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Last Updated: 2007/06/09
Summary of question
Is it necessary to get permission before eating something from its owner?
If you eat something without permission is it a sin? What if you don’t get permission but you are 100% sure that its owner won’t have a problem?
Concise answer

According to Islam, it is clear that in addition to one’s food being halal (religiously edible) and pure (not najis), it also needs to be mubah, meaning that its owner must be happy and content with you eating it and that you have to know that he is happy about it. Eating things that belong to others without their permission is haram. Nevertheless, in cases that the one invites us to his/her house to have a meal there, or the owner of an orchard or garden invites us to eat some fruit or vegetables, there is no longer any need to get permission for eating. Yet, in cases that we aren’t sure if the owner is content or not, getting permission is necessary.[1] In response to the question: “Is it enough for us to be sure that the owner of a certain food is content about us eating it for it to be okay for us to eat?”, Ayatullah Khamenei says: “It is enough.”[2] Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi’s response: “If different clues tell us that he/she is content, for instance if he/she invites us to their house, then it is okay.”

[1] See: The Istifta’at of Imam Khomieni, vol. 2, pg. 510-512, question 19 and on.

[2] In an istifta from the office of Ayatullah Khamenei.

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