Prohibited Foods and Drinks

Allah has allowed every type of good, beneficial food and drink for mankind, as a bounty and a favor from Him, and only disallowed a few types of foods and drinks, all of which were mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. Allah said, what translated means, {…he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba’ith (all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.).} [7:157]. Some people might think that some types of foods do not deserve to be prohibited, especially since modern science did not find a valid reason that warrants this prohibition. Such people are reminded that only Allah knows best what is good and beneficial and what is bad and harmful for mankind. We must note here that it is beneficial for mankind to acquire knowledge in the benefits or harms that certain allowed or prohibited foods and drinks entail. But we must remember that when we are unable to discover such aspects, we are still obliged to obey Allah Who knows what is best for us, and indeed, He has perfect encompassing knowledge regarding everything and everyone.

Some Prohibited Foods and Drinks:

1 – What is slaughtered for the sake of other than Allah. This type contradicts Taw’hid and includes such types as the animals that are sacrificed for the sake of the Jinn or idols. Allah said, what translated means, {Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is Fisqh (a sin and disobedience of Allah).} [6:122], and, {…and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An Nusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision…} [5:3]. Also, the Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “May Allah curse whoever sacrifices for other than Allah.” [Muslim]. Consequently, sacrificing for the sake of other than Allah is a type of major Shirk.

2 – The meat of swine is firmly disallowed. Allah said, what translated means, {Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals — cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine…} [5:3], and, {Say (O Mohammad), “I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytatah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork, etc.) for that surely is impure.”} [6:145].

3 – Alcoholic beverages are firmly prohibited, even in small quantities. In addition, every type of intoxicant is prohibited, as the Prophet said, “Every intoxicant is prohibited.” [Ahmad & At-Tirmithi]. Also, Allah said, what translated means, {O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.} [5:90].

It is not allowed for Muslims to consume prohibited types of food and drinks, such as alcohol, for medicinal purposes.

4 – Eating the meat of dead animals of all types, meaning those that were not slaughtered according to Islamic Law, except for the Jarad (locust) and all types of marine animals and fishes. The Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “We were allowed two types of dead animals and two types of blood: as for the two dead animals: Jarad and fish. As for the two bloods: liver and kidney.” [Ahmad & ibn Majah]. According to this last Hadith, all types of blood are also ‘Haram, except for liver and kidney. Also, any part of an animal that is cut off while the animal is still alive is prohibited. The Prophet said, “What is cut off of the animal when it is still alive is just like its meat when it is dead.” [Abu Dawood].

5 – Carnivores. Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet said, “It is not allowed to eat the meat of wild beasts that have fangs.” [Muslim & An-Nasaii]. In another Hadith, the Prophet disallowed eating every bird that has talons, and also eating domesticated donkeys.

6 – Animals that eat dirt and rotted meat. The Prophet has, “Prohibited Al-Jalalah (the meat of the animals that eat rotted carcass) and their milk, unless they are kept in isolation for three days, during which they eat pure (fresh) food.” [At-Tirmithi, Abu Dawood, An-Nasaii & ibn Majah].

All these types of foods that we mentioned are firmly disallowed, except in the case of an emergency. Allah said, what translated means, {But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} [2:173], and, {…except under compulsion of necessity.} [6:119]. In this case, one is only allowed to eat or drink the amount that saves his life.

It is also not allowed for Muslims to consume prohibited types of food and drinks, such as alcohol, for medicinal purposes. The Prophet said, “Allah has sent down the disease and its cure, and has made a cure for every disease. Therefore, take the medicine and avoid taking the ‘Haram for medicinal purposes.” [Abu Dawood].

Muslims are obliged to stay away from all types of prohibited foods and drinks. They are also obliged to seek the good and pure resources to earn their living. In the present time, many people do not care if they earn their money from ‘Haram resources, although as a punishment for such practice, such people will not have their Du’aa’ accepted by Allah. Imam Muslim narrated that the Prophet, “Mentioned a man who has been traveling for a long time, and whose hair is untidy and whose clothes are dusty, raising his hands to heaven and praying, ‘O Allah! O Allah,’ while his food is from ‘Haram, his drink is from ‘Haram, his clothing is from ‘Haram and he eats the ‘Haram. Therefore, how can the Du’aa’ be accepted from him?!”

Imam Ibn Qudamah said, “Invitations by those persons known to eat from ‘Haram resources should not be accepted, even wedding invitations, nor shall their gifts, presents and charity be accepted. Furthermore, enmity towards such people should increase or decrease according to the amount of ‘Haram they indulge in.” Consequently, the people are obliged to obey what Allah has commanded them when He said, {O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.} [2:172].


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