Question:

I was listening to the first lecture on Fiqh of Purification and you said (or I heard it that way) in the Q&A session that lizards are Halal? Are they not so impure? I am sorry, it might sound like a weird question, but it was very surprising. Also Sunan Abi Dawood 3787 mentions that Prophet (PBUH) forbade eating its flesh.

Answer:

All praise is due to Allah.

Jazakumallahu khairan for your question, there are no weird questions on Islam and it is very noble for one to seek out the Islamic rulings and learn the ‘ilm. I congratulate you on beginning the series on Tahara and I hope you benefit much from them.

It is not correct that all types of lizards were forbidden by the Prophet sallahallahu alayhi wa salam. Al-Bukhaari narrated from Khaalid ibn al-Waleed that he and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon Maymoonah, who was his [Khaalid’s] maternal aunt and the maternal aunt of Ibn ‘Abbaas, and found that she had some roasted lizard that her sister Hafeedah bint al-Haarith had brought from Najd. She offered the lizard to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but he would rarely stretch forth his hand to food until he had been told what it was. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stretched forth his hand, then one of the women who were present said, “Tell the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that what has been offered to him is lizard.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) withdrew his hand from the lizard, and Khaalid ibn al-Waleed asked, “Is lizard haraam, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “No, but it is not found in the land of my people and I feel that I would have no liking for it. Khaalid said, Then I chewed it and ate it, and the Messenger of Allaah was looking at me.

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5391; Muslim, 1946)

The text you are referring to in the Sunan of Abi Dawood is in regards to a particular species of lizard that is harmful and causes skin diseases. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa wassalam commanded killing these types of harmful lizards.

The Prophet alayhi salam forbade eating all types of harmful insects and pests. As for a common lizard that is not harmful to one’s health, then there is no objection to eating it.

An important point to note is that one should be careful about deriving a ruling from a single hadith, rather all texts must be analyzed before reaching a conclusion. One must therefore always refer to the explanations of the ulema and not hasten to rely on one’s own feelings or judgements.

May Allah increase you much in knowledge.

And Allah knows best.