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Laws of Religion

Laws of Islam Concerning Food

 

16.  Eating Game When on Pilgrimage

 

from the Holy Qur’an, major hadith collections

and Islamic jurisprudence

 

 

Eating Game When on Pilgrimage

From Islamic Source Documents: Qur’an and Hadith

 

The Qur’an says that game animals are prohibited when a person is on pilgrimage.[1] This refers only to land game since killing and eating water game is permitted.[2] Intentional violation of this prohibition requires compensation by making an offering at the Ka’ba of a domestic animal equivalent to the forbidden game animal as determined by two just men, feeding the poor or an equivalent amount of fasting.[3]

 

When in a state of ihram (the sacred state associated with pilgrimage – hajj or ‘umrah), Muhammad refused a gift of onager[4] or wild ass[5] (Editor’s note: the onager is also known as the Asian wild ass) or meat from unspecified game.[6] However, when he was in a state of ihram, Muhammad did accept and eat a gift of onager[7] or wild ass[8] or opener[9] hunted and killed by Abu Qatada because Abu Qatada was not in a state of ihram when he killed the animal and he did it without the instruction or assistance of anyone in a state of ihram.[10]

 

When presented with cooked bird meat, some pilgrims in a state of ihram ate it and others did not. They were told that Muhammad ate cooked bird under these circumstances.[11] (Editor’s note: This may imply that it is permissible to eat a bird from an unknown source even when in a state if ihram or that this bird was identifiable as a water bird and therefore permitted even when one is in a state of ihram or that the pilgrims knew that the bird had been killed solely by a person not in a state of ihram.)

 

There are five types of animals that can be killed even when in a state of ihram.[12]  These are listed as kite, crow, rat, voracious dog and scorpion in hadiths compiled by Muslim.[13] Vulture[14] or snake[15] is listed instead of scorpion in some versions of this hadith. In the translation of the hadiths of al-Bukhari, the dog is referred to as rabid rather than voracious[16] and in two of the four versions recorded by al-Bukhari, mouse is listed instead of rat.[17]

 

 

Eating Game When on Pilgrimage

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

 

Contents

 

Prohibited and permitted animals

 

Expiation for killing prohibited animal

 

 

Prohibited and permitted animals. Entering the sacred state of ihram requires intention[18] to start the pilgrimage and putting on the appropriate garments[19]. Islamic scholars* agree that a person in a state of ihram for pilgrimage may not hunt on land or eat from any animal that he has so hunted.[20] Reliance of the Traveller (Shafi‛i school) specifies that it is prohibited when in a state of ihram to kill not only any game that Muslims may eat but also any game animal resulting from the mating of an animal that a Muslim may eat and one which may not be eaten.[21]

 

It is agreed by Islamic scholars that five things on land may be killed when in a state of ihram:  the crow, the kite, the scorpion, the rat and the biting dog. Malik says that, in this context, biting dogs include all predatory aggressive animals while Abu Hanifa says that the biting dogs to be killed include only pets and wolves.[22] (Editor's note: The five animals which may be killed are translated elsewhere as raven, kite, scorpion, mouse and ferocious dog, i.e., raven instead of crow and mouse instead of rat.[23] The names of these animals in the translated hadiths are given on this page, above. Whether or not these animals may be eaten is discussed on a previous page, Fanged Beasts, Birds with Talons, Donkeys and Other Prohibited Animals.) Snakes may also be killed when in a state of ihram.[24]

 

Abu Hanifa says that a person in a state of ihram may eat game hunted by someone not in a state of ihram. Malik says that such game can be eaten only if it was not hunted for someone in a state of ihram.[25] Abu Hanifa and al-Shafi‛i say that a person not on pilgrimage may eat game hunted by someone in a state of ihram, but Malik says that such game is unlawful to eat since it is unslaughtered dead meat.[26] (Dead meat is meat from an animal that died other than by proper intentional slaughter or hunting.)

