Question # 447: I read a hadith where the Prophet (saws) allowed eating hyena? Also, I saw some videos about eating hyena in the Arab World. Is this an authentic hadith?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Based on the authentic hadith narrated by Ibn Abi Ammar, Imam Ash-Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad are of the opinion that eating hyena is lawful. However, Imam Abu Hanifah considered it forbidden because of the general prohibition on eating beast of prey. Nevertheless, the first opinion is preponderant since the narration addresses the issue of eating hyena in particular, while the other narration is general.

Long Answer: The narration you are asking about is reported … from Ibn Abi Ammar (رضي الله عنه) that he asked Jabir  bin Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) “Is hyena considered as game?” He said, “Yes.” He asked, “Can I eat it?” He said, “Yes.” He asked, “Have you heard this from Allah’s Messenger ?” He said, “Yes.” [(Sunan an-Nasa’i; Sunan Ibn Majah and At-Tirmidhi; Related by Ahmad and the four Imams. Al-Bukhari and Ibn Hibban graded it as sahih)] Another narration added: “If one hunts hyena in the state of Ihram he has to slaughter a ram.” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah; grade: sahih)

Imam Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad, Is-Haaq  are of the opinion that eating hyena is lawful. Imam Ash- Shafi’i  said: ‘People have been eating and selling it (hyena) between As-Safah and Al-Marwah without any objection because Arabs like it and find it delicious.’

Imam Abu Hanifah considered it forbidden. He cited the following narration as basis for his saying. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Eating every beast of prey that has a canine tooth is forbidden.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The first opinion is preponderant since the narration that allows eating hyena particularly addressed the issue, while the other narration is general. So, it is preferred over other one.

(The above reply is based on answer provided on Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam