Permissible & Impermissible: Sea Animals

This is the second part of Section I: Permissible and Impermissible Animals.

Precious Provisions

taught by Yasir Qadhi

Section 1: Permissible and Impermissible Animals

2.) Sea Animals


By unanimous consensus, all fish are halaal.

In fact, Allah praises fish in the Qur’aan in a way that He has praised no other animal. He subhaana wa ta’aala uses the adjective Tariy to describe fish. Allah says in Surah Faatir: “And the two seas (kinds of water) are not alike, this fresh sweet, and pleasant to drink, and that saltish and bitter. And from them both you eat fresh tender meat (fish), and derive the ornaments that you wear. And you see the ships cleaving (the seawater as they sail through it), that you may seek of His Bounty, and that you may give thanks.” (35:12)

Unfortunately, Shaykh Yasir didn’t discuss what Tariy meant (that, or I zoned out :D). Looking at the translations on Quranic Realm, all of the different versions have it translated as either “fresh” or “tender.” It is at times like this that I really wish I knew Arabic…

whaletailScholars include the whale as fish. There is a hadith that once the sahabah were short of food and they came across a huge fish/whale that was lying in the ocean. They ate of it for two weeks. The bone of the whale, when stabbed in the ground, Abu ‘Ubaydah (the commander of the expedition) could sit on the fish and could walk under the bone. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ate of it as well and it is the only instance we know of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam eating seafood. [see Bukhaari, no. 4104]

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Two dead animals and two [types of] blood are permitted for us: for the dead animals, whales and locusts; and as for blood, the liver and the spleen.” [Al Bayhaqi]

What about animals that live in the sea other than fish?

For example, lobster, octopus, shrimp, etc. — are they halaal?

For Malikis, as you may have guessed, everything is permitted.

The Hanafis use their mustakhbath rule here and say that all animals in the sea aside from fish are mustakhbath.

Shafi’ees and Hambalis say that the animals of the sea are not mustakhbath because Allah says in the Qur’an: “Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you and the travelers […]” (5:96) So for the three madhaahib, other than Hanafi, all seafood is permissible to eat.

What about animals that live on the shore?

sealFor example, crabs, turtles, seals, alligators, etc. — are they halaal?

The Malikis and Hanafis are predictable, once again. The former saying that they are permissible, and the latter saying that these animals are mustakhbath.

The Shafi’ees and Hambalis say that all blood flowing animals that live on the shore are considered land animals. All none-blood flowing animals are considered sea animals. Therefore, the none-blood flowing animals would obviously be permissible, as Shafi’ees and Hambalis consider all seafood halaal. If you were to find a crab, say, dead on the shore, it would be permissible to eat for a Shafi’ee or a Hambali.

According to the Shafi’ees and Hambalis, if it were a blood flowing animal such as a seal, that would be treated as a land animal and would therefore have to be slaughtered (dhabh). As for alligators and crocodiles, of course they would be considered haraam because of the hadith of predators with fangs being haraam.

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One Response to Permissible & Impermissible: Sea Animals

  1. Sohail Rizki says:

    I took this course with Sh. Yasir Qadi, in Houston, I learn a lot from this course, although he says it is basic fiqh.
    May Allah give him more knowledge and give us more tofiq to learn and implement the deen in our life. Aameen

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