Former M’sian Religious Affairs Minister confirms that ‘cute’ penguins are Halal for consumption

Source: Sinar Harian, Nature

For those who are of the Muslim faith, it is important to always keep in mind as to what kinds of foods are deemed halal for consumption, as per Islamic dietary standards. This typically refers to food products or dishes that are not prepared from the parts of an animal that are forbidden to Muslims in Islamic law, contain any substances deemed impure by Islam, or have been prepared, processed or manufactured using equipment or utensils that are not free from impurities as defined by Islamic law, according to the stipulations by the governing body in Malaysia.

Penguins are technically halal to consume for Muslims, according to Dr Zulkifli

And while it is common knowledge that meats such as pork are strictly off-limits to Muslims, many Malaysian netizens were recently taken by surprise when they were informed that the consumption of penguins is actually permissible under Islam.

A photo of a penguin.
Source: Nature

This came about after a curious netizen had posed the question to former Religious Affairs Minister to Malaysia, Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, through his book’s official Twitter account during a Q&A session. In response, Dr Zulkifli said that penguins are permissible for consumption under Islamic dietary standards, and are thus considered halal.

“Cute and halal. However, some species of penguins such as the Emperor Penguin are considered threatened species. Let us work together to protect them.” he Tweeted.

The response has since tickled many netizens who have not come to expect the response from the current Senator, with many cracking jokes using popular children’s cartoon Pingu while offering up suggestions on how penguins can be prepared for a meal.
“Smoked penguin cooked in coconut milk curry. Delicious, dato’!”
Netizens expressing their amusement and shock that penguins are halal to consume.
Source: Twitter

“Pingu cooked in soy sauce!”

Netizens expressing their amusement and shock that penguins are halal to consume.
Source: Twitter

“I can’t bring myself to eat Pingu!”

Netizens expressing their amusement and shock that penguins are halal to consume.
Source: Twitter

“Cute and halal…..”

Netizens expressing their amusement and shock that penguins are halal to consume.
Source: Twitter

Dr Zulkifli further goes on to explain that according to the madhhab of Syafi’i, seabirds are considered permissible for consumption for Muslims. And as penguins are considered to be a species of seabirds, they are by that measure, halal. However, storks (with some mixed opinions), do not fall into this category.

But all in all, he does not recommend consuming penguins as one would with other forms of fowl such as chickens, as there are legal repercussions to hunting and eating endangered birds such as penguins. His response simply served to clarify as to the penguin’s halal status.

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Also read: M’sian man opens stall selling roti canai for only 50 sen so that even the poor can enjoy a warm meal

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