According to Islamic Sources, eating duck meat is permissible and halal. However, the duck must be slaughtered as per Islamic guidelines (dhabiha) for it to be halal for consumption.
Duck is a type of bird, and so to make sure it is halal to eat, we investigated the following:
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The Criterion for Permissible Birds
Ducks are categorized as aquatic birds – they do not fall under the category of animals that are ‘of the sea’. This means from an Islamic perspective, they are not treated the same as fish, crabs, shrimps, or the likes.
To determine which birds are permissible to eat, we refer to:
“Ibn ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey, and all the birds having talons.” Sahih Muslim-no.1934 (source)
Clearly, ducks do not have talons, and therefore do not fall under the forbidden category. Instead, ducks are permissible to eat in the same way that chicken and turkey are.
What do Islamic sources say?
In Islam, food is considered to be halal unless it is explicitly forbidden. For example, in the previous section, we noted that birds with talons, such as eagles and hawks, are specifically forbidden. In Islam, there are no rulings that forbid us from eating ducks.
From the Shafi Madhab’s book Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, we refer to (source):
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Our companions are unanimously agreed that it is permissible to eat ostriches, chickens… ducks, sand grouse, sparrows, larks, francolin and pigeons…”
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) also said, as recorded in the same book (source):
“Whatever lives in the water and on land, including waterfowl such as ducks, geese and so in, is halaal as stated above, but if any of these dies of natural causes (i.e., is not slaughtered in the proper manner) it is not halaal, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point. Rather it is essential that it be slaughtered properly.” An-Nawawi
This text confirms the understanding that ducks are permissible to eat, and outlines the criteria for which they are halal – i.e they must not die of natural causes, and should be slaughtered as per Islamic guidelines. This brings us to the next section…
What qualifies as ‘halal’ duck?
Duck is permissible to eat in Islam, however, it is not a sea animal. Thus, it must be slaughtered in the Islamic way for it to be considered halal to eat. In contrast, animals of the sea (such as shrimps, crabs, etc) do not have to be slaughtered in the Islamic way to be consumed.
In the previous section, An-Nawawi’s narration outlines the criteria for duck meat to be halal. Firstly, the duck must not have died of any natural causes – it must be alive at the time of slaughter. Secondly, the duck must be slaughtered as per the Islamic guidelines for dhabihah.
You can learn more about how to slaughter a halal duck by checking out the How Halal Meat is Slaughtered and Prepared Guide here.
The general consensus is that duck is halal and permissible to eat in Islam. However, the duck must be slaughtered in the Islamic way and cannot have died from natural causes. Thus, it’s important to buy duck meat only from trusted suppliers of halal meat.