Is catfish, shark, pigfish, eel, etc. inedible?

The Details of the Question

- I saw a question on YouTube about whether pigfish is halal. I did not know the answer; so, I decided to ask you.
- Is catfish, shark, pigfish, eel, etc. inedible?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The verses stating that sea prey and food from the sea are halal (1) and that fresh meat is eaten from it (2) and the Prophet’s (pbuh) answer to a question about sea water, “Its water is clean and what dies in it is halal” (3) and general principles such as the principle of permissibility in issues about which there are no special decrees and that unclean things cannot be eaten constitute the basis of the decrees regarding animals living in water.

Interpreting those pieces of evidence in parallel with their approach to land animals, Hanafis state that only fish species is halal and the flesh of sea animals such as mussels, lobsters, and shrimps is inedible and not halal.

So, the decree is based on whether the seafood is fish or not, not whether it is called catfish, eel, shark, or pigfish.

Accordingly, catfish, shark, pigfish and eel are halal and can be eaten.

According to Shafi’i madhhab, not only fish but all seafood is halal and can be eaten.

According to both Hanafi and Shafi’i madhhabs, the animals that live both on land and in water, such as frogs, turtles, snakes and crabs, are not halal to eat because snakes are poisonous and the others are unclean.

References:

1) al-Maida 5/96.
2) Fatir 35/12.
3) Abu Dawud, Taharah, 41; Tirmidhi, Ṭaharah, 52.

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