Question: Music and Singing: A detailed fatwa

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The worst case scenario in the event of being inflicted with a disease is when the one involved refuses to believe that he has been inflicted with that disease. The way this phenomenon is accepted and recognised in diseases and illnesses that affect the physical body, it is also true with regards to spiritual diseases and ailments.

When a person commits a sin (may Allah save us all) believing that a sin is being committed and feels regret and remorse in the heart, then this is far better then committing the sin and believing it to be lawful (halal). In the former situation, only one sin is being committed, and it is very likely that the individual may repent out of the remorse felt in the heart. In the latter case, however, in addition to the sin being committed, there is the greater sin of trying to justify it. Normally, such an individual does not receive the guidance to repent from his sin. (May Allah save us all, Ameen).

Music and Singing?

The case with music and unlawful singing is the same. It has been decisively prohibited in Shariah, as the evidences mentioned further along will show. Yet there are individuals that are not ready to believe that it is Haram.

In the modern era, music has spread to such an extent that nobody is free from it. Individuals are confronted with situations where they are forced to listen to music. It is played nearly in all department stores and supermarkets. If you sit in a taxi, make aphone call or even walk down the street, you will not be saved from this evil. Young Muslims drive around in their cars with the music fully blasted. The increasing popularity of music, which is prevalent in our society, poses a great threat to the Muslims.

Music is a direct ploy of the Non-Muslims. One of the main causes for the decline of the Muslims is their involvement in useless entertainment. Today we see that Muslims are involved, and at the forefront perhaps, of many immoralities and evils. The spiritual power which once was the trait of a Muslim is nowhere to be seen. One of the main reasons for this is music and useless entertainment.

Harms and effects of music

We should be aware that nothing has been prohibited by the Almighty Creator except that which is harmful to the Muslims and the society as a whole. There are great harms and ill-effects of music.

Islam totally forbids adultery and also those things that lead to it. Allah Most High says:

“And do not come near to adultery, for it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening the road (to other evils)” (al-Isra, 32).

Islam does not only prohibit adultery and fornication, but also those things that may lead to it. This is the reason why the Qur’an orders Muslim men and Women to lower their gazes. It prohibits one from being alone with someone from the opposite sex (khalwa). Informal interaction with the opposite sex has also been made unlawful.

This is also one of the main reasons for the prohibition of music, as it effects one’s emotions, creates arousal, passion and excitement, and also leads to various physiological changes in the person. It is a psychological proven fact that two things are instrumental in arousing the human sexual desire, one being the voice of a female (for males) and the other music.

This is the reason why Allah Most High says:

“O wives of the prophet! You are not like other women, if you are god-fearing. So do not be soft in speech. Lest in whose heart is disease should be moved with desire.” (Surah al-Ahzab, v. 32).

Thus, Islam forbids listening to the female voice with lust and desire. The great Hanafi Jurist, Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It is permissible for women to converse with non-Mahram men at the time of need (and visa versa, m). However, what is not permissible is that they stretch, soften and raise their voice in a melodious way” (Radd al-Muhtar, V.1, P. 406).

Similarly, it is also unlawful for women to listen to the voice of non-Mahram men with lust and desire. One of the great western thinkers said: “the voice is one of the quickest ways that make a woman fall in love with a man. This is the reason why many women adore singers”.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was also wary of this fact when he said to the Companion Bara ibn Malik: “O Bara! Let not the women here your voice” (Kanz al-Ummal, 7/322). The same has also been reported from the Companion Anjasha (Allah be pleased with him).

Physical Effect of Music

Experiments carried out by doctors and researchers confirm that music is such that it does not only affect the brain, but each and every organ of the body. There is a close relationship between music and bodily movements.

It is also proved that music affects one’s emotions, increases arousal in terms of alertness and excitement and also leads to various psychological changes in the person. In a psychological experiment, it was found that listening to moderate type of music increased one’s normal heart beat, whilst listening to rock music the heart beat increased even further, yet people claim that music has no effect.

In conclusion, music and the instruments used for singing are a cause for arousing the sexual desire of an individual. It could lead a person to adultery and fornication. Therefore, Islam takes the preventive measure rather than suffer the consequences. This is also one of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, namely ‘blocking the means’ (sadd al-dhara’i). This is based on the idea of preventing an evil before it actually materializes, and is taken from the heart of the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah that, “Preventing harm is given precedence even to achieving possible benefits.”

