The Quran tells us that out of all the revelations (wahi) given to the prophet, that there were only four dietary prohibitions.

[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

Yet if we consult the Hadith of Sahih Bukarhi we see that we are to believe that the prophet also prohibited donkey meat.

https://sunnah.com/bukhari:4218
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5522

Some say that the prohibition of donkey meat came after the revelation of Sura 6, and therefore the prohibitions mentioned in 6:145 were limited to only the revelations given to the prophet up until that point. If we look at historical sources, we see that the Battle of Khaybar took place around March/April 628 CE (7 AH), while all of Sura 6 was sent in one revelation in Mecca prior to Hijra. There are two problems with this argument.

Firstly, God, who is the author of the Quran, obviously knew what revelations the prophet was going to obtain and is telling the prophet and the believers to “say” that out of all the revelations (wahi) that these are the only dietary prohibitions if in the future there were going to be additional dietary prohibitions. Such an understanding would make the Quran limited to time and space rather than a complete book for all of history.

Secondly, the dietary prohibitions are mentioned four times in the Quran: 2:173, 6:145, 5:3, and 16:115. All four instances describe the same four dietary prohibitions, and out of these four verses, the latest revelation historically is 5:3. Interestingly, many claim that this verse is the last verse ever revealed to the prophet, which would make this verse supersede the Battle of Khaybar, yet no mention of donkey meat. According to Sahih al-Bukhari 7268 this verse was revealed on Friday the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH (6 March 632).

https://sunnah.com/bukhari:7268

Others say that the prohibition of donkey meat was limited to only during the battle of Khaibar, except the following Hadith makes it explicit that this prohibition was forever (الْبَتَّةَ ‏ / definitively, absolutely, irrevocably ).

https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3155

Another narration, Sahih al-Bukhari 5528, states that the reason that donkey meat is forbidden is because it is Rijs (impure). This is the same word used to describe the meat of pigs in 6:145.

https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5528

[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 (rijs), 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

Ironically, even the Hadith recognizes the straight contradiction the prohibition of donkey meat creates with the Quran. In the following Hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari 5529 it states that Ibn ‘Abbas, the great religious learned man, refused to give a verdict on this because it contradicted 6:145 of the Quran.

https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5529

There is even a Hadith by Sunan Abi Dawud 4604 that warns about the difference between the prohibitions instituted by means of the Quran compared to what was invented by the Hadith, which emphasizes the contradiction of the two sources in regard to donkey meat.

Sunan Abi Dawud 4604

The translation for the above Hadith and its interpretation may be a little hard to understand, so below is the word-by-word translation.

أَلاَ“Verily
إِنِّيI
أُوتِيتُ[I] was given
الْكِتَابَthe scripture
وَمِثْلَهُand similar to it
مَعَهُwith it.
أَلاَVerily,
يُوشِكُ[he] will soon
رَجُلٌa man,
شَبْعَانُreplete
عَلَىupon
أَرِيكَتِهِhis couch,
يَقُولُ[he] will say
عَلَيْكُمْto you [all]
بِهَذَاregarding this
الْقُرْآنِQuran,
فَمَا‘Then what
وَجَدْتُمْyou find
فِيهِin it
مِنْof
حَلاَلٍpermissible (thing)
فَأَحِلُّوهُthen permit it [you all]
وَمَاand what
وَجَدْتُمْyou find you [all]
فِيهِin it
مِنْof
حَرَامٍprohibited (thing)
فَحَرِّمُوهُthen prohibit it [you all].’
أَلاَVerily,
لاَnot
يَحِلُّhe permits
لَكُمْfor you [all]
لَحْمُmeat (of)
الْحِمَارِthe donkey
الأَهْلِيِّdomesticated.
وَلاَAnd not (he permits)
كُلُّevery
ذِيpossessor of
نَابٍfangs / canine teeth
مِنَfrom
السَّبُعِthe seven (*any beast of prey).
وَلاَAnd not (he permits)
لُقَطَةُa lost item (from)
مُعَاهِدٍa Mu’ahid (a disbeliever who has been given a covenant) / confederate;
إِلاَّexcept
أَنْthat
يَسْتَغْنِيَ[he] dispenses
عَنْهَاwith it
صَاحِبُهَاits guardian.
وَمَنْAnd whoever
نَزَلَhe sent
بِقَوْمٍfor a people
فَعَلَيْهِمْthen upon them
أَنْthat
يَقْرُوهُthey read it.
فَإِنْThen if
لَمْnot
يَقْرُوهُthey read it
فَلَهُthen for him
أَنْthat
يُعْقِبَهُمْhe penalizes / strikes back
بِمِثْلِin the same manner / with similar
قِرَاهُits reading
Sunan Abi Dawud 4604

