Islamic scholars have widely debated whether turkey meat is halal or haram in Islam. This article will analyze the evidence and perspectives on both sides of the debate, looking at the reasoning of major Islamic organizations and scholarly interpretations. It aims to provide a nuanced overview of this issue, where there is a mainstream ruling.

Still, some disagreement exists within the Muslim community regarding the halal status of turkey consumed today. Let’s get started 


What is Halal

Halal is an Arabic word that in Islam refers to anything that is permissible or lawful. The opposite of halal is haram, which refers to anything prohibited under Islamic law.

When it comes to food, for meat to be considered halal, scholars agree that certain requirements must be met:

  • The animal must be slaughtered in accordance with Islamic ritual zabiha, which involves slicing the throat with a sharp knife while invoking Allah’s name
  • The animal must not be already dead before slaughter
  • The animal must be killed humanely and not subjected to cruelty

There is some debate among Muslims regarding whether turkey meat is halal or haram. This centers around the following questions:

  • Is turkey meat similar to vultures or birds of prey, which are haram?
  • Are turkeys herbivorous or could they potentially eat carrion, insects, or meat?
  • Are current slaughterhouse practices for turkeys compliant with zabiha rules?

This article will analyze the evidence behind whether turkey is halal or haram in Islam. It will look at the different perspectives from Islamic scholars and organizations on this issue. The goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of the turkey halal debate.


Arguments for Halal Turkey

The majority of Islamic scholars and halal certification organizations consider turkey to be permissible for Muslims to eat. Some of the evidence cited includes:

  • Renowned Islamic organizations like the Muslim Consumer Group and Jamiatul Ulama KZN argue turkey is halal:

    “Turkey is Halal.” – Muslim Consumer Group

  • Turkeys are not specifically listed as haram in the Quran. Only certain types of meat are explicitly prohibited according to verses such as 5:3:

    “Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death].” – Quran 5:3

  • Turkeys do not meet the zoological criteria for haram animals, which are carnivorous birds and beasts of prey. Turkeys are not predatory birds.

  • As long as the slaughter is done properly according to sharia rules (zabiha), the turkey should be considered halal.

The evidence suggests most Islamic scholars do not consider turkeys inherently haram like pork or carrion. As long as zabiha slaughter guidelines are followed, the meat can be permissible.


Arguments that Muslims cant Eat Turkey Meat

While the majority opinion is that turkey is halal, some Islamic scholars and groups argue that it should be considered haram or at least makruh (disliked). Reasons cited include:

  • Turkeys are related to vultures and share some physical similarities, so should be avoided like other birds of prey:

    “With regard to the physical characteristics of turkeys, they have similarities with carnivorous birds as they have talons and feathers.” – IslamQA

  • There is some debate over whether turkeys are obligate herbivores. Some claim they are omnivorous and will eat small vertebrates, insects, worms or even carrion if available:

    “Turkeys will eat small vertebrates, as well as insects, worms and vegetation.” – HalalHaramWorld

  • Commercial turkey slaughter may not always adhere to zabiha guidelines. Automated processes may not properly drain blood or fulfill the requirements.

Based on these concerns, some scholars advise avoidance of turkey meat or at minimum caution regarding the source and slaughter method. However, this appears to be a minority position.


Analysis and Conclusions

The evidence suggests that the mainstream Islamic position considers turkey to be halal for consumption:

  • Most major Islamic organizations and scholars like the Muslim Consumer Group, Jamiatul Ulama KZN, and the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America have declared turkey halal.

  • Turkeys do not meet the Quranic criteria for haram animals and birds of prey. They are not carnivorous predators like hawks, eagles or vultures.

  • While some scholars argue turkeys may eat insects, worms or carrion occasionally, they are primarily herbivorous and do not hunt prey. Their anatomy and behavior confirms this as an herbivorous bird.

However, the minority viewpoint does raise some valid concerns:

  • There are questions around whether commercial turkey slaughter always adheres to proper zabiha protocol. Larger meat suppliers likely use automated processes that may not fulfill all requirements.

  • Consumption of any meat involves interpretation and personal choice for Muslims. Those who avoid turkey as a precaution do have a reasonable basis according to some scholars.

In conclusion, the mainstream Islamic ruling considers turkey to be halal, based on the evidence. But there is room for disagreement on this issue, and Muslims are encouraged to make their own judgment based on their understanding of the Quran and scholarship. As long as zabiha guidelines are followed, turkey meat purchased from a reliable supplier is likely permissible. But individual discretion based on the minority opinion should also be respected.


FAQ: Is Turkey Halal?

What does it mean for Turkey to be halal?

Halal is an Arabic term that means “permissible” or “lawful” in Islamic dietary guidelines. Halal meat, including turkey, must be slaughtered according to Islamic tradition and with the name of Allah.

Are turkeys halal?

Yes, turkeys are considered halal and permissible for Muslims to eat.

Can Muslims eat turkey bacon?

Turkey bacon is a popular alternative to pork bacon for those who follow Islamic dietary guidelines. It is made from turkey meat, which is halal, and therefore permissible for Muslims to consume.

Is turkey meat halal in Islam?

Turkey meat is halal if it is slaughtered following Islamic law. The meat must come from a supplier that follows halal practices.

Is turkey halal in Subway?

Yes, but only in branches serving halal meat, so you must check with your local restaurant. The majority do not serve halal turkey meat. 

Is turkey considered halal for Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Yes, turkey is considered halal and can be enjoyed as part of a halal meal. However, you should not imitate other festivals so best avoided