#377: Eating Raw Meat

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. I read in a newspaper that a man in the United States of America decided to change his diet to only eat raw meat. What is the ruling for this? Hope for an explanation. Thank you.

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:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

“O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.” [1]

The above verse contains reminders for believers to never prohibit what is good that Allah SWT has set as halal for them that consisting of food, drink and marriage to women until they constrict what Allah SWT has widened for them. Furthermore, this verse also reminds them to not transgress the limitations that Allah SWT has prohibited for them, for indeed, Allah SWT dislikes those who transgress. [2]

We have analyzed the report that among others stated the man using the Instagram account name nawmeatexperiment who recorded his daily activities of how he endured eating only raw meat and plain water has gained more than 53000 likes from his followers. Every day, he’d eat various types of raw meat such as steak, and chicken breast and washed them with raw milk of other animals and chicken eggs. However, he was only able to withstand having this diet of not eating anything cooked for 77 days. He said that cow meat became his favourite food due to its low cost and easily digested meat. [3]

In answering the above question, we say that as long as the animal is halal to be eaten and slaughtered properly, eating it raw is a khilaf issue where scholars are divided into two opinions. First, they state that it is permissible. Second, others stated that it is makruh (discouraged).

The opinion that ruled it makruh is from some scholars of Hanbali that is cited by Ibn Muflih in his book al-Adab al-Sya‘riyyah [4] who said that it is makruh to eat raw or uncooked meat. While the second opinion that says that it is permissible is based on the opinion of al-Mawardi in his book al-Insaf [5] who cited the opinion of Imam Ahmad who said, it is permissible to eat raw meat. This is the rajih opinion since there is no evidence that prohibits it and it is also the final opinion in madhhab Hanbali. [6] Hence, it is in line with the Islamic legal maxim:

الأَصْلُ فِي الأَشْيَاءِ الإِبَاحَةُ

“The origin of something is its permissibility.”

Moreover, Imam al-Nawawi was also asked regarding the ruling of eating raw meant and he replied saying, it is permissible. [7] However. This matter should also be considered in terms of health. From the medical perspective, health experts suggested that all food should be cooked first to avoid any food poisoning. The reason is raw meat may be contaminated with E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacer which can result in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headache. Furthermore, eating raw meat can also be harmful due to the meat carrying or contaminated with other diseases.

Conclusion

Thus, according to the opinion of ahli al-Ikhtisas, we are inclined towards the opinion that states the ruling of eating raw meat is makruh. However, if it is harmful to one’s health and may lead to food poisoning then it is prohibited. Allah SWT states:

وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ

“And do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction.” [8]

The above verse means that you shouldn’t do anything that will harm yourself but do things that lead towards safety. [9]

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

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Surah al-Maidah: 87

[2] See al-Tafsir al-Muyassar, pg. 122

[3] See Akhbar Sinar Harian, dated 31st January 2022 on Monday, pg. 22.

[4] See al-Adab al-Sya‘riyyah, 3/374.

[5] See al-Insaf, 27/236.

[6] See al-Mausu‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 5/127.

[7] See Fatawa al-Imam al-Nawawi, 1/104.

[8] Surah al-Baqarah: 195

[9] See Zubdah al-Tafasir min Fath al-Qadir, pg. 38.

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