Is eating rabbit halal?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

Yes, eating Rabbit is Halal. It has been specifically mentioned in Hadith narrations from Bukhari and Muslim.

Qur’an and Hadith
وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ

He permits for them that which is pure and prohibits that which is vile. (Surah al-Araaf, 157).

Based on the above Ayah of the Holy Quran Hanafi scholars deemed all insects (except locust) and all animals that may be considered pest prohibited (Haram). Therefore, mice, squirrels, hedgehogs and the like are Haram to consume. However, rabbits are not included in the prohibition due to them being mentioned in Hadith.

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ: مَرَرْنَا فَاسْتَنْفَجْنَا أَرْنَبًا بِمَرِّ الظَّهْرَانِ، فَسَعَوْا عَلَيْهِ فَلَغَبُوا، قَالَ: فَسَعَيْتُ حَتَّى أَدْرَكْتُهَا، فَأَتَيْتُ بِهَا أَبَا طَلْحَةَ فَذَبَحَهَا، فَبَعَثَ بِوَرِكِهَا وَفَخِذَيْهَا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَأَتَيْتُ بِهَا رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَبِلَهُ

(Sayidina) Anas ibn Malik (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) said, we were passing Marr al-Dhahraan and came across a rabbit. They chased after it but became fatigued. I chased it too and caught it. So, I brought it to Abu Talha (May Allah Most High be pleased with him). He slaughtered it and sent its haunch and two hind legs to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ (through me). I brought them to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and he accepted them. (Sahih Muslim, 1953 – 53).

This Hadith was also narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari (2572 and 5535). Numerous Hanafi scholars have mentioned the fact that rabbit is a specific exception amongst animals which may be considered to be vermin.

Classical scholars
وكرهوا أيضاً جميع الهوام الذي سُكناها في الأرض نحو الفأرة والوزغ والقنفذ وسام أبرص والحباب، وجميع هوام الأرض إلا الأرنب، فإنه يحل أكله. (المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني)

They also disliked all types of vermin that reside in the ground. For example, mouse, hedgehog, gecko and Hibab. Also, all vermin upon land except for the rabbit. As that is permitted (Halal) to eat. (Imam Burhan al-Deen al-Bukhari, al-Muheet al-Burhaani). 

وَجَمِيع هوَام الأَرْض الا الأرنب فَإِنَّهُ يحل أكله. (لسان الحكام في معرفة الأحكام)

All vermin upon land (are prohibited) except for the rabbit. As that is permitted (Halal) to eat. (Imam Abu al-Waleed al-Halabi, Lisan al-Hukaam). 

Some Hanafi Imams referenced the Hadith above specifically when explaining that rabbit is Halal to eat. There are other narrations proving the permissibility (Halal) of eating rabbit too. It is important to recognise that most legal rulings have more than one proof.

وَفِيه: إِبَاحَة أكل الأرنب، وَهُوَ قَول الْأَئِمَّة الْأَرْبَعَة. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

In it (the Hadith narration) is the permissibility of eating rabbit (Halal). (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, Umdatu al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari).

(وَحَلَّ الأَرْنَبُ) عندنا وسائر الأئمة، لِمَا في البخاري عن أنس بن مالك. (فتح باب العناية بشرح النقاية)

And Rabbit is Halal (to eat). This is according to the majority of scholars, due to that which has been narrated in al-Bukhari from (Sayidina) Anas bin Malik (May Allah Most High be pleased with him). (Imam Ali al-Qari, Fath Bab al-Inayah Sharh al-Nuqayah). 

Concluding remarks

Due to the explicit evidence mentioned regarding the fact that rabbit is Halal to eat, and the need people had for this ruling, many Hanafi Mutoon (primary texts) mentioned the ruling. Therefore, one does not need to engage in deep research to find it, rather it is readily available.

ويكره لحم الفرس عند أبي حنيفة ولا بأس بأكل الأرنب. (مختصر القدوري)

According to Imam Abu Hanifah, horse meat is Makruh. And there is no issue with eating Rabbit (Halal). (Imam Abu al-Husayn al-Quduri, Mukhtasar al-Quduri).  

وَلَا بَأْسَ بِأَكْلِ الْأَرْنَبِ. (بدائع الصنائع)

And there is no issue with eating Rabbit (Halal). (Imam Abu Bakr al-Kaasni, Badai al-Sanai). 

(ولا بأس بأكل الأرنب) ش: أي قال القدوري – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: ولا خلاف فيه لأحد من العلماء. قال الكرخي في ” مختصره “: ولم يروا جميعا بأسا بأكل الأرنب. (البناية شرح الهداية)

Imam al-Marghinani: And there is no issue with eating Rabbit.

Imam al-Ayni: Imam al-Quduri (May Allah Most High have mercy upon him) said, there is no difference amongst any of the scholars regarding this issue. (Imam) al-Karkhi said in his Mukhtasar, none of them saw a problem with eating Rabbit (Halal). (al-Binayah Sharh al-Hidaayah).

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (30.06.23)