Is it permissible to consume elephant meat?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Food plays a vital role in our lives.  The famous proverb states, “You are what you eat.”  The Shari’ah has made the majority of edible substances permissible.  However, some animals possessing certain traits have been prohibited.
The famous hadith of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) states that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey, and all the birds having talons.” [1]
The definition given by the Ibn Nujaym (Allah have mercy on him) for a predatory animal is as follows:
“A predator is every animal that would normally prey, quarry, wound, kill and transgress on other animals (or humans).” [2]
“An elephant is a fanged animal; hence, it will be prohibitively disliked (makruh) to consume its meat.” [3]
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him), whilst mentioning the list of haram animals, states that it is not permissible to eat the meat of an elephant. [4]

Although an elephant is different from other predatory animals in that it does not prey and live on other animals like other animals. However, due to the fact that an elephant can harm, kill and attack other animals, it has the attributes of natural predatory animals.  Thus the jurists gave the elephants the same ruling as natural predators.[5]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam 

[1]  عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ كُلِّ ذِي نَابٍ مِنْ السِّبَاعِ وَعَنْ كُلِّ ذِي مِخْلَبٍ مِنْ الطَّيْرِ (صحيح مسلم ص 1534 دار إحياء الكتب العربية)

[2]  وَالسَّبُعُ اسْمٌ لِكُلِّ مُخْتَطِفٍ مُنْتَهِبٍ جَارِحٍ قَاتِلٍ عَادٍ عَادَةً (البحر الرائق ج 3 ص 63 دار الكتب العلمية)

[3] وَالْفِيلُ ذُو نَابٍ فَيُكْرَهُ ، (شرح فتح القدير ج 10 ص 510 دار الكتب العلمية)

[4] ( وَالْفِيلُ ) وَالضَّبُّ ، وَمَا رُوِيَ مِنْ أَكْلِهِ مَحْمُولٌ عَلَى الِابْتِدَاءِ (رد المحتار ج6 ص 306 أيج أيم سعيد)

[5]  فإن قلت إن لم يكن من السباع فلا يكره , قلت الناس لا يعدونه من السباع ولكن فيه معنى السبعية وإلحاقه بالسباع بنوع من الاجتهاد (البناية ج 10 ص 698 دار الفكر)