I- Red Meat

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

(1) Lamb, Mutton, Sheep, or Ovis Meat

Ovis aries

(Lahm dha’n)

Mutton meat is hot in the second degree, and moist in the first degree. The best kind is the yearling. It generates healthy blood, and promotes strength when properly digested. Mutton meat is particularly beneficial for people of cold and mild temperaments, and it benefits athletes and soldiers during cold weather. Mutton meat also benefits people who suffer from imbalance of the black bile, it strengthens the memory, and sharpens the intellect.

The meat of an old and slim sheep is unhealthy, and the same is the meat of a ewe (Arb. na’aja; shat), that is when the female sheep becomes over fifteen months old. The best of mutton meat is that of a black male, for it is lighter, tastier, and more beneficial. Yet, a castrated mutton is better and healthier. The best of red sheep are the fat ones. Their meat contains more nutrients and is light to the stomach. The meat of a teg (a one year old male sheep) has less nutritional values than the others, and its rises to the surface of the stomach during digestion.

The best meat in an animal is the closest to its bones. The upper right side of the animal is healthier and lighter fro the stomach than the upper left section, while the upper front half of the animal is healthier than the posterior half and lighter to the stomach. It is reported in the two collections of correct prophetic traditions that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم used to prefer the right shoulder of a mutton, and in general the meat of the upper section of a sheep, with the exception of the head. Al-Farazdaq once sent someone to buy him meat, and said to him: “Get ribs and shoulders, and do not buy meat from the head or near the stomach, for they hold the disease.” Moreover, the neck of the animal remains healthy, tasty, light on the stomach, and easier to digest, and yet, the meat of the right front arm is more tender, leaner, has less fat, is the furthest from holding a disease, is lighter for the stomach, easier to digest, and helps the body to generate salubrious blood.

(2) Goat Meat; Billy goat; He-goat; Kid

Ovis capra

(Lahm al-Ma’iz)

The temperament of goat meat has little heat and is dry. The effects it generates in the humors are inferior, and goat meat is hard to digest, and its nutritional values are mediocre.

The meat of a he-goat, or a billy goat (Arb. Tais) is unquestionably unhealthy. It is extremely dry, hard to digest, and it produces unbalance of the black bile. When its flesh is exceedingly dry, it becomes harder to digest, and it generates atrabiliary blood.

Al-Jahiz narrated that his physician advised him to never eat goat meat, saying: “It causes distress and melancholia, engenders short memory, agitates the black humor, corrupts the blood, and promotes mental disorder in children.” Other physicians contend that only the meat of an old goat is disliked, and particularly for older people. However, people who are accustomed to goat meat as their main diet still benefit from it.

Galen regarded the meat of a yearling to have moderate benefits, such as balancing of the gastric juices, and he preferred a female goat to a male goat.

Imam al-Nisa’i reported in his collection of correct prophetic traditions that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Treat goats kindly, and protect them, for they are among the (quadruped) creatures of paradise.” (Reported in sunan al-Nisa’i).

In considering the authenticity of this prophetic saying, we aught to regard the harm of goat meat described by physicians as limited, and we must not generalize it. Hence, we also must consider the condition of a weak stomach, humoral imbalance, and predisposition. This is particularly true for people who are not accustomed to eating it, and who are used to eating blander or more delicate food, and such are the rich people who live in urban areas, and they are a minority.

(3) Kid

Ovis capra

(Lahm al-Jadiy)

The meat of a kid is mild and is relatively balanced as long as the kid is newly weaned. The meat of a kid is easier to digest because of the recent effects of milk in its system, which aperient characteristics agrees with most digestive systems. The meat of a kid is also leaner than that of camels, and it generates balanced blood and excellent humors.

(4) Beef; Beeves; Oxen; Steer; Buffalo; Bison*

Bos; Bovins; Bos bubalus; Bos bison

(Lahm al-baqar; Lahm al-‘ijl)

Cow meat, commonly known as beef or its varieties, is cold and dry, and unless correctly digested, it is hard to convert, slow to pass, and the blood it generates is mostly effected by the temperament of the black bile.

Beef is mainly good for hard working people, and particularly those who engage in strenuous physical labor. However, addiction to beef can cause diseases that originate from intemperaments of the black bile, including herpetic eruptions, tetter, and lack of skin pigmentation, resulting in white patches (leukodermia), a mild form of leprosy. Beef also can effect mangy, as well as nother skin disease characterized by the formation of scaly, reddish patches (psoriasis), and it can cause lephantiasis, cancer, obsession, and quartan fever, besides several categories of swelling and tumors. This inference must be of particular concern to those who are not accustomed to beef as their main diet, and those who do not drive away its harm by balancing it with the correct amount of black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, and similar spices and condiments.

