Hyenas are strong, stocky beast found all over the African savannah south of the Sahara Desert and in Asia. Usually spotted with reddish brown to tan, the hyena becomes lighter and less spotted with age. Hyena spend its day in holes in the ground, or in rocky dens and are quite capable of bringing down prey as large as a zebra. Abu Ammaar reported that, "I asked Jaabir bn Abdullah (RA) concerning the hyena, could they be hunted?He said, Yes. I said, could it be eaten? He said, Yes. I said, The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said this?" He said, Yes. (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhee and others in different forms but with same meaning and authenticated by AI-Bukhaari, Tirmidhee, Ibn Hibbaan, AI-Haakim Baihaqee, Ibn Hajar, Mubarkpooree amongst others).
This Hadeeth is a clear and authentic proof from the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sal/am) concerning the permissibility of eating hyena which hasalso been authentically reported of Sad bn Abee Waqaas (RA) and Abdullah bn Abbass (RA) amongst the companions of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam).
Some of the Scholars had ruled the impermissibility of consumption of hyena due to its being a carnivore which the Prophet generally forbade. Concerning this, AI-Imaam Khattaabee said (in Summary), "Since there is a specific evidence concerning the permissibility of eating hyena, any problem is removed since the specific cases take precedence over the general." (Tuhfat al Ahwadhee). This implies that from the general rule of the impermissibility of eating carnivores, hyenas are exceptions. (Adwaa al-Bayaan).
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited