Answer

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته In America I noticed that many bread companies are using a product known as L Cysteine in their bread as a form of amino. This additive which is in the bread is supposedly derived from human hair and or animal hair. There are alternatives for sliced bread but I haven't found any with companies who sell rolls, hero and Italian bread. What is the ruling of the Madhab regarding this situation? جزاكِ الله خير

                                     Answer

Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

L-cysteine may come from various sources, some of them animal and some of them non-animal. This particular additive is most frequently sourced from human hair.

The scholars of qawa'id fiqhiyyah related two opinions from Imam Shafi'i on there being a conflict between the asl and the ghalib. In his Manthur 1/329, Zarkashi stated that the relied-upon opinion is that the ruling is with the asl. In Tuhfah 1/308, Ibn Hajar applied this as well.

Accordingly, the ruling of bread containing L-cysteine would be that it is pure and permissible, as that is the asl. So for one who just finds it listed on the ingredients label, it is permissible to eat it.

If the ghalib was established, that it is sourced from human hair, then in Sharh al-Muhadhdhab 9/39, Imam Nawawi cited Imam Ghazali who discussed the case of some part of a human's flesh falling into what one is cooking. According to Ghazali, the food would be unlawful to eat; even if, as Ghazali stated, the amount of a daniq (i.e. sixth of a dirham) were to fall in. The reason for this is not because it is impure, as a human is pure, but rather because of the respected nature of the human body. However, Imam Nawawi disagreed. He stated that the relied-upon opinion is that this food is not unlawful. Reason being, what had fallen into the food would have been obliterated (istihlak) into it, and with that, it becomes as if it is non-existent.

Accordingly, if one ate bread with this particular additive, they would have not consumed an actual human body part, as the hair itself has been obliterated and is "ma'dum" meaning it is not considered to even exist.

With that, in the books of Imam Nawawi and Imam Rafi'i, it is stated that using human hair is unlawful because a human body is something that must be respected. And included in this would be using human hair for the purpose of manufacturing L-cysteine, which is unlawful.

The unlawful nature of using human hair is related in some of the other schools too. See: the Hanbali work Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat 1/31 and the Hanafi work al-Muhit al-Burhani 1/476.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by Yaqub Abdurrahman