slaughter is pegged to the mothers slaughter (Al-Buhuti 2000; Al-Mawardi 1994; Al-
Sarakhsi 1993; Ibn Qudamah 1996, 1997).
Other important considerations are the nutfah al-amshaj (mingled fluid), calaqah
(clinging form) and mudghah (a lump of flesh) exceptions. The majority of Islamic
scholars agreed that the nutfah al-amshaj and calaqah are forbidden to eat because it is
considered as a body of blood (Al-Kasani 1986; Al-Mawardi 1994; Al-Shirbini 1997; Al-
Zaylai 1897), and the prohibition on eating blood is mentioned explicitly in the Quran
(Quran, 5:3). Mudghah is also forbidden by Maliki school of thought because at this stage,
the hair of the foetus has not yet grown. Meanwhile, Shafii school of thought has two
opinions; some say it is edible whilst some forbid it (Al-Mawardi 1994).
Embryos used for stem cells isolation are still in the nutfah al-amshaj or calaqah stage
because at this stage the cells do not yet differentiate into differentiated cells such as
muscle cells. The mudghah stage takes place after some of those cells are already dif-
ferentiated into muscle cells. This is based on mufassirins comments on the definition of
alaqah and mudghah. According to them, calaqah is a body of clotted blood, and mud-
ghah is a piece of meat of chewable size (Al-Baghawi 1990; M. A. A. B. Al-Qurtubi 2006;
IbnAtiyyah 2001; Ibn Kathir 1999).
Thus, based on these scholars comments, we found that the embryo is unclean because
it still in calaqah stage. However, here arises a question of whether the use of embryos as a
source of stem cells will make cultured meat unclean too, given that its physical state has
transformed from blood (calaqah stage) to flesh (mudghah stage)?
We interpret that cultured meat produced from ESCs is clean because it has changed in
nature; from unclean blood to clean flesh. However, one condition that must be met is that
it must be taken from animals that have been slaughtered. This has been mentioned by
Islamic scholars, that is, whenever calaqah changed to mudghah, it will be considered
clean, for those who considered mudghah to be clean. As for other scholars who deemed
mudghah as unclean, then it shall only be clean when the foetus is completely developed
including its fur (Al-Ansari 1997; Ibn Nujaym 1997).

Islamic Ruling on Cultured Meat Based on the Use of ASCs as the Source
for Stem Cell

ASCs are obtained by taking a portion of meat from the animals body such as beef,
chicken or fish, either when the animal was still alive or after it was dead. Under this
process, we deemed it to be in accordance with the hadith of Prophet Muhammad PBUH
about the ruling on limbs severed from the body when the animal was still alive. In a hadith
narrated by Abu Waqid al-Laythi, Prophet Muhammad PBUH arrived in Medina and the
people of Medina (at the time) cut the camels hump and goats limbs. Then the Prophet
said: Whatever is cut from a living animal is dead (and consequently, considered as
unclean) (Al-Bayhaqi 2003; Al-Tirmidhi 1996). Based on this hadith, there are two
important points discussed by Islamic scholars.

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Firstly, eminent scholars agreed that if the body parts were cut off after the animal was
slaughtered and dead, then the body parts were not considered a carcass and thus it is
lawful to they be eaten. However, if the body parts were cut after it was slaughtered given
that the animal was not completely dead, then the act is considered detestable, but the body
parts were still considered clean and thus lawful to be eaten (Al-Juwayni 2007; Al-
Mawardi 1994; Al-Rafii 1997; Al-Sarakhsi 1993; Ibn Abidin 1994; Ibn Qudamah
1996, 1997).
Thus, in the issue of cultured meat, if the source of stem cells was taken after the animal
is slaughtered, then the cultured meat produced is clean and lawful to be eaten because the
source is lawful or halal. If the source of the stem cells was taken when the animal is still
alive, then the cultured meat produced is unclean and forbidden to be eaten because the
hadith clearly forbids it. This ruling applies to all types of animals, be it four-legged, two-
legged or animals with no leg.
Secondly, fish and locusts are not included in this ban derived from the previous hadith
because there are other hadiths stated that both are permissible. Therefore, if the carcass is
lawful to be consumed, then any body parts being cut off are also lawful or halal (Al-
Buhuti 2000; Ibn Abidin 1994; Ibn Qudamah 1996). Therefore, any cultured meat origi-
nating from marine life is considered permissible even if the stem cells are taken when the
marine life is still alive.
Thirdly, Islam has set certain conditions in slaughtering, which covers the conditions of
the animals, the slaughterer and tool used for slaughter. The main conditions for animals to
be slaughtered are: (i) The animals must be alive during the slaughtering process; (ii) the
animal must only die due to the act of slaughtering; and (iii) the animal is not hunted by the
people who are in ihram.1 The conditions for the slaughterer are: (i) Sane; (ii) Muslim or
people of the books; (iii) Not in a state of Ihram; and (iv) Invoking the name of Allah Glory
upon Him or recite bismillah. As for the slaughtering tool: (i) It must be able to cut
smoothly; and (ii) it is not made of teeth or claws (Kuwait 1986).
If the slaughtering meets the conditions mentioned above, the resulting cultured meat
can be eaten since stem cells were derived from a pure and clean source. Otherwise, it is
unclean and forbidden to be eaten.

