Is Alligator Meat Halal


Alligator in the water
Photo Courtesy: Julia Koefender

Alligator meat is exotic, healthy, and a delicacy in many cuisines. It has high protein but low-fat content. But is it halal too? Generally, there are two opposing views on its consumption.

  1. Islamic scholars who argue for the consumption of alligator meat argue that Allah has granted Muslims to eat any and all Seafood as long as it is not dangerous to consume (like poisonous fish)
  2. Islamic scholars who argue that alligator meat is not halal argue that it is a carnivore. Furthermore, they claim that it’s not technically sea food because it lives on land (even though it spends much of its time in the water.

We will present both sides of the argument and the final decision will always be yours to make. Our goal is to help you make the best educated decision!

Why do Muslims Consider Alligator Meat Halal

Islamic scholars who argu that alligator meat is halal support their point by referencing numerous sources of hadith. Their view encompasses that everything that lives in water is Halal, like sharks, catish, crab, shrimp and other fish.

There are no clear instructions on whether to eat its meat or not in the Shariah Law. No evidence shows the prohibition of alligator meat. Thus, they consider it Halal.

In the Light of Sunnah

There are many instances where the Prophet (SAW) told his companions to eat seafood. That is why there is a notion that everything that the sea contains is Halal for Muslims to eat. There is the description of one such event in Sahih Al-Bukhari as:

We set out in the army of Al-Khabt and Abu Ubaida was the commander of the troops. We were struck with severe hunger and the sea threw out a dead fish the likes of which we had never seen, and it was called Al-‘Anbar. We ate it for half a month. Abu Ubaida took (and fixed) one of its bones and a rider passed underneath it (without touching it). (Jabir added:) Abu ‘Ubaida said (to us), “Eat (of that fish).” When we arrived at Medina, we informed the Prophet (SAW) about that, and he said, “Eat, for it is food Allah has brought out for you, and feed us if you have some of it.” So some of them gave him (of that fish) and He (SAW) ate it.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 5.648 Narrated by Jabir (source)

Hence we see how the seawater and its beings were lawful to eat back in Prophet Muhammed’s (SAW) time.

Someone asked about the purity of sea water for Ablution. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) answered him and said that its water is pure and everything that dies within it is Halal. Here’s the Hadith:

A man asked the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him): Messenger of Allah, we travel on the sea and take a small quantity of water with us. If we use this for ablution, we would suffer from thirst. Can we perform ablution with sea water? The Messenger (peace be upon him) replied: Its water is pure and what dies in it is lawful food.

(Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 83 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah,An-Nasa’i) (source)

This Hadith sheds light on the permissibility of eating alligator meat. Alligators do live on land and have fangs to catch prey. But because they live in water, they are like an animal of the sea.

Thus alligators would be halal for Muslims to consume if they wish to do so.

Quranic Mentions About Eating Alligator

Some Islamic scholars reference the Quran to support their point on why Alligator meat is halal for muslims to eat.

As stated by Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymeen:

Eating alligator meat is a controversial issue. Some scholars adopt the view that it is halal (lawful), as is the case with fish. He then mentioned the following verse from the Holy Quran:

I find not in that which is revealed unto me aught prohibited to an eater that he eat thereof, except it be carrion, or blood poured forth, or swine flesh for that verily is foul or the abomination which was immolated to the name of other than Allah. But whoso is compelled (thereto), neither craving nor transgressing, (for him) lo! Your Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.

Sural Al-An’aam 6:145 (source)

Some scholars also state another verse from the Holy Quran that allows the eating of seafood.

It is permitted for you to catch and eat seafood

Surat Al Ma’ida: 96 (source)

As per the Quran verses and Sunnah, everything the sea contains is pure and lawful for Muslims.

Why do Muslims Consider Alligators Haram

Some scholars oppose the consumption of Alligator’s meat. They state that it is a carnivore. It has fangs and lives on land even though it spends much of its time in the water. It eats flesh and is one of the prey animals prohibited in Islam

Furthermore, It is considered as khabeeth (disliked by nature) as it eats dirt and filth. It also does not have a Dame Saali (blood that gushes out while slaughtering). By that logic, they do not consider alligator meat halal.

Islamic Scholars’ view on Muslims Eating Alligator Meat

 The Hanafi Madhab describes its view about the consumption of Alligator as following:

Animals that don’t have ‘flowing blood’,(dame saail); (blood that gushes out when they are slaughtered) rodents, amphibians and reptiles. All animals that fit into this group are impermissible to consume such as snakes, geckos, tortoises, alligators, lizards, mice, hedgehogs, frogs, insects, creepy crawlies, rodents and reptiles.

One of the reasons for the impermissibility of these animals is that for an animal to be Halal in Shariah, dhakat(slaughter) has to take place, and for dhakat(slaughter) to be valid, there must be an inhaarud dam. This is not possible in these animals.

(Hanafi Madhab)

It is a valid point. Many Halal animals are not permissible to eat if the slaughter was not conducted Islamically (learn more about how to slaughter animals in accordance to Islamic shariah law).

Since alligators do not have the Dame Saali, the slaughtering is not valid at all. It is not Halal for consumption as well.

Ibn Al-Arabi is one of the most respected scholars of Islam. He also gave his opinion on Alligator’s meat consumption. He said when there are two opposing rulings on a matter, focus on the unlawful one.

The meat of the amphibious animals is unlawful because it embodies two conflicting rulings: one that it is lawful and the other that it is unlawful. Now the ruling of unlawfulness is given priority to that of lawfulness. So, it is unlawful to eat the meat of crocodiles or alligators.

(Ibn Al-‘Arabi) (source)

Assim Al-Hakeem is another great scholar, he shared his opinion saying that he’s hesitant to eat alligato meat because of the ambiguity. He does also say that using alligator leather is permissible and halal.

Quranic Mentions People Use To Argue Against Alligator Being Halal

These scholars have made their point by referencing a few verses from the Holy Quran. It becomes clear that every animal with fangs and impurity by nature is not allowed to eat. These referenced verses are as follows:

Allah’s Prophet forbade the eating of the meat of beasts having fangs.

(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 67; Muslim) (source)

And making Halal (lawful and permissible) for them wholesome things and prohibiting for them impure things (khabaa’ith)

(Al-A’raf) (source)

Alligators are clearly considered khabeeth animals. They generally tend to eat dirt, filth, and impurities. Allah Ta’ala has prohibited khabaaith.

Using these Quranic verses, some Islamic scholars consider alligator meat not halal.

Final Thoughts

It is a matter of perspective. These two different views about eating alligator both have valid points. Clearly, eating alligator meat is considered controversial.

Generally speaking, there is a Hadith that states that it is best to avoid all doubtful and ambiguous situations.

Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Taib said: ìI committed to memory from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ëalayhi wasallam, (the following words):

“Leave that about which you are in doubt for that about which you are in no doubt.

(Al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaíi) (source)

While we’re not giving you any advice, we just thought that it is worth mentioning.

Curious about which fish are considered halal? Learn more about whether Tuna, Shrimp, crab are considered halal or not.

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