Which Glands are Impermissible to Consume?

by | 4 Jan 2021 | Fiqh

Amongst the parts of an animal that are makruh tahrimi to consume is one named الغدة.

This is translated as “glands”, however does it refer to a particular gland or are all glands makruh tahrimi?

Some might assume it to be general for all glands, due to Allamah Ibn Abidin quoting a very general definition of الغدة from the famous dictionary al-Qamus.

He states in Radd al-Muhtar  6/749:

قوله (والغدة) بضم الغين المعجمة كل عقدة في الجسد أطاف بها شحم وكل قطعة صلبة بين العصب ولا تكون في البطن كما في القاموس

While Ibn Abidin did quote this definition from al-Qamus, he did not state that every gland is impermissible, as there are numerous different glands in an animal, with some of them appearing all over the body. I am unaware of any faqih who has ever claimed that every gland is impermissible to consume.

If it isn’t general, then which particular gland is being referred to?

Based on the definition given for الغدة, some feel that lymph nodes would be the type of glands intended. They are defined as:

“Small, bean-shaped glands throughout the body. They are part of the lymph system, which carries fluid (lymph fluid), nutrients, and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream”

Specifying lymph nodes as the impermissible glands is problematic for the following reasons:

1- No texts have been provided clearly mentioning this specification.

2- Lymph nodes exist in around 12 different locations throughout an animal’s body. Specialist knowledge would be required to find these nodes in each carcass and remove them. That is both impractical and illogical.

3- If lymph nodes were really the intended glands, then there would have been copious discussion in our fiqh works, pointing them out and their locations, thereby saving the ummah from consuming these impermissible parts. Instead, there is nothing found in our books.

Have Ulama then specified which particular glands are intended?

While I haven’t come across any detailed discussion in the books of fiqh specifying these glands, the Arabic Linguists in their lexicons have dealt with this issue in sufficient detail, pointing out which particular glands cannot be consumed.

Some of their texts are given below:

العين (8/ 279) للخليل بن أحمد بن عمرو بن تميم الفراهيدي البصري (المتوفى: 170هـ)

وفي الكَرِش فَوّارتانِ في باطنهما غُدَّتان من كلّ ذي لحم، يقال: ماء الرّجل يَقَع في الكُلْية، ثمّ في الفوّارة، ثمّ في الخُصْية، وتلك الغُدّةُ لا تُؤْكَلُ.

تهذيب اللغة (15/ 178)  لمحمد بن أحمد بن الأزهري الهروي، أبو منصور (المتوفى: 370هـ)

قَالَ اللّيث: لِلكَرِش فَوّارتان، وَفِي باطنهما غُدّتان من كُل ذِي لَحم.

ويَزْعمون أنّ مَاء الرّجل يَقع فِي الكُلْية، ثمَّ فِي الفَوّارة، ثمَّ فِي الخُصْية. وَتلك الغُدّة لَا تُؤْكل، وَهِي لَحمة فِي جَوف لَحم آخَر.


التكملة والذيل والصلة (3/ 156) للحسن بن محمد بن الحسن الصغاني (المتوفى: 650 هـ)

وقال اللَّيث: للكَرِشِ فُوَّارَتَان، وفي باطِنِهما غُدّتَان من كلِّ ذِي لَحْم، ويَزْعُمُون أنّ ماءَ الرّجُلِ يَقَع في الكُلْيَةِ، ثم في الفُوّارَة، ثم في الخُصْيَةِ.وتلك الغُدَّةُ لا تُؤْكَلُ، وهي لَحْمَةٌ في جَوْفِ لَحْم أَحْمَرَ.


لسان العرب (5/ 68)  لمحمد بن مكرم بن على، ابن منظور الأنصاري الإفريقى (المتوفى: 711هـ)

 اللَّيْثُ: لِلْكِرْشِ فَوَّارتان وفي باطنهما عُذَّتان مِنْ كُلِّ ذِي لَحْمٍ، وَيَزْعُمُونَ أَن مَاءَ الرَّجُلِ يَقَعُ فِي الكُلْية ثُمَّ فِي الفَوَّارة ثُمَّ فِي الخُصْية، وَتِلْكَ الغُدَّةُ لَا تُؤْكَلُ، وَهِيَ لُحْمَةٌ فِي جَوْفِ لَحْمٍ أَحمر؛

These linguists have specified the intended glands in the above passages. The definition given by them fits the prostate gland. In addition to being found in the above authoritative Arabic Lexicons, this definition has been recorded by the Hanafi Master, Murtada az-Zabidi in his monumental work, Taj al-Arus:

تاج العروس (13/ 349) لمحمّد بن الحسيني،  الملقّب بمرتضى، الزَّبيدي (المتوفى: 1205هـ)

قَالَ اللّيْث: لِلْكَرِش فَوّارَتانِ، وَفِي باطِنِهما غُدَّتانِ من كُلّ ذِي لَحْم، ويَزْعُمُون أَنّ ماءَ الرَّجُل يَقَعُ فِي الكُلْيَةِ ثمّ فِي الفَوّارَة، ثمَّ الخُصْيَة، وتِلْك الغُدّة لَا تُؤْكَلُ، وَهِي لَحْمَةٌ فِي جوفِ لَحْمٍ أَحْمَر. انتَهى

This definition of الغدة allows it to fit in perfectly with the other makruh parts of an animal, as the others are also part of the urogenital system.

It also fits perfectly with the reasoning behind these parts being makruh, which is that they are from the khaba’ith. Khaba’ith refers to things whose consumption would be detested by sound-natured people.

والله تعالى أعلم

(Mufti) Husain Kadodia




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