The meat of a steer is less cold than that of a cow, and the meat of a cow is less dry than that of a steer. However, the most balanced of the two is veal, and particularly that of a fat calf, which is tastier, healthier, and more nutritious. Calf meat is hot and moist, and when correctly digested, it offers noticeable health benefits.

*Buffalo; Bison: Its meat is considerably lower in fat, and is 50% lower in cholesterol than beef (Ref. The National Buffalo Association, USA)

(5) Horse meat

Equus caballus

(Lahm al-Faras)

It is reported in the sahih that Asma’, God be pleased with her, said: “We slaughtered a horse and ate from it when God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم was amidst us.” It is also narrated in both sahih Bukhari and Muslim that on the day of the battle of Khybar, God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, permitted eating horse meat, and he forbade that of wild asses (equus asinus).”

However, horse meat is hot and dry, it is tough and acidic, it generates atrabiliary blood, and is harmful for people of delicate constitutions, i.e. city dwellers.

(6) Camel meat


(Lahm al=Jamal; Lahm al-Fasil)

It is permissible to eat camel meat when necessary, or for lack of other food sources. God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم and his blessed companions ate camel meat in their home, and during their travel. The most delicious and nutritious of camel meat is that of a newly weaned camel (Arb. Fasil).

As for people who are accustomed to eating it, camel meat is a good substitute for lamb, and causes them no harm. As for city people, and particularly the rich who are used to eating delicate food, they may feel aversion to it, and perhaps because they are not accustomed to its strong taste.

Camel meat is hot and dry. It is highly rich in nutrients, it generates atrabiliary blood, and it is hard to digest. However, its highly rich nutritional values may not suit everyone, and can sometimes produce the opposite effects.

As for God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, asking people to take a ritual ablution after preparing, or after eating, or even touching camel meat, this tradition mostly pertains to hygienic considerations rather than expressly affecting ritual purity. Meaning that one should not commence eating before washing his hands, and yet, one must not attend to his prayers without ablution. However, one can eat broiled meat, and as long as fire has touched any meat, then he is not required to perform ritual ablution upon eating it, and before attending to his ritual prayers.

(7) Uromastyx; Uromastix

Veranidae; Warran-lizard; Monitor, Lizard


Ibn ‘Abbass, God be pleased with him, narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم was once offered a dish made with Uromastyx meat. When he refrained from eating it, someone asked him whether such meat is unlawful. He replied: “No, but it is not known to my household, so I find aversion* to it.” Nevertheless, he ate something else they served on the same table, and the people ate from the main dish they prepared. (Reported in sahih Bukhari).

It is also reported that Omar bin al-Khattab, God be pleased with him, spoke about the Uromastyx meat, saying: “I do not consider it either lawful or unlawful.” (ibid.)

Uromastyx is primarily a desert dweller, and is common to the Arabian peninsula. Arabs of old hunted and ate its meat. Uromastyx is characterized by a small, non-overlapping, bead-like scales, a rounded head, a short neck, a short and squared tail, and has four short legs. Its color is sandy-pale yellow permeated with charcoal black.

Uromastyx feeds on locusts, grasshoppers, and plants. It lays its eggs in the sand, which provides the ideal incubator, and the eggs mature in approximately forty days.

Uromastyx meat is hot and dry, it increases sexual desire, stimulates semen, as well as it acts as an astringent.

*Aversion = opsophobia.

(8) Gazelle; Deer

Gazella; Procapra; Cervidae family


Gazelle here refers to all varieties of genera Gazella among other ruminants of the family Cervidae and Procapra, including the African and the Asian gazelle and antelope (Arb. Zhabi), the deer family gazella soemmeringi (Arb. Aryal), the deer, the fallow-deer, the buck (S. Dama), the musk deer (Arb. Ayyil al-Musk; Kastura), and the Oedemeridae (Arb. Adam, Ghazal al-sahra), among others of the Cervidae family.

The meat of a gazelle is hot and dry, and some say it is in-between. Gazelle meat is highly nutritious for balanced constitutions and healthy bodies. Gazelle meat is a desiccant, it is quick to digest, and the best and most tasty of such meat is that of a fawn.

(9) Antelope

(Zhabiy; ‘Ab’ab; ‘Ab’ab)

Antelope meat is hot and dry. It is a desiccants, and is particularly beneficial for people of humid constitution. Avicenna explained that antelope meat generates atrabiliary blood, and is the best meat of wild animals.

