What are the lawful animals?
The general rule in Islamic Law is that all animals are allowed to be used for food except for those that are expressly forbidden in the Qur’an or the Prophet’s traditions.
Forbidden animals are as follows:
- Pigs: Pigs, indeed any of their body parts and by-products, are considered ‘filthy’ in Islam and thus forbidden for human consumption. As the Qur’an states, “Forbidden to you for food are dead animals, blood and the flesh of swine.” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:3)
> Any animal that is not specifically forbidden in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s traditions is considered lawful for Muslims to eat.
- All meat eating animals, whether they are large, such as lions and tigers, or small, such as cats. and dogs are also included in this category.
- All predatory birds, such as falcons and eagles.
- Insects: All land insects are not lawful because they cannot be slaughtered, with the exception of locusts, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “Made lawful for you are the flesh of two dead animals: locusts and fish.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah: 3218)
- Snakes and Mice: These are also considered unlawful and Islam even goes as far as to command us to kill them. The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are five animals for which there is no blame on the one who kills them even if he is in a state of consecration for the pilgrimage (ihraam): crows, kites (hawk-like birds), mice/rats, scorpions and mad dogs.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaare: 3136; Saheeh Muslim: 1198)
- Domestic donkeys, which are generally used in the countryside for riding and carrying loads.
Types of Lawful Animals
Animals which Allah has made lawful for Muslims are of two types:
- Wild animals, which live in natural conditions (that is, not kept in a house or on a farm), and which tend to run away from humans and cannot be easily caught in order to slaughter them: These can become lawful only by hunting them according to Islamic guidelines in this respect.
- Domesticated animals which can be easily caught: These can become lawful only by slaughtering them according to Islamic law.