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Which meat is halal and which is haram in Islam? Which specific animals are allowed to be eaten? Also which are factors that distinguish the halal meat? Is it only the procedure () that makes the meat halal?

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As a brief answer, haram meat creatures are divided into several categories (in general):

  • All of the sea creatures which do not have scales.
  • Among land creatures, pigs, dogs, predatory creatures which have sharp teeth and claws and talons, like lions, foxes, rabbits, wolves, elephants and so on are considered as haram. However all sorts of sheep, camel,, deer, cow, goat and wild donkeys are considered as halal, and on the other hand, horse and domestic donkeys are makruh.
  • Birds which flap their wings less and glide more than they flap are considered as haram and birds which flap their wings more than they glide while flying are considered as halal.
  • All of the insects are considered haram except for locusts.

As more detailed answer:

In general, haram meat creatures are divided into several categories: A. Sea Creatures: Fish that have scales are the only type of halal sea creatures. Other sea creatures and fish are haram.1 B. Land creatures are divided into two categories, wild and domestic: Domestic Land Creatures: Among all domestic land creatures; sheep, cow and camel are halal, but eating horse and donkey meat is makruh and the makruhness of horsemeat is less than other makruh meat. The rest of domestic land creatures such as dogs, cats, etc. are haram. Wild Land Creatures: Deer, cow and mountain goat and wild donkey are all halal and eating the meat of wild predatory animals that are predatory in essence, have strong and sharp nails, claws and fangs such as, lions, leopards, cheetahs, wolves, or animals with less sharper fangs such as, foxes and hyenas as well as rabbits, even though they are not part of the predatory category, are considered haram. Also insects and reptiles, such as snakes, mice, lizards, hedgehogs, fleas, lice, etc.; the examples for which are uncountable, are all haram. Animals who have undergone maskh (metamorphosis) such as, elephants, monkeys, bears, etc.[2] are haram as well and the reason why is a tradition narrated from the Prophet (A.S.).[3] C. Birds: Halal meat birds have two indications, making anything else other than that haram: 1. Birds that flap their wings more than they glide while flying are halal; but birds that glide and spread their wings more while flying in the air instead of flapping their wings are haram. 2. Birds with a corp, gizzards and spurs at the back of their feet are halal. (Note: Birds with sharp claws such as eagles, hawks, falcons, etc. are haram.)[4] D. Insects: All insects are haram.[5] (Note: If a locust is caught by hand or any other means, it is halal after dying.)[6] Eating halal meat creatures is sometimes haram: 1. If a creature has fed on a najis substance: An animal that has fed on human feces.[7] However, eating najis substances other than human feces does not make it haram.[8] An animal is considered haram for feeding on human feces when the sole thing it has fed on has been human feces and nothing else.[9] (Note: An animal that feeds on a najis substance will be pure and halal to eat once it undergoes istibra’.)[10] 2. Being the object of intercourse by a human.[11] In a tradition Imam Ali (A.S.) says: “Eating the meat of an animal that has been penetrated by a person is haram.”[12] 3. An animal that suckles the milk of a female pig to such an extent that its flesh and bones grow from it and gain strength is haram.[13]

1 Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 137, book of foods and drinks, issue 2; al-Mukhtasar al-Nafi’, pg. 251; Sharayi’ al-Islam, pg. 169. [2] Ibid. [3] Jawahir al-Kalām , vol. 36, 294. [4] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 594, the rulings on foods and drinks; Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 139, issue 8. [5] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 603. [6] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 593, issue 2622. [7] Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 140, issue 15. [8] Jawahir al-Kalām , vol. 36, pg. 271. [9] Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 24, chapter 24 of the chapters on haram foods and drinks, hadith 2, pg. 160. [10] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 568, issue 2583. [11] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 601, issue 2632. [12] Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 24, pg. 170, hadith 3. [13] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 69, issue 86.

Reference:

www.islamquest.net

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[ The following is according to Hanafi school of thought of the Sunnis ]


Meat is halal when it is of a permitted animal and is killed by Dhabiha, which is the Islamic ritual slaughter. The (brief) essential conditions of Dhabiha are:

  1. Must be done by a Muslim or Kitabee
  2. Allah's name must be pronounced while cutting. Forgetting is excusable but not intentionally omitting it.
  3. An incision should be made in the throat, cutting four of the major vessels: Carotid artery, Jugular Vein, Windpipe and Esophagus. The spine should not be cut until the animal is dead.

Cattle (Sheep, Goats, Cows and Camels) are halal, as long as they are slaughtered Islamically.

احلت لكم بهيمة الانعام الا ما يتلى عليكم

Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock39:6 except for that which is recited to you.

Quran 5:1

Pigs are haram.

حرمت عليكم الميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير

Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine

Quran 5:3

Animals which evoke repulsion and consume filth and impurities are haram. These include insects, scavengers, rodents, reptiles etc.

ويحل لهم الطيبات ويحرم عليهم الخبايث

makes lawful to them the good things and prohibits for them Al-Khaba'ith (impure things)

Quran 7:157

نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن اكل الجلالة والبانها

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prohibited eating the animal which feeds on filth and drinking its milk.

Sunan Abu Daud

Predatory animals are haram. Hanafis include Elephants in this as they use their tusks to attack.

نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن كل ذي ناب من السباع

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey

Sahih Muslim, Book of Hunting and Slaughter

Predatory birds which hunt with talons are haram.

نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ... وعن كل ذي مخلب من الطير

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) prohibited the eating of ... all the birds having talons.

Sahih Muslim, Book of Hunting and Slaughter

Chicken are halal when they are domesticated and fed on grain or pure feed.

عن ابي موسى ـ يعني الاشعري ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قال رايت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ياكل دجاجا

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari: I saw the Prophet (ﷺ) eating chicken.

Sahih Bukhari

Fish are halal. According to the Hanafis all other aquatic animals are haram. According to the Malikis and Shafis all animals living purely in water are halal.

احل لكم صيد البحر

Lawful to you is game from the sea ...

Quran 5:96

Locusts are halal, when they feed on grain.

غزونا مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم سبع غزوات او ستا، كنا ناكل معه الجراد‏

We participated with the Prophet (ﷺ) in six or seven Ghazawat, and we used to eat locusts with him.

Sahih Bukhari, Book of Slaughter and Hunting

Donkeys are haram. The Hanafis and Malikis take Horses to be Makruh, the Shafis consider them halal.

والانعام خلقها لكم فيها دفء ومنافع ومنها تاكلون

And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat.

والخيل والبغال والحمير لتركبوها وزينة ويخلق ما لا تعلمون

And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know.

Quran 16:5 & Quran 16:8

نهى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن لحوم الحمر الاهلية‏

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) forbade the eating of donkey-meat.

Sahih Bukhari, Book of Slaughter and Hunting

Rabbits are permitted.

قال انفجنا ارنبا بمر الظهران، فسعوا عليها حتى لغبوا، فسعيت عليها حتى اخذتها، فجيت بها الى ابي طلحة، فبعث الى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بوركها وفخذيها فقبله‏.‏

We provoked a rabbit at Marr Az-Zahran till it started jumping. My companions chased it till they got tired. But I alone ran after it and caught it and brought it to Abu Talha. He sent both its legs to the Prophet who accepted them.

Sahih Bukhari, Book of Slaughter and Hunting

References and further info:

Hidayah, [ english translation ]
Radd al Muhtar

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