Here at Halal Guides, we understand how critical it is for Muslim individuals to consume halal meat and fish when they wish to maintain religious conformity. With thousands of species populating the oceans and rivers worldwide, determining which ones comply with Sharia law presents numerous challenges.
We aim to simplify this process by answering crucial questions surrounding permissible and prohibited wildlife in Islam. Today, let’s explore a remarkable bird: pelicans (Pelecanidae family). But first, ask yourself–Is Pelican Halal?
Stay tuned as we uncover intriguing answers inside. Share with loved ones, comment below and join us soon again for even more exciting discussions about halal cuisine.
Pelicans belong to one of seven living genera and belong to the order Pelecaniformes (Ciconiiformes) under the subclass Ornithurae. They share their taxonomic grouping with cormorants and gannets/morus.
These incredible animals possess a number of distinctive features. Compared to other groups such as swans, ducks, or even domesticated fowl like the chicken, pelicans stand apart thanks to their elongated bills, webbed feet, and large bodies that help them survive in different environments.
These fascinating birds come from both tropical and temperate climes across the planet and inhabit various ecosystems, including deserts, coastlines, marshlands, and islands. All known pelican families possess four tooth-like spikes located near the base of their hook-tipped bill, while the two major subgroups contain three (feathered) and five species respectively (Bridled or Brown) based on physical traits. However, all members are similar regarding the way they feed and roost together in colonies called “scops.”
Determining Halal or Haram
Under Islamic dietary guidelines, unless there is concrete evidence indicating otherwise, all kinds of foods are deemed halal (acceptable) to eat.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ كُلُوا۟ مِمَّا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ حَلَـٰلًۭا طَيِّبًۭا وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ خُطُوَٰتِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّۭ مُّبِينٌ
“O humanity! Eat from what is lawful and good on the earth and do not follow Satan’s footsteps. He is truly your sworn enemy.”
The main rule in determining haram is no food or drink should cause harm or result in death, as stated by divine guidance below.
وَأَنفِقُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا تُلۡقُواْ بِأَيۡدِيكُمۡ إِلَى ٱلتَّهۡلُكَةِ وَأَحۡسِنُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
“And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good.
[Al-Baqarah/ 2 : 195]
This verse emphasizes following Islamic principles protects an individual’s health and safety. Therefore, you should not consume anything that is harmful to your health as part of fulfilling Sharia requirements.
Additional guidelines in religious teachings outline which items are off limits in addition to dangerous materials mentioned previously.
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ
“Forbidden to you are carrion, blood, and swine; what is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah; what is killed by strangling, beating, a fall, or by being gored to death; what is partly eaten by a predator unless you slaughter it; ”
[Al-Maidah/ 5 : 3]
The passage states certain types of meat such as dead animals, pork, and those with certain modes of death like stoning/beating or falling, and blood are forbidden for consumption.
However, certain types of animals are considered halal due to additional rules found in Hadith references
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Two kinds of dead meat and two kinds of blood have been permitted to us. The two kinds of dead meat are fish and locusts, and the two kinds of blood are the liver and spleen.”
Shahih Sunan Ibnu Majah
Even another statement by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) indicates sea creatures like fish are halal to consume.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah, that the Prophet (said), concerning the water of the sea :
“Its water is pure (and Purification) and its ‘dead meat’ is permissible (to eat).”
Shahih An Nasa’i
As we discovered, certain critters are acceptable to eat based on religious texts. However, there are cases where they need to be avoided because they belong to the group called Haram. Let me explain more about this category.
كُلُّ ذِي نَابٍ مِنَ السِّبَاعِ فَأَكْلُهُ حَرَامٌ
Narrated Abu Hurairah that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon Him) said :
“Every beast with fangs is forbidden to eat”
[Hadith Muslim no. 1933].
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ نَهَىرَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- عَنْ كُلِّ ذِى نَابٍ مِنَ السِّبَاعِوَعَنْ كُلِّ ذِى مِخْلَبٍ مِنَ الطَّيْرِ
“From Ibnu Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah, may God bless him and grant him peace, forbade from every wild animal that has sharp teeth and claws (predators)”
[Hadith Muslim no. 1934]
Is Pelican Halal?
Pelicans fit into the category of creatures that are halal (approved) for eating. Therefore, it’s fine to eat them according to Islam.
Understanding halal vs non-halal animals helps individuals make informed decisions related to dieting in accordance with Islamic laws. While some may find the distinctions unnecessary, the regulations ensure respect towards life forms and the natural world at large.
Islam provides guiding principles that foster sustainable development while conserving natural resources, ensuring future generations benefit from a balanced and healthy environment.
Wallahu a’lam (Allah knows best)
Does pelican have fangs?
Pelicans lack regular teeth, but their bill has an edge and hook that could produce minor wounds.
Is pelican meat good to eat?
We once tried pelican meat and weren’t impressed. Pelican meat is difficult to chew and not very flavorful and It didn’t look appealing either.
Is Pelican endangered?
No, but some species are. Eastern brown pelicans face various challenges besides oil spills: scarce food supplies, destructive storms, climate change, ocean levels rising, new energy projects, tangled up in fishing gear, plus many others across their American habitats.