Islamic Ruling on Cultured Meat Based on the Use of Serum as Culture


Serum is a fluid extracted from an animal blood via a separation technique called cen-
trifugation to separate blood cells, platelets and coagulation factors (clotting factors).
Normally, the blood containing serum was taken prior to the slaughtering process of a
mother cow. Serum contains important nutrients which can support cell division and hence
constitutes a perfect ingredient of culture medium (Jochems et al. 2002).
The separation of serum from the blood does not go through a complete istihalah
process since the centrifugation process is merely a method to separate serum from the
blood and does not involve any changes, either physically or chemically. Thus, serum
status is the same as the status of blood, which is unclean and thus cannot be eaten. In the
Holy Quran, Allah Glory upon Him had forbidden men from consuming human blood.
Allah Glory upon Him said: He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of
swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by

A sacred state which a Muslim must enter in order to perform the major pilgrimage (Hajj) or the minor
pilgrimage (cUmrah)..

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necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him.
Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Quran, 2:173).
Even though serum is considered as unclean, its use in culturing meat has changed the
nature of the serum into other properties. The cells convert nutrients in the serum towards
other cells in the replicative process. This problem is analogous to animals that eat unclean
and dirty food, whereas the food has changed its nature and absorbed to become a part of
animal flesh. Animals that eat unclean and dirty food are called jallalah (coprophagous)
animals (Abu Dawud, 1997; Al-Bayhaqi 2003; Al-Tirmidhi 1996).
Based on Prophet Muhammads PBUH prohibition, there are four main issues that were
discussed by Islamic scholars. Firstly, there are two definitions of jallalah animals.
(i) Animals that consume unclean and dirty things as its main food. If the animal eats very
little amount of unclean and dirty things, it is not included under the category of jallalah
animals. Nonetheless, although its meat or milk is not spoiled, it is still counted as jallalah
animals if it consumes unclean and dirty things as main food (Al-Asqalani 2001; Al-Rafii
1997; Al-Sarakhsi 1993; Al-Shawkani 2006; Ibn Qudamah 1997). (ii) Another qualifica-
tion that makes such animals fall under the category of jallalah animals is when there is a
change in meat and milk constituents, either in terms of the smell, taste and colour. Even if
the animal only ate very little amount of unclean and dirty things which caused changes in
its meat and milk, it still belongs to the category of jallalah animals. This opinion was held
by al-Nawawi and al-Rafii (Al-Nawawi 1970; Al-Rafii 1997).
Secondly, jallalah can also occur in certain cases, such as livestock that consumes milk
from a pig or a dog (Al-Ayni 1990, 2007; Al-Sarakhsi 1993; Ibn Mazih 2004). A
deductive analogy (qiyas) can also be made based on a case of plants that are fertilized
with unclean and dirty things. In this case, any fruit produced is considered forbidden
(haram) if there is a change in its smell, taste or colour.
Thirdly, Islamic scholars had different opinions on the ruling on jallalah animals and
have three opinions; permissible (mubah), detestable (makruh) or haram.
The first opinion that permits jallalah animal in absolute manner was narrated by Hasan
al-Basri and the most authentic (sahih) narration came from Imam Malik. They established
the ruling (qiyas) on jallalah animals based on birds that eat unclean things, liquor drinkers
and infidels who eat pork and other unclean foods. Meat and their bodies will not turn into
unclean substances only by drinking alcohol or eating pork (A. U. Al-Qurtubi 1996; Anas
1997; Ibn Qudamah 1996, 1997).
The second opinion comes from the majority among Islamic scholars such as Hanafi
school of thought, Ibn Hajib from Maliki school of thought, jumhur Shafiiyyah and one
narration from Imam Ahmad. They consider the prohibition by Prophet Muhammad PBUH
in the hadith above as makruh (unlawful), and not haram (forbidden). The reason is that
unclean things eaten by animals are only passing through the alimentary canals and do not
mix with meat, yet can cause change in its smell, taste and colour. Thus, the prohibition of
eating the meat of jallalah animals is subjected based on changes in meat nature. If the
meat is similar as ordinary meat, then the ruling is also changed to be mubah (permissible)
(Abadi 2005; Al-Mawardi 1994; Ibn Qudamah 1997).
The third opinion is about the prohibition of jallalah animal, whether meat, milk or
eggs. This is an agreed opinion made by al-Ayni from Hanafi school of thought, al-Rafii,
Ab Ishaq, al- Marwazi, al-Qaffal, al-Ghazali dan al-Baghawi from Shafii school of
thought, majority scholars from Hanbali school of thought and one narration from Imam
Ahmad. Their argument was that animals will become unclean by eating unclean things.
Thus, the ruling on eating unclean things is determined as haram or forbidden (Al-Ayni
1990; Al-Buhuti 2000; Al-Rafii 1997; Ibn Qudamah 1997).

