The Quran is very clear that there are only four dietary prohibitions. These four prohibitions are found in the following four verses: 2:173, 5:3, 6:145, and 16:115. The verse that best articulates these four dietary prohibitions is 6:145, which states:

[6:145] Say, “I do not find in the revelations given to me any food that is prohibited for any eater except: (1) carrion, (2) running blood, (3) the meat of pigs, for it is contaminated, and (4) the meat of animals blasphemously dedicated to other than GOD.” If one is forced (to eat these), without being deliberate or malicious, then your Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

 قُلْ لَا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنْزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

Now there is some debate regarding the fourth dietary prohibition and if it can include non-animal products. The confusion for this line of reasoning is that some translations in regards to the fourth dietary prohibition simply state “that which is dedicated to other than God.” The misunderstanding occurs because in English the word “dedicate” has a wider meaning than the Arabic word uhilla أُهِلَّ which this word is translated from. In English, one can dedicate a book, song, boat, or dish to anyone, but this goes beyond what the word uhilla أُهِلَّ means in Classical Arabic.

The meaning of uhilla أُهِلَّ is to invoke the name of an entity at the moment when one slaughters an animal. So while someone may dedicate all kinds of things to other entities, when it comes to uhilla this is only limited to the dedication that occurs when someone slaughters an animal.

Secondly, notice that the verse clearly states that we are prohibited to eat what was uhilla “to other than God.” This informs us that animals that were slaughtered where no name was mentioned are still lawful to eat. This is important because it shows that despite the person carrying out the slaughter having clearly committed a sin for failing to mention God’s name before carrying out the act, the food from the slaughter is still lawful to eat.

Some argue that because the word animal is not specifically mentioned in this prohibition, therefore, this indicates that this prohibition constitutes all foods beyond what we eat from slaughtering an animal. But the problem with this argument is that such an understanding fails to recognize that the entire verse is clearly in regards to animals as a whole.

The reason this is obvious is because if we look at the other three prohibitions, despite it never mentioning livestock or animals verbatim, the context is clearly only about animals. This is because only an animal can be carrion, مَيْتَةً / maytatan, and only an animal can produce blood poured forth دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا / daman masfūḥan. Therefore, it makes no sense to constitute non-animal products like apples and oranges in either of these categories, despite the word animal never occurring for these prohibitions. This is also why God specifies that in regards to the whole pig only the meat of the pig is prohibited. And additionally, why uhilla again only constitutes animals and not other foods.

This also settles the matter to if it is only the meat of animals that were sacrificed to other than God is prohibited or the whole animal. Since we start with the premise that the verse is in the context of the whole animal and unless the verse states differently then we know that this is what is prohibited. So for instance, the whole animal that is carrion is prohibited, the running blood from a whole animal is prohibited, only the meat of the whole pig is prohibited, and the whole animal dedicated at the time of slaughter to other than God is prohibited.

Additionally, the exclusivity of such prohibition is further reinforced by another word used in the verse, which is the word ūḥiya / أُوحِيَ which in the English translation is where we get the word “revelation”. Wahi is a form of revelation that constitutes not just kitab / scripture, but any form of divine inspiration that was given to the messenger. So this verse is informing us that out of all the divine communication the messenger received what is stated in 6:145 are the only dietary prohibitions. Furthermore, the verse also states “any food for any eater”. This means that out of any food that a person can eat or taste (طَاعِمٍ / ṭāʿimin) the only dietary prohibitions are strictly these four items.

[6:145] Say, “I do not find in the revelations given to me any food that is prohibited for any eater except: (1) carrion, (2) running blood, (3) the meat of pigs, for it is contaminated, and (4) the meat of animals blasphemously dedicated to other than GOD.” If one is forced (to eat these), without being deliberate or malicious, then your Lord is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

 قُلْ لَا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنْزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

4 thoughts on “Can An Apple Be Carrion?

  1. Salaam
    I would be interested in hearing your opinions regarding Ghusl in the Quran. Specifically, verse 4:43 and how you understand the word تغتسل. (Tagtasilu)

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    1. Peace – تغتسل (tagtasilu) means to wash/bathe. Here is the verse:

      [4:43] O you who believe, do not observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) while intoxicated, so that you know what you are saying. Nor after sexual orgasm without bathing, unless you are on the road, traveling; if you are ill or traveling, or you had urinary or fecal-related excretion (such as gas), or contacted the women (sexually), and you cannot find water, you shall observe Tayammum (dry ablution) by touching clean dry soil, then wiping your faces and hands therewith. GOD is Pardoner, Forgiver.

      (٤٣) يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْتُمْ سُكَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعْلَمُوا مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلَا جُنُبًا إِلَّا عَابِرِي سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىٰ تَغْتَسِلُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا

      We see the word also occur in 5:6 and also in the context of washing:

      [5:6] O you who believe, when you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), you shall: (1) **wash** your faces, (2) wash your arms to the elbows, (3) wipe your heads, and (4) wash your feet to the ankles. If you were unclean due to sexual orgasm, you shall bathe. If you are ill, or traveling, or had any digestive excretion (urinary, fecal, or gas), or had (sexual) contact with the women, and you cannot find water, you shall observe the dry ablution (Tayammum) by touching clean dry soil, then rubbing your faces and hands. GOD does not wish to make the religion difficult for you; He wishes to cleanse you and to perfect His blessing upon you, that you may be appreciative.

      (٦) يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ مِنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

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  2. Al-An’am 6:118

    فَكُلُوا۟ مِمَّا ذُكِرَ ٱسْمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُم بِـَٔايَٰتِهِۦ مُؤْمِنِينَ

    So eat only of what is slaughtered in Allah’s Name if you truly believe in His revelations.

    You said that it’s permissible to eat something over which no name has been mentioned. How do you explain the verse above?
    See here for translations
    https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/6/118/default.htm

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    1. Peace – 6:118 uses the term mention (ذُكِرَ – dhukir) this means that before we eat any food we are commanded to mention God’s name upon that food before we eat. This is different than uhillah which is a dedication at the time of sacrifice. If you continue reading in 6:121 we see the following:

      [6:119] Why should you not eat from that upon which GOD’s name has been mentioned? He has detailed for you what is prohibited for you, unless you are forced. Indeed, many people mislead others with their personal opinions, without knowledge. Your Lord is fully aware of the transgressors.

      (١١٩) وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا ذُكِرَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَقَدْ فَصَّلَ لَكُمْ مَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلَّا مَا اضْطُرِرْتُمْ إِلَيْهِ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا لَيُضِلُّونَ بِأَهْوَائِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُعْتَدِينَ

      [6:120] You shall avoid obvious sins, as well as the hidden ones. Those who have earned sins will surely pay for their transgressions.

      (١٢٠) وَذَرُوا ظَاهِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَبَاطِنَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْسِبُونَ الْإِثْمَ سَيُجْزَوْنَ بِمَا كَانُوا يَقْتَرِفُونَ

      [6:121] Do not eat from that upon which the name of GOD has not been mentioned, for it is an abomination. The devils inspire their allies to argue with you; if you obey them, you will be idol worshipers.*

      (١٢١) وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ وَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَىٰ أَوْلِيَائِهِمْ لِيُجَادِلُوكُمْ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ

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