Islam and the Quran

Eating Seafood

Question: What is the ruling on eating amphibious creatures or seafood other than fish, e.g crabs, is it haraam? Because some say there is a hadith that ban them?

Allah the Almighty commands:

“(O Muhammad!) Say: I cannot find in what has been revealed to me anything forbidden for anyone who wants to eat unless it is carrion, blood poured forth, the flesh of swine -it is impure-, or that which is slaughtered in a name other than Allah as a deliberate sin.  (…)” (6:145)

According to this verse, the foods which are forbidden to eat are carrion (flesh of an animal died before slaughter), blood, the flesh of swine, and any animal over which the name of any other than Allah has been pronounced. We understand from the phrase “I cannot find in what has been revealed to me anything forbidden for anyone who wants to eat unless…” that all other animals are permitted to eat. Allah knows that there will be contradiction among Muslims about sea animals and therefore He additionally decrees:

Game from the water[1] and the food from it have been made lawful for you and for the travelers as subsistence.(Al-Ma’ida/ The Feast 5:96)

This verse also validates that all of the sea animals are permitted to eat wherever and however they are found. Whatever its name is, whoever catches it, either Muslim or non-Muslim, either it is dead or alive the same rule applies; those animals are lawful (halal) to eat.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says:

“The water of the sea is pure and what dies in it is lawful food.”[2]

The amphibious creatures are not subject to a special ruling. They are lawful like every other creature besides the ones in [6:145] above.


[1] The word “bahr (بحر)” is translated as “water” because this word is used to refer to rivers, seas, and oceans in the Quran.

[2] Abu Dawud, Taharat 41; Tirmidhi, Taharat 52; Nasai, Taharat 46; Ibn Majah, Taharat 38

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