Is Shark Halal in Islam?

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As followers of Islam strive to adhere to divine guidance in every aspect of their lives, dietary restrictions play a significant role in daily practices. Muslims abstain from certain types of food outlined in Islamic Jurisprudence.

Among the prominent questions asked regards whether specific creatures should be labeled as haram or halal to consume under Islamic Law. This brings us to discuss the topic of interest today — Is shark halal?

Key Takeaways

📌 Shark Meat is Halal: According to Islamic jurisprudence, shark meat is considered halal, which means it’s permissible for Muslims to eat. There are no specific restrictions on consuming shark meat in Islamic dietary laws.
📌 Ethical Practices: While shark meat is halal, it’s essential to ensure that the process of catching and killing sharks is done ethically and without causing undue suffering. Ethical treatment of animals is important in Islam.
📌 Sustainable Consumption: Muslims are encouraged to consume seafood responsibly, including shark meat, to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources for future generations. Balancing dietary needs with environmental stewardship is essential.

About Shark

Shark is a fascinating aquatic predator that resides in marine environments all over the world. These cartilaginous fish are well-known for their powerful jaws and razor-sharp teeth which enable them to capture prey efficiently.

Sharks come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from the relatively diminutive Port Jackson shark to massive giants like the whale shark, which can measure up to 40 feet long. Some species possess intricate fin structures that aid them in swimming through the ocean currents with incredible grace.

As carnivores, most sharks primarily feed on other smaller fish, although larger specimens often target larger prey such as mammals and even birds. There are over 400 different kinds of sharks existing in oceans across the globe, including the hammerhead shark, mako, great white, blacktip, lemon, nurse, and angel sharks among many others.

Often feared due to sensationalized media portrayals, sharks pose little threat to humans and instead fulfill important roles in maintaining balance within their respective ocean ecosystems. Due to unregulated fishing practices and habitat destruction, several species have become endangered, necessitating increased efforts to protect these magnificent creatures.

Determining Halal or Haram

In Islam, if something isn’t explicitly prohibited by religious scriptures, then it’s considered halal (allowed) to eat. Allah stated in the Quran :

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ كُلُوا۟ مِمَّا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ حَلَـٰلًۭا طَيِّبًۭا وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ خُطُوَٰتِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّۭ مُّبِينٌ

“O humanity! Eat from what is lawful and good on the earth and do not follow Satan’s footsteps. He is truly your sworn enemy.”
Al-Baqarah 2:168

To determine if a food is not allowed (haram) under Islamic guidelines, you need to make sure it won’t hurt anyone when consumed.

وَأَنفِقُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا تُلۡقُواْ بِأَيۡدِيكُمۡ إِلَى ٱلتَّهۡلُكَةِ وَأَحۡسِنُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ

“And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good.
Al-Baqarah 2:195

According to the Quran, specifically the above passage, Muslims should consider their overall wellness before deciding which foods to consume.

Consumption of hazardous foodstuffs can result in bodily harm, thus nullifying the properties required to qualify as ‘Halal’. Henceforth such products are labeled as Haram.

Furthermore, Allah has declared specific items as unlawful (haram). These restrictions are outlined in detail later in the passage below.

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْمَيْتَةُ وَٱلدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ ٱلْخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ وَٱلْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَٱلْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَٱلْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَٱلنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَآ أَكَلَ ٱلسَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى ٱلنُّصُبِ

Forbidden to you are carrion, blood, and swine; what is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah; what is killed by strangling, beating, a fall, or by being gored to death; what is partly eaten by a predator unless you slaughter it; and what is sacrificed on altars.
Al-Maidah 5:3

Allah, through this verse, prohibits the consumption of blood, and certain kinds of meat, including dead animals, pigs, ones sacrificed to idols, and injured animals killed through beating, falling, and goring, unless these were done according to Islamic guidelines.

