Ustaz, I once heard that it is permissible to use the skin of a dead unslaughtered animal which has been tanned and it is pure. The issue is, is it permissible for us to eat the skin of such animal skin which is done by some people who eat these types of cow’s skin?
Waalaikumussalam wrm. Wbt.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Allah SWT state:
وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ
“…and (Allah) makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil.”
Surah al-A’raf (157)
In Tafsir al-Jalalain (pg.217), “the evil” is commented to mean carcasses and others similar to it. He states in Raudoh al-Tolibin (1/42): “And it is permissible to eat the skin of animal that has been tanned according to qaul jadid (more recent opinion of Imam al-Syafie), if the animal is permissible to be eaten. If not, the opinion in the madhhab stated it as prohibited. I said: The azhar (stronger) opinion is, it is prohibited to eat the skin of the animal.”
This is explained further by Syeikh Sulaiman al-Jamal in his Hasyiah (1/95) when he discusses the issue of making clothing from animal skin: “Hence, it is not considered as food to be eaten, but it is permissible to be eaten if it is taken from a slaughtered animal. The jadid opinion (Imam al-Syafie) state that it is permissible to eat it even if the skin is from an animal carcass that is permissible to be eaten if slaughtered, this is a weak opinion (opposite to the strong opinion).”
According to him, the reason for this is, tanned skin can be used for istinja’ (purifying oneself after urination or defecation), while food is prohibited from being used for istinja’. Hence, tanned skin should not be considered as food. Refer Hasyiah al-Jamal (1/94).
However, this is a khilaf (scholars have differing opinions regarding this matter) issue in madhhab Syafie, for Imam al-Rafi’e did not prohibit it and is inclined towards the jadid opinion of Imam al-Syafie. Syeikh Abu Bakr al-Hisni states in Kifayah al-Akhyar (pg. 18): “Is it permissible to eat animal skin from animals that are permissible to be eaten (but is not slaughtered)? Al-Rafi’ie state it is permissible while al-Nawawi prohibits it.”
We are inclined towards the opinion that state that it is impermissible to eat animal skin that is not slaughtered, but we should benefit from it by making it into clothes and adornments. However, if there is a necessity or exigent circumstances, then it is permissible to be eaten, just as it is permissible to eat or drink prohibited food and drink such as swine and alcoholic beverages in exigent situations.