Becoming Heedless of Allah

One of the harms of music is that it distracts one from his Creator. It serves as a temporary means of pleasure and satisfaction, which makes one forget who he really is and why he was created. This is the reason why musical instruments are known in the Arabic language as ‘malaahi’ meaning instruments that prevent one from the remembrance of Allah Almighty.

Human has been created for a noble purpose. Allah Most High says:

“I have created jinn and humans only that they serve (worship) me” (Surah al-Dhariyat, 56).

Music and temporary entertainments sink the human in physical pleasures and prevent him/her from true spiritual gains. In conclusion, music has a great role to play in preventing a human from realising the purpose of creation.

Un-Islamic Values

Another harm of music is that it instills the ideologies of the Non-Muslims in the heart and mind. The messages of today’s music follow a general theme of love, fornication, drugs and freedom.

We find that the whole world is obsessed with the Kufr idea of unrestrained freedom, i.e. freedom of speech and movement, etc… This idea of freedom, “it’s my life, I’ll do what I want” is a predominant theme of music today. It is used as a means of drilling western ideologies into the hearts and minds, which are totally contrary to Islamic values and teachings.

The Difference Between Legal Wisdom and Legal Reasons

The above are just some of the harms and evil effects of music. One must remember here that these are the wisdoms for the prohibition of music and not the reason (illah). The Shariah ruling is based upon the reason, and not the wisdom. In other words if the harms for the prohibition of music is taken care of, it does not make music permissible.

An example for this is that the wisdom behind the prohibition of wine and alcohol is that it creates enmity and hatred between people and it hinders one from the remembrance of Allah. The reason, however, is that it is an intoxicating substance. Now, if one was to say that wine will be Halal for me, as I will lock myself up after drinking wine, thus no destruction will be caused. Any sane person will conclude that he is wrong, as wine is Haram whether you cause any destruction and damage to others or not. The reason being, that the cause for the prohibition of wine is that it intoxicates you, regardless of whether the wisdom is present or not.

The same is with music. If one is saved from the abovementioned harms, even then music will still remain Haram. It can not be held lawful even if one is saved from its harms. This is a well established principle in the science of Usul al-Fiqh.

Ruling on musical instruments and unlawful singing

In the light of the evidences that will be mentioned later, the following are unlawful in Shariah:

a) Musical instruments that are exclusively designed for entertainment and dancing, and create charm, pleasure and bliss on their own (even without the singing), such as the drum, violin, guitar, fiddle, flute, lute, mandolin, harmonium, piano, string, etc… are impermissible to use under any circumstance.

There is a consensus of the whole Ummah on this. Since the first century, the Companions (sahaba), their followers (tabi’een), jurists (fuqaha) and the scholars have been generally unanimous on this ruling.

b) Singing that is a cause for a sin is also unlawful with the consensus of all the scholars, such as songs that prevent one from the obligatory (fard & wajib).

c) Any singing that is accompanied by other sins, such as songs that consist of unlawful, immoral, and sexual themes, or it is sang by non-Mahram women, etc will also be unlawful. This ruling is also with the consensus of all the scholars.

Evidences

There are numerous evidences in the Qur’an and Sunnah which support this view. We will attempt to look at a few:

1) Allah Most High says:

“And there are among men, those that purchase idle tales, to mislead (men) from the path of Allah and throw ridicule. For such there will be a humiliating punishment” (Surah Luqman, V. 6).

The great Companion Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) states in the explanation of the word “idle tales”:

“By Allah its meaning is music” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi, 1/223 & authenticated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, 2/411).

Imam Ibn Abi Shayba related with his own transmission that He (Ibn Mas’ud) said:

“I swear By Him besides whom there is no God that it refers to singing” (132/5).

The great Companion and exegete of the Qur’an, Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) states:

“The meaning of the word is music, singing and the like” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi, 1/221& Musannaf Ibn abi Shayba, 132/5).

He also stated:

“Music and the purchase of female singers” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba, 132/5).

Hasan al-Basri (Allah be pleased with him) said:

“This verse was revealed in relation to singing and musical instruments” (Tafsir ibn Kathir, 3/442)

The same explanation has also been narrated from Mujahid, Ikrima, Ibrahim Nakha’i, Mak’hul and others (Allah be pleased with them all).

