Dietary Laws

“O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He whom ye worship” (2:172)

Over the past few years I have been trying to answer a lot of my own questions by reading the Qur’an and what we generally call Islamic history. This is a topic which is hugely debated all over the world and I am sure has more fatwas than any other topic. I am not a scholar and am only trying to understand whether what I am doing is Islamic or not. As I am not a Qur’anist, I will try to include Ahadith wherever I can.

Meat (including pork)

“He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swineflesh, and that which hath been immolated to (the name of) any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (2:173)

“Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine-flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols.

And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you and have chosen for you as religion Al-Islam. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (5:3)

“They ask thee (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah’s name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account” (5:4)

“And eat not of that whereon Allah’s name hath not been mentioned, for lo! it is abomination. Lo! the devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters” (6:121).

The Prophet (SAW) told Muslims who wanted to slaughter some animals using reeds, “Use whatever causes blood to flow, and eat the animals if the Name of Allah has been mentioned on slaughtering them…” (Bukhari).

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) forbade the eating of the meat of beasts having canine/pointed teeth (Bukhari)

Now, just by looking at the verses from the Qur’an, there can be no doubt whatsoever that pork is completely Haram for all muslims. Many of you might have met people who would eat anything other than pork saying that ‘oh, chicken is halal, i am not going to become a vegetarian just cuz i cant find a halal restaurant around!’ That sounds quite convincing, isnt it? Lets go back to the Qur’anic verses. Reading them again, you will notice that Allah prohibits consuming blood and it is common knowledge that it is the zabiha (as described in the ahadith) which removes all the blood from the body of animals. Read the verses again and you will also see that it is actually haram to eat meat of animals that have been slaughtered without mentioning Allah’s name. So next time if you cant find a halal restaurant, make some extra effort and only eat meat at a halal certified restaurant not just because its chicken. If you cant find a halal restaurant at all, try seafood or vegetarian food. Better still, cook something yourself at home where you can also be sure your utensils are clean.

Seafood

Lawful to you is the pursuit of fishing and its use for food, for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel (5: 96)

This verse, according to the understanding of the Hanafi Mujtahids, refers to fish (with scales) only, and not other animals as it states the word specifically.

Moreover, Hazrat Abd Allah ibn Umar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Two types of dead meat and two types of blood have been made lawful for our consumption: The two dead meats are: fish and locust, and the two types of blood are: liver and spleen”. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Ibn Majah)

This is usually the stance of Hanafis only. The Muslims belonging to other fiqhs would normally eat several other types of seafood including octopus. As a general rule crocodiles (as they have pointed teeth), frogs (as we are not allowed to kill them) and all the creatures that live both in sea AND land are considered Haram.

Alcohol

“They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: “In them is great harm, and a benefit for the people; but their harm is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you how much are they to give, Say: “The excess.” It is thus that God clarifies for you the revelations that you may think.” (2:219)

“O you who believe, do not approach the Salat while you are intoxicated, until you know what you are saying. Nor if you have had intercourse, unless travelling, until you bathe. And if you are ill, or traveling, or one of you has excreted feces, or you had sexual contact with the women, and could not find water, then you shall select from the clean soil; you shall wipe your faces and hands. God is Pardoning, Forgiving.” (4:43)

“O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and altars, and arrows of chance are tools of affliction used by the devil. You shall avoid him so that you may be successful.” (5:90)

“When the prohibition of alcohol was [being] revealed, Hazrat Omar (RA) said, “O Allah! Clarify for us the [matter of] alcohol with a clear statement,” thus the verse which is in Baqarah was revealed, “They ask you about alcohol and gambling. Say: In them is great sin…” So Hazrat Omar (RA) was called and it was read to him and he said [again], “O Allah! Clarify for us the [matter of] alcohol with a clear statement.” Thereafter the verse in Al-Nisa was revealed: “O you who believe! Do not approach prayer while you are drunk…” Hence, the herald of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) would call out when the prayer was about to commence, “Let no drunken approach the prayer,” and Hazrat Omar (RA) was called [again] and it was read to him. He said, “O Allah! Clarify for us the [matter of] alcohol with a clear statement,” so the verse was revealed, “…so will you not refrain?!” Hazrat Omar (RA) said, “We refrain.” (Al-Trimidhi)

“Allah’s Messenger cursed ten people in connection with wine: the wine-presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it, the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one who sells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.” (Al-Thirmidi)

Nowhere in the Qur’an it states that alcohol is haram and thus you will find a lot of people consuming alcohol and justifying their acts by saying that the word haram does not appear any where in the Qur’an. May Allah guide them and help them understand that it is an act that takes one away from the Salaat and thus away from Allah.

Advertisements