On a website name Jihadica, various fatwas containing Daesh insignia were collected by certain academicians and researchers in 2014. Fatwa No. 68 is translated by UC Berkeley medical anthropology doctoral candidate, Khashayar Beigi (below):

" the experts of the Shafi'i and Hanbali schools of Islamic jurisprudence permitted killing of the warring infidels or apostates under the constraining circumstances of eating their flesh to stay alive. Imam Alnawawi says, “There is permission to kill the warring party, the apostate, and moreover to eat their flesh carries no punishment .” If the experts of jurisprudence have allowed under war conditions believers to eat the flesh of the infidel in order to prevent harm and loss of life, these apply as well to the transplant of organs from the apostate to the Muslim. The life and organs of the apostate are not protected by Muslim jurisprudence."

While the opinions of Daesh certainly do not matter, I want to know whether the opinion they impute on Imam Shafi'i (RA) and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) are accurate or not? Is cannibalism on the kuffar and murtadeen haram or halal?


1 Answer 1


3 Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah , and 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 slaughter, and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. This day those who disbelieve have despaired of 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.
Al-Ma'idah 3

Without speaking on any Shafi'i or Hanbali rulings in particular, the general understanding of this ayah, in particular the emphasised text, is that it's acceptable to eat otherwise-forbidden food when one is driven by necessity (i.e. when the alternative is starvation and death). Your fatwa just appears to be a logical extrapolation of that.

Doesn't mean it's recommended or in any way should be considered a first resort when literally any alternative is available. It just means that if it does come to that, there's no sin in doing so in order to save your own life.

  • Thanks for the context. These rulings apparently imply that it is permissible to kill the Kuffar or Murtadeen for the sake of eating their flesh, to prevent starvation. I believe that Daesh issued an instruction to this effect, to their fighters during the Battle of Mosul. So, I was wondering whether the permissibility of eating human flesh applies only to the flesh of Kafirs? In case of starvation, a Muslim should prefer the flesh of the Kafir over the flesh of a fellow Muslim? Commented Jun 18 at 8:23
  • This fatwa also related to organ harvesting from the Kafirs. What is the general ruling regarding organ transplant? Commented Jun 18 at 8:27
  • @TeerthAloke That should be asked as a completely different question.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Jun 18 at 9:11

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