Post by DKleinecke
Hunting seems to have been of no interest to the people who gave us
the earliest records of Islam. It is mentioned in passing and there are
some dietary regulations but little more.
That doesn't surprise me. Among many people in the developed world i
the 21st century, hunting has a disreputable air even where it is legal
and people do it. Like anything forbidden or that people think might be
forbidden soon, that also increases its appeal to some people. I've
found as a adult that a lot of people are fascinated with the subject of
hunting but know very little about it.
None of that would have applied in the sixth and seventh centuries, when
Islam's prophet was alive. Hunting would have simply been one way (a
relatively archaic and labor-intensive way) of obtaining food. Some
people of high wealth and social status did it because they enjoyed it
and didn't have to worry about how efficient a food source it was.
People whose culture still relied on hunting wild game as a significant
food source did it. People whose culture relied on other food sources
(such as herding or agriculture) generally did not hunt because they
lacked the time, tools, and training to make it worth the effort.
Why do I think this? I grew up around hunters and hunting. It was a
common activity where I lived as a child. My father hunted; I rarely ate
store-bought meat at home til we moved to an area with less game nearby.
A hobby hunter might just enjoy weekends hiking and shooting without
much need for the meat. Somebody who relies on hunting as a real food
source must practice A LOT and become skilled or he and his family will
go hungry. And this is with rifles and shotguns. Hunting with bows is
a lot harder; you must be *very* skilled.
Islam's prophet was part of the Qurayshi tribe, a prosperous and
powerful Arabian peninsula merchant tribe living in a society that had
long had both agriculture and herding/pastoralism. They had MUCH better
and more plentiful food sources than hunting provides.
While I'm sure that Muhammed participated in some purely recreational
activities, would he have had the time for a hobby as labor and
time-intensive as hunting given everything else he did? In early
adulthood, he ran a business. After 40, he led the Muslims. After 50 he
ruled a large area. I expect that he had bigger concerns than developing
extensive rules about hunting, which would have been viewed as perfectly
acceptable at the time but not very important to most people.
Catherine Jefferson <***@ergosphere.net>