Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

4 Conditions that make Animal Hunted by a Beast Halal

We learn to make an animal lawful when hunted through a dog or falcon, four conditions have been mentioned in this ayah:

1. The dog or falcon should be taught, trained and disciplined. The functional principle given here is that the dog should have been groomed in a manner that it should, when released at the prey, catch it and bring it back to you – not that it starts eating it. As for a falcon, the rule set was that it should immediately return when called by its master, even if it was chasing the prey. When so trained, it will prove that these beasts of prey hunt for you and not for themselves. Now the animal hunted by these beasts of prey will be considered your own. And if they act against this training once in a while, for example, the dog itself starts eating the prey, or the falcon does not return at your call, then, this game is not yours anymore, therefore, eating it is not permissible.

2. The second condition is that you should release the dog or falcon immediately at your choice and will, not that they dash after some animal and hunt it on their own. In the ayah under discussion, this condition has been made to come out clearly by the use of the word, Mukallibeen. This word is a derivation from takleeb which basically means the training of dogs. Later, it also came to be used in the sense of training beasts of prey and releasing them after the game.

3. The third condition is that the beasts of prey do not themselves start eating the animal – instead, they should bring it to you or wait for you to reach them. This condition has been explained through [what they hold for you]

4. The fourth condition is that when you release the dog or falcon after the animal, do it after saying “Bismillah”. When these conditions stand fulfilled, the animal – if dead before it reaches you – will still be lawful with no need to slaughter.  If otherwise, it will not be lawful for you unless slaughtered.

Imam Abu Hanifah added another condition as well that this beast of prey should have also wounded the game. A hint towards this condition is embedded in the word, Al-Jawarih [birds and beasts of prey] which also means animal which wound or injure.

This command covers wild animals out of one’s possession and control. In case a wild animal has been captured, it will not become lawful without having been properly slaughtered.

There are ahadeeth in the Sunnah that support this statement. The two saheehs recorded that `Adi bin Hatim said, “I said, `O Allah’s Messenger! I send hunting dogs and mention Allah’s Name.’ He replied, 

إِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ الْمُعَلَّمَ وَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللهِ فَكُلْ مَا أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْك

‘If, with mentioning Allah’s Name, you let loose your tamed dog after a game and it catches it, you may eat what it catches.’

I said, `Even if it kills the game?’ He replied,

وَإِنْ قَتَلْنَ، مَا لَمْ يَشْرَكْهَا كَلْبٌ لَيْسَ مِنْهَا، فَإِنَّكَ إِنَّمَا سَمَّيْتَ عَلى كَلْبِكَ وَلَمْ تُسَمِّ عَلى غَيْرِه

‘Even if it kills the game, unless another dog joins the hunt, for you mentioned Allah’s Name when sending your dog, but not the other dog.’

I said, `I also use the Mi`rad and catch game with it.’ He replied,

إِذَا رَمَيْتَ بِالْمِعْرَاضِ فَخَزقَ فَكُلْهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ بِعَرْضٍ فَإِنَّهُ وَقِيذٌ فَلَا تَأْكُلْه

“If the game is hit by its sharp edge, eat it, but if it is hit by its broad side, do not eat it, for it has been beaten to death.”

In another narration, the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

وَإِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ فَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللهِ، فَإِنْ أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْكَ، فَأَدْرَكْتَهُ حَيًّا فَاذْبَحُهُ، وَإِنْ أَدْرَكْتَهُ قَدْ قَتَلَ وَلَمْ يَأْكُلْ مِنْهُ فَكُلْهُ، فَإِنَّ أَخْذَ الْكَلْبِ ذَكَاتُه

“If you send your hunting dog, then mention Allah’s Name and whatever it catches for you and you find alive, slaughter it. If you catch the game dead and the dog did not eat from it, then eat from it, for the dog has caused its slaughter to be fulfilled.”

In yet another narration of two saheehs, the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

فَإِنْ أَكَلَ فَلَا تَأْكُلْ، فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ أَنْ يَكُونَ أَمْسَكَ عَلى نَفْسِه

“If the dog eats from the game, do not eat from it for I fear that it has caught it as prey for itself.”

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