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The Quran => Q&As with Joseph Islam - Information Only => : Reader Questions January 29, 2013, 05:39:03 PM

: Can We Eat All Animals - Food Restrictions?
: Reader Questions January 29, 2013, 05:39:03 PM
Dear Brother Joe. please can you help with the following question from another brother in special reference to 6.145? It’s a long discussed thread. I posted your articles as I thought they may help. Any input will be welcomed.

: Re: Can We Eat All Animals - Food Restrictions?
: Reader Questions January 29, 2013, 05:44:25 PM

May peace be with you.

Thanks for the link and the question. Please see my response below.

(1) Verse 5:1 makes it absolutely clear that only ‘grazing livestock’ (bahimatu-l'anaami) is made 'halal' (lawful). This excludes all other animals that do not fall in the definition of 'grazing livestock' (bahimatu-l'anaami). For an understanding of the expression ‘bahimatu-l'anaami’, please see Note 1 below.

(2) Verse 5:1 provides a cue for exceptions within the category of 'grazing livestock' and not an exception from ‘all animals’. Verses 5:1 and 5:3-4 are connected.

(3) Verses 5:3-4 explicitly provide those exceptions within the category of 'grazing livestock' which includes the swine.

(4) Verse 6:145 cannot be read out of context. It is a clear response to the unwarranted claims in the previous verses (6:143-44) where some have forbidden certain animals within the category of grazing livestock (bahimatul-anaam). Please read the preceding verses (6:143-44) which are connected and note the mention of sheep (da’n), goats (ma’z), camels (ibil), cow, kine, ox (baqarah) etc. It is to counter these unwarranted, self imposed restrictions WITHIN the category of ‘grazing livestock’ that verse 6:145 responds. i.e. The Quran asks, who are you to prohibit this cattle and that cattle? Verse 6:145 is not to be understood as a response addressing the exception from 'all animals'. I would strongly advise verses 6:142-145 to be read together. Verse 6:145 only serves to corroborate the instructions in verses 5:1-4

I am generally unavailable at present, so my apologies if there is a delay in any future responses. However I thought, I’d quickly answer your question as it is often asked.

Please convey my deepest respects to brother Jawaid and all on the forum.

I hope that helps, God willing.



It has always been clearly understood by the classical usage of the Arabic term ‘bahimatu-l'anaami’ that beasts of pasture or grazing are implied. Lands of pasture normally include tracts of farmland which domesticated livestock such as cattle, sheep, horses and swine graze upon.

Therefore, it is only reasonable to deduce that by virtue of the swine flesh being mentioned as an exception, it is within the category of ‘bahimatu-l'anaami’ (i.e. animals that pasture / grazing animals or beasts) that the exception is intended and not the animal kingdom as a whole.

Horses, mules, donkeys etc also pasture, but they have not been included as ‘food’ but as animals of transportation. (See verses 6:142, 16:8). It is interesting to note that the mention of camel is missing from the list of animals used for transportation in 16:8 which implies that it has a dual purpose (food and transportation, i.e. it can also be eaten).


: Re: Can We Eat All Animals - Food Restrictions?
: Reader Questions January 29, 2013, 05:48:30 PM

May peace be with you.

In my humble view, any astute student of the Quran must be familiar with its primary addressees. One only needs to read Chapter 2 (Surah Baqarah) to realise that a wide contingent of the addressees also included those from the People of the Book. (e.g. Jews and Christians).

If the following verse is to stand, then an overlap of the food categories has to be assumed.

"...and the food of those who were given the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them...""

Where does one know of readers of the previous scriptures to eat animals other than grazing livestock with the same exception of swine?

Finally, there is an explicit verse in the Quran which confirms a category (grazing livestock 5:1) as lawful. In all humility, I do not find it plausible to expect the Quran to name every single animal that it deems unlawful.

Furthermore, to allow the consumption of other animals especially not in the scriptural tradition of previous monotheistic followers who the Quran also addresses, would require in my humble view, an explicit verse, not implicit deductions.

I hope that helps, God willing.