Halal is an Arabic word that means permissible or lawful in Islam. The opposite of halal is haram, which means unlawful or prohibited.
Regarding food, Muslims only eat and drink what is considered halal by Islamic law. There are strict rules around which foods are allowed and which are not.
The main question this article explores is:
Is eating snake meat considered halal or haram in Islam?
There are differing opinions on this issue among Islamic scholars. This article will analyze the evidence and arguments on both sides of the debate.
Some key points we will cover include:
- Background on the place of snakes in Islamic culture and law
- Positions taken by different Islamic schools of thought
- Evidence used to argue snake is halal
- Evidence used to argue snake is haram
|Halal||Permissible in Islam|
|Haram||Prohibited in Islam|
Ultimately, the aim is to lay out the different perspectives on this issue and examine the reasoning and evidence behind them. This will allow readers to gain a well-rounded understanding of the debate around snake meat in Islam.
Islamic Background on Snake Meat
Snakes have a complex place in Islamic traditions. On one hand, some hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) present snakes in a negative light. For example:
“Kill the snakes and kill the short-tailed or mutilated-tailed snake, for verily they obliterate eyesight and cause abortion.” [Bukhari]
On the other hand, snakes are also mentioned in the Quran in the story of Prophet Moses:
And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.” [Quran 2:67]
This cow was required to bring a murdered man back to life, and the murderer was ultimately revealed when the corpse came back to life after being touched by a piece of the slaughtered cow.
So while snakes are disliked and associated with evil in some texts, they also play a role in miracles and stories of the prophets.
When it comes to eating snake meat, here are some key points on the background:
- Snake meat was eaten in certain cultures before Islam
- Some early Islamic scholars declared it halal while others prohibited it
- Snake meat continues to be eaten in some Muslim cultures today
Overall, Islam took a neutral position on snakes when it came to dietary laws. But scholars have debated the snake’s status based on different Islamic principles and texts interpretations. This debate continues today among the various legal schools of Islam.
Arguments That Snake is Halal
There are several arguments put forward to claim that eating snake meat is permissible (halal) in Islam:
All land animals are halal
Some scholars assert that Islam allows consuming any land animal, including snakes:
“Lawful to you is game from the land – thus do persons of intelligence declare it lawful.” [Quran 5:1]
The Prophet allowed snake meat
Reports claim the Prophet Muhammad permitted eating snakes when food was scarce:
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “(There will come) a time when the best of people are those who eat dead meat.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 5/219.
Early Muslims ate snakes
Some of the sahaba (companions of the Prophet) and tabi’een (following generation) reportedly ate snakes.
Snake meat has health benefits
Snake meat is promoted as a remedy for joint pain, skin ailments, and boosting vitality.
Based on these points, proponents argue that nothing in Islam expressly prohibits eating snake, so it is permissible. However, those in favor do say snakes should be killed humanely.
Arguments That Snake is Haram
On the other side, there are also several arguments for why eating snake meat is prohibited (haram) in Islam:
Majority opinion is that it is haram
Most Islamic scholars throughout history have declared snake haram based on the below evidence:
“The majority of our elders and scholars across the different regions unanimously agree on prohibiting the consumption of snake meat.” – Ibn Uthaymeen
Considered filthy in Islam
Snakes are seen as dirty animals in Islam. Their habits of eating vermin, living in holes, and shedding skin make them distasteful to eat.
“Verily, in cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from between the feces and the blood, pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” [Quran 16:66]
Since the Quran praises cattle’s clean milk, snakes are seen as the opposite – filthy and abhorrent.
No credible evidence Prophet allowed it
The few hadiths mentioning the Prophet allowing snake meat are considered weak or fabricated.
Snake meat may harbor toxins, bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause illness in humans. Consuming venomous snakes is especially dangerous.
Based on these points, most Muslim legal schools prohibit snake meat as distasteful and impure. However, a minority of scholars still argue it can be permissible if no other food is available.
Key Takeaways from Quora
Here’s a summary of some key perspectives on whether eating snake is halal according to Quora users:
- There are diverging opinions, with some arguing it is absolutely haram and others saying it is halal in certain circumstances. There is no consensus.
- Those who believe it is haram cite the general prohibition in Islam against eating predators, carnivores and reptiles. Snakes are seen as unclean.
- However, some note that there are exceptions made for locusts and fish with scales, indicating not all creatures matching those categories are forbidden.
- Some argue snake may be allowed if it is the only food source available and eating it is necessary for survival. But there are disputes over the authenticity of hadiths permitting snake meat.
- Others argue the default in Islam is that all food is halal unless expressly prohibited. Since the Quran and authentic hadiths do not specifically ban snake, it could be permissible.
- Cultural and scholarly differences also contribute to disagreement. Snake consumption may be more common and accepted in some Muslim communities.
- Overall, Quora users highlight the diversity of opinion on this issue within Islam. There are good faith arguments on both sides, and qualified scholars differ in their rulings.
In summary, according to Quora discussions which are mainly general Muslims and not necessarily scholars, there is no consensus on snake’s halal status among Muslims. But the debate itself reveals the complexity of deriving religious rulings on modern questions.
Is Snake Halal – FAQ
Can snakes be kept as pets in Islam?
Keeping snakes as pets is a controversial topic in Islam. While no specific prohibition is mentioned in the Quran or Hadith, some scholars view it as problematic due to the evil nature and potential danger associated with wild animals, such as snakes.
What is the view of Abu Hanifa regarding snakes?
Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, considered snakes to be repulsive and regarded their meat as forbidden in Islam.
Is it permissible to kill snakes in Islam?
According to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is permissible to kill snakes if they pose a threat or are considered vermin of the earth. However, the unnecessary killing of snakes is discouraged.
Can we find any Hadith supporting the ruling on snakes?
Yes, there are a few Hadiths that mention snakes. For example, in Sahih al-Bukhari, it is narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Kill the two black things during prayers: the snake and the crow.”
Is snake halal to eat according to the Sahih Hadith?
The Sahih Hadith does not explicitly mention the permissibility or prohibition of eating snake meat. Therefore, scholars have derived their rulings based on different interpretations of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh).
Snake Meat Conclusion
In summary, there are conflicting perspectives on whether eating snake meat is halal or haram in Islam. The key arguments are:
- All land animals are allowed
- Prophet permitted it
- Eaten by early Muslims
- Health benefits
- Majority opinion is haram
- Considered filthy
- No credible hadiths
- Health risks
The majority view among Islamic scholars is that snake meat is prohibited. However, a minority opinion does exist that it could be permissible if no alternatives are available. There are stated conditions around properly slaughtering the snake and avoiding venomous species.
Ultimately, there is no unanimous consensus on this issue. Muslims are advised to consult their local religious authorities for guidance, as schools of thought and community customs vary. Given the range of interpretations, it is possible for two Muslims to sincerely disagree on the matter while each providing evidence for their view. Open-mindedness, tolerance, and civil debate are encouraged.
This article aimed to explore the Spectrum of arguments surrounding snake meat’s status in Islam. The diversity of scholarly opinion exemplifies the complexity inherent in deriving religious rulings on modern questions. By learning about all perspectives, readers can gain a nuanced understanding of this debate within Islamic law and ethics.