What Are the Islamic and Scientific Views Regarding Meat Consumption?
By Marzieh Khoshdouz
Islam as a complete religion deals with all aspects of human life. Islam doesn’t deal just with the spiritual
aspect of human life; it is also concerned about the physical wellbeing of it.1
In regard to this, Islam has
provided its followers with a dietary code by which they could maintain a good health. According to this
dietary code, all foods are divided into two main categories: lawful (Halal) and forbidden (Haram). This
division of lawful and forbidden foods is based on the Quran and narrations (Ahadith).2
The meat which is most frequently mentioned in the Quran is that of quadrupeds (An’am and Bahimat al-
An’am). It is generally accepted that these quadrupeds include these four species of camel, cattle, sheep, and
goats. Whereas, some commentators of the Quran believe that the word Bahima refers to the fetuses of
An’am found in their mother’s wombs upon being slaughtered.3 The meat of these quadruped species is
lawful when they are slaughtered according to the Islamic rituals.4
In addition to the meat of these quadruped species, the consumption of game is pronounced as lawful in the
Quran, provided that the name of God is said when it is shot, or when a trained dog is released to retrieve it.
Otherwise, the meat is assumed as carrion whose consumption is unlawful in Islam. Saying the name of God
upon slaughtering and hunting animals effectively deters Muslims from taking animals life in vein.5
Furthermore, all animals that have been strangled, beaten to death, killed by a fall, killed by another
animal, or partly eaten by another animal are unlawful and fall into the category of forbidden food.6
Recently, scientific research has approved the credibility of these prohibitions. According to new
discoveries, in the case of strangling, since oxygen is not allowed to pass into the animal lungs, toxic carbon
dioxide as well as poisonous secretion accumulate in the body of the animal and make its meat toxic.
Furthermore, germs and microbes that lie in the mouth and saliva of wild animals transfer to the pray
through snapping, causing its meat to become extremely unhealthy.7
Amongst the unlawful foods, as it has been mentioned in the Quran the pig’s meat, any animal that is
sacrificed to the idols and also any flesh-eating animal are all forbidden to consume.
8 Today, it has been
proved that everything we consume as a food has an effect on our neurons, thoughts and feelings.9
of this fact, eating carnivorous animals that almost characterize with brutality and violence will put our
moral wellbeing at risk.10 However, in the case of necessity, when no food is available it is permitted by
to eat unlawful foods.
God also permits Muslims to share the pure and lawful foods of Jews, Christians and other people of the
book.12 Interestingly, both Judaism and Christianity like Islam prohibit the same foods and rather fallow the
same dietary laws. For instance, the consumption of pork in both religions has been forbidden due to the
rules sat out in the Old Testament.13 Although there is no indication in any of these religions about the
reasons behind the prohibition of eating pork, new researches show that God’s laws have a foundation in
On account of the fact that pigs are gluttonous and consume a great volume of food, they can’t digest all of
it properly. As a result, all kinds of vermin, parasites, bacteria and viruses transmit to their flesh.15
Subsequently, the consumption of pork may afflict one person with diseases such as cysticercosis and
trichinosis.16 Furthermore, their meat is literally too “hot” for the human body to handle and impair the
immune system against diseases like cancer.17
In conclusion, although the new medical progress has verified the truth of God’s dietary code, scientific
approval never can be considered as a criterion for the authentication of divine law. There are still some
cases of disagreements between science and divine orders. However, thanks to the high rate of technological
advancement, it is not unlikely that one day all these differences will be resolved.18
1 . Rizvi, Muhammad. Islam, Practice and History. Ansariyan Publication, Qum, 2010, p. 219.
2 . Campo, Juan. Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing, New York, 2009, p. 198.
3 . Tlili, Sarra. Animals in the Quran. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, p. 79.
4 . Cyril, Glassé. The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira, New York, 2003, p. 148.
5 . Geldart, Anne. Islam. Heinemann, Oxford, 1999, p. 90.
6 . Ibid.
7. Al Ghazal, Sharif Kaf. Reflection on the Medical Miracles of the Holy Quran. This article is available at:
8 . Islam, p. 90.
9 . Mac caro, Janet. Change Your food, Change Your mood. Charisma Media, Florida, 2012. This book is available at:
10. Naik, Zakir Abdul Karim. Answer to Non-Muslims’ Common Questions about Islam. Ideas 4 Islam, 2010, p. 23.
11. The Holy Quran. Chapter 6, verse 145.
12 . The New Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 148.
13 . Vassal, Nevel. Cultural Diversity in Health and Social Care. Lulu. Com, 2011, p. 39.
14 . Gist, Thomas. You Too, Can Have, The Fruits of Life! “White Folk” BS (Business Sucknis). Thomas Gist, 2006, pp. 45-46.
15 . United Church of God. Is the Bible True?. United Church of God, 2010. This book is available at:
16 . Rispler-Chaim, Vardit. Islamic Medical Ethics in the Twentieth Century. Brill, The Netherlands, 1993, p. 143.
17 . Broer, Ted. Maximum Fat loss: You Don’t Have a Weight Problem! It’s Much Simpler than That. Thomas Nelson Inc,
Tennessee, 2001. This book is available at: https://books.google.com/.
18 . Mutahhari, Murtadha. Islam and requirements of time. This book is available at: http://www.mortezamotahari.com/.