Founded in 970 or 972 by the Fatimids as a centre of Islamic learning, its students studied the Qur’an and Islamic law in detail, along with logic, grammar, rhetoric, and how to calculate the lunar phases of the moon. It was one of the first universities in the world and the only one to survive as a modern university including secular subjects in the curriculum. It is today the chief centre of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world
Religious jurisprudence textbooks for Al-Azhar students address, among other things, the issue of eating dead human beings, quoting Mansour bin Yunus al-Bahuti, a scholar of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence who died 500 years ago, as saying that eating dead Jews, Christians and non-believers is halal (permissible by Islam) if it is a necessity, but non-Muslims are not to eat dead Muslims, even out of necessity.
Another textbook quotes Imam al-Sherbini of the Shafi school of jurisprudence as saying that dead prophets of any religion should not be eaten. And when he was told that prophets do not die and that they lie alive praying in their graves according to the Hadith, he said that he meant if they were found dead before they were buried.
He also clarified that the meat of dead Jews, Christians and infidels should be eaten raw, not cooked or grilled.
Other Al-Azhar textbooks say that eating dead Jews, Christians and non-believers can be allowed not only out of necessity, but also as a punishment for heresy.
In the book “Persuasion in Resolving the Words of Abi Shoga” that takes after the Shafi school of jurisprudence, the author says a Muslim warrior may kill and eat infidel men, women and children if they were not warriors themselves.
But bin Abdel Salam recommends eating warrior adults and leaving warrior children for their economic value as slaves.
The chapter about food in the Hanbali book “Al-Rawd Al-Moraba Fi Sharh Zad Al-Mustaqni” for the secondary Al-Azhar schools says the Prophet allowed the eating of a hyena and a horse, which the Hanafi and Maliki schools of jurisprudence disagreed with.
The author also allowed the eating of peacocks, parrots, crows, locusts and water creatures, except frogs, crocodiles and eels. Whales may be eaten, he said, except their liver and their spleen. He also forbade the eating or
grilling of live fish.
In the chapter about what is permissible to eat, the book “Al-Sharh al Saghir” for Ahmed Dardir, which explains the Maliki school of jurisprudence, says it is not permissible to eat wild game hunted by a Muslim and an infidel together, or anything slaughtered by a Christian or a Jew.
The book permits eating a giraffe and forbids eating pork. It says a Muslim may eat a dead human being out of necessity, but not eat pork or wild game that was hunted by a non-believer.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis
Courtesy of Pamela Geller.