 

 

Expiation for killing prohibited animal. Islamic scholars* agree that the killing of game when in a state of ihram is to be expiated by sacrificing a domestic animal similar to the one unlawfully killed, giving food to the poor or fasting.[27] Malik says that the amount of food given to the poor is to be equal to the value of the animal unlawfully hunted while al-Shafi‛i says it is to be equal to the value of the designated substitute animal.[28] If there is no recognized substitute, the Shafi‛i school says to use the value of the animal that was killed.[29] Malik says food is to be given to the poor who live in or near the place where the game was unlawfully hunted; al-Shafi‛i says it is to be given only to the poor people of Mecca; Abu Hanifa says the poor recipients can be anywhere.[30]

 

If the unlawful hunting while in a state of ihram is to be expiated by fasting, Malik and al-Shafi‛i,[31] as well as the Shafi‛i school,[32] say to fast one day for every mudd (0.51 liters) of food that would have been given to the poor if that had been the method of expiation chosen.

 

If expiation for unlawful hunting of an animal when in a state of ihram is to be made by slaughtering a similar animal, al-Shafi‛i says that the domestic animal sacrificed should be the nearest in size to the game animal killed, not similar in its monetary value.[33] Abu Hanifa says that it is the price of the animal that makes it similar for purposes of compensation and he also gives the option of making compensation by paying the amount the animal would cost rather than compensating with a similar animal.[34] Islamic scholars disagree concerning what specific domestic animals are similar for purpose of compensation to various types of unlawfully hunted animals and to what extent precedent is to be followed in making these determinations.[35] Al-Shafi‛i says that if what was killed by someone in a state of ihram was a bird that is unlawful to eat, then compensation is to be by monetary payment to the bird’s owner.[36]

 

________________

 

*Islamic scholars disagree on certain points of law based on different methodologies used in deriving the law from the Qur’an and the traditions (sunna) concerning the life of Muhammad and his closest companions, particularly as expressed in the compiled hadiths. There are four major schools of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam: the Maliki, the Hanafi, the Shafi‛i and the Hanbali. These names are derived from the individual scholars considered to have been the founders of each school: Malik, Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi‛i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, respectively. The source texts we have used to prepare our summaries of Islamic jurisprudence contain the legal views of these different founders and schools, as described at Source Texts Used for Laws of Islam.

 

§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 5:1, QR 5:95, QR 5:96

[2] QR 5:96

[3] QR 5:95

[4] BK 3:47:747, BK 3:47:768

[5] ML 7:2701-2702-2703, ML 7:2704-2705

[6] ML 7:2706

[7] BK 3:29:47, BK 3:29:48, BK 3:29:49, BK 3:29:50, BK 3:47:744, BK 4:52:163, BK 7:65:318, BK 7:67:398-399, BK 7:67:400

[8] ML 7:2707, ML 7:2708-2709, ML 7:2710, ML 7:2711-2712, ML 7:2713-2714-2715

[9] BK 4:52:106

[10] BK 3:29:50, ML 7:2711-2712, ML 7:2715

[11] ML 7:2716

[12] BK 3:29:52, BK 3:29:53

[13] ML 7:2719-2720, ML 7:2721-2722, ML 7:2723, ML 7:2724, ML 7:2725, ML 7:2726, ML 7:2728, ML 7:2729-2730, ML 7:2731

[14] ML 7:2717

[15] ML 7:2718, ML 7:2727

[16] BK 3:29:54, BK 3:29:55, BK 4:54:531, BK 4:54:532

[17] BK 4:54:531, BK 4:54:532

[18] DJP 9.2.1 (Volume 1, pages 381-383), DJP 9.2.5 (Volume 1, pages 397-400), RT j1.18 (page 309)

[19] DJP 9.2.1 (Volume 1, pages 381-383), DJP 9.2.3 (Volume 1, pages 384-390), RT j3.2 (page 312)

[20] DJP 9.2.3 (Volume 1, pages 384-390)

[21] RT j3.21 (page 320)

[22] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[23] DJP 17.1.3 (Volume 1, pages 570-575)

[24] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[25] DJP 9.2.3 (Volume 1, pages 384-390)

[26] DJP 15.4 (Volume 1, pages 558-559)

[27] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433), RT j3.21-j3.23 (pages 320-321)

[28] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[29] RT j3.22-j3.23 (pages 320-321)

[30] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[31] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[32] RT j3.21-j3.23 (pages 320-321)

[33] SR 26 (Page 78), SR 547 (page 297)

[34] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[35] DJP 9.3.2 (Volume 1, pages 424-433)

[36] SR 548 (page 298)