Is it permissible for Muslims to eat Prasad shared by temple custodians in India?
Prasad is a material substance of food that is a religious offering in both Hinduism and Sikhism. It is normally consumed by worshippers. 'Prasad' literally means a gracious gift. It denotes anything, typically an edible food, that is first offered to a deity, saint, Perfect Master or an avatar, and then distributed in his or her name to their followers or others as a good sign. In Islam, it is generally permissible for Muslim to eat food offered to them by non-Muslims as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to accept invitations over dinner and lunch of non- Muslims. If the food offered to Muslims contains meat or chicken, poultry etc.., it becomes lawful for Muslims to consume it if they are legally slaughtered otherwise it is deemed impermissible for Muslims to eat it.
As for the fact that these food offerings were dedicated as part of other people’s religious rituals, it does not invalidate its permissibility for Muslims to consume it because it has to do with the intention of the Muslim while eating it. In other words, the Muslim eats it with the intention of accepting the invitation of other people and not as part of his inner belief in the sacredness of the religious ritual upon which the food is offered.
Sharing people’s social occasions and accepting their invitations is an act of kindness worthy of praise in Islam and a recommended act as it shows the integration of the Islamic faith with the society which holds a different religious belief.