What types of fish are halal

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Fish belong to animals that are mentioned several times in the Holy Qur'an and belong to the permitted foods of the Muslims.

According to the Islamic dietary regulations, unlike meat, they do not require any ritual slaughter by a Muslim so that their consumption is permitted [halal]. The rule with regard to killing is that the fish is killed on land (or in the boat), i.e. outside the water and not in the water, or the fishing method provides for this (e.g. net fishing method). This means that fishing methods that deliberately kill the fish in the water, such as explosive fishing, are forbidden in Islam.

There are differences between the schools of law regarding the permitted [halal] species of fish. In the Jafaritic school of law, only fish with scales are allowed (and therefore no whale, shark or eel). The criteria for a halal fish are therefore:

  1. The fish has scales. The decision as to whether the fish is really scaled is incumbent on the religious adult on the basis of expert knowledge and the generally accepted view.
  2. The fish was killed out of the water.

Other schools of law have different opinions on this. Some Muslims, based on a misinterpreted verse of the Holy Qur'an (5:96), take the view that anything that comes out of the sea is permissible. But that is certainly not correct, because there are living beings from the sea, whose consumption would lead to the immediate death of humans. The Holy Qur'an indicates that both freshwater fish and saltwater fish may be consumed (35:12).

Similar dietary rules regarding fish are also noted in the Old Testament: Leviticus 11: 9-12.

Fishes are also mentioned in other places in the Holy Qur'an. A fish saves Jonas (a.) The life (37: 142), whereby the biological definition of "fish" is not relevant here. And a fish miraculously brought back to life is considered a sign for Moses (a.) On his search for Chidhr (18:61).