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Ibn Abi Ammar said: "I asked Jabir bin Abdullah: 'Is the hyena game?' He said: 'Yes'" He said: "I said: 'Can it be eaten?' He said: 'Yes.'" He said: "I said: 'Did the Messenger of Allah say that?' He said: 'Yes.'" (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 851)

I'm confused regarding the edibility of hyenas. The Hadith above stipulates that the meat is halal. However there are other ahadith where all predatory animals with canines are haram. Hyenas have canines and they're predatory.

Could this be an example of abrogation? Could it be that hyenas were halal which were later counted as forbidden along with other predators?

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There is difference of opinion on some animals like الضبع (translated here as hyena) specifically and on predators in general.

The view of the majority is that predators are haram. So one madhab is that this animal is also haram because it is included in the general meaning of the ahadith such as:

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

Muslim

كل ذي ناب من السباع فأكله حرام

The eating of all fanged beasts of prey is unlawful.

Muslim

Those who consider this animal to be haram would hold that the hadith you quoted is not acceptable as the narrator Ibn Abi Ammar is not well known and it goes against what is narrated by stronger sources so it could be a mistake.

Another madhab is that predators are actually permitted or only makruh because they are included in what is declared halal by the following verse:

قل لا أجد في ما أوحي إلي محرما على طاعم يطعمه إلا أن يكون ميتة أو دما مسفوحا أو لحم خنزير فإنه رجس أو فسقا أهل لغير الله به

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.

Quran 6:145

They would hold that the hadith on prohibition of predatory animals is either not acceptable or that it is to be interpreted as makruh not haram.

While a third madhab is that only certain predators are permitted while the rest are prohibited. So the hadith on prohibition is the general rule and the hadith of Ibn Abi Ammar is an exception to it. And they have explained the exception e.g. that the lawful predators are such that their fangs are weak and they do not attack using them.

References:

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  • I think abrogation makes more sense. There's no reason, let alone an indication, to interpret the Sahih ahadith as specific. The wording is general. – Afiq Sep 26 at 12:32
  • The Hadith quoted is not the only one : sunnah.com/search?q=Hyena – Afiq Sep 26 at 12:34
  • One hadith is only about hyena and the other is about all beasts with fangs, so one is certainly specific while the other is general. There is also no clear reason to judge abrogation although that has been noted and discussed by al-Ayni. – UmH Sep 26 at 16:25

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