Eating Makruh Food


One often comes across people especially in Pakistan and India using the term Makruh while talking about certain foods. We are aware of Halal (i.e. allowed for consumption) and Haram (i.e. forbidden) foods but there seems to be a lot of confusion about Makruh foods. I have been told that such foods are not Haram but fall in the category about which we are doubtful. It is also said that we are recommended to avoid them. Please explain this in the light of the Qur'an and the Hadith.


The term Makruh does not belong to the basic religious sources of the Shari'ah rather it has been coined by some juristic schools of thought. Some of the jurists believe that if a weak tradition ascribed to the Holy Prophet (sws) renders something forbidden then it is Makruh. We understand that the Shari'ah prohibits only four things which include flesh of swine, carrion, poured out blood and animals consecrated in the name of deities other than God. This is what we find in the Shari'ah regarding Halal and Haram foods. As far as other foods are concerned, humans innately know what they should eat and what they should not. They, by virtue of the innate guidance provided to them, are aware of the fact that certain things are edible and others are not. The Holy Qur'an also tacitly approves of this distinction and refers to this innate guidance bestowed on man where it says that men should eat Tayyibat (i.e. the pure things) (Qur'an, 5:4). It has implicitly informed us that this distinction between the pure and the impure among the edibles is inherently known to man.

The traditions ascribed to the Holy Prophet (sws) in this regard refer to this innate knowledge of human beings. The jurists took them as independent directives and classified the traditions according to the degree of reliability as sound and weak. The things which they came to know about through less authentic traditions they classified as Makruh. However, it is clear from the foregoing paragraphs that these traditions mostly make use of the innate guidance of man regarding edibles and therefore should be understood on this basis.

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