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Fourthly, there are different opinions on the quarantine period prescribed by Islamic
fuqaha. In fact, in every school of thought, more than one opinion can be found. A more
accurate opinion is that there should be no specific time limit to quarantine as long as it can
eliminate smells or unclean dirt on the meat of jallalah animals. Most opinions on the
quarantine period were based on weak narration or their ijtihad, as normal smells and
unclean dirt can disappear within a period of time (Al-Asqalani 2001; Al-Fawzan 1988;
Al-Mubarakfuri n.d.).
Having examined scholarly discussions about jallalah animals, we argue that jallalah
animals are clean, but are not encouraged to be eaten, unless after the animals have gone
through a quarantine process. This is because the unclean and dirty things underwent the
istihalah process and turned into meat or milk.
The same applies to cultured meat using serum as the culture medium. Serum has to
pass through the istihalah process and later turn into flesh. To make it edible, the meat must
undergo a quarantine to allow complete disappearance of serum from the meat. In addition,
the meat should also be washed thoroughly to ensure that all remaining serum attached to
the meat is completely removed.2 This situation coincides with the Prophet Muhammads
PBUH hadith narrated by Abu Huraira RA: Sayyidah Maymunah (RA) said that a mouse
once dropped into clarified butter (ghee), and died. The Prophet was asked about it, and he
said, Throw it and throw that which is around it. Eat the rest but if it is in a liquid state,
do not eat it (Hanbal 1995).
However, if the culture medium is made of mushroom extract or a mixture of chemical-
based artificial medium, then the meat is halal since mushrooms are not considered as
unclean ingredient. However, it should be ensured that the mushroom used is non-toxic and
non-harmful. In Islam, anything that is harmful is considered forbidden. Prophet
Muhammad PBUH said: There should be no harming (in Islam) nor reciprocal harming
(on others) (Anas 1997; Ibn Majah 1998).


Cultured meat is one of the most promising new products created by human, in line with
the development of science and technology in human history. As a Muslim, every product
and invention must have an adjudication from the perspective of Islam, if is compliant with
the requirements of Islamic law. Since the culturing of meat is a new invention that has
never been discussed by classical jurists (fuqaha), an ijtihad by contemporary jurists must
look for and provide answers for every technology introduced, whether it meets the
requirements of Islamic law or not.
Based on the analysis, we found two main conditions for cultured meat to be halal. First,
cells must be derived from halal slaughtered animal. This could still result in a tremendous
down-scaling of animals if we retrieve all of the stem cells of a slaughtered animal.
Second, serum should be avoided unless one can prove that meat will not be changed as a
result of contact with serum (being potentially unclean). In fact, there are many more
reasons to abandon serum: 1. Undefined, therefore difficult to regulate, also from a non-
religious perspective; 2. Unsustainable, we will not be able to harvest sufficient serum to

Some Islamic scholars encourage for the meat to be cleansed three times. There is also an opinion that
encourages the meat that has been mixed with uncleanliness to be thrown away as it is non-washable (Al-
Nawawi, 1970; Al-Shirbini, 1997).

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serve our culturing needs; 3. There are animal welfare concerns with harvesting foetal
bovine serum; 4. It may carry disease.
This is important because these products and inventions will be used by Muslims in
their daily lives and therefore need to be in line with the rules that are laid down by Allah
through His prophets or the scriptures that He sent. Indeed, Islam is a religion that has
answers and solutions to any problem that arises.
Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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