While the sources of law discussed previously cover a wide range of animal sources, there are exceptions that relate specifically to marine fauna and selected members of the arthropod family. This is stated in the hadith.

It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Two kinds of dead meat and two kinds of blood have been permitted to us. The two kinds of dead meat are fish and locusts, and the two kinds of blood are the liver and spleen.”

Words directly attributed to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) on acceptable seafood were also found. This hadith specifies details about their permissibility under Islamic law.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah, that the Prophet (said), concerning the water of the sea :

“Its water is pure (and Purification) and its ‘dead meat’ is permissible (to eat).”

After learning about the approval of fish in a previous hadith, uncertainty remains regarding various disallowed provisions. An unequivocal statement by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  (peace be upon him) categorizes specific creatures as non-halal.

كُلُّ ذِي نَابٍ مِنَ السِّبَاعِ فَأَكْلُهُ حَرَامٌ

Narrated Abu Hurairah that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  (peace be upon Him) said :
“Every beast with fangs is forbidden to eat”
Hadith Muslim no. 1933
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ نَهَىرَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- عَنْ كُلِّ ذِى نَابٍ مِنَ السِّبَاعِوَعَنْ كُلِّ ذِى مِخْلَبٍ مِنَ الطَّيْرِ

From Ibnu Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah, may God bless him and grant him peace, forbade from every wild animal that has sharp teeth and claws (predators)”
Hadith Muslim no. 1934

Is Shark Halal?

According to most Syafi’i scholars, sharks are considered halal and can be consumed. Despite being large and sometimes aggressive, Sharks are halal and safe for human consumption.

You may be wondering, how can shark meat deemed as halal even though it is a wild animal and has sharp fangs, as mentioned in the hadith earlier?

Based on the opinion of scholars, the permissibility of consuming shark meat is determined based on the generality of Allah’s commandment in Surah al-Maidah verse 96 that all seaborne creatures are halal. Even though it has transformed into something else (carriage),

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ ‏صَيْدُ الْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُ مَتَاعاً لَكُمْ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ

“It is lawful for you to hunt and eat seafood, as a provision for you and for travelers.”
Al-Maidah 5:96

In addition to this Qur’anic verses that permit sea creatures for consumption, the statement from the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  (peace be upon him) further clarifies this matter, indicating that sharks, as being fish, are perfectly halal (permissible) for human consumption.

Find out more :
Is pelican halal?

Is tuna halal?

Final Thought

To summarize, after examining scriptural and prophetic texts along with classical jurisprudential principles, the ruling on the consumption of shark meat is that it is Halal and lawful for Muslims to partake in.

While the act of catching and killing these aquatic predators might be viewed as cruelty by animal rights activists, the process should be done ethically and without causing undue suffering.

Similarly, we must recognize that our dependence on sea life is a necessary aspect of providing nutrition to billions across the globe, but it comes with an obligation towards conservation and sustainable management of marine resources so that future generations will have access to them. 

Wallahu A’lam (Allah knows best)


Is shark meat edible?

Yes. This type of seafood can come from various species of shark such as porbeagles, shortfin mako sharks, requiem sharks, and thresher sharks, among others which are typically targeted through commercial fishing activities. It is widely enjoyed throughout many parts of Asia where the meat is preserved using methods like drying, smoking, and salting before consumption.

Is shark meat expensive?

Shark meat prices vary depending on several factors. On average, prices range between $0.1/kg to $100/kg or higher. Out of all importing countries globally, Italy tends to pay the most for shark meat imports which cost around $4/kg. Whereas, for shark fin trade, Hong Kong has been observed making purchases at the highest rates, averaging roughly $30/kg.

Is shark meat healthy?

Shark meat possesses notable nutritious properties that make it an excellent inclusion in any meal. Not only does it offer an appreciable amount of protein, but it is also packed with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids crucial for overall well-being. Moreover, due to its specific texture and taste, it serves as a culinary delight for many individuals hailing from divergent backgrounds. 

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