Is Hunting for Pleasure Accepted in Islam?

Hunting for Pleasure

Bismillah wal-Hamdulillah was-Salatu was-Salamu ‘Ala Rasulillah.

(1) Today hunting is more of a sport, but in the past hunting was a primary source of meat. Therefore, Islam has special rules and regulations regarding it.

(2) Animals and birds are of two types:

  • tamed or domesticated like cattle, goat, sheep, chicken, etc
  • wild or undomesticated, i.e. not under human control

Tamed animals require to be slaughtered to be deemed halal, whereas wild animals are different.

(3) Islam lays conditions for the hunter, his instrument, and the game (i.e. hunted animal).

(a) Hunter must be Muslim, Jew, or Christian just like in the case of a butcher

  • hunter is not allowed to hunt just for sport with no intention to eat the animal of the hunted animal or benefit from it in any way
  • hunter should not be in the state of ihraam for Hajj or Umrah

(b) Method of hunting

(i) Bow and arrow, spear, etc:

  • weapon must pierce the animal and not kill it with the strength of its blow
  • hunter must pronounce Bismillah, ie. the Name of God before firing or shooting his weapon

(ii) Using an animal (like dog, falcon, hawk) to hunt:

  • animal must be trained to hunt
  • animal must not eat the game itself, but catch for its owner
  • Bismillah, i.e. the Name of God must be pronounced before sending the animal to catch the game

(c) Game:

  • it should be an animal a person is not able to bring under control in order to slaughter it properly, because in principle, if it is possible to slaughter it, this must be done, unless no other choice remains
  • if one shoots an arrow at the animal or if his hunting dog has caught it, as long as he reaches the animal while there is still abundant life remaining in it, it must be slaughtered

Those who like to hunt for sport only, without intention to benefit from it or use its meat, should remember:

“If someone kills a sparrow for sport, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgement, ‘O Lord! That person killed me in vain! He did not kill me for any useful purpose.'” (Nasai, Ibn Hibban)

This hadith has some weakness to it.

Also, using animals for target practice, like pigeons, is forbidden.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Do not make a living creature into a target.” (Muslim)

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ cursed anyone who makes a living thing into a target.” (Muslim)

Allah knows best.

Feature Image Credit: Flickr