Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
SEAFOOD - WHAT'S HALAL, WHAT'S NOT
The use of the term 'seafood' in this article refers to all non-plant life coming from permanent bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. There are a number of differing opinions when it comes to the Halal or haram status of seafood. The Quran states:
Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food, for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel; but forbidden is the pursuit of land-game, as long as you are in the state of Ihram (for Hajj or Umrah). And fear ALLAH, to Whom you shall be gathered back. Al-Ma-ida: 96
And it is HE Who has subjected the sea (to you), that you may eat thereof fresh tender meat, and that you may extract out of it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships ploughing through it, that you may seek (thus) of the HIS bounty (by transporting the goods from place to place) and that you may be grateful. An-Nahl: 14
And the two seas (kinds of water) are not alike: this is fresh, sweet and pleasant to drink, and that is salt and bitter. And from them both you eat fresh tender meat, and extract ornaments that you wear. And you see the ships cleaving (the sea water as they sail through it), that you may seek of HIS bounty, and that you may give thanks. Fatir: 12
This ayat state that it is lawful to fish for food. In fact ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, has subjected the seas to human beings, so they may partake of their Bounty and benefit by what has been provided. In addition, there are a number of Ahadith that also address the subject of seafood.
In a long Hadith, a group of Sahaba ran out of food on a journey and came upon a huge sea creature, often referred to as a fish or a huge fish and sometimes referred to as a whale, washed up on the shore. The Sahaba referred to it as ‘Anbar. They debated whether it was permissible to eat from it because it was already dead, but finally decided their need for food exempted them should there be any sin in it. After returning home and informing the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, they were told it was a blessing provided to them by ALLAH. It was Halal. In another Hadith we learn that frogs should not be killed and fish can be eaten. A different narration says that frogs are haram.
The Islamic scholars have studied the question of what seafood can be eaten and they have reached a number of different opinions. First, there are some who believe only live catches are Halal. If the object is found dead, it comes under the ayah prohibiting the consumption of dead land animals and it too is haram. Others see that seafood is exempted from this restriction and use the Hadith about the ‘Anbar to justify their opinion.
As to the species of sea creature that is permitted, all have agreed that fish, with scales, are Halal. Some have opined that anything, which can only live in water, is Halal while creatures that can live in and out of the water are haram. The latter would include crabs, turtles, frogs, etc. Another opinion is that only fish with scales are Halal and other creatures are not. This group believes that lobster, shrimp, octopus, eels, etc. are not permitted. Another group believes that creatures resembling Halal land animals are Halal while those resembling haram land animals are haram.
Finally, on the issue of being caught live or found dead, one opinion is that all seafood is Halal while another opines that if the Halal species is found dead in the water or on land, it is haram. A Hadith supports each opinion.
In summary, all scholars are in agreement that fish with scales are Halal. Most also agree that all fish are Halal. While some opinions say everything that can only live in the water is Halal, others conclude that only those sea creatures resembling Halal land creatures are Halal. Most agree that frogs are not permitted. All agree that live fish are Halal no matter how long after they are caught. Some conclude any fish is Halal, whether it is caught live or found dead. Others believe fish found dead are haram.
Of course, all this applies to the seafood itself. As far as cooked or processed seafood, any added ingredients, flavors or cooking methods that introduce haram ingredients would make the seafood haram.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority is warning people to avoid dietary supplements containing kava, a narcotic which is common in the South Pacific. A number of countries have banned kava due to suspicion it may cause liver problems. (Reported io www.foodingredientsonline.com on August 16, 2002.)
The United States Department of Agriculture has launched a new website with detailed information on food. The site lists over 100 nutrients in foods. Vistors can obtain nutrition information on more than 6000 foods. The site is at www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcamp/Data/SR15/sr15.html (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on August 15, 2002.)
A new study by published in the Journal of the American Medical Association describes the positive effects of cranberry juice on preventing urinary tract infections. The red pigments prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells lining the bladder. (Reported on www.foodingredientsfirst.com on July 31, 2002.)
Iodine consumption among Americans has been decreasing as they have moved away from regular, iodized table salt to designer salts and other non-iodized salts. Iodine is required by the thyroid gland, which helps regulate metabolism, growth and development. Iodinr deficiencies can lead to goiter, mental and physical retardation, dwarfism and miscarriages. (Reported on www.foodingredientsfirst.com on July 23, 2002.)
Iran will soon open three food fairs and stores in Afghanistan, once the protocol on cooperation is signed. The locaitons will be Kabul, herat and Mazar-i Sharif. (Reported on www.foodingredientsfirst.com on August 8, 2002.)
141 guests at Walt Disney World suffered salmonella illness from eating dice Roma tomatoes. The guests were attending the U.S. Transplant Games. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on July 23, 2002.)