The objective of Islam is to purify all aspects of human life and soul. It
therefore insists that besides cleansing the inner-self from contamination, care
must be exercised in the intake of food and drinks. Only the ritually clean
among them should be eaten and drunk. Man’s own nature generally provides him
with ample guidance in this matter and, without any hesitation, he is able to
decide the right course. He very well knows that lions, tigers, elephants,
eagles, crows, vultures, kites, scorpions and human flesh itself are not meant
to be eaten. He is also well aware of the fact that horses and mules are a means
of transportation and have no role in satisfying one’s hunger. That faeces and
urine of animals are impure things is known to him very well also. His reason
and intellect guide him very well regarding the filth of intoxicants too.
Consequently, in this matter, the Islamic sharī‘ah has left it to the innate
guidance found in human nature to lead the way.
No doubt, at times, human nature becomes perverted but a study of human
behavior shows that generally people do not falter in this matter. It is for
this reason that the sharī‘ah has not given any original guidance on this
matter. In this regard, the sharī‘ah has provided guidance on animals and on
things related to animals where human beings were liable to falter. The pig is a
quadruped beast of the same genre as the goat, sheep, cow and cattle; however,
it consumes meat like other carnivores. Should it then be considered forbidden
or not? Should animals which are slaughtered in a way that all their blood is
not drained out be eaten or not? Is the blood of animals impure as indeed are
their faeces and urine? If animals are slaughtered by taking the name of someone
other than the Almighty, can they still be eaten? Since man is unable to come up
with a decisive answer to these questions, therefore the Almighty guided him in
this affair through His prophets and informed him that the flesh of the pig,
blood, the dead and animals which are slaughtered in the name of someone other
than Allah are also impure and unclean and therefore people should abstain from
Following are the various aspects of this directive which are mentioned in
1. No discrimination will be made between an animal who dies a natural death
and an animal which suffers an accidental death. The meat of both such animals
is prohibited. An animal killed by a wild beast is prohibited except if it is
found alive and then slaughtered in the ceremonial way (dhibh).
2. If an animal trained for hunting cuts open a prey and the prey dies before
one gets a chance to slaughter it in the prescribed way, then this cutting open
of a prey by such a trained animal is tantamount to tadhkiyah, and therefore the
prey can be eaten even if it has not be slaughtered in the prescribed way with
one condition: the trained animal has preserved the prey for his master and has
not eaten from it. In case it has, then such a prey must not be eaten.
3. An animal which is slaughtered at an altar of a shrine is also prohibited.
Similarly, an animal which is slaughtered such that no name other Allah is
invoked on it but the name of Allah is also not positively invoked while
slaughtering is also prohibited. The same prohibition applies for a slaughtered
animal and prey on which although the name of Allah is taken but the person who
takes this name does not believe in God or associates partners with God and
originally subscribes to polytheism as his religion.
4. It is only in compelling circumstances that one is allowed to benefit from
these prohibited food items and that too with the conditions that a person
neither craves for them nor crosses the bounds by going beyond his essential