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It is permissible to eat ostrich meat if it is slaughtered properly

Is Ostrich meat permissible ?

Praise be to Allaah.

Yes, it is permissible to eat ostrich meat, because Allaah has blessed His slaves by subjugating to them that which is in the heavens and on earth. 

It is difficult to enumerate all the animals that we are permitted to eat. The basic principle concerning all of them is that in general they are permissible, except for those which have been excluded. We may list those which are haraam as follows: 

1.       Pigs – they are haraam according to the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and there is scholarly consensus on this point.

2.       All carnivores which have fangs, such as lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, dogs, etc.

3.        All birds which have talons, such as hawks, falcons, vultures, eagles, Indian falcons, etc. 

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade all carnivorous animals which have fangs and all birds which have talons.

(Narrated by Muslim, 1934) 

4.    Domestic donkeys 

It was narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade mut’ah (temporary marriage) in the year of Khaybar and he forbade the meat of domesticated donkeys.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5203; Muslim, 1407) 

5.                 Animals which we are commanded to kill, such as snakes, scorpions and mice. 

6.                 Things which are abominable or repulsive. One of the basic principles concerning halaal and haraam is paying attention to what is regarded as good and what is regarded as repulsive. Al-Shafaa’i believed this to be the most important and most comprehensive principle. The basis for this is the aayaat (interpretation of the meanings): 

“and prohibits them as unlawful Al Khabaa’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods)”

[al-A’raaf 7:157] 

“They ask you (O Muhammad) what is lawful for them (as food ). Say: ‘Lawful unto you are At Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (lawful good) foods which Allaah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]’” [ al-Maa’idah 5:4] 

On this basis, ostrich meat is permitted beyond any shadow of a doubt. The fuqaha’ have stated that ostrich meat is permissible under several subject headings, including: 

(a)               al-dhabh (slaughtering meat): when discussing that which makes the animal more at ease, they said: it should be cut in the neck if it has a short neck, and at the point where the neck meets the chest if it has  a long neck, such as a camel, ostrich or goose, because that makes it easier for the soul to depart.

(b)              The penalty of hunting by a muhrim (one who is in a state of ihraam for Hajj or ‘umrah). Al-Shaafa'i said: if the muhrim catches an ostrich, then a sacrifice must be offered for that. (al-Umm, 2/210)

(c)               The permissibility of different parts of it. Ibn Hazam said: Whoever swears that he will not eat eggs does not break that vow unless he eats the egg of a chicken in particular; the vow is not broken by his eating the egg of an ostrich or any other bird, or fish eggs, because of that which we have mentioned. This is the view of Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa'i and Abu Sulaymaan. (al-Muhalla, 6/327) 

Note: 

Al-Fayoomi said:

The word ostrich (na’aamah) applies to both male and female; the plural is na’aam.(al-Misbaah al-Muneer, p. 615) 

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
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