II- Fowls; Birds; Poultry

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

II- Fowls; Birds; Poultry

(Lahm al-Tayr)

Speaking of one of the rewards of the { Foremost in piety and devotion } (Qur’an 56 : 9), who will dwell eternally in the paradise of God’s nearness and blessings, God Almighty says: { And (in it, they also eat) the flesh of fowls that they desire } (Qur’an 56 : 21).

In Masnad al-Bazzãr, among other references on prophetic traditions, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم is quoted to have said: “You would look at a bird of paradise, and when you desire it, it will fall into your hand, broiled, and ready to eat.”

As for birds in this world, some are lawful to eat and others are unlawful. The impermissible fowl flesh are the predaceous birds*, or the birds of prey, having sharp, hooked claws, or curved talons, including the peregrine falcon (also called a tiercel or the royal falcon. Arb. shãhin), the white goshawk, the common hawk, and all varieties of birds that feed on carcasses, decaying cadavers, and small preys, including condors, vultures, white headed eagles, storks, blue magpies, hooded crows (also known as gray-back crows), common black crows, and all varieties of hoopoe and shrikes among other birds that one may kill but must not eat, including the kite and the common crow, all of which are unlawful food for Muslims.

As for the lawful fowl flesh, it includes a wide variety of poultry including all species of domesticated birds that are raised for this purpose, such as chicken, turkey, duck, goose, fowl, pigeon, pheasant, and other birds. Among food-providing birds, chickens are the most important because they are a source of meat and eggs. Next in importance comes turkeys and ducks which are raised solely for their meat.

(1) Chicken; Domestic hen/cock


Abi Musa, God be pleased with him, said: “God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم ate a chicken meat and had chicken soup (Reported in sahïh Bukhãri and sahïh Muslim).

A Rooster and A Hen

A Rooster and A Hen

Chicken meat is the best of birds’ meat, and it is hot and moist in the first degree. Chicken meat is most nourishing. It is light for the stomach, it digests quickly and mixes efficiently with the humors. Chicken meat benefits the brain (encephalon), increases semen, clears the throat, improves the complexion of the skin, excels the functions of brain, and generates good blood.

However, chicken meat, and particularly the domestic hen, tends to be a little too moist, and some physicians contend that eating it excessively can cause increase in the uric acid in the blood, or gout (Arb. naqras), although this opinion is questionable.

The flesh of a domestic cock is less moist and more hot. The meat of old chicken benefits impotency, colic, asthma, heartburn, and dissolves thick gasses when cooked in the water of safflower (Carthamus; Arb. Qortom) and dill-seed (anethum graveolens; Arb. Shibith).

The best of cock are the gelded, and the best of hens are those that never laid eggs. The meat of young hens (Arb. farrouj) is the best and it is easier to digest, it promotes bowel movement, and generates healthy blood.

(2) Francolin**; Common francolin

Francolinus; Genus partridge


A Grey Francolin

A Grey Francolin

Its meat is hot and dry in the second degree. It is light for the stomach, easy to digest, and it generates balanced blood. Eating francolin meat regularly and in excess can weaken the sight.

(3) Partridge; Sand partridge; Bonham

Perdriz; Perdix perdix

(Hajal; Qabaj)

A Sand Partridge

A Sand Partridge

Their meat is hot and dry in the second degree. Partridge meat is easy to digest, and it generates balanced and healthy blood.

(4) Goose; Swan


A Bean Goose

A Bean Goose

Their meat is hot and dry. If goose or swan meat becomes a staple diet, they can be harmful. However, their meat does not produce much chyme.

(5) Duck, common duck



A Common White Pekin Duck

A Common White Pekin Duck

Their meat is hot and moist. Duck meat does not usually agree with the stomach. It is hard to digest, and it produces excess ejecta.

(6) Bustard***



A Mongolian Great Bustard

A Mongolian Great Bustard

It is reported in the prophetic traditions that Muwaih, the son of Omar bin Safinah narrated that his grandfather said: “I ate bustard meat with God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم.”

Bustards are of the family Otididae, or Otidae, of the order Gruiformes. Bustard meat is hot and dry. It is hard to digest, although it benefits people who engage in strenuous physical labor.

(8) Crane****



A Whooping Crane standing in water

A Whooping Crane standing in water

Crane meat is lightly dry, and there are conflicting views as to whether it is hot or cold. Crane meat generates atrabiliary blood, and benefits people who engage in strenuous physical labor. The bird must be kept aside for one to two days after slaughtering and before eating it.

(9) Birds and Coridalides

Prunella; Alaudidae; Corydallis

(‘Asãfîr; Qanãbir****)

An Alpine Accentor (Prunella Collaris)

An Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris)

‘Abdullãh bin Omar, God be pleased with him, narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “No one will escape God’s questioning for killing a bird needlessly, and without giving regard to its dues.” People asked: “What are its dues?” God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم replied: “That you slaughter it solely for food, and that you do not sever its head and then throw the bird away.” (Reported in Sunan Al-Nisã’ï).

