Is Octopus Halal?

Octopus is a popular seafood choice, but some people are unsure if it is halal or not.

So, is octopus halal? Different schools have different interpretations of Islamic law on that matter. According to most scholars, octopus is halal. However, according to Hanafi, it is makrooh, and to Shia it is haram.

In this blog post, we will explore whether or not octopus is considered halal by Islamic law.

About Octopus

raw octopus at the supermarket
Raw octopus at the supermarket. Credit: canva

Octopus is a cephalopod mollusk in the class Cephalopoda. Octopuses have eight arms, and no internal or external skeleton. This means they are able to squeeze through very small spaces.

Octopuses are found in all oceans of the world, but most live in tropical waters. They grow to an average size of about 20 cm, but some species can grow much larger.

Octopus is a popular seafood choice in many cultures and is often considered a delicacy. It can be cooked in many different ways, including being grilled, fried, or stewed.

Is Octopus Halal?

cooked octopus with salad
Cooked octopus with salad. Credit: canva

Is Seafood Halal?

Essentially all types of seafood are Halal unless they are tortured or harmful.

According to Sunni (Shafi, Maliki, Hanbali), all seafood is lawful to eat.

According to the Hanafi sect, every fish and animals in the shape of fish are permissible. Fishes such as turbot, carp, flipper, and eel are permissible to eat. However, sea vermins such as crap, mussel, oyster, lobster, crawfish, and prawn are not consumed. Also, other water animals not in the shape of fish, such as walrus, sea pig, etc., are not allowed to be eaten as well.

The meaning of the ayahs are:

“It is He Who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender” (The Surah of an- Nahl, 14)

“Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food, – for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel” (The Surah of Maida, 96)

According to the ayahs, seas are a manifestation of God’s blessing and may be utilized by man.

With the above aayahs, Allah Almighty grants permission for all sea animals without exception and with no requirement of slaughtering.

In this manner, He makes it easy and comprehensive for His servants. Furthermore, he provides humans the authorization to utilize anything to entrap them as long as they do not cause animals pain.

Of course, it excludes anything dangerous, such as poisonous fish and plants that cause an allergic reaction – always putting the health of yourself and others above all else.

Is Octopus Halal? (According to Sunni, Hanafi, and Shia)

octopus on the grill
Octopus on the grill. Credit: canva

According to Sunni

In the view of most Sunni Islamic schools of law (Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Maliki), all “sea game” is lawful in principle, with a few minor restrictions.

Therefore, everything originating from the sea that is not tortured or dangerous (harmful), including fish with scales, has been made permissible by Allah. 

Since octopus is not one of the exceptions (not tortured nor dangerous), according to Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Maliki, it is considered Halal seafood and can be eaten without slaughtering (Zabiha)

According to Hanafi

In the Hanafi school of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence, only “fish” (as opposed to all “sea game”) are permissible, including eel and hagfish. That means only fish and animals in the shape of fish are permissible.

Therefore, other sea or water creatures that are not fish are also makrooh.

That includes fish that breathe air through gills (such as prawns, lobsters, and crabs, which are crustaceans), mollusks such as clams, octopus, mussels, and squid.

And since the octopus is not a fish, according to the Hanafi sect, it is Makrooh (detestable or disliked).

According to Shia

Only fish with scales are permitted in Shia Islam, except edible crustaceans (such as shrimp, except crab), which are also halal.

Any other fish without scales is Haram (forbidden or unlawful).

Since octopus does not have scales, then according to Shia, it is considered Haram.

Conclusion

Here is the conclusion:

  • According to most scholars (Shafi’i, Hanbali, and Maliki), octopus is Halal.
  • According to Hanafi scholars, octopus is Makrooh.
  • And according to Shia scholars, octopus is Haram.

To confirm what that means, you might want to check with your Marja or research the relevant hadiths. 

Other Seafood Considered Halal or Haram

fried crab leg
Fried snow crab. Credit: canva

General Exceptions of Seafood That is Haram

Poisonous or Dangerous

According to the general exceptions, any plant or animal from the sea that is poisonous or dangerous would be Haram to consume.

Such a fish like a blowfish would be Haram to eat because it is poisonous.

This is based on the ayah:

“And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” – [Qur’an 4:29]

Tortured

Allah Almighty grants permission for all sea animals without exception and with no requirement of slaughtering.

Furthermore, he provides humans the authorization to utilize anything to entrap them as long as they do not cause animals pain.

Allergy

If you have an allergy or if eating sea creatures might harm you in any way, it is Haram (impermissible) for you to eat that seafood or plant.

This is based on the ayah:

“…and do not throw (yourselves) with your (own) hands into destruction. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.” – [Qur’an 2:195]

Is Sushi Halal or Haram?

Sashimi is a Japanese dish made up of vinegared rice that has been cooked with other ingredients, most often fish. Sushi typically includes raw fish and shellfish as main components.

Halal refers to fish from the sea that does not cause harm to others. It is the correct outcome as long as other sushi ingredients are permissible.

Then sushi is halal and permissible to eat in Islam.

You should check the accompaniment of the sushi, though (the soya sauce, for example), whether it is halal or not.

Is Shellfish Halal or Haram? (Prawns, Crabs, Shrimps, Lobsters, Oysters)

Shellfish are animals that live in the sea and belong to the phylum Mollusca. Shrimps, crabs, lobsters, and oysters are all examples of shellfish.

According to Maliki, Shafii, and Hanbali authorities, all mollusk species are permissible under Islamic law. And Islam permits the consumption of seafood. Crab legs, lobster tails, prawns, and shrimps are halal foods.

The only exception is the Hanafi school of thought, which considers all shellfish to be Makrooh (detestable).

Is Squid, Octopus, and Calamari Halal or Haram?

Most Islamic scholars consider squid, octopus, and calamari halal (Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali). According to the Hanafi school of thought, it is Makruh.

Squid, octopus, and calamari are permissible since they do not include prohibited components other than the exceptions stated. The fact that calamari, octopus, and squid are not mentioned in this exemption indicates that most jurists believe they to be halal seafood.

Is Dead Fish Halal or Haram?

Dead fish is the term used to describe fish that died of natural causes or was killed by another animal before being caught.

Some scholars consider eating dead fish (such as a dead animal’s carcass) unlawful.

However, several hadiths maintain that dead fish are an exception to the rule. Because fish are not required to be killed under the sharia, they are excused.

In the following sahih (authentic) hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Two kinds of dead meat and two kinds of blood have been permitted for us. The two kinds of dead meat are fish and locusts, and the two kinds of blood are the liver and spleen.” – [Collected by Sunan ibn Majah]

To confirm what it all means to you, you might want to check with your Marja or research the relevant hadith. 

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