As Muslims, we are often asked about the halal status of various types of meat. One of the most common questions is ‘is shark halal?’ In this post, we will look at the Islamic perspective on shark and discuss whether or not eating shark is halal or haram according to Islamic law.
Is Shark Halal?
Yes, shark meat is halal. All the four major Sunni Madhabs are in agreement that consuming all types of fish including shark is without doubt Halal, due to the explicit mention of this in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The permissibility to consume all types of fish without following the Islamic method of slaughter is a special dispensation granted to us by Allah Most High, the All-Wise and All-Knowing.
Fish has been exempted from the general rule against eating dead animals, and it can be consumed even if the animal was a man-eater.
Allah Most High says:
“Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game (fishing) and its use for food, for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel”Surah al-Ma’ida : 96
This ayah in the Quran clearly states that anything that lives in water is halal for us to consume.
The exception would be if it’s something harmful. So if there is an animal or a fish that if you eat it you get poisoned, then in this case it cannot be consumed because it falls under the general guidelines.
The Prophet said there should be neither harming (darar) nor reciprocating harm (dirar). And Allah said do not throw yourself in harm’s way and do not kill yourselves.
Moreover, AbdAllah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him eternal peace) said:
“Two types of dead meat and two types of blood have been made lawful for our consumption: The two dead meats are: fish and locust, and the two types of blood are: liver and spleen.”Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad, 2/97 and Sunan Ibn Majah, no: 3314
As a result of the above-mentioned and numerous other evidences found in the Sunnah, there is complete agreement on the permissibility of eating all types of fish, including sharks and whales.
Many narrations mention the Prophet of Allah SAW and his blessed Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) eating fish.
In fact, there is a well-known Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari and elsewhere that mentions eating large fish like sharks and whales.
Jabir ibn AbdAllah (Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) sent troops to the sea-coast and appointed Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah (Allah be pleased with him) as their commander, and they were 300 (men).
We set out, and we had covered some distance on the way, when our journey-food and provision ran short.
So Abu Ubayda ordered that all the food present with the troops be collected, and it was collected.
Our journey-food was dates, and Abu Ubayda kept on giving us our daily share from it little by little until it decreased to such an extent that we did not receive except a date each. I asked (Jabir):
“How did you survive on one date?” He said: “We came to know its value when even that finished.” Jabir added:
“Then we reached the sea (coast) where we found a fish like a small mountain. The people (i.e. troops) ate from it for 18 nights (i.e. days).
Then Abu Ubayda ordered that two of its ribs be fixed on the ground (in the form of an arch) and that a she-camel be ridden and passed under them. So it passed under them without touching them.” (Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith 4361, Kitab al-Maghazi)
In another version of this narration, Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) says:
“We set out in the army of al-Khabt and Abu Ubayda (Allah be pleased with him) was the commander of the troops.
We were struck with severe hunger and the sea threw out a dead fish the like of which we had never seen, and it was called al-Anbar.
We ate of it for half a month. Abu Ubayda took (and fixed) one of its bones and a rider passed underneath it (without touching it).
Abu Ubayda said (to us): “Eat (of that fish).” When we arrived at Madina, we informed the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) about what had happened, and he said:
“Eat, for it is food Allah has brought out for you, and feed us if you have some of it.” So some of them gave him (of that fish) and he ate it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4362)
The above narration clearly shows that the Anbar fish which the sea had thrown out for the consumption of the Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) was a huge and gigantic fish.
Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) resembled it to a small mountain and Abu Ubayda (Allah be pleased with him) made an arch with its ribs and a camel-rider passed under it without his head touching the ribs.
In another narration, it is mentioned that Abu Ubayda (Allah be pleased with him) had chosen the tallest man out of them to ride the camel, in order to show the enormity of the fish.
Thus, it can be said (and Allah knows best) that this fish may be some kind of a whale or shark.
Is Shark Halal Hanafi?
Yes, shark is halal in Hanafi Madhab. According to the hanafis only fish is permissible and shark has been classified as a fish, hence it is permissible.
Is Eating Shark Halal?
Yes, eating shark fish is halal and permissible in Islam. It is important to understand that all sea animals are considered halal in Islam, with the exception of those that are explicitly prohibited in the Qur’an or Hadith. Sharks are not included in this list of prohibited animals.
The permissibility of the haram or halal of a fish does not depend on whether it eats human flesh or not; but its permissibility depends on the guidance and teachings of Allah and His Messenger SAW.
The Messenger of Allah SAW has declared that all types of food that is derived from the sea is halal for the believers, and since Sharks live in the sea, they will be considered halal as food for the believers.
All the Fuqaha of the four Sunni Schools of Islamic law are in agreement that all types of fish are Halal for consumption. This also includes sharks, for they are also considered to be from the fish family.
Shark is a type of fish that is considered halal, or permissible, for Muslims to eat according to Islamic law. This is because Islamic dietary laws permit the consumption of any type of fish that lives in water.
And Allah knows best