Are Lobsters Halal or Haram? A Complete Guide
Is lobster halal or haram?
When it comes to seafood, one of the most debated topics in the media is whether shellfish like lobster is halal or not.
While there are various opinions from different Islamic teaching schools and scholars concerning this topic, in this blog, we will be sharing a few key points that will answer all you need to know about the eating lobster in Islam.
First and foremost before we proceed on this topic, let us familiarize together what “Halal” means and also the opposite which is Haram.
What is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic meaning for the English word “permissible”. When it comes to the dietary context of Islamic dietary law, it simply means foods or drinks that are permitted to be eaten.
What is Haram?
On the other hand, haram is the complete opposite of halal which means “prohibited”. When a food or drink does not adhere to the Islamic dietary law/standards, it means such food or drink is haram.
Now when it comes to lobster, many Islamic scholars have debated that lobster is not halal because it does not possess the character of a fish, it is said to be a sea creature and therefore should not be eaten by Muslims.
According to them, it is believed that only fishes with scales like Tilapia or Croakers, and others should be categorized as sea creatures that are halal. On the other hand, some Islamic scholars also stand on the belief that God has made all creatures of the sea permissible [Quran 5:96].
Is Lobster Halal in Islam?
The short answer to this is “YES”. Lobsters may be categorized under shellfish but it is fully halal in Islam and it is permitted to be eaten as a provision for food.
Shellfish like crabs, shrimp, mussels, and oysters are all permissible and the reason for this is because according to the Quran, Allah has made all that comes from the sea permissible except if harmful or poisonous.
Reference; [Quran 5:96] which reads “Lawful to you is what you catch from the sea and use for food as provision for yourself and for the travelers”
A lobster is among the creatures of the sea, isn’t it? So why shouldn’t it be permissible since Allah already made sea creatures permissible?
Can Muslims Eat Lobster?
Is eating lobster halal?
Yes, Muslims are permitted to eat lobster because it is halal and it’s not harmful and in fact, contains numerous health benefits. And as a matter of fact, it has been backed up by the Holy Quran that any creature of the sea can be used as a provision for food.
Except if it is rotten, bad, or poisonous, all creatures of the sea including crabs, shrimp, prawns, fishes, and octopuses are permissible and can be eaten by Muslims.
So if you are a Muslim and you will love to taste and enjoy the taste of a lobster, you are free to do so. Bring lobster into your dish and enjoy the delicious meat that comes from it.
Do Some Muslims Forbid Lobster?
Opinions Based on Islamic School Perspectives
The question of the consumption of lobster by Muslims is said to be unclear according to many Muslim scholars but an important fact to note is that the Islamic way of living alongside the do’s and the don’ts is based on the belief from the Quran and Hadith.
Every obligation and duty is taken from the holy book and the Hadith of the prophet PBUH. Although, according to the Quran [5:96] which talks about sea creatures being permissible. However, some Islamic scholars believe that many people who stand upon such verse are not getting it right because sea creatures that are only permissible are fishes and not just fishes. It has to have scales which means that mackerel, octopus, and others are not halal.
The verse of the Quran 5:96 doesn’t specify that only fishes or fishes with scales are permissible instead it reads “Lawful to you is what you catch from the sea and use for food as provision for yourself and for the travelers…”
According to Shia Muslims, the consumption of lobster and other shellfish is strictly prohibited(haram). Their reason for this is that they only believe that fishes with scales are the only halal creatures of the sea that is fine for Muslims to eat.
As the debate continues to rage, the Shafi’i sect confirms that eating seafood such as crabs, turtles, and water snakes is haram therefore, should never be eaten by Muslims.
Also, according to research, the Hanafi opens up on shellfish. They said shellfish like mussels, calamari, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp and said they are haram. It is believed that their reason is similar to that of the Shafi’i.
Another debate against lobster being haram is that it is a scavenger and feeds on dead animals and waste. However, this argument is also disputed by some scholars who point out that other seafood such as crabs and prawns are also scavengers and yet are considered halal.
Examples of Halal Animals and Reasons Behind It
Islam for sure holds dietary rules for what can be eaten and what cannot. A perfect and relatable example is the story of Prophet Adam (AS), the first man God made and also known as the first man alive or father of humankind. When Allah orders him and his wife (Eve) not to eat from a forbidden fruit.
If you know the story, you should also know the consequences which they faced after disobeying God and this is why dietary rules are taken seriously by Muslims.
There are a lot of vegetables, fruit, animals, and more that God has made permissible for the sustainability of life; however, it is also made mentioned in the Quran that Allah forbids humankind some foods, crops, animals, and vegetables.
Amongst them are animals that live on land and in the water. They include
- Bird of prey
- Domesticated animals like donkeys, dogs, cats, etc…
- Land animals without blood (except locusts) including insects, scorpions, and more
For pigs/pork meat, it is considered unclean in Islam because it carries filthy bacteria which are harmful to health. The prohibition on eating pork meat is mentioned in no less than four surahs in the holy Quran which includes Surat Al Baqarah Verse 173; Surah Al Maida Verse 3; Suratul Al An’am Verse 145-150, and Surah An Nahl 16:115.
Allah has forbidden us not to eat and instead eat other domestic animals like cows, sheep, goats, and more. In [Qur’an 5:3] it reads “Forbidden to you are dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked a name other than that of Allah. In this case, Muslims should follow only what is permissible.
Animals with fangs and animals that feed on flesh such as snakes, lions, tigers, wolves, hawks, eagles, and other carnivores are strictly prohibited.
- Water snake
- Poisonous sea animals
In conclusion, the debate over whether or not lobster is halal is a complex issue with no clear-cut answer. While some scholars argue that it is not halal due to the lack of scales and its scavenger-like behavior, others argue that it is similar enough to other halal seafood to be permissible.
Ultimately, it is up to each Muslim to make their own decision on whether or not to consume lobster based on their understanding of Islamic law.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do lobsters feel pain?
Research has shown that lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans can and do experience pain. According to scientists, they proved that their reaction to painful stimuli is more than just a reflex response instead, they learn from those painful stimuli and change their behavior.
The best method of cooking?
Boiling has always been considered the best way to prepare a lobster. You simply season it with your best high-quality seasonings and bring it to a boil, then while ingredients sink inside the lobster, giving it a nourishing and delicious taste
Are lobsters similar to crabs?
They are both shellfish and they both contain several vitamins and are rich in iron which may help prevent cancer. While they were both compared to one other, lobster is said to taste richer because it is meatier than crab and has a firmer texture.