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Diet is the kinds of food that a person or human being eats.Consuming food and drink can become a rewarding act in Islam if done in accordance to the guidelines provided in the Qur’an and Sunnah. In this article the basic rules of the Islamic dietary law have been highlighted.


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The Qur’an and Sunnah have provided a number of guidelines for what is allowed for Muslims to eat and what is not, and thus, Muslim dietary practice is directly related to divine obedience.  Practicing Muslims obey Allah by following these guidelines, and thus they are rewarded for this, as following the guidelines of the religion is considered worship. 


Permitted food and drinks are called halal, while those forbidden are termed haram in Arabic.  Islam permits food deemed wholesome for the body and the soul and forbids what is detrimental to them, as the Qur’an declares: O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth Qur’an Surah Baqrah 2:168”“…all pure things are lawful to you.” Qur’an Surah Maidah 5:4”



According to various authentic Ahaadeeth narrated in Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim including hadeeth narrated by Ibn Abbas in Sahih Muslim, Book of hunting and slaughter, Hadeeth No. 4752 and Sunan Ibne -Majah chapter 13 Hadeeth no. 3232 to 3234, the Prophet Muhammad (S) prohibited the eating of: 

(i) Wild animals with canine teeth, i.e. meat eating carnivorous animals. These are animals belonging to the cat families such as lion, tiger, cats, dogs, wolfs, hyenas, etc.

(ii) Certain rodents like mice, rats, rabbits with claws, etc. 

(iii) Certain reptiles like snakes, alligators, etc.  

(iv) Birds of prey with talons or claws, like vultures, eagle, crows, owl, etc.


The Good and Permissible

Generally, every food and drink is permissible unless it is prohibited by Allah or His Messenger(S).  What is halal is much more than what has been made haram, and thus discussion is often limited to what is haram.  All vegetables, fruits, lentils and grains are permissible, and nothing has been explicitly forbidden in the Qur’an in their regards.  


As for meat, all seafood has been made permissible. There is such a large variety of foods made permissible in Islam that it would be impossible to mention them all. Thus, as is customarily done, the restrictions placed upon diet by Islam.


Prohibited Foods

1. Prohibition of Carrion(decaying flesh of dead animals)

Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘Indeed, what He has forbidden to you is the flesh of dead animals…’ (Qur’an Surah Baqrah 2:173)


The first prohibited food is the flesh of “dead animals,” that is, the animal which dies of natural causes, without being slaughtered or hunted.  There are many health hazards in carrion.


But Allah has created other beings in such a way that they are able to benefit from carrion as a source of sustenance.An exception to this rule is sea-food.  The Prophet, may Allah praise him, said of the sea:  ‘Its water is pure and its dead are halal (to eat).’ Muwatta Malik, book of purity, Book 2, Hadith 12and classed as Sahih in Sunan Abi Dawud 83 by Shaikh Albani


This may be due to the preserving factor of salt coupled with the fact that it is next to impossible to catch live fish and “slaughter” them. It may be also due to the physiology of fish itself.


2. Prohibition of Flowing Blood

The second prohibition relates to flowing or liquid blood which cannot be used as food or drink.  It’s rare to find recipes using blood anyway! “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah….” Quran Surah Maidah 5:3


3. Pork

The third prohibited food is pork, that is, the flesh of swine.  All pork products like sausage, pepperoni, salami, chops, ribs, lard, bacon, and ham are forbidden. “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah….” Quran Surah Maidah 5:3


4. Animal Dedicated to Anyone Other Than Allah

The fourth prohibition refers to animals which are dedicated to anyone other than Allah, that is to say, those which are slaughtered with the invocation of a name other than the name of Allah, such as idols, celestial objects, prophets or saints.  When slaughtering an animal, the Arab polytheists would invoke the names of their idols.  In this case, the reason for the prohibition is entirely related to faith: to safeguard the belief in Allah, to purify worship, and to oppose shirk in matters of food consumption. Indeed it is Allah who created man and subjected the animals to him and permitted him to take its life for food on the condition that His name be pronounced at the time of slaughter.  Pronouncing the name of Allah while slaughtering the animal is an announcement that one is taking the life of this creature by the permission of its Creator, while if one invokes any other name, he has forfeited this permission and must be denied the use of its flesh. “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah….” Quran Surah Maidah 5:3


5. Slaughtering with means which does not properly allow the exit of Blood

Allah in the Qur’an mentions various forms of this category:


Strangulation: An animal which has been strangled, for example, by a rope around its neck, or suffocated is forbidden.