(10) Rabbit*

Oryctolagus cuniculus


Anas bin Mãlik, God be pleased with him, said: “We saw a rabbit in the wild, and we hunted it. After preparing it, Abu Talha selected the hip and sent it to God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم who accepted the gift” (Reported in sahïhs Bukhari and Muslim).

Rabbit meat is moderately hot and dry, and the best part of it is the back and the hind legs, or the hip. Rabbit meat is best eaten broiled. It balances the stomach, helps excretion of urine, and dissolves stones. Eating rabbit’s head relaxes muscular tension and benefits in the treatment of dystaxia, and feverish shiver.

*The Old World rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is gregarious, living in large colonial burrows, or warrens, which it digs itself. Rabbits are members of the order Lagomorpha, which also include the hares and teh short-legged pikas. Jackrabbits also are hares, and some domestic breeds of hares are rabbits. Hares are native to Eurasia, North America, and Africa. A female rabbit may have up to five litters per year. Hares (Lepus) are mammals belonging to the family Leporidae. Rabbits and pikas also are lagomorphs. Hares differ from rabbits in that they do not dig burrows and that their young are fully furred and open-eyed at birth. The jackrabbit and the snowshoe rabbit are hares.

(11) Onager; Wild ass

Equus hemionus onager*

(Himãr wahshi)

Wild ass, or onager, is different from zebra (equus zebra; Arb. zarad). Onager lives in the wild, and is not commonly domesticated. Al-Bukhãri narrated that Qatãda narrated that he was in the company of God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم with a group of pilgrims. Qatãda, had not yet entered the ritual state of a pilgrim (ihrãm), he therefore sought and hunted an onager and brought its meat to God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم who permitted the companions to eat from it.

Jãbir, God be pleased with him, said: “During Khybar**, and out of necessity, we had to eat the meat of horses and onager.” (Reported in Sunan Ibn Maja.)

The meat of onager is hot and dry. It is rich in nutrients, and it generates atrabiliary blood and thick blood. Its suet (Arb. shahm) benefits tootache when mixed with common inula herb (Arb. rãsin Tibbi), and it dissolves thick gases that originate in the kidney. An inunction of its suet also benefits in the treatment of chloasma, a skin condition resulting from malnutrition, or pregnancy.

In general, the meat of wild animals generates atrabiliary blood, and thick blood, while the best are that of gazelles and deers, while rabbits come third. (Also see Broiled calf; Meat; Dietary planning).

*The onager of Mesopotamia and Eastern India is of the horse species of equus (Equus asinus onager; Arb. Akhdar), and is the product of their mixed offspring.

**Ref. The Battle of Khybar.

(12) Fetus meat; Embryo


(Luhüm al-ajinna)

The fetus is a living or dead babe animal which is sometimes found in the womb of a slaughtered animal, and its blood is congested.

It is narrated in the prophetic traditions that someone asked God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم: “O Messenger of God, we slaughter an animal, and sometimes find a fetus in its womb. What should we do?” He replied: “Eat it if you want, for the benefits of a fetus are those of its mother.” Hence, it is not unlawful to eat it. Yet, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم forbade the dwellers of Iraq to eat the flesh of a fetus except when it is found alive, and they must sacrifice it as well.

(13) Jerked meat*; Dried meat


Bilãl, may God be forever pleased with him, said: “I slaughtered a ewe (Arb. na’aja; shãt) to serve God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم during a journey, and he said to me: ‘clean it up and prepare it.’** So I did, and served him of it until we reached Medina.”

Jerked meat is healthier and more nutritious than old meat, or meat preserved in salt. It strengthens the constitution, although it can cause itching as a side effect. To control that, one must add cooling herbs white mullein*** (verbascum alatum. Arb. pl. abãzeer; singl. buzayr; busayr labid) to his food when eating jerked meat. Jerked meat is excellent for people of hot temperament.

In general, preserved meat is hot and dry, and can be used as a desiccant. Moist and healthy meat is more nutritious, although eating jerked meat in excess can cause colitis, but one can neutralize such harm by cooking it with yogurt and ghee, and this kind of diet is helpful for people of hot and moist humors.

*Meat sliced into strips and dried, esp. originally in the sun.

**Prepare it: i.e., slice it into strips, and let it dry.

***White mulleins are mostly biennial plants of the genus Verbascum in the figwort family. Mulleins may grow up to 6 feet high, and have wooly or downy foliage, tall spikes, and sometimes white flowers.

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