In another prophetic tradition, ‘Amru bnu Sharïd quoted his father who heard God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم say: “Whoever kills a bird needlessly (i.e. for sport), the soul of the bird will soar to Almighty Allah, roaring and crying, ‘My Lord! So and so killed me for game, and not for a useful reason!'” (ibid.)

The meat of birds is hot and dry. It balances body’s constitution, helps digestion, and increases semen. A soup of bird’s meat helps evacuation of the bowels, and benefits the joints. Eating the brain of birds prepared with ginger and onions arouses sexual desire (aphrodisiac), although it produces insalubrious effects when mixing with the humors.

(10) Pigeons******


A Blue Rock Pigeon

A Blue Rock Pigeon

Pigeon meat is hot and moist. The meat of wild pigeon is less moist than that of domesticated pigeons, and the meat of its chicks is even more moist. The meat of domesticated pigeons is lighter for the stomach and more nutritious. The meat of male pigeons helps in curing laxity, abates abnormal sensation of burning or prickling of the skin (paresthesia), apolexy, excessive sleep, feverish shiver, and cerebral palsy. Raising domesticated pigeons and breathing their intimation and surrounding air also benefit the above.

The meat of pigeon chicks benefits in the treatment of sciatica, helps the kidney, and increases the blood count.

(11) Sandgrouse; Pterocles



A Chesnut-bellied Sandgrouse

A Chesnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Sandgrouse is a variety of pigeons of the order of Columbiformes. Its meat is dry, it generates atrabiliary blood, causes constipation, and is one of the most harmful food, however, it does benefit in the treatment of dropsy.

(12) Quail; Scaled quail

Cotrnix; Crex pratensis

(Summãnï; Salwã; Sifrid)

A Bobwhite Quail

A Bobwhite Quail

Quails meat is hot and dry, it benefits the joints but harms the kidney, and such disadvantage can be alleviated by preparing them with vinegar and fumitory******* (Arb. Shãhitrij; Kasfara). The medicinal properties of quails depend on which tree they alight.

The flesh of quails benefits the chest and cough, and it contains a detergent property. Their meat produces excellent chyme, and is a good food for both healthy and convalescing people.

One should avoid eating nocturnal birds that feed at night on rotten and decaying substances, and on agricultural pests. However, birds’ meat digests faster than that of cattle. The most expeditious parts to digest that provide the least nutritional values are the neck and the wings, and it must be noted here that the soup of fowls is healthier than a soup of bovine, sheep, and other livestock.

(13) Locusts********

Schistocerca gregaria


It is reported in the two collections of true prophetic traditions that ‘Abdullãh bin Abi ‘Aoufa, God be pleased with him, said: “We joined God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم in seven campaigns, and often we had (nothing to) feed on but locusts.” (Sahïh Muslim and sahïh Bukhãri).

A Desert Locust

A Desert Locust

Omar, God be pleased with him, said: “It was made permissible for us to eat two kinds of dead creatures, and two kinds of blood-bearing organs, these are, fish and locusts, and livers and spleens.” (Reported in the Masnad).

Locusts are hot and dry, and they provide meager nutritional value. Eating locusts flesh regularly causes emaciation, and produces wasting. Fumigation with locusts benefits in treating retention of urine and difficulty of urination, and particularly for women. Locusts can also be used as a fumigant to treat hemorrhoids. Broiled locusts also benefits the treatment of scorpion stings, and eating locusts is harmful for sufferers of pykno-epilepsy.

As food, locusts flesh produces adverse effects when mixing with the humors.

It must be noted here that eating meat regularly and in excess is unhealthy, and is the cause of numerous serious blood diseases, acute diseases of obesity, and sever feverish conditions. Omar bin Al-Khattãb, God be pleased with him, said: “Beware of meat, for it is as addictive and voraciously deleterious (to one’s health) as wine.” (Reported in the Levelled Path, Muwatta’ Mãlik). Moreover, it is even interesting for Hippocrate, who was known as the father of medicine, to say: “Do not make your stomachs the graves of animals.”

*Birds of prey: members of the family Accipitridae, and the order Falconiformes.

**Genus Francolinus, family Phasianidae of African and Asiatic partridges, and it is indegenous to the Thar desert in India.

***Bustards live near grasslands and brushlands, and have long necks and legs. Bustards look somewhat like turkeys, although they are more closely related to cranes and rails. Their plumage is gray or brown, often with bars or spots, and white, brown, or black beneath. Bustards can fly well but stay mainly on the ground, gather in flocks, feeding on a wide variety of plants and insects.

****Cranes are long-legged, bulky, omnivorous wading birds of the family Gruidae. Their plumage is usually brown, gray, or white. They prefer living near marshy conditions, and they feed on plant materials and a wide variety of small animals.


******Pigeon is an inclusive for birds of the family Columbidae. Larger species are called pigeons and smaller ones are known as doves.

*******Fumitory: Fumiariaceae, order Papaverales of the dicotyledonous plants; genus Fumaria, with watery juice and spurred flowers, formerly used in medicine.

********The most famous species are the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria.

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