The above verse of the Qur’an, along with the statements regarding its meaning is clear in the prohibition of music. It also serves as a severe warning for those who are involved in the trade of music in any way, shape or form, as Allah warned them of “Humiliating punishment”.

As for those that say, the verse refers to things that prevent one from the remembrance of Allah and not music, do not contradict the aforementioned explanation. The interpretation of the verse with “things that prevent one from the remembrance of Allah” is a more general interpretation which includes music and song, as one of the foremost things that stop you from the remembrance of Allah is music. This is the reason why the majority of the exegetes of the Qur’an have interpreted the verse with music only, or with all those acts that prevent one from the truth with music being at the forefront.

2) Allah Most High says whilst describing the attributes of the servants of the Most Compassionate (ibad al-Rahman):

“Those who witness no falsehood, and if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable avoidance” (Surah al-Furqan, V. 72).

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas relates from Sayyiduna Imam Abu Hanifah (Allah be pleased with him) that the meaning of “falsehood (zur)” is music & song, (Ahkam al-Qur’an, 3/428).

3) Allah Most High said to Shaytan:

“Lead to destruction those whom you can among them with your (seductive) voice” (Surah al-Isra, V.64).

One of the great exegete, Mujahid (Allah have mercy on him) interpreted the word “voice (sawt)” by music, singing, dancing and idle things. (Ruh al-Ma’ani, 15/111).

Imam Suyuti (Allah have mercy on him) quoted Mujahid as saying: “Voice (in this verse) is singing and flute” (al-Iklil fi istinbat al-tanzil, 1444).

Another exegete, Dahhak (Allah have mercy on him) also interpreted the word “Sawt” with flutes. (Qurtubi, al-Jami` li Ahkam al-Qur’an, 10/288).

Here also, a general interpretation can be given, as indeed some commentators of the Qur ’ an have done, but this, as mentioned earlier, does not contradict the meaning given by Mujahid and Dahhak, as it is included in the more broad and general meaning.

Guidance of the Messenger of Allah
(Allah bless him & give him peace)

The are many Ahadith of the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) which prohibit music and the usage of musical instruments to the extent that some scholars have gathered approximately forty Ahadith, of which the chain of transmission of some is sound (sahih), some good (hasan) and some weak (da’if). We will only mention a few here:

1) Sayyiduna Abu Malik al-Ash’ari (Allah be pleased with him) reports that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say: “There will appear people in my Ummah, who will hold adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be lawful” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

2) Abu Malik al-Ash’ari (Allah be pleased with him) narrates a similar type of Hadith, but a different wording. He reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Soon there will be people from my Ummah who will consume alcohol, they will change its name (by regarding it permissible. m), on there heads will be instruments of music and singing. Allah will make the ground swallow them up, and turn them into monkeys and swine” (Sahih Ibn Hibban & Sunan Ibn Majah, with a sound chain of narration).

In the above two narrations, the word ma`azif is used. The scholars of the Arabic language are unanimous on the fact that it refers to musical instruments (Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-Arab, V.9, P.189).

The prohibition of musical instruments is clear in the two narrations. The first Hadith (recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari) mentions that certain people from the Ummah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) will try to justify the permissibility of using musical instruments, along with adultery, silk and alcohol, despite these things being unlawful (haram) in Shariah.

Moreover, by mentioning music with the likes of adultery and alcohol just shows how severe the sin is. The one who attempts to permit music is similar to the one who permits alcohol or adultery.

The second Hadith describes the fate of such people in that the ground will be ordered to swallow them and they will be turned into monkeys and swine (may Allah save us all). The warning is specific to those that will hold music, alcohol, silk and adultery to be permissible. It is something that should be of concern for those who try and justify any of these things.

Also, to say that music will only be unlawful if it is in combination with alcohol, adultery and silk is incorrect. If this was the case, then why is it that the exception is only for music from the four things? The same could also be said for adultery, alcohol and silk. One may then even justify that alcohol and adultery is also permissible unless if they are consumed in combination with the other things!

Thus the above two narrations of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) are clear proof on the impermissibility of music and songs.

3) Imran ibn Husain (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “This Ummah will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones”. A man from amongst the Muslims asked: “O Messenger of Allah! When will this be?” He said: “When female singers and musical instruments appear and alcohol will (commonly) be consumed” (Recorded by Imam Tirmizi, Imam Ibn Majah in their respective Sunan collections, and the wording here is of Sunan Tirmizi).

4) Sayyiduna Ali ibn Talib (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “When my Ummah begin doing fifteen things, they will be inflicted with tribulations, and (from those 15 things He said): “When female singers and musical instruments become common” (Sunan Tirmizi).

5) Na’fi reports that once Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) heard the sound of a Sheppard’s flute. He put his fingers in his ears, turned his mule away from the road and said: “O Nafi’! Can you hear? I (Nafi’) replied with the affirmative. He carried on walking (with his fingers in his ears) until I said: “the sound has ceased” He removed his fingers from his ears, came back on to the road and said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) doing the same when he heard the flute of the Sheppard” (Recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad and Abu Dawud & Ibn Majah in their Sunans).

6) Abd Allah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Verily Allah has forbidden alcohol, gambling, drum and guitar, and every intoxicant is haram” (Musnad Ahmad & Sunan Abu Dawud).

7) Abu Umama (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) said: “Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affairs of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance” (Musnad Ahmad & Abu Dawud Tayalisi).

8) Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi).

9) Anas (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) said: “On the day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress” (Recorded by Ibn Asakir & Ibn al-Misri).

10)Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Bell is the flute of Shaytan” (Sahih Muslim & Sunan Abu Dawud).

There are many more narrations of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) in prohibition of musical instruments and unlawful singing. I have merely mentioned a few as an example.

The imam of the Shafi`i school, Imam Ibn Hajr al-Haytami gathered all these Ahadith which approximately total to forty in his excellent work ‘ Kaff al-Ra’a an Muharramat al-Lahw wa al-Sama’ , and then said: “All of this is explicit and compelling textual evidence that musical instruments of all types are unlawful” (2/270).

Statements of the Fuqaha

The great Hanafi jurist al-Kasani states:

“If a singer gathers people around him only to entertain them with his voice, then he will not be considered a upright person (a’dil), even though if he does not consume alcohol, as he will be considered the leader of sinners. If however, he only sings to himself in order to eradicate loneliness, then there is nothing wrong in doing so.

As far as the one who uses musical instruments is concerned, if the instruments themselves are not unlawful, such as the bamboo and tambourine, then there is nothing wrong with that and he will still be considered upright. However, if the instrument is unlawful, such as the lute and the like, then he will not be considered a upright person (to be a witness in the court. m), as these instruments can never be considered lawful” (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 6/269).

It is stated in Khulasat al-Fatawa:

“Listening to the sound of musical instruments is unlawful (haram), as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Listening to songs is a sin” (4/345).

Ibn Humam, the great Hanafi Mujtahid makes a decisive statement in his famous Fath al-Qadir:

“Unlawful (haram) singing is when the theme of the song consists of unlawful things, such as the description of a particular living person’s beauty and features, the virtues of wine that provoke wine-drinking, the details and particulars of family affairs or those songs that mock and ridicule others.

However, songs that are free from such unlawful things and they consist of descriptions of the natural things, such as flowers and streams, etc… will be permissible. Yes, if they are accompanied by musical instruments, then it will be unlawful even if the song is full of advice and wisdom, not because of what the songs consist of, rather due to the musical instruments that are played with it.

And it is stated in the al-Mugni of Ibn Qudamah (Hanbali Madhhab) that musical instruments are of two types:

1) Unlawful, Such as those that are specially designed for entertainment and singing, like the flute and mandolin, etc…

2) Lawful, like the playing of the tambourine (daff) at weddings and other happy occasions” (Ibn Humam, Fath al-Qadir, 6/36).

The same has more or less been mentioned in the other Hanafi works also, such as al-Ikhtiyar, al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya and others.

Imam an-Nawawi, the great Hadith and Shafi’i scholar states:

“It is unlawful to use or listen to musical instruments, such as, those which the drinkers are known for, like the mandolin, lute, cymbals, and flute. It is permissible to play the tambourine (daf) at weddings, circumcisions and other times, even if it has bells on its sides. Beating the Kuba, a long drum with a narrow middle, is also unlawful” (Mugni al-muhtaj, 4/429, & Reliance of the traveller, 775).

There are many other statements of the Fuqaha and scholars such al-Qurtubi, and each of the four Madhhabs, but due to the length of the article, I will suffice with the above.

As for those who hold music to be lawful usually present the Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari in which two girls were singing in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her).

