Lawful Foods


There are three kinds of things which are generally consumed by men, viz.

  1. things of mines,
  2. vegetables and crops grown from the earth, and
  3. animals.

The first two kinds are lawful except what is injurious to health, life and intelligence. Intoxicating drugs cause harm to intelligence and are, therefore, unlawful. Poisonous plants are injurious to life and they are, therefore, unlawful.

Among lawful things, there should be some sort of discrimination for the sake of health according to taste and repugnance. Anything distasteful or repugnant to nature should not be eaten, as it may injure health although the thing to be taken is lawful. This version finds corroboration with The Holy Quraan: “O People! Eat the lawful and good things out of what is in the earth.” (2:57)

Imam Maalik (alaihir rahmah) and others hold that all aquatic animals are lawful except sea-dog and sea-hog. Imam Shafi’i (alaihir rahmah) maintains that all aquatic animals are lawful without discrimination. Imam-e-A’zam Abu Hanifa (alaihir rahmah) holds that fish, which die by accident and float, are lawful but abominable. Sayyiduna Abu Zubair (radi Allahu anhu) reported from Sayyiduna Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Eat what the sea throws up (fish) and is left by the tide, and don’t eat what dies therein and floats.” (Abu Da’ood, Ibn-e-Majah)

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Abbas (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that the pre-Islamic Arabs used to eat some things and leave other things out of dislike. Then, Allah sent His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and sent down His Book and made lawful His lawful things and made unlawful his unlawful things. Whatever He made lawful is lawful and whatever He made unlawful is unlawful, and whatever He remained silent is allowable. He recited, “O Say: I don’t find any thing prohibited in what was revealed to me for an eater except what dies of itself.” (The Quraan, 6:146)

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