As Muslims, we are often asked about the halal status of various types of meat. Turtles spend most of their lives in the ocean, although they may come ashore to lay eggs on beaches.
One of the most common questions is ‘is turtle halal?’ In this post, we will look at the Islamic perspective on turtle and discuss whether or not eating turtle is halal or haram according to Islamic law.
Is Turtle Halal?
Yes, turtles are considered halal, or permissible to eat in Islam. Eating it is halal according to the basic principles of some Sunni madhabs. Because the rule of the majority is that all creatures which live in water are halal, based on the general meaning of the Quran Surah 5 verse 96.
However, there are some conditions and considerations that should be taken into account when it comes to turtle meat.
Why Turtle Is Halal?
It is allowed to eat turtle meat due to what is understood from the verse:
قُل لَّا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ ۚ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it unless it be a dead animal (unslaughtered) or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine (pork, etc.) for that surely is impure, or unlawful meat of an animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah (for idols, saints, etc). But whosoever is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”Surah Al-An’am: 145
As for the sea turtle, then a group of scholars stated that it is permitted to eat even if it not slaughtered due to the meaning contained in the verse:
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ صَيْدُ الْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُ مَتَاعًا لَّكُمْ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ ۖ
“Lawful to you is the game from the sea and its food as provision for you and the travellers…”Surah Al-Mā’idah: 96
And due to the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ) regarding the sea:
“Its water is pure (and a purifier) and its dead creatures are halāl.”Abu Dawood, 83, At-Tirmidhi, 69, and others
The correct view is that to be on the safe side, it is permissible to eat them after slaughtering them properly, because they live both on land and in the sea.
It is important to ensure that the turtle has been slaughtered in a way that adheres to Islamic dietary laws.
This means that the turtle must be slaughtered using the zabiha method, which involves saying Bismillah, cutting the throat of the animal and allowing it to bleed out and so on.
Here the rule is that in the case of animals that live both on land and in the sea, the rules concerning land animals should be given precedence, to be on the safe side, so they must be slaughtered properly, except for crabs which do not need to be slaughtered, even though they live both on land and in the sea, because they do not have blood.
Everything that can cause harm is forbidden as food, even if it comes from the sea, because Allah says: “… And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.” [Surah al-Nisa 4:29] and: “… and do not throw yourselves into destruction…” [surah al-Baqarah 2:195]
In conclusion, turtle is considered halal in Islam. However, the safer option is to slaughter it first to remove ourselves from differing in the matter.