However, the permissibility of music can not be justified with this Hadith. The Hadith expert, Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani has refuted this claim in length in his Fath al-Bari, 2/345).

Firstly, theses young girls were singing without any unlawful musical instruments and secondly, the content of the song was regarding war, thus perfectly lawful. Also, they were not professional singers as the words of the Hadith clearly indicate.

Some try to justify music with the Hadith in which the permissibility of playing the tambourine (daf) is mentioned.

However, as stated in the works of the Fuqaha, to play the tambourine is permissible at weddings, as it is not designed for sole entertainment and pleasure, rather for announcement, etc…

Conclusion

In the light of the above evidences from the Qur’an, sayings of our beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace) and texts of the various Fuqaha, the following is the decisive ruling with regards to music:

Musical instruments that are solely designed for entertainment are unlawful, with or without singing. However, to play the tambourine (daf) at weddings (and other occasions according to some fuqaha) will be permissible.

As far as the songs are concerned, if they consist of anything that is unlawful or they prevent one from the obligatory duties, then they will be unlawful. However, if they are free from the abovementioned things (and they are not accompanied by instruments), then it will be permissible to sing them.

And Allah Knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, UK

Question: Can you give me a list of animals that are Halal and Haram according to the Hanafi School?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Islam is a religion of mercy and compassion. It only commands and prohibits that which is in the best interests of the human being. The human mind however, due to it being very limited and restricted, may not be able to understand the logic behind every ruling. It may not be able to comprehend properly why a particular ruling is given, but Allah Most High- the Merciful and All-Knowing- is the best to decide what is beneficial and harmful for us, for He is the one who created us.

Allah Most High blessed humanity with His beloved Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace), as a light and light-giving. The Sacred Law (Shariah) of Islam that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) came with from Allah differentiated between a living and a dead animal. Dead animals were declared unlawful (haram). Certain animals that were harmful to the welfare of humans were also prohibited, such as pigs, dogs, cats and wild animals. Thus, the animals that have been prohibited for consumption by Shariah is due to the fact that they are harmful for human consumption, whether we realize this or otherwise.

After understanding the above, it should be noted that each of the four Sunni Schools of Islamic law (madhhabs) have their own principles (based on the guidelines of the Qur�an & Sunnah) with regards to which animals are lawful (halal) and which are unlawful (haram) for consumption.

Below are the basic principles of permissibility and impermissibility in the Hanafi Schoolwith regards to animal consumption, as mentioned in the classical books of Hanafi jurisprudence. (Culled from: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/289-291, Bada�i al-Sana�i, 5/35-39 and Radd al-Muhtar, 304-308)

  1. Animals that have been clearly and explicitly prohibited in the Qur�an or Sunnah are without doubt Haram, such as a swine, donkey, etc.
     
  2. Animals that are born and live in water are all Haram with the exception of fish. All types of fishes are Halal, with the exception of that which dies naturally in the sea without any external cause. However, if a fish was to die due to some external cause such as cold, heat, being thrown to the shore by the water, colliding with a stone, etc, then it would be Halal.

    Allah Most High says:

    �Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine�..� (Surah al-Ma�idah, V: 53)

    In the above verse, Allah Almighty forbade the meat of all dead animals without differentiating between sea-animals and land-animals. Thus, all sea-animals would also be included in this general prohibition. However, fish has been exempted from this general ruling due to the explicit mention of its permissibility by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).

    Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him eternal peace) said: �Two types of dead meat and two types of blood have been made lawful for our consumption: The two dead meats are: fish and locust, and the two types of blood are: liver and spleen.� (Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Ibn Majah)

    Moreover, there is no mention in the Sunnah literature that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) or his Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) ever consumed the meat of a sea-animal besides the fish, hence if it was permitted, it would have at least been consumed once in order to show its permissibility. (Dars Tirmidhi, 1/280)

    As far as the fish which dies naturally in the sea without an external cause (samak al-tafi) is concerned, Sayyiduna Jabir ibn Abd Allah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: �What the sea throws up and is left by the tide you may eat, but what dies in the sea and floats you must not eat.� (Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 3809 & Sunan Ibn Majah)

    Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) forbade the selling of naturally dead fish (floating fish) in the markets. (Bada�i al-Sana�i, 5/36 and al-Ikhtiyar)

    In light of the above, all sea-animals are Haram except for fish. It will be permitted to eat a fish even without slaughtering it according to the rules of Shariah. However, a fish that dies naturally without an external cause and begins to float on the surface of the water (Samak al-Tafi) is also considered Haram.
     

