Food: Forbidden types

Q225 :In my home country, we have certain concepts about permissible types of food. People maintain that the meat of animals which use their hands in eating and those which are amphibious are forbidden for human beings to eat. Animals without blood are also discouraged to eat. People have two different opinions about whether eating crabs is permissible or not. Could you please explain whether all these concepts are correct.


A225 : Allah tells us in the Qur'an that He has detailed for us the types of food which He has forbidden us. Remembering that the authority to forbid anything belongs only to Allah, we know that only those things mentioned in the Qur'an or the Hadith as forbidden can be classified as such. As you realize, the Hadith may provide an explanation of the Qur'anic instruction which could serve either to restrict or expand its application. What is mentioned in the Hadith as forbidden is only pronounced as such on divine instructions, because the Hadith is only the Prophet's expression of revelation vouchsafed to him from on high. As such, what the Hadith describes as forbidden has been forbidden by God Himself. On four separate occasions, the Qur'an mentions the type of animal food which is forbidden to us. In all these the same prohibition is made clear. In one, the instruction is given in a very limiting way. Verse 145 of Surah 6, entitles "Cattle", instructs the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to say: "I do not find in what has been revealed to me anything which is forbidden to eat unless it be carrion or spilled blood, or the flesh of swine, for all this is an impurity, or an abomination upon which the name of someone other than Allah bas been invoked. But if one is driven by utter necessity, with no intention to violate (divine instruction) or transgress, then your Lord is most forgiving, compassionate." The way this Qur'anic verse is phrased makes it absolutely clear that what is forbidden is only those four types: Carrion, which denotes any animal that dies by itself, without being slaughtered for the specific purpose of eating; spilled blood, which excludes that which is found solid in normal conditions, such as the spleen; the flesh of swine which includes everything from pigs, and lastly, any animal which is slaughtered with the invocation of the name of anyone other than Allah. That animal may be a sheep or a cow or indeed anything else. The invocation takes it out of what is permissible into what is forbidden. These, then, are the types of animal food, which are forbidden to us. In verse 3 of surah 5, the four are given in greater detail. For example, under carrion we find several types of the death of animals mentioned which means that if an animal dies as a result of a fall, or as being stabbed by the horns of another animal, or killed by wild animals or birds of prey, or strangled, it is forbidden to eat. All these count as carrion. Similarly, any animal which is slaughtered in honor of a human being or an idol is also forbidden. Apart from these, there are several types of animals which are pronounced as disallowed. The Maliki school of thought is the clearest in this regard. It makes all these reprehensible to eat, rather than forbidden. These include wild animals and birds of prey, poisonous reptiles, etc. I am, however, amazed at the classification you have mentioned. I have given you the clearest verdict which is mentioned in the Qur'an. You can take it as definitive. As for crabs, they are certainly permissible to eat.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )