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Why Can't I Eat Elephant?

Answered by Shaykh Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam, Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

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In the answer concerning the Fiqh of Halal and Haram animals, you stated that elephant meat is also Haram. What’s the reason behind this? An elephant is not considered a beast of prey.


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

One of the principles in the Hanafi School concerning animal consumption is that all terrestrial predatory fanged animals are considered haram, such as a lion, cheetah, tiger, leopard, wolf, fox, dog, cat, etc.

The definition given by the author of the renowned Hanafi Fiqh masterpiece, al-Hidaya, for a predatory animal is as follows:

“A predator is every animal that would normally prey, quarry, wound, kill and transgress on other animals (or humans).” (al-Hidaya, 2/440)

Based on this, the author of al-Hidaya then goes on to say:

“An elephant is a fanged animal; hence, it will be prohibitively disliked (makruh) to consume its meat.” (ibid)

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him), whilst mentioning the list of haram animals, states that it is haram to eat the meat of an elephant. (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala-al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 6/306)

Thus, in conclusion, indeed an elephant is different from other predatory animals in that it does not prey and live on other animals like a lion and other similar animals do. However, due to the fact that an elephant can harm, kill and attack other animals, the Hanafi fuqaha considered it to be from amongst the predatory animals; hence, its meat being unlawful for consumption.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester, UK

[Source: Darul Iftaa]


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