Question: Christian women bring food to us they prepare. We eat it. Some people say that non-Muslims are unclean and that it is not permissible to accept their gifts. Is it true?
There is nothing wrong with eating the food of non-Muslims or accepting and using their gifts. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, one of the highest of Islamic scholars, stated:
It is stated in the 28th verse of Tawba Surah, “Certainly, polytheists are unclean.” Hanafi scholars explained this verse that what Allahu ta’ala said about them refers to the uncleanliness of their heart and faith. If they abide by hygiene rules, their bodies cannot be considered impure because our Master the Prophet ate at the home of a Jewish and made taharah [purification] with the container of a polytheist. Similarly, Hadrat ‘Umar made taharah with the container of a Christian woman. He would not have eaten their food or drunk their water if the bodies of polytheists were unclean. If the bodies of polytheists were unclean, they would not become clean when they believed. Then the reason why they were declared unclean is due to the uncleanliness of their hearts. When they believe, the state of uncleanliness in their hearts is removed, and they become clean. That their hearts and faith are unclean does not necessitate the uncleanliness of their bodies.
The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(It is lawful to eat what People of the Book [Jews and Christians] cook or slaughter.) [Al-Maidah 5]
Then the Muslims who mix or do business with disbelievers should not be considered unclean. We, thinking of them as unclean, should not abstain from their food and beverages and should not deviate from the path of Muslims. This is not caution. What is caution is to leave this state. [Maktubat, Volume 3, Letter 22]
Likewise, Hadrat Imam-i Ghazali, one of the highest of Islamic scholars, state:
Food that is not known whether haram or not is edible. Our Master the Prophet made wudu’ from the vessel of a polytheist and similarly Hadrat ‘Umar from the vessel of a Christian woman. The Blessed Companions used to drink the water given by non-Muslims, but it is haram to eat that which is najs (impure). Generally, non-Muslims are dirty, and their hands and utensils are smeared with wine. They eat animals that they slaughter without applying Islamic method of slaughtering, which then become impure. In spite of these facts, the Blessed Companions used to buy food from them and eat it as they did not know for sure whether it was impure. [Kimya-i Sa’adat]
Our religion says that it is permissible to give, except for zakat, sadaqah, sadaqa-i fitr, adaq, and gifts to zimmi [non-Muslim citizens] and to receive jizya and gifts from them. (Mawkufat, Durar)
Our religion says that it is not permissible to respect a disbeliever for his/her faith or to say salaam to him/her. However, it says that it is permissible to say salaam or to shake hands (musafaha) with him/her when there is a need. (Radd-ul-Mukhtar)
The sin of maltreating a zimmi is greater than the sin of maltreating a Muslim. It is permissible to say salaam to a zimmi so as not to upset him/her. (Durr-ul-Mukhtar)
It is stated in a hadith-i sharif “Whoever maltreats a zimmi, it is I who is his enemy” (Hatib).
In addition to it, it is stated in hadith-i sharifs: “Do not refuse a gift” and “Accept that which is given to you when you do not ask for. It is a rizq sent by Allahu ta’ala.” (Baihaqi)
Question: Is there anything wrong with eating what a disbeliever gives or drinking water from the glass he drank water?
There is nothing wrong with it.
Question: Is it permissible to eat desserts brought by my neighbors who are atheists?
The food prepared by atheists can be eaten unless you know it is impure (najs). That is, you can eat it unless you know whether it contains pork or wine.
Question: Nowadays, Christians, without blood shedding, slaughter animals by firing bullets in their heads or by strangling. Is it permissible to eat animals slaughtered by them?
If it is known for sure that a certain animal has been slaughtered by either method, it is inedible. However, one should not act on supposition.