- Beaten to Death ‘…or by beating…’ (Qur’an Surah Maidah 5:3)


- A Fallen Animal ‘…or by falling…’ (Qur’an Surah Maidah 5:3): An animal which dies as a result of a fall from a high place, or by falling into a gully or ravine.


- Gored ‘…or by being gored or by the goring of horns…’ (Qur’an 5:3)


An animal which dies as a result of being gored by the horns of another animal.

- Partly Eaten by Other Animals ‘…and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild beast…’ (Qur’an 5:3) :An animal partly consumed by wild beasts and dies as a result.


6. Other Animals

The Qur’an says concerning the Messenger of Allah: “...(he) makes lawful to them what is good and makes unlawful what is foul...” (Qur’an Surah Ara’f 7:157)


In addition to the terrestrial animals prohibited by the Qur’an, the Prophet, may Allah praise him, also forbade the eating of any carnivorous animals with canine teeth, and any bird with talons.Carnivorous animals denote those which prey on others and devour them by tearing them apart, e.g., the lion, leopard, wolf, and the like; birds with talons such as the hawk, eagle, and the falcon. Sahih Muslim, Book of hunting and slaughter, Hadeeth 4752


Animals Slaughtered by Jews and Christians

Islam emphasizes that animals must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner. While Islam takes an uncompromising attitude towards meat slaughtered by polytheists, it is lenient in the case of meat of Jews and Christians, for they also have been ordered to slaughter in the name of Allah in their revelations. Consequently, Islam permits meats slaughtered by them: “…and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you.” (Qur’an Surah Maidah 5:6)


Necessity Dictates Exceptions

“And why should you not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has been mentioned while He has explained in detail to you what He has forbidden you, excepting that to which you are compelled….”(Qur’an Surah Anam 6:119)


In Islamic law, necessity is deemed to exist when one fears death or great harm. If one finds nothing else to eat except that which is prohibited, and the person fears death, he may apply this rule.  One should, however, stay within the limits and eat only enough to keep him alive.


Vegetarianism and Other Diets

Many meats are halal, but a Muslim does not have to eat meat, it’s not part of faith! A Muslim can be vegetarian by choice. There are many foods which a Muslim can choose to eat from, and one should not feel that they must eat things they do not desire. The Prophet(S), himself preferred not to eat onions or garlic, nor desert-lizard, a type of meat some ate in his time. One should not think, however, that there is something ethically wrong with eating meat, or else they would in a sense be legislating ethics, which is a right of Allah alone.


Alcohol and other Mind Altering Drugs

The Arabs before Islam were fond of wine and drinking.  Love of wine is reflected and seen in their language, which has nearly one hundred names for it, and in their poetry, which celebrates the praises of wine, goblets, and drinking parties.


To eradicate the evil of drinking from society, Allah prohibited it in measured stages.  First, He made it clear to them that the harm of drinking wine is greater than its benefit.  Next, He told them not to come close to salah while intoxicated; and finally, He revealed the ayath that completely forbade intoxicants. Quran Surah Maidah 5:90


The response of the Muslims when the ayath of prohibition was revealed was remarkable.  People were drinking, with partly-filled cups in their hands.  As soon as they heard someone shouting the vayath to announce its prohibition, they poured the remaining drinks upon the ground and broke their fermentation pots.


The Prophet, may Allah praise him, declared all intoxicants to be completely forbidden:

I heard `Umar while he was on the pulpit of the Prophet () saying, "Now then O people! The revelation about the prohibition of alcoholic drinks was revealed; and alcoholic drinks are extracted from five things: Grapes, dates, honey, wheat and barley. And the alcoholic drink is that which confuses and stupefies the mind." Sahih Al Bukhari Vol. 6:143


Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opium, and the like are definitely included in the prohibited category of Khamr(Intoxicants) and therefore are haram. Islam forbids all intoxicants, regardless of the amount consumed.  This is why the Prophet(S), said:“Whatever intoxicates if consumed in a large amount, a small amount of it is unlawful (haram).” Sunan an-Nasa'i Vol6: 5685, Sunan Abi Dawud 3681 and Sunan ibn Majah Vol1: 3393




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