Here is a more accurate translation of the Hadith:

The prophet said, “Verily, I was given the scripture and similar to it with it? Verily, soon a man, replete on his couch, will say to you with this Quran, ‘what you find in it of a permissible thing is permitted, and what you find in it of a prohibited thing is prohibited.’ Except, not he permits for you the meat of domesticated donkeys. And not (he permits) every beast of prey. And not (he makes permissible) the lost item of a confederate; unless its guardian dispenses with it. And whoever he sent for a people, then upon them that they read it. Then if not they read it, then incumbent for him that he strikes back, in the same manner, the reading of it.

Some argue that the above Hadith prohibits the following of the Quran alone for determining what is prohibited and what is permissible, except the analysis appears to be saying the opposite. In the Hadith, it describes the person sitting on their couch making the claim about the Quran regarding what is prohibited and what is permissible, yet it is calling such a person out for their contradiction when they prohibit such things as donkey meat or beasts of prey, that are not mentioned in the Quran. This is encompassed in the part that states, ” أَلَا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمُ” which translates to “Verily, no he permits for you…” The “he” here is the person described in the previous sentence regarding the individual who makes the proclamation based on the Quran yet contradicts himself with such prohibitions. The Hadith additionally ends by saying if a people encounter such a person who makes these claims, they are mandated to read it, and since the only thing to be read mentioned in this Hadith is the Quran, then this means they have to confirm it with the Quran itself.

The following Hadith on this same topic is nearly identical but adds the following phrase, وَإِنَّ مَا حَرَّمَ رَسُولُ الله كَمَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ. The translation below, according to Sunnah.com, makes the statement seem contradictory to the statement made about the Quran by translating the word ” وَإِنَّ مَا ” as “But what” except the word ” وَإِنَّ ” means “And indeed.” So the proper translation of this phrase should be, “And indeed what God’s messenger has prohibited is like what God has prohibited.” This is a confirmation of the previous statement made regarding the Quran. Additionally, the translation below leaves out the words ” أَلَا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمُ” which would translate to “Verily, not he permits for you…” As seen in the Hadith above, the person who is permitting such things is contradicting the Quran. Again, the last part of both these Hadith is commanding the people who encounter such a person who prohibits these things to demand that they prove this by means of the Quran when it says that they must read it if they make such a claim.

https://sunnah.com/mishkat:163

Ironically, there is also another Hadith from Bukhari that claims that the messenger that nothing was revealed to him about donkeys.

https://sunnah.com/bukhari:4963

And if we consult the Quran, we see the following revelations about donkeys.

All this shows that the Hadith are not consistent and form numerous contradictions not only amongst itself but with the Quran as well.

[39:23] GOD has revealed herein the best Hadith; a book that is consistent, and points out both ways (to Heaven and Hell). The skins of those who reverence their Lord cringe therefrom, then their skins and their hearts soften up for GOD’s message. Such is GOD’s guidance; He bestows it upon whomever He wills. As for those sent astray by GOD, nothing can guide them.

 اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُتَشَابِهًا مَثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

[39:29] GOD cites the example of a man who deals with disputing partners (Hadith), compared to a man who deals with only one consistent source (Quran). Are they the same? Praise be to GOD; most of them do not know.

 ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا رَجُلًا فِيهِ شُرَكَاءُ مُتَشَاكِسُونَ وَرَجُلًا سَلَمًا لِرَجُلٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Ironically, one of these verses regarding donkeys shows an example of what it is like when people uphold other than their scripture as a source of law.

[62:5] The example of those who were given the Torah then failed to uphold it is like the donkey carrying great works of literature. Miserable indeed is the example of people who rejected GOD’s revelations. GOD does not guide the wicked people.

 مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا بِئْسَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

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