Permissible & Impermissible: Land Animals

This is the first part of Section I: Permissible and Impermissible Animals.

Precious Provisions

taught by Yasir Qadhi

Section 1: Permissible and Impermissible Animals

1.) Land Animals

The scholars divided these animals into four categories.


The domesticated animals would be cattle, farm animals, etc. There are some general rules of thumb to follow for land animals:

1. Domesticated animals must be ritually slaughtered (dhabh)

2. Non predatory animals, by and large, may be hunted

3. Predatory animals, by and large, are haraam

Animals allowed by unanimous consensus are:

1.) Cattle (cows, sheep, goat, camels)

antelope2.) Gazelles, deer, antelopes, etc.

3.) Wild bovines (buffalo, etc.)

4.) Zebra

5.) Rabbits


Prohibited by unanimous consensus are (the last three points are makruh in the Maliki madhab):

1.) Pigs – this includes all types, domesticated and non domesticated. This is the only animal that is haraam in the Maliki madhab.

2.) All types of dogs

3.) Domesticated donkeys

4.) Mules – and this is interesting, but do you know what a mule is? It is a cross between a donkey and a horse. There are two different animals from crossing a donkey and a horse. One is called a mule and one is called a hinny. A mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse, and a hinny is a cross between a female horse and a donkey. Why do we care? Because the scholars say that the animal is ascribed to the father. So the animal with the donkey for a father – the mule – would be haraam.


There is a difference of opinion over horse meat:

horsewithbigeyesThe Hanafis consider it haraam to eat. They say that Allah created the horse to ride and not to eat. All of the other madhaahib consider it halaal because there are ahaadith in which the companions slaughtered a horse and ate it, and it was not a time of hunger or any such extreme situation like that.

Narrated Asmaa`: We slaughtered a horse (by Dhabh) during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle while we were at Medina, and we ate it. [Muslim, 7/67/419]



Three primary rules regarding Land Animals:

1.) The Predator with Fangs is Forbidden

In a hadith in Bukhaari, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade the eating of any predator with fangs. [see Bukhaari 7/67/435 and 7/67/438] This would include animals such as monkeys, dogs, etc.

The Malikis did not take this hadith. They say it is only makruh, and not haraam, to eat a predator with fangs.

2.) Every animal mutakhbath is Forbidden

This interpretation of the word mutakhbath is what seperates the liberals from the conservatives [in terms of halaal/haraam food anyway!].

Allah says in the Qur’aan, “I have allowed for you everything that is pure and forbidden for you everything that is khabeeth (filthy and disgusting).”  (7:167)

Based upon this ayah, the Hambalis, Hanafis and Shafi’ees say: If I find it disgusting, it is haraam.

The Malikis, on the other hand, say that the rest have misunderstood the verse. It does not mean that everything that is disgusting is haraam; it means that everything Allah has made haraam is digusting. (Read that sentence over a few times and it will make sense inshaAllah 😀 ). For the Malikis, there is no such thing as a disgusting animal, except which Allah has already forbidden.

How do the various madhaahib define what is mutakhbath?

What exactly is the criteria for a “filthy” animal? It could differ from culture to culture, person to person. For example, is a squirrel “filthy”? We’ll take a look at how the different madhaahib decided on their criteria for mutakhbath:

  1. The Hanafis did not have a specific rule. They used this rule quite liberally to prohibit many items that other madhabs consider halal. In YQ’s humble opinion, Abu Haneefah’s upbringing and ethnicity played a big role in this. Abu Haneefah was an aristrocat from Persia therefore, he considered a lot of animals filthy and disgusting.
  2. The Shafi’ees said that they would allow the sophisticated, cultured Arabs who lived in the city what is mustakhbath. Why? Because the Bedouins would eat everything that crawls and moves – everything! J The Arabs were chosen because they knew the language of the Qur’aan.
  3. The Hambalis said that the Arabs lived all over the world, and their cultural differences were too broad. They said that we will find mustakhbath based upon the city dwellers of the hijaaz region (Makkah and Madinah). What is their evidence? The Qur’aan came down for that region. Therefore, when Allah says mustakhbath in the Qur’aan, the local Arabs must understand. Also, the sahabah would know better.

The Malikis refute all of them:

  1. You can’t even decide on a criteria!
  2. The hadith of the desert lizard, which we have already mentioned. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam didn’t like the lizard, but that didn’t automatically make it haraam. Also, another point from the hadith is that although the Prophet and Khalid were from the same part of Arabia, the Prophet did not eat it, while Khalid did. Even their taste varied! The taste of the people of Hijaaz [the Makkah, Madinah area] do not dictate shari’ah. 

Ibn Taymiyyah [who was an Arab] says “This religion is not an Arab-centric religion. It is not based upon the whims and the palettes of the Arabs. We base mustakhbath upon the general trends of humanity. For example, snakes and spiders and bugs, by and large, are considered mustakhbath. We do not look to the people of China and what they do there, that is an exceptional case.”  [A Chinese sister said that there is only one such tribe like this in China that eats all these gross things]. YQ follows this opinion.

3.) The jallaalah animal

Jallaalah animal is an animal which eats najas, filthy food. In a hadith in Abu Dawood and Ahmad, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade the meat na dmilk of a jallaalah. The word that is used is naha, which could mean that he discouraged it.

Of course when an animal eats out in the fields, it is bound to eat some najas from the ground. The animal would be najas when the majority of its food is najas.

The majority of the scholars consider it to be makrooh; some scholras of the three madhaahib consider it haraam.

PRACTICE: Is the animal halaal?


  1. Elephants? Simple question: are their tusks fangs or not? Is the animal predatory? Back during the Prophets’ time, seeing an actual elephant was a rare occurence; a once in a lifetime event. So if you have never seen this creature, what would your thoughts be at first sight? It’s humongous with these huge “fangs” coming out of it’s mouth. 

    We actually know that the elephants are very docile creatures. And we know that biologically, the teeth of the animal are not fangs. This shows the cultural effect on scholars. The rules actually dictate otherwise.

  2. Hyenas? Some scholars consider them haraam. By and large hyenas are scavengers, once in awhile they are forced to hunt, so most scholars consider them halal.
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3 Responses to Permissible & Impermissible: Land Animals

  1. apsari says:

    aisha, i remembered when i was pregnant the doc gave me prenatal vitamin, but it had gelatin on it, and she said its made form horse something i forgot (horse bone maybe? i dunno), so i guess the ruling will be halal right? but then it’s not slaughtered with bismillah which then, I still shouldnt drink the vit.s, correct?
    well, i ended up buying from HEB the ones that doesnt have any gelatin..

  2. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  3. MR ASMAR AKRAM says:

    Salaam Umm Ibrahim. I could not find direct contact detail on this blog to notify you of this error.

    You have stated above that the Hanafi School of thought deems it Haraam to eat horse meat. This is NOT correct. The Correct Hanafi Opinion is as follows:

    mam Abu Hanifa (RA) is of the opinion that consuming horse meat is Makruh Tanzihi due to its honour and due to the fact that a horse is needed in wars and battles. Imam Abu Yusuf (RA) and Imam Muhammad (RA) consider it to be halal and it is said that Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) retreated to this opinion. Therefore it will be permissible to consume, although best to avoid. (Hidayah p.441 v.4)

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