Islamic Faith and Inspiration

Can Muslims Eat Beef, and What Can’t Muslims Eat?

Can Muslims eat beef in Islam? is it Hala to eat or is it Haram? And what meat can Muslims not eat? Let’s find out.

What foods are forbidden in Islam? Muslims are permitted to consume any food, except those listed as prohibited by the Holy Quran and Sunnah. In the sacred Quran, Allah declared:

“O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” [Quran 2:172]

Muslims are not allowed to consume certain foods, such as pork or any animal that has been shot, to mention a couple. Islam prohibits the consumption of the following foods:

  • Dead creatures except fish and locusts.
  • Blood except the Liver and spleen.
  • Swine meat, or pigs.
  • anything presented as meat to a god other than Allah.

As Muslims, we are aware that certain foods are forbidden, yet we can’t help but ask why. Thus, the issue of Can Muslims Eat Beef? will be covered in this article. Using verses from the Quran as support, explain why can’t Muslims eat pork and what foods are prohibited. Now, let’s get going.

Can Muslims eat beef in Islam?

is beef haram

We can learn about the Muslim food restrictions and the forbidden food from the following verse:

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْمَيْتَةُ وَٱلدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ ٱلْخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ وَٱلْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَٱلْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَٱلْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَٱلنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَآ أَكَلَ ٱلسَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى ٱلنُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا۟ بِٱلْأَزْلَـٰمِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ ۗ ٱلْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَٱخْشَوْنِ ۚ ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًۭا ۚ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ فِى مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍۢ لِّإِثْمٍۢ ۙ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ ٣

“Forbidden to you are carrion, blood, and swine; what is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah; what is killed by strangling, beating, a fall, or by being gored to death; what is partly eaten by a predator unless you slaughter it; and what is sacrificed on altars. You are also forbidden to draw lots for decisions. This is all evil. Today the disbelievers have given up all hope of ˹undermining˺ your faith. So do not fear them; fear Me! Today I have perfected your faith for you, completed My favor upon you, and chosen Islam as your way. But whoever is compelled by extreme hunger—not intending to sin—then surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [al-Maa’idah, 3]

So, Can Muslims eat beef in Islam? yes, Muslims can eat beef. From the above verse, we learn that the forbidden food to eat includes:

1. Carrion, or al-Maitah, is the term for any animal that has not been killed but has instead passed away naturally. But why is eating it prohibited? When an animal dies naturally or through any other method besides being killed, blood clots in its veins, which is dangerous. 

Then what about fish? can Muslims eat fish that are Maitah? Yes, Muslims can eat fish, it is one of the two exceptions, It was narrated from Abu Hurairah, that the Prophet (said), concerning the water of the sea:

“Its water is pure (and Purification) and its ‘dead meat’ is permissible (to eat).” [Grade Sahih, Sunan an-Nasa’i 4350, Book 42, Hadith 88]

Allah Almighty says in the holy Quran:

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ صَيْدُ ٱلْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُۥ مَتَـٰعًۭا لَّكُمْ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ ۖ وَحُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ صَيْدُ ٱلْبَرِّ مَا دُمْتُمْ حُرُمًۭا ۗ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِىٓ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ ٩٦

“It is lawful for you to hunt and eat seafood, as a provision for you and for travelers. But hunting on land is forbidden to you while on pilgrimage. Be mindful of Allah to Whom you all will be gathered.”

Now we know the answer to, Can Muslims eat beef in Islam? but what about chicken? can Muslims eat chicken? Yes, Muslims can eat chicken as long as it is slaughtered in a Halal way.

2. Blood: Running Blood is prohibited in Islam except for spleen and liver. 

قُل لَّآ أَجِدُ فِى مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍۢ يَطْعَمُهُۥٓ إِلَّآ أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًۭا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍۢ فَإِنَّهُۥ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ ۚ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍۢ وَلَا عَادٍۢ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ ١٤٥

Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “I do not find in what has been revealed to me anything forbidden to eat except carrion, running blood, swine—which is impure—or a sinful offering in the name of any other than Allah. But if someone is compelled by necessity—neither driven by desire nor exceeding immediate need—then surely your Lord is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

3. Swine flesh: this refers to Pork meat.

4. Any meat that, during its killing, is offered to a deity other than Allah.

5. Animals that have been strangled.

6. An animal that was struck violently and killed: this describes striking an animal till it passes away with a heavy item. Also the animals that are killed by headlong fall, or by being gored to death.

7. Animals that untamed animals have consumed.

8. That which is sacrificed on An-Nusub: Nusub is a stone altar that was erected around the Ka`bah.

9. Additionally, any food that Allah’s name wasn’t mentioned upon is forbidden to eat. As Allah says in the holy Quran:

وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا۟ مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ ٱسْمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُۥ لَفِسْقٌۭ ۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَىٰٓ أَوْلِيَآئِهِمْ لِيُجَـٰدِلُوكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ ١٢١

“Do not eat of what is not slaughtered in Allah’s Name. For that would certainly be ˹an act of˺ disobedience. Surely the devils whisper to their ˹human˺ associates to argue with you.1 If you were to obey them, then you ˹too˺ would be polytheists.” [Quran, 6:121]

Why is pork haram in Islam?

