Is crab or lobster Halal in the Hanafi Madhab?



Islamic Text

Crab and lobster are not considered Halal in to the Hanafi Madhab. When it comes to marine animals only fish is permitted.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” أُحِلَّتْ لَنَا مَيْتَتَانِ: الْحُوتُ، وَالْجَرَادُ “

(Sayidina) Abdullah Ibn Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with them both) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Two types of animals which have died a natural death have been permitted to us, fish and locust.’ (Sunan Ibn Maja 3218, Hasan Lighayrihi).

The understanding of the Hanafi Madhhab is that the Quran and Hadith only permits fish (Samak) when it comes to marine animals. So whatever the Arabs at the time of revelation would have considered to be fish is permitted. Thus anything that looks like a fish is Halal. Since crab and lobster do not fulfil this criterion, they are not Halal. The Hadith above provides evidence for the Hanafi position since it specifies fish.

(قال: ولا يؤكل من حيوان الماء إلا السمك) ش: أي قال القدوري – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ – في ” مختصره “: وقال الكرخي – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: كره أصحابنا كل ما في البحر إلا السمك خاصة فإنه حلال أكله إلا ما طفى منه فإنهم كرهوه. وقال شيخ الإسلام خواهر زاده: ويكره أكل ما سوى السمك من دواب البحر عندنا كالسرطان، والسلحفاة، والضفدع (البناية شرح الهداية).

He (Imam al-Marghinani) said, and nothing from the marine animals is permitted except for fish (Samak). As mentioned by (Imam) al-Quduri (May Allah Most High have mercy upon him) in his Mukhtasar. (Imam) al-Karkhi (May Allah Most High have mercy upon him) said our scholars disliked everything from the sea except for fish (Samak) specifically. It (Samak) is Halal to consume unless it is floating (dead), they considered that to be Makruh. And Shaykh al-Islam Khawahir Zadah said, and with us it is Makruh to consume anything other than fish (Samak) from the animals of the sea, like crab, turtle and frog. (al-Binayah Sharh al-Hidaayah, Imam Badr al-Din al-Ayni).

In the Nass (text) above, not only do we find the general rule of only fish being permitted in the Hanafi Madhab, but we also find specific mention of crab not being permitted.

The Shafis and the Malikis have a different understanding regarding this issue, and they may well differ with the Hanafis regarding it. We must respect such differences and recognise them as a mercy. A Hanafi interested in taking a dispensation (Rukhsah) from either Madhab may do so, after consulting reliable scholars of those Madhabs.

See also:

Are prawns Halal in the Hanafi Madhab?

Is eel Halal in the Hanafi Madhab?

Taking a Rukhsah

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