Is eating Lobster Halal or Haram?

Published on Monday, 16 February 2015 19:40 in Food - Read 40597 times

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Question

Is eating lobster Halal or Haram?

Answer

Lobsters are from among the animals found in the water, and from the animals found in the water, only fish are Halal to consume. This is the verdict of the scholars, in accordance with the Hadith: 

عن عبد الله بن عمر أن رسول الله ﷺ قال «أحلت لنا ميتتان و دمان فأما الميتتان فالحوت والجراد وأما الدمان فالكبد والطحال

Abd Allah ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “Two types of dead meat and two types of blood have been made lawful for us: The two dead meats are; fish and locust, and the two types of blood are; liver and spleen.” [Sunan Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Sunan Ibn Majah]

The Hadith uses the word 'Maytatan’ [the two dead] which means that these animals are an exception from the rule that for an animal to become Halal for consumption, it must be slaughtered in the way prescribed by the Shari'at. Thus, fish do not have to be slaughtered for them to become Halal to consume, but they are Halal by default. The Messenger of Allah specified only fish from the water and not any other seafood, proving only fish are permissible from the water.

However, there is a difference of opinion between the scholars regarding the permissibility of prawns. Sadr al-Shari'ah Mufti Amjad Ali Azmi writes in Bahar e Shari’at regarding prawns; “There is a disagreement between the scholars whether prawns are considered a fish or not. Because of this there is a difference in its permissibility and impermissibility. From the apparent, its appearance is not similar to a fish but resembles an insect, therefore it should be avoided.”

Similarly, it is stated regarding prawns in Fatawa Ridawiyyah:
“[Prawns] are disputed upon. Those who believe it to be a fish consider it Halal as every type of fish is Halal, and those who believe it to be otherwise, consider it Haram as any animal other than fish in the water are considered to be Haram. It is better to abstain in such matters.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, volume 20, page 339]

Because of this difference between the scholars regarding prawns, they are considered to be Makruh [disliked] and should be avoided. However, for lobsters, there is no explicit mentioning of them within the writings of the scholars. As lobsters highly resemble a creature other than fish, they will be considered to be a creature of the water and not a fish, therefore it is not permissible to eat lobsters.

And Allah knows best.

Muhammad Kalim (Preston)
Verified by Mufti Zahid Hussain al-Qadri

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