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Should one return salaams to a parrot?!

Q. In my grandfather’s house there is a real live parrot, and when I pass by it, it greets me and says ‘al-salaamu ‘alaykum”. In this case do I have to return the greeting of this bird?.

A. Praise be to Allaah.


Al-Fayyoomi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The babgha’ (parrot) is a well-known bird. The word babgha’ may be masculine or feminine, and the plural is Babghawaat.

Al-Misbaah al-Muneer fi Ghareeb al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/35


It seems that it is not prescribed to return the greeting of a parrot which has learnt how to say salaams, because saying salaam is an act of worship and a supplication which requires intention on the part of the one who said it, and there is no such intention on the part of this trained creature. So one should not return its greeting. The ruling is the same as that on a tape on which the greeting is recorded and can be heard. It is transmission of sound and does not come under the ruling on greeting when it is broadcast live, in which case returning the greeting is prescribed and is a communal obligation (fard kifaayah).

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Sometimes the greeting may be recorded and they put it on the tape and run it. If it is recorded then you are not obliged to return the greeting, because this is just transmission of sound.

Liqa’ al-Bab al-Mmaftooh, 28/229

See the rest of the fatwa and details on this issue in the answer to question number 128737.

Based on that, the parrot does not intend to give the greeting of salaam, because it does not possess the power of reason, and when it speaks it is just repeating what it has been taught, without meaning what it says.

Some of the scholars have stated that it is not prescribed to prostrate if one hears a verse from a parrot or from a recorded tape.

One of the conclusions of the book Bahjat al-Asma‘ fi Ahkaam al-Samaa‘ fi’l-Fiqh al-Islami by Prof. ‘Ali ibn Dhariyaan ibn Faaris al-Hasan al-‘Anzi (published by Dar al-Manaar in Kuwait) is:

The listener need not do the prostration of recitation if he hears it from a source that is not human, such as a trained bird like a parrot or hearing it from an echo. End quote.

And Allah knows best.

Allah certainly does. I simply can’t wait for the fatwa on whether it is acceptable to say “boo” to a goose.

Islam – 1400 hundred years of answering the moral conundrums that nobody else gives a toss about.

Should one say “Hi there!” to a parrot? Oh, for fuck’s sake!

From here.


  1. john in cheshire says:

    If the Petomane could have produced the said greeting, would a muslim have had to ‘prostrate himself’?

  2. RAB says:

    Has anyone else read the Illuminatus trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson?
    I enjoyed it very much in my 20s. it was like a manual on liberarian guerrilla warfare wasn’t it?
    Well remembering the Macaws that someone in the books had trained to say

    “Here Kitty Kitty!”

    And of course the ones in Nottingham Arboritum, that persons enjoying illegal substances in the early hours of the morning had taught to say…

    Far out Man! What’s your sign? and wanna score??

    Why dont we, just for a laugh, get a whole flock of talking birds, and teach them things like…
    Big Mo is a paedophile murdering Warlord.

    Big Mo was crap in bed!

    Big Mo would climb a greasy pole for a bacon buttie!

    You know stuff like that. Then we keep all these highly trained birds in a special unit alongside the Ravens in the Tower of London. They could both be essential to the defence of the realm you know!

    Then when a Saudi king or Prince is visiting, or Pakistans Dinnerjacket, or even good old friend an ally, Obama, is on a State visit, we can slip HRH one of our birds at the State Banquet for her to present to them as an honoured gift.
    Well the poor old woman has to sit and listen to them running her country down over an over, she deserves a few laughs at foriegners expense now and again doesn’t she (Phil would be well up for it, probably want to train a few of the birds himself).

    Even better, when they start to strangle the blasphemy Boids, out of rage and frustration, we can stick the RSPCA and RSPB on them!
    You can get away with almost anything in Britain today, but if you are found being cruel to animals, you are thought of as worse than evil. Win Win!
    Just a thought ;-)

  3. Sunfish says:

    Illuminatus, RAB?

    I like you. We can be friends.

  4. RAB says:

    23 Skidoo, and all that, you have forever been a friend of mine, doncha remember? ;-)

  5. Kevin B says:

    Should one return salaams to a parrot?!

    Of course. It’s only polite. I’ve just been down Sainsburys and, when I’d completed my shop, I used the self-scan checkout. When I’d finished the process, the nice fembot who runs the checkout said: “Thank you for using Sainsburys self-checkout.” I, of course, replied: “That’s quite all right dear. Same time on Friday?”

    I was brought up to be polite and, despite the odd looks from some of the other shoppers and even the other staff, I stick to the eternal principles, even though the check-out creature occasionally disturbs my equanimity by complaining about non-existent “items in the bagging area” and she can sound a bit nagging when she keeps repeating “Please take your items” when I’m done paying. As I tell her, “I’m going as fast as I can, and I need to check the receipt first”.

    (No, I don’t get out much. Why do you ask?)

  6. Bod says:

    Kevin B has it right, of course.

    When our physical needs are satisfied by fembots and replicants (think Joanna Cassidy in Blade Runner), we should still observe the niceties, despite them being non-people.

    Because they’ll have Rutger Hauer as their pimps. And we wouldn’t want to upset him, would we?

  7. NickM says:

    Kevin, Bod,
    I once thanked an ATM machine. Felt a right berk!

  8. TDK says:

    Oh yea of little faith.

    I once worked for a company that processed chickens. It had quite a few factories and the HQ was near Oxford. The company sold meat to Al Halal butchers.

    The majority of the workforce were bussed in from the Birmingham area daily and many were of Pakistani origin. However, this was not the critical factor in meeting the all important Al Halal standard, except perhaps that they handled the meat downstream. In fact the process was identical for ordinary meat with one variation.

    At the loading bay the chickens were taken from cages and hung by their feet from a conveyor belt. This ran and turned left through a hatch into the building. Once inside the chickens were dipped in an electrified water bath to stun them and then immediately met a spinning blade that slit their throats. After several yards for the blood to drain the conveyor turned again into a steam room which loosened the feathers. And so on. The critical difference between Al Halal and heathen meat was a tape recorder that would be put on to play prayers when required.

    How does this relate to the original post?

    Well clearly if prayers uttered by parrots, echoes or tape recorders can be disregarded, then the meat in our factory cannot be pass the al halal test. To put it bluntly it ain’t Kosher. Rioting must ensue, flags must be burnt and community relations must collapse.

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