  3. The third principle is that, amongst the land-animals, those that have no blood in them are considered Haram, such as a hornet, fly, spider, beetle, scorpion, ant, etc.

    Allah Most High says:

    ��for he (the Prophet) commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure)�� (Surah al-A�raf, V: 157)

    Thus, animals that don�t contain blood such as spiders and others are considered to be from �what is impure� because a sound natured person would detest their consumption.

    The only exception is that of a locust, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) clearly permitted its consumption, in the Hadith of Sunan Abu Dawud and Musnad Ahmad quoted earlier.

    Similarly, Ibn Abi Awfa (Allah be pleased with him) was asked concerning the consuming of a locust and he said: �I fought with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in six or seven battles, and we used to eat it (locust) with him. � (Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 3806)
     

  4. The forth principle is that those land-animals who have blood in them but the blood does not flow, in other words animals that do not have flowing blood, are also considered Haram, such as a snake, lizard, chameleon, etc.
     
  5. The fifth principle is that all types of pests (hasharat al-Ardh) are also considered Haram, such as a mouse, hedgehog, jerboa, etc.

    The reasoning behind the prohibition of these animals is the same verse of Surah al-A�raf quoted above, in that they are considered impure (khabith) for consumption.
     

  6. The sixth principle is, land-animals who have flowing blood in them and they survive on grass and leaves, and do not prey on other animals (i.e. non-predatory terrestrial animals) are all considered Halal, such as a camel, cow, goat, buffalo, sheep, deer, etc, although there is a slight difference of opinion within the Hanafi School with regards to the consumption of horse-meat, as will be discussed later. Also, a donkey is exempted from this general ruling, in that its meat in considered Haram for consumption.

    Allah Most High says:

    �And cattle (an�am), He has created for you, from them you derive warmth, and numerous benefits, and of their (meat) you eat.� (Surah al-Nahl, V: 5)

    And:

    �It is Allah Who made cattle for you, that you may use some for riding and some for food.� (Surah al-Mu�min, V: 79)

    In the above two verses, Allah Most High uses the term �al-An�am� (cattle) which refers to non-predatory animals, according to the unanimous agreement of all the linguistics.

    As far as the consumption of horse-meat is concerned, Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) considers is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) due to its honour and due to the fact that a horse is needed in Jihad. Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (Allah have mercy on them both) consider it Halal, and it is said that Imam Abu Hanifa also retreated to this opinion. Thus, it would be permitted to consume horse-meat, although better to avoid.

    With regards to the meat of a donkey and mule, Allah Most High says:

    �And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which you have no knowledge.� (Surah al-Nahl, V: 8)

    So, in regards to all other non-predatory animals, Allah Almighty mentions that He has created them for consumption (as we have seen in the verses mention earlier). However, with regards to donkeys and mules, He mentions that they are for riding and adornment (zeenah). Had consumption of these animals been Halal, Allah Almighty would surely have mentioned it.

    Moreover, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the meat of donkeys on the day of the battle of Khaybar.� (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5202)

    Sayyiduna Abu Tha�laba (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) prohibited the eating of donkey�s meat. (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5205)

    Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a person came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and said: �The donkeys have been (slaughtered and) eaten.� Another man came and said: �The donkeys have been destroyed.� The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) ordered a caller to announce to the people: �Allah and His Messenger forbid you to eat the meat of donkeys, for it is impure.� Thus the pots were turned upside down while the (donkey�s) meat was boiling in them.� (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5208)

    With regards to the mules, Sayyiduna Khalid ibn al-Walid (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the meat of horses, mules and donkeys.� (Musnad Ahmad, 4/89, Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 3790, Sunan Nasa�i and Sunan Ibn Majah)

    However, the fuqaha mention that the ruling on a mule would be that of its mother. If the mother is a donkey, then it would be definitely Haram. If the mother is some Halal animal such as a cow, it would be completely Halal, and if the mother is a horse, then the rules of eating horse-meat would apply. (See: Radd al-muhtar)
     

  7. The seventh principle is that all terrestrial predatory animals and beasts, i.e. animals that hunt with their teeth, are considered Haram, such as a lion, cheetah, tiger, leopard, wolf, fox, dog, cat, etc. 
     
  8. The eighth principle is that all birds of prey, i.e. those that hunt with their claws/talons, are considered Haram, such as a falcon, eagle, kite, hawk, bat, etc.

    The proof for both these principles (seven and eight) is the famous Hadith of Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey, and all the birds having talons.� (Sahih Muslim, no: 1934)

    Hence, all beasts and birds of prey, beasts that hunt with their teeth and birds who hunt with their talons/claws, are unanimously considered Haram.
     

  9. The ninth principle is that birds who do not hunt with their claws and do not prey on other animals, rather they merely eat grains and crop, are all considered Halal, such as a chicken, duck, pigeon, dove, sparrow, crow, etc.

    Sayyiduna Abu Musa al-Ash�ari (Allah be pleased with him) says: �I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) consuming (the meat of) chicken.� (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5198)
     

  10. The tenth principle is that if a Halal animal only consumes impure things to the extent that it creates bad odour in its meat and milk, then it will be Makruh to consume its meat and drink its milk. However, if it consumes other things along with the impure, or if it does not create bad smell in its meat and milk, then the meat and milk will be totally Halal. (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/340)

    It is stated in al-Fatwa al-Hindiya:

    �A chicken will only be considered a jallalah (hence makruh) if the majority of what it eats is impure, and that it penetrates into the meat in such a way that it creates a bad smell.� (See: al-fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/289)
     

  11. The last principle is that if one parent of an animal is Halal and the other Haram, consideration will be taken of the mother. Thus, if the mother is a Halal animal, the offspring would also be Halal, such as a mule whose mother is a cow. If however, the mother is a Haram animal, the offspring would also be Haram, such as a mule whose mother is a donkey.

The above were eleven general and broad principles with regards to the consumption of animal meat, according to the Hanafi School of thought. It should be noted here that the meaning of Halal is merely that one may eat of the animal, but there are separate rules with regards to slaughtering and hunting these animals, for which one may refer to previously posted articles or the books of Fiqh. Failure to comply with these rules may well render a Halal animal Haram.

In light of the above general principles, the following is a list of Halal and Haram animals in the Hanafi School: (Both these lists of animals are not exclusive)

Animals whose meat is Halal:

  1. Camel
  2. Goat
  3. Sheep
  4. Buffalo
  5. Stag
  6. Rabbit
  7. Cow (including mountain cow)
  8. Wild-ass (The prohibition in the Hadith is of domesticated donkeys)
  9. Fish (of all types, including prawns according to those who consider prawns to be a form of fish. Others however, don�t permit its consumption, for they don�t consider prawns to be from the fish family. For details, see an earlier post).
  10. Deer/Antelope/Gazelle
  11. Duck
  12. Heron (grey or white wading bird with long neck and long legs and (usually) long bill).
  13. Nightingale
  14. Quail
  15. Parrot
  16. Francolin
  17. Locust
  18. Partridge (heavy-bodied small-winged South American game bird)
  19. Lark (North American yellow-breasted songbirds)
  20. Sparrow
  21. Goose
  22. Ostrich
  23. Dove
  24. Pigeon
  25. Stork
  26. Rooster
  27. Chicken
  28. Peacock
  29. Starling
  30. Hoopoe (any of several crested Old World birds with a slender down-curving bill, known in Arabic as Hudhud- that was sent by Sayyiduna Suleyman (peace be upon him).

Animals whose meat is Haram:

  1. Wolf
  2. Hyena
  3. Cat
  4. Monkey
  5. Scorpion
  6. Leopard
  7. Tiger
  8. Cheetah
  9. Lion
  10. Jerboa
  11. Bear
  12. Swine/pig
  13. Squirrel
  14. Hedgehog
  15. Snake
  16. Tortoise/Turtle
  17. Dog
  18. Crab
  19. Jackal
  20. Donkey (domesticated)
  21. Lizard (The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the eating of a Lizard. Recorded by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan from Abd al-Rahman ibn Shibl (Allah be pleased with him. Hadith no: 3790)
  22. Fox
  23. Crocodile
  24. Weasel
  25. Elephant (Radd al-Muhtar, 6/306)
  26. Falcon
  27. Hawk
  28. Kite
  29. Bat
  30. Vulture
  31. Mouse
  32. Rat
  33. All insects, such as a Mosquito, Fly, Wasp, Spider, Beetle, etc.

And Allah knows best.

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK