Is Shrimp Halal or Haram?
In Islam, there is much more leeway for food that isn’