The Law of Consuming Elephant Meat

Guided By:

Dr. KH. Maulana Hasanuddin, M.A. (Deputy Chairman of Fatwa of Central MUI)

Dr. KH. Abdul Halim Sholeh, M.A. (Fatwa Commission Member of Central MUI)


Assalamu’alaikum wr. wb.

A herd of elephants run to the local’s environment since their habitat is destroyed. They broke the farm, and garden. The locals hunt and kill the elephants, remain the carcass, however if it opens for long, the carcass would have bad smell and be harmful. Burying the carcass is not the solution. Some locals slaughter the elephant by saying “Bismillah” and they consume it.

Is it permissible to eat elephant meat? How exactly is the Sharia of consuming elephant meat?

Thank you for the answer.

Ali Husen, Jambi


First, there is state law that regulates the matter of animals and it applies nationally. The law becomes a reference and needs to be implemented since we are part of this country.

According to the Act Number 5 of 1990 concerning Conservation of Living Natural Resources and their Ecosystems, and Government Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia, Number 7 of 1999, concerning the Preservation of Plants and Animals, Elephants (Elephas indicus) are protected animals. Protected forest areas are also designated as their habitat. For those who encroach on protected forests and disturb the habitat of conserved-protected animals, including elephants, will undoubtedly be subject to legal sanctions, in accordance with the provisions and laws in force.

Meanwhile, in the study of Fiqhiyyah, elephants are categorized as fanged animals. The hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet SAW said: “Every beast that has fangs is haram to eat.” [H.R. Imam Muslim no. 1933]. The hadith is mutawattir, as confirmed by Imam ibn Abdil Barr in At-Tamhid (1/125), and Ibn Qoyyim Al-Jauziyah in I’lamul Muwaqqi’in (2 / 118-119).

In the hadith also stated that what is meant by “dziinaab” is all animals that use sharp fangs or nails to battle their opponents, the animals are forbidden to eat. [Syrah Sunnah (11/234) by Imam Al-Baghawi].

Furthermore, in An-Nihayah, Al-Majmu ‘ explained that the meaning of fanged animals is which uses fangs to kill its opponent/to hunt and kill its prey. The scholars categorized the fanged animals as follows; dogs, cats, lions, tigers, wolves, elephants, monkeys and the like (Nailul-Autar, As-Syaukani; 1/131. Al-Majmu ‘, an-Nawawi; 9/14. Al-Mausu’ah al- Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah; Chapter “Ath’imah”).

According to Syafiiyah scholars, elephants are included forbidden to eat. Even though elephants are slaughtered according to the Sharia, their meat is unlawful. Since the elephants are fanged animals, it is not permissible to eat.

It is also said by Imam Al-Ghazali in Al-Wasith; “The third (regarding ingredients / food that is forbidden to eat) is every beast that has fangs and every bird that has claws. The Messenger of Allah forbade it, so the elephant is haram since it is fanged animals”.

Imam Syafii also states in Al-Umm, “It is forbidden to perform wudu” and to drink using the dead animals’ bones and slaughtered animal bones which cannot be eaten, such as bones of elephants, tigers and the like. Animal bones cannot be cleansed by washing or by the process of tanning. Abdullah bin Dinar narrated that he had heard of Abdullah bin Umar who did not like oil from elephant bones since it was a carcass.

Different from Syafiiyah scholars who forbid eating elephant meat, Imam Asy-Sya’bi, Ibn Syihab, and Imam Malik allow elephant (meat) to be consumed. Stated by Imam Nawawi in Al-Majmu’: “Elephants are included as haram of being consumed (Syafiiyah scholars), also according to Abu Hanifah, Kufah scholars, and Imam Al-Hasan. Imam Asy-Sya’bi, Ibn Syihab, and Imam Malik, however allowed it. Stated in “Al-Majmu ‘Syarh al-Muhadzdzab”, Juz 10 p. 27, written by two great scholars, namely: Al-Imam Muhyiddin Abu Zakaria Yahya bin Syarof asy-Syafii an-Nawawi and al-Imam Taqiyuddin al-Subuki, published by Darul Hadith, Cairo, Egypt.

According to the Maliki; The prohibited animals to consume are only mentioned in the Al-Quran (among them in Surah al-An’am, verse 145, an-Nahl verse 115, etc.). Namely: “the dead, blood and the flesh of swine”. As for the elephants are not mentioned in these verses, it is not haram to eat them. As for the fanged beast are prohibitively dislike (Makruh) to eat it since it is prohibited by the hadith. Therefore, the Maliki stated that the Prophet’s prohibition in the hadith is a prohibition which is makruh, not haram (al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah).

Wallahu a’lam bimurodih.


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