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Someone told me that the Quran explicitly allows muslims to eat otherwise banned food when imprisoned, during starvation and similar. It makes sense but I would like a source for it.

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It is mentioned in four verses that in case of necessity one could eat any of the otherwise haram kinds of flesh or food:

  • He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (2:173)

  • Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah , and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (5:3)

  • Say, "I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine - for indeed, it is impure - or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful. (6:145)

  • He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit] - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (16:115)

Whether imprisonment is such a necessity is another question. I'd assume that it wouldn't be counted as such unless not eating any flesh would cause harm to ones body, especially if any other kind of food is available.

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5

Yes, in the case that there is no halal food available it is permitted to eat just enough of a haram food as would be required to stay alive.

The primary source for this is in the Quran in each of the main verses which declare haram foods which are 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115. And also in 6:119

حرمت عليكم الميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير وما أهل لغير الله به ... فمن اضطر في مخمصة غير متجانف لإثم فإن الله غفور رحيم

Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah ... But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Quran 5:3

إنما حرم عليكم الميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير وما أهل به لغير الله فمن اضطر غير باغ ولا عاد فلا إثم عليه إن الله غفور رحيم

He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Quran 2:173

Similarly in case of imprisonment it would be permissible if the captors are torturing the prisoner by only giving access to haram food. When the sahabi Abdullah ibn Hudhafah as-Sahmi was captured by the romans, they locked him and gave him only wine and pork to consume. He decided to endure starvation in order to deny them satisfaction, however he admitted that it was permissible for him to eat because of need.

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