Is Horse Meat Halal?


Horses
Photo Courtesy: Karsun Designs

A lot of people in North America don’t know the answer to this question, because it is rare to find someone who eats horse meat. About 8 countries around the world consider horse meat as a delicacy.

Other than these 8 countries, there are other countries in Europe and Asia where you can find horse meat in their cuisine as a traditional meal, so we did some research to find out if it is permissible to eat horse meat in Islam.

There is no mention in the Quran that forbids muslims from eating horse meat. Based on our research we found an overwhelming amount of evidence based on several Fatwa sources and Ahadith stating that eating horse is halal. The opposing view did not state that it was haram, instead they categorized it as Makrooh.

So Is Horse Meat Halal?

There are two different opinions.

The first opinion considers eating horse meat as halal. Islamic scholars consider horse meat halal because of multiple valid ahadith. Sahih al-Bukhari (Imam Bukhari was a Persian Islamic scholar who was born in Bukhara. He compiled the hadith collection known as Sahih al-Bukhari, regarded by Sunni Muslims as the most authentic hadith collections (source)) mentions a hadith about eating horses stating:

(Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah: On the day of Khaybar, Allah’s Messenger “SAW ” forbade the eating of donkey meat and allowed the eating of horse meat

Sahih al-Bukhari 4219

We also found this hadith that was narrated by Asma bint Abi Bakr:

we slaughtered a horse and ate it during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger “SAW ”

On the other hand, there are opposing opinions that categorize horse meat as Makrooh (Makrooh is an act that muslims are not supposed to do, but there’s is no definitive answer on whether it is permissible or not. It may be said that it means that for which the person who does not do it out of obedience will be rewarded, but the one who does it will not be punished. (source))

In short, the opposing opinion believes that it is better to avoid eating it but it is not forbidden. According to this opinion, horse meat is in the gray zone which in Islam is also known as makrooh. This is according to Imam Abu Hanifa. He mentioned this hadith to prove his point of view (it was narrated that Kalid bin Walid said (source)):

the Messenger of Allah (SAW) forbade the flesh of horses, mules, and donkeys

Sunan Ibn Emaia book 27 hadith 3319

But we should mention that this Hadith could be considered weak (Da’eef). The rationale as to why it is considered weak is because it does not specifically mention the act of eating horse meat. Obviously killing a horse for no valid reason is harming an animal which is haram.

What is Mentioned About Eating Horse Meat In The Quran?

There is no direct order in the Quran in regards to eating horse meat. But the word horse was mentioned 6 times (source). Not a single time was eating horse meat talked about. So this alone could be considered as evidence that eating horse meat is not haram to eat.

What is Mentioned About Eating Horse Meat in Sunnah?

Prophet Muhamed SAW mentioned horses in 33 ahadith, and we already mentioned two of them that confirm it is permissible to eat horse meat. At this time we only found one opposing fatwa stating that eating horse meat is makruh, but not haram.

Kazakhstan Embassy In Cairo Requests Official Fatwa On Whether Eating Horse Meat Is Halal

Furthermore, we found compelling evidence supporting the opinion that eating horse meat is halal. The embassy of Kazakhstan reached out to Al Azhar Al Sharif Islamic Research Academy in Egypt asking them whether it is halal or haram to eat horse meat. Remember that Kazakhstan is a muslim country that considered eating horse meat as a delicacy.

The embassy of Kazakhstan requested and received an official Fatwa from the Al Azhar Al Sharif Islamic Research Academy in Egypt. Their Fatwa confirmed that it is permissible to eat horse meat (with the assumption that it has been slaughtered in accordance to islamic law/Shariah) and that drinking horse milk is also permissible.

Here’s the official Fatwa document that was sent to the embassy of Kazakhstan from the Al Azhar Al Sharif Islamic Research Academy in Egypt.

Fatwa stating that eating horse meat is halal.
Source: El Balad New

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