Assalamualaikum what is your preferred opinion on whether cheese is halal or haram? I've read online that during the manufacturing process rennet can become mixed in with the cheese and therefore it is doubtful? It's very hard to confirm with companies if that happened and also I read one opinion that said the companions ate cheese made in the traditional way and there was no problem with it, but I don't know how authentic or valid that is. Jazak Allah khairun
Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,
According to many great scholars (such as Ibn Taymiyya) rennet is halal regardless of whether it has been taken from an animal slaughtered in the Islamic way or otherwise, because the rennet is not an organ of the animal but an independent organism. The only controversial issue is whether rennet from pigs is halal, some say it is and some say it is not.
The safest choice is to eat only vegetarian and kosher-certified cheeses, both of which are halal. Vegetarian cheese is made from milk like any cheese but does not use rennet. Here is a long list of cheese brands that are vegetarian and thus halal. Whole Foods brand (365) and Kroger brand cheeses are vegetarian.
Wal-Mart’s brand (GreatValue) uses pork ingredients in its cheeses according to some sites, so that is best avoided.
- Fatwa from Sheikh Khalid b. Abdullah al-Muslih (Arabic PDF)
- Fatwa from SeekersGuidance (PDF)