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Laws of Religion

Laws of Islam Concerning Food


5.  Rules Concerning Swine


from the Holy Qur’an, major hadith collections

and Islamic jurisprudence


Rules Concerning Swine

From Islamic Source Documents: Qur’an and Hadith


As with dead meat, it is forbidden in the Qur’an to eat swine[1] and forbidden in the hadiths to sell it.[2] (Dead meat is meat from an animal that died other than by proper intentional slaughter or hunting.)



Rules Concerning Swine

From Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh§):  The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer of Ibn Rushd, the Risala of al-Shafi‛i and Reliance of the Traveller


As discussed on previous pages, Rules Concerning Dead Meat and Prohibition Against Consuming Blood, the prohibitions against drinking wine, consuming blood and eating pork or meat from dead animals are mentioned in passing in al-Shafi‛i's Risala[3] and these transgressions are referred to as “disgraceful acts”[4].


All flesh of swine is filth*[5]and it is forbidden to eat their meat, fat or skin.[6] It is also forbidden to sell the flesh from swine because, like unslaughtered dead animals and wine, it is filth.[7] Skins from swine are filth and cannot be used even if they have been tanned.[8]


According to Reliance of the Traveller (Shafi‛i school), dhimmis are forbidden to openly display wine or pork.[9] (A dhimmi is non-Muslim who agrees to follow certain rules of behavior,[10] wears distinctive clothing that Muslims do not wear,[11] pays a poll tax (jizya),[12] and is protected by the Muslim rulers.[13] For al-Shafi‛i[14]  and the Shafi‛i school[15] only Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (or Magians) may be dhimmis but Malik[16] and the Hanifi[17] say that even polytheists may be dhimmis.)


As discussed on the previous pages, Rules Concerning Dead Meat and Prohibition Against Consuming Blood, Imam Dhahabi (an important 13th-14th century Shafi‛i scholar) is quoted in the English translation of Reliance of the Traveller as stating that the eating of unslaughtered meat, blood or swine are “enormities.”[18] Whoever voluntarily eats of these is a criminal.[19]




* “Filth” is explained at Food and Animal Materials that are Filth.


§The more general term sharia is often used loosely to mean the specific derived laws of fiqh, such as those summarized here.




Laws of Religion is a project of the Religion Research Society.


Updated October 14, 2016


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Abbreviations used in footnotes:

QR:   Qur’an, with surahs (chapters) and ayahs (verses) numbered as in most modern translations, including those found here, here and here.

BK:    Hadith collection of al-Bukhari as found here (USC website) and here (ebook download). In a few instances, the hadiths on the USC website differ from those in the ebook download, either by having slightly different numbering of the hadiths or because the hadith appears only on the USC site and not in the ebook download. Such cases are noted in the footnotes by putting either “(USC)” or “(ebook)” after the relevant hadith number when it applies to only one of these two sources.

ML:    Hadith collection of Muslim as found here and here.

DJP:  The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, by Ibn Rushd, translated by Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, published by Garnet Publishing Ltd, Reading, UK. Volume 1, 1994. Volume 2, 1996. Limited preview is available here (Volume 1) and here (Volume 2). Full text online and download for Volume 1 is here and here and for Volume 2 is here and here.

RT:    Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, revised edition 1994, published by Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland, USA. It can be downloaded as a pdf file from various websites such as this one.

SR:    al-Shafi‛i’s Risala: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence, translated by Majid Khadduri, Second Edition, published by The Islamic Texts Society. It can be downloaded here.

●  The sources cited are described on the page Source Texts Used for Laws of Islam.


[1] QR 2:173, QR 5:3, QR 6:145, QR 16:115

[2] BK 3:34:438, ML 10:3840

[3] SR 13 (page 68), SR 161 (pages 170-171)

[4] SR 13 (page 68)

[5] DJP 1.4.2 (Volume 1, page 81)

[6] DJP 17.1 (Volume 1, pages 563-567)

[7] DJP 24.2.1 (Volume 2, pages 155-157)

[8] DJP (Volume 1, Pages 84-85), RT e14.6 (pages 97-98)

[9] RT o11.5 (page 608)

[10] RT o11.3 (page 607), RT o11.5 (page 608), RT o11.6 (page 608), RT o11.9 (page 609),

[11] RT o11.5 (page 608)

[12] DJP 10.1.7 (Volume 1, pages 464-466), DJP (Volume 1, page 483), RT o11.3 (page 607), RT o11.4 (page 608), RT o11.9 (page 609)

[13] RT o11.8 (page 609)

[14] DJP 10.1.7 (Volume 1, pages 464-466)

[15] RT o9.8 (pages 602-603), o11.1-o11.2 (page 607)

[16] DJP 10.1.7 (Volume 1, pages 464-466)

[17] translator’s note in RT o9l9 (page 603)

[18] RT p30.1 (page 673)

[19] RT p30.2 (page 673)