is catfish halal or haram

Is Catfish Halal or Haram?

Is catfish halal or haram?


In Islam, there are certain laws for food consumption. 


This is not like a punishment for freedom to consume but a tradition of healthy and safe eating so as to enhance physical health and well-being. 


These laws must be followed duly by anyone who practices the Islamic religion, and it has also been abducted by non-Muslims as well since it is all about healthy intake.


In recent days, there has been an ongoing debate held by groups of individuals concerning the topic “Is catfish halal?”. Is it lawful/permissible for a Muslim to eat catfish or unlawful/prohibited?


In this blog, you will find out everything you need to know concerning the consumption of catfish. So without any further ado, let’s dive into it.



Practicing the consumption of permissible foods is one of the basic importance for Muslims. We already discuss several sea and freshwater creatures and whether they are halal or not in our previous blogs. As for catfish, it is another important thing to know.


Catfish are known for their unique look and delicious taste when properly cooked, they are mostly found in freshwater habitats. Some other species can be found in saltwater as well.


It is likely to find the freshwater catfish inside the mud as well. This doesn’t mean they are dirty or they are unclean. It is simply because their skin is fragile and therefore, they need to stay dehydrated.


Wet mud helps them protect their body from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays while also keeping them cool. Mud also is an excellent form of camouflage for catfish against enemies/predators.


Hold on, you also might be thinking if catfish looks really like a cat. I’m sorry to break this to you but the answer is NO. They do not really look exactly like catfish as you may think but of course, they do have barbel which looks like whiskers. 


Is catfish halal?

Islam’s way of life and food consumption are based on what God has made lawful which has already been made mentioned in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet. According to the Holy Quran, it was said by Allah (the Almighty God) that lawful to you is any creature you catch from the sea. Reference:[Quran 5:96].


This message from the Quran only points at sea creatures such as Saltwater Fish, Shellfish, Mollusks, Crustaceans, Oysters, and Echinoderms. Some species of catfish live in the water which makes them among the creature of the sea, and they also fall under the category of a fish since they possess the appearance of fish.


Except for sea snakes, sea dogs, and sea pigs, other sea animals that have been made permissible are surely consumable and can be used as a provision of food for Muslims.


So YES, we can say catfish are halal since they possess the whole appearance of a fish. They have a fin, gill, tail, head, and so on and they are not harmful for consumption. 


Can catfish be haram?

There are some Islamic school of thought and scholars that forbids the eating of catfish. They have various reasons why they forbid it, one of which is their lack of scales on their body, and the other is the way they are being slaughtered.


Why is catfish halal?

Catfish is halal because it meets the criteria for being a fish. It has fins and gills, and it is indeed a type of fish. The Quran has also made it permissible to be eaten since you can find them in saltwater.


Why is catfish said to be haram since they are halal?

Some scholars believe that they are scavengers and feed on smaller fishes and crustaceans. Most of the time they are not carnivores even though they could fight and kill one another which is part of survival in their kingdom. They are primarily omnivorous bottom feeders that feed at night.


They do feed in the daytime as well, they enjoy feeding on aquatic plants and seeds, fish, mollusks, insects and their larvae, and crustaceans. All these are not concrete reasons for it not to be permissible, there are also other sea creatures that feed on smaller fishes.


A good analogy to prove that catfishes are not carnivores is when we study catfish that are raised in the pond. Most of them are fed seed and other fish food and they do not eat other animals unless they are hungry and left with no option.


Different Islamic school opinions

It is unclear to some Muslims if they can eat catfish since there are different opinions from different Islamic schools of thought and scholars.


Hanafi School considered catfish to be halal since it is a type of fish. According to their understanding of the law which applies to sea creatures, they only permit sea creatures that look like a fish or a type of fish. After conducting research, their scholar confirmed that since catfish is a type of fish, thus it is lawful to be eaten.


Ibn Al-Qayyim said: All fishes from the sea are permissible except the dead ones. For dead recently dead fishes to be halal then it has to be slaughtered according to Islamic right. This procedure helps remove blood and dirt from the fish before consumption.


According to the other schools such as Shafi’, Maliki, and Hanbali, they interpret the Quranic verse [Quran 5:96] to include all seafood. They believe anything (creatures) that can be found in the sea is made permissible.


Although there are some exceptions within these schools which are any harmful, or poisonous fish is strictly haram which means it is not permitted to be eaten.



We hope we have expressed and broken down everything you need to know about catfish in Islam. Eating catfish will always be unclear depending on the sect of Muslim to which one falls.


Whether or not catfishes are halal, you can always seek your favorite mentor who you can trust to give you the best answer. Allah has made it permissible to eat creatures of the sea as long as it is not poisonous or dangerous to the health.


Furthermore, some Muslims do eat catfish and some do not. You can always make a choice. Allah knows the best.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Are freshwater catfish halal?

Yes. They are halal because they are not harmful, or poisonous, and do not carry filthy bacteria. However, some scholars do not permit its consumption because it does not have scale over its body. Some also believe it is among the scavengers. 


Is catfish halal in Hanafi Islam?

Yes, catfish is halal in Hanafi Islam. This is because the Hanafi school of thought follows the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa. It was confirmed by Imam Abu Hanifa that all types of fish are halal for Muslims to eat, as long as they are fish.

Is catfish halal in Shia Islam?

Yes, catfish are halal in Shia Islam, and this is because it was confirmed by the opinion of Imam Ali who says that types of fish are halal for Muslims to eat. This opinion is simply the same as that of the Hanafi Schools. As long as such fish is not poisonous or harmful to the health, then it can be eaten.

Is catfish halal in Sunni Islam?

Yes, it is. Catfish is halal according to Sunni Islam because the majority of scholars already agree that all types of fish are halal and permitted for Muslims to eat.

Does the preparation of catfish consider it to be haram?

Yes. for all halal creatures, it is important to prepare them in an ethical manner. They must be prepared with safe and healthy ingredients and must not be cooked or garnished with spices that contain haram creatures.


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