Can Muslims eat beef in Islam? yes, Muslims can eat beef in Islam as long as it is a Halal food. Then what about Pork? Is it Haram to eat? Yes, it is Haram to eat Pork in Islam. then why is it Haram? It is Haram because Allah almighty instructed us not to eat it in the holy Quran, Allah says:

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍۢ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَـٰلًۭا مُّبِينًۭا ٣٦

“It is not for a believing man or woman—when Allah and His Messenger decree a matter—to have any other choice in that matter. Indeed, whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has clearly gone ˹far˺ astray.” [al-Ahzab 33:36]

As Muslims, we follow the guidance of Allah and our prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). In the sacred Quran, Allah declared:

إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۚ وَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ ٥١

“The only response of the ˹true˺ believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger so he may judge between them, is to say, “We hear and obey.” It is they who will ˹truly˺ succeed.” [al-Nur 24:51]

So to conclude this, if you are wondering, can Muslims eat beef in Islam, the answer is yes as long as it doesn’t include any Haram ingredients. As for pork, Muslims are not allowed to eat it because Allah almighty instructed us in the Quran not to eat it.

“He has forbidden you only the Maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine…” [al-Baqarah 2:173]

Swine flesh is pig flesh, which is not allowed for Muslims due to its impurity. Allah said in the holy Quran: “For that surely, is impure” [al-An’am 6:145]. Pork is only permitted when it is really necessary, such as when someone is starving and has no other food available to them.

Allah said in the holy Quran:

“He [i.e., the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] allows them as lawful At-Tayyibat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabaith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods).” [al-A’raf 7:157]

We can deduce from the verse above that foods that are prohibited in Islam are prohibited because they are bad for our health. Pigs are carriers of germs that damage the human body and cause diseases, as demonstrated by scientific and medical studies. So can Muslims eat beef? Yes, they can, can they eat pork? No, they can’t because it is forbidden to them.

Quranic verses on halal and haram food.

Here are some Quranic verses to help you understand why can Muslims eat beef in Islam and why can’t they eat other food.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُلُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـٰكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُوا۟ لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ ١٧٢

“O believers! Eat from the good things We have provided for you. And give thanks to Allah if you ˹truly˺ worship Him ˹alone˺.” [Quran, 2:172]

إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْمَيْتَةَ وَٱلدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ ٱلْخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ بِهِۦ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍۢ وَلَا عَادٍۢ فَلَآ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌ ١٧٣

“He has only forbidden you to eat carrion, blood, swine, and what is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah. But if someone is compelled by necessity—neither driven by desire nor exceeding immediate need—they will not be sinful. Surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Quran, 2:173]

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَوْفُوا۟ بِٱلْعُقُودِ ۚ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ ٱلْأَنْعَـٰمِ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّى ٱلصَّيْدِ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ ١

“O believers! Honor your obligations. All grazing livestock has been made lawful to you—except what is hereby announced to you and hunting while on pilgrimage. Indeed, Allah commands what He wills.” [al-Maa’idah 5:1]

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْمَيْتَةُ وَٱلدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ ٱلْخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ وَٱلْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَٱلْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَٱلْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَٱلنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَآ أَكَلَ ٱلسَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى ٱلنُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا۟ بِٱلْأَزْلَـٰمِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ ۗ ٱلْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَٱخْشَوْنِ ۚ ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًۭا ۚ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ فِى مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍۢ لِّإِثْمٍۢ ۙ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ ٣

“Forbidden to you (for food) are Al‑Maitah (the dead animals — cattle — beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering (that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah, or has been slaughtered for idols) and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns — and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal — unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) ‑ and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An‑Nusub (stone‑altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision; (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allaah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allaah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

So, from the above verses, can Muslims eat beef? Yes, they can, beef is one of the things that they are allowed to eat.

يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَآ أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ ۖ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتُ ۙ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ ٱلْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۖ فَكُلُوا۟ مِمَّآ أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱسْمَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَرِيعُ ٱلْحِسَابِ ٤

“They ask you, ˹O Prophet,˺ what is permissible for them ˹to eat˺. Say, “What is good and lawful. Also what is caught by your hunting animals and birds of prey which you have trained as instructed by Allah. So eat what they catch for you, but mention the Name of Allah over it ˹first˺.” And be mindful of Allah. Surely Allah is swift in reckoning.” [al-Maa’idah 5:4]

وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا۟ مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ ٱسْمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُۥ لَفِسْقٌۭ ۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَىٰٓ أَوْلِيَآئِهِمْ لِيُجَـٰدِلُوكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ ١٢١

“Do not eat of what is not slaughtered in Allah’s Name. For that would certainly be ˹an act of˺ disobedience. Surely the devils whisper to their ˹human˺ associates to argue with you.1 If you were to obey them, then you ˹too˺ would be polytheists.” [Al-An’am: 121]

قُل لَّآ أَجِدُ فِى مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍۢ يَطْعَمُهُۥٓ إِلَّآ أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًۭا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍۢ فَإِنَّهُۥ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ ۚ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍۢ وَلَا عَادٍۢ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ ١٤٥

“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it unless it is Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But whosoever is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits; (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-An’aam 6:145]

Can Muslims drink alcohol? No Muslims can’t drink alcohol.

What does the Quran say about eating meat?

The animal that was struck, strangled, killed, or consumed by a wild animal, is not considered a halal food in Islam. Eating pig flesh is also prohibited by Islam. Beef is made of meat, so if you are still wondering if Muslims can eat beef or not, yes, they can, as long as it is made of Halal food, therefore, Muslims can eat beef in Islam.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it unless it be Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But whosoever is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits; (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-An’aam 6:145]

Is Fish Halal to eat? Yes, it is halal to eat, Allah says in the holy Quran: “It is lawful for you to hunt and eat seafood, as a provision for you and for travelers. But hunting on land is forbidden to you while on pilgrimage. Be mindful of Allah to Whom you all will be gathered.” [al-Maa’idah 5:96].

“It is lawful for you to hunt and eat seafood, as a provision for you and for travelers. But hunting on land is forbidden to you while on pilgrimage. Be mindful of Allah to Whom you all will be gathered.” [al-Maa’idah 5:96].

 References: Islam questions and answers.

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