#370: Camel Meat Invalidates Ablution

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Does eating camel meat invalidate ablution? Hope for an explanation.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

We’ll start with the statement of Allah SWT:

أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

“Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created?” [1]

Sayyid Qutb stated that camels are the main animals of the Arabs. It is their animal mount and transportation. Furthermore, camels are their main source of dairy and their meat is their main food and drink. Likewise, their fur and skin are made into clothes and tents. Moreover, camels possess certain characteristics that aren’t present in other animals. Although it has a strong, built and huge physique, it is easily handled. Even small children can easily handle them. And although they have many usages, the cost to keep them is fairly cheap. Camels are also the most patient and tough animals.

Thus, the Quran arouse the interest of people this verse is intended, for them to reflect on the wisdoms of the creation of camels that is clear in front of their eyes, without having to travel to another place to seek new knowledge. [2]

Definition of camels and their habitat

A camel is a large animal with a long neck, split hoofs and one or two bumps on the back. [3] According to the World Encyclopedia, camels are large and strong desert animals. It can move far across hot, dry deserts with little water and food. It is easy to walk on soft deserts that are impassable by truck and carry people and heavy loads to places where there are no roads. Camels are also useful to humans in the desert in many ways. Camels range in height from 1.8 meters to a little over 2 meters at shoulder level and weigh from 250 to 680 kilograms. Its rope-like tail is more than 50 centimetres long. Camels look larger than their actual size because of their thick, brown fur, from white hampers to black hampers.

The camel carries its own supply of food in a hump on its back. These bumps are lumps of fat that supply energy if food is hard to come by. There are two main types of camels: (1) Arabian camels, also known as dromedary, which have one hump, and (2) Bactrian camels, which have two humps. In the past, hybrids of these two types were widely used in Asia. This hybrid camel has a hump that is longer, larger and stronger than its parent camel. Camels have been domesticated for thousands of years. The Arabian camel may once have lived wild in Arabia, but now it no longer lives wild. There are several million Arabian camels, and most live alongside those living in the deserts of Africa and Asia. Early Bactrian camels are believed to have lived in Mongolia and Turkestan, known as Bactria in ancient times. Several hundred wild Bactria camels still roam in some parts of Mongolia and more than a million domestically defended Bactria camels, live in Asia.

Millions of people living in Africa and Asia depend on camels to supply most of their needs. In areas on the edge of the desert, camels pull ploughs, move watermills to irrigate fields, and haul grain to markets. Deep in the desert, camels are the only source of transportation, food, clothing and shelter. On the other hand, camels need human help to fetch water from wells so that they can survive the summer. Camels work hard for humans, but their behaviour is unpredictable. Bactria camels can spit on humans, and all camels can kick. Camels can scream and scream when loaded and when about to stand up. But camels usually carry a load of up to 150 kilograms for eight hours. It can carry a heavier load but do so reluctantly. Usually, camels work only six months a year. If its energy is used excessively, the camel will die.

Camels are an important source of food in the desert. Humans eat young camel meat, even though this meat is very sticky. Humans melt fat from camel’s hump to make butter. Humans drink camel’s milk and make cheese from this milk. Camels also supply fur and leather for making clothing and as protection. Camel owners weave soft, thick camel hair into fine fabrics and blankets. The long Bactria camel hair is suitable to be woven into cloth. The Arabs used this cloth to make clothes and also to make tents. Camel hair cloth is sold in many parts of the world to make blankets, coats and suits. Strong, clay camel skin suitable for making shoes, bags, and saddles. Dried camel bones can be carved like ivory to make jewellery and utensils. Camel droppings are dried and used as fuel. [4]

Animal Meat Invalidates Ablution

Regarding this matter, scholars have two different opinions. The first opinion, jumhur scholars from madhhab Hanafi, Maliki and al-Syafi‘I stated that eating camel meat doesn’t invalidate ablution.

Imam al-Nawawi said that any certain food wouldn’t invalidate the ablution of a person, regardless of whether the food is cooked (touched by fire) or not except camel meat. Scholars of madhhab Syafi’I have different opinions for camel meat (as to whether it invalidates ablution or not) to two opinions. The jadid and famous opinion are that it doesn’t invalidate ablution and this is the final opinion of scholars in madhhab al-Syafi’i. While the second opinion – the qadim opinion – camel meat invalidates ablution and this is a weak opinion according to madhhab al-Syafi’i. [5] Other than that, it is also the opinion narrated from Abu Bakar al-Siddiq, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Ibn Mas‘ud, Ubai bin Ka‘ab, Abu Talhah, Abu al-Darda’, Ibn Abbas, ‘Amir bin Rabi‘ah and Abu Umamah R.Anhum.[6]

Jumhur scholars argued presenting a narration from Jubair bin Abdullah R.Anhuma, where a person asked the ruling of performing ablution after eating some cooked food? He answered:


لاَ، قَدْ كُنَّا زَمَانَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لاَ نَجِدُ مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ مِنَ الطَّعَامِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا. فَإِذَا نَحْنُ وَجَدْنَاهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَنَا مَنَادِيلُ إِلَّا أَكُفَّنَا وَسَوَاعِدَنَا وَأَقْدَامَنَا. ثُمَّ نُصَلِّي وَلاَ نَتَوَضَّأُ

“It is not essential,” and added, “We never used to get such kind of food during the lifetime of the Prophet except rarely; and if at all we got such a dish, we did not have any handkerchiefs to wipe our hands with except the palms of our hands, our forearms and our feet. We would perform the prayer thereafter without performing new ablution.” [7]

Likewise, according to another narration from Jabir bin Abdullah R.Anhuma, he said:

كَانَ آخِرَ الْأَمْرَيْنِ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ تَرْكُ الْوُضُوءِ مِمَّا غَيَّرَتِ النَّارُ

“The last practice of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was that he did not perform ablution after taking anything that was cooked with the help of fire.” [8]

Furthermore, there is a narration from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma:

إِنَّما الوُضوءُ ممّا يخرجُ وليسَ مما يدخلُ

“Indeed, ablution is due to what is excreted and not what is consumed.” [9]

The reason is camel meat is consumed the same way as other food is. [10]

While the second opinion state that eating camel meat invalidates ablution, regardless of whether the meat is raw or cooked. Likewise, regardless of whether the person knows or not that ablution is invalidated by eating it. This is the opinion of madhhab Hanbali, this opinion is also held by Ishaq bin Rahawayh and Yahya bin Yahya. Moreover, al-Mawardi also cited a number of companions who also hold this opinion such as Zaid bin Thabit, Ibn Umar, Abu Musa and Abu Talhah R.Anhum. There are also scholars from madhhab Syafi’I who chose this opinion such as Abu Bakar bin Khuzaimah and Ibn Munzir. Al-Baihaqi also signals toward his conclusion and chose this opinion. [11] Imam al-Nawawi himself strengthen and support this opinion saying that this weak opinion is actually stronger and more sahih in terms of its evidence and he is inclined toward this opinion in terms of its accuracy. [12]

They argued presenting the hadith from al-Barra’ bin ‘Azib, he said:


سُئِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنِ الْوُضُوءِ مِنْ لُحُومِ الْإِبِلِ، فَقَالَ: تَوَضَّئُوا مِنْهَا، وَسُئِلَ عَنْ لُحُومِ الْغَنَمِ، فَقَالَ: لَا تَوَضَّئُوا مِنْهَا

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about performing ablution after eating the flesh of the camel. He replied: Perform ablution, after eating it. He was asked about performing ablution after eating meat. He replied: Do not perform ablution after eating it.” [13]

The reason is the above hadith contains the commandment of the Prophet PBUH to perform ablution after eating camel meat and the original ruling of a commandment is it is obligatory.

The same is stated in a narration from jabir bin Samurah RA, where:


أنَّ رَجُلًا سَأَلَ رَسولَ اللهِ صَلّى اللَّهُ عليه وسلَّمَ أأَتَوَضَّأُ مِن لُحُومِ الغَنَمِ؟ قالَ: إنْ شِئْتَ فَتَوَضَّأْ، وإنْ شِئْتَ فلا تَوَضَّأْ قالَ: أتَوَضَّأُ مِن لُحُومِ الإبِلِ؟ قالَ: نَعَمْ فَتَوَضَّأْ مِن لُحُومِ الإبِلِ

“A man asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) whether he should perform ablution after (eating) mutton. He (the Messenger of Allah) said: Perform ablution it you so desire, and if you do not wish, do not perform it. He (again) asked: Should I perform ablution (after eating) camel’s flesh? He said: Yes, perform ablution (after eating) camel’s flesh.” [14]

This hadith shows that the Prophet PBUH gave a choice to the companion as to whether he wanted to perform his ablution or otherwise after eating mutton. However, he didn’t give any choice to a person who ate camel meat. Thus, this shows performing ablution after eating camel meat is obligatory.

However, jumhur scholars answered these evidences by presenting the following:

  1. The hadith that commanded to perform ablution after eating camel meat has been abrogated by the hadiths of Jabir bin Abdullah R.Anhuma, he said:


كَانَ آخِرَ الْأَمْرَيْنِ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ تَرْكُ الْوُضُوءِ مِمَّا غَيَّرَتِ النَّارُ

“The last practice of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was that he did not perform ablution after taking anything that was cooked with the help of fire.” [15]

  1. The word ablution in the hadith means washing one’s hands and rinsing one’s mouth with water. Hence, this matter is specified – which means washing hands and rinsing mouth – for camel meat because of the huge amount of fat its meat contains. Moreover, the Prophet PBUH restricted a person from sleeping while there is meat fat on his hands or in his mouth fearing that he may get stung by a scorpion or others as stated in Sunan Abi Daud. [16]

Conclusion

According to the above discussions and arguments, we are inclined to the opinion that a person’s ablution isn’t invalidated if a person eats camel meat as stated by jumhur of scholars. However, it is sunnah for whoever eats camel meat to renew his ablution as a precautionary step and avoid the khilaf of those who obligate it.

May Allah SWT grant us all a clear understanding in religion. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Surah al-Ghasyiyah: 17

[2] See Fi Zilal al-Quran, 6/3898.

[3] See https://prpm.dbp.gov.my/cari1?keyword=unta.

[4] See Ensiklopedia Dunia, (Terj. DBP), 22/278-280.

[5] See al-Majmu‘ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 57/2.

[6] See al-Mausu‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 8/42.

[7] Narrated by al-Bukhari (5457)

[8] Narrated by Abu Daud (192); Syeikh Syuaib al-Arna’ut stated the sanad of this hadith is sahih.

[9] Narrated by al-Baihaqi (8512); al-Nawawi stated the sanad of this hadith is either hasan or sahih. (See al-Majmu‘ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 6/317).

[10] See al-Mausu‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 8/42.

[11] See al-Mausu‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 8/43.

[12] See al-Majmu‘ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 57/2.

[13] Narrated by Abu Daud (184); al-Tirmizi (81); Ibn Majah (494); Syeikh Syuaib al-Arna’ut stated the sanad of this hadith is sahih.

[14] Narrated by Muslim (360)

[15] Narrated by Abu Daud (192); Syeikh Syuaib al-Arna’ut stated the sanad of this hadith is sahih.

[16] See https://www.aliftaa.jo/Question2.aspx?QuestionId=251#.YeTUDP5By3A.

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