Explanation Of The Hadeeth: “Allaah and His Messenger forbid the selling of alcoholic drinks, dead animals, pigs and idols”

Author: Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee

Source: Jaami’ Al-‘Uloom wal-Hikam, hadeeth no. 45

Published: Saturday 11th July, 2015

On the authority of Jaabir (radi-Allaahu 'anhu) that he heard the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) in Makkah the year of the liberating of Makkah saying:

"Allaah and His Messenger forbid the selling of alcoholic drinks dead animals (without being killed Islaamically), pigs and idols."

It was said to him (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam): "O Allaah’s Messenger, what about the fat of the dead animals - it is used for coating boats, oiling leather and the people burn it in their lamps?

He (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said: "No, it is haraam." Then, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said: "May Allaah fight the Jews: Allaah forbid them the fat, so they liquefied it, sold it and ate (consumed) its value." [Bukhaaree and Muslim]

  1. This prohibition was announced right after the prohibition of riba (interest) by Allaah in the Qur’aan. From Muslim: When the verse at the end of Al-Baqarah regarding interest was revealed, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) went out to the mosque and forbid doing business in alcoholic drinks.

  2. Wine was spilled in the streets of Madeenah. Also from Muslim (from Abee Sa’eed): The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:

    "Allaah has forbidden alcoholic drinks. Whoever this verse reaches while they still possess any of it, they are not to drink nor to sell."

  3. Also from Muslim:

    Once a man gave the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) a gift of wine. He (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said to him: "Did you know that Allaah has forbidden it?" The man said: "No." Then, he asked another man to sell it for him. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said to him: "That which has been forbidden to drink is forbidden to sell." And so the man opened the container and spilled it out.

  4. In another hadeeth:

    "Whenever Allaah forbids something, He forbids its value (i.e., money obtained by selling it)."

  5. Items the use (or the normal intention of whose use) is haraam are of two types:

    1. Those which are used but not destroyed by their use. Examples include the idols mentioned in the hadeeth – there is not bigger haraam than taking intermediaries and intercessors with Allaah. Along with this is anything whose use is something haraam such as books of witchcraft, fortunetelling, innovation, etc. Also musical instruments and anything whose only or whose major use is in something forbidden.

    2. That which is destroyed by a single use such as pigs, alcoholic drinks, dead animals, etc. Again, if the intended use of these items is haraam, selling them is also haraam.

  6. About the Prophet’s (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) statement in the hadeeth: "No, it is haraam.", the scholars differed about this as follows:

    1. The meaning is that the uses described by the questioner are themselves haraam. In this case, their sale is obviously haraam since there is no single legitimate use of these items.

    2. Others said that the meaning here is that the SALE of these items is forbidden, even though the uses described by the questioner are legitimate.

  7. Is it allowed to make use of the fat of dead animals? Three of the four Imaams said no, it is haraam.

  8. What about the other parts of the dead animal? Whatever has been found to be clean (not najis), is lawful to be used and sold. This includes the horns, hair and skin (some scholars require that it be tanned first). One evidence for this is the hadeeth in Bukhaaree:

    "The only thing forbidden from the dead animal is eating it."

    Also, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) informed us that tanning is a purification of such skin (not including pigs).

  9. Selling dogs is forbidden, even though it is lawful to benefit from them only for hunting or guarding property. From Muslim:

    "The most evil earnings are the fees of a prostitute, the selling price of a dog and the fees of the blood letter."

  10. Most scholars forbid the selling of dogs absolutely and that is the apparent meaning of the above hadeeth. Some allowed the sale of dogs whose use is lawful such as hunting dogs and guard dogs (and seeing eye dogs by analogy). There is no authentic evidence from the sunnah to support this.

  11. What is the cause of this prohibition?

    1. Because it is unclean (najis).

    2. Because most of its uses are forbidden and it has only been allowed in cases of necessity of need. Even pig can be eaten by one who will starve otherwise, but this did not cause its sale to be allowed.

    3. Because it is a lowly thing and easily obtained so its sale was prohibited so that those who have simply help out those who need it for a lawful purpose.

    4. Other animals. The scholars have put forth many opinions about the lawfulness or lack thereof of selling other animals such as bears, elephants, cats, etc. The bottom line here is that in the absence of any evidence about these things, they remain lawful to own and sell based on the principle of the innate lawfulness of all that Allaah created for us in this earth except where the Sharee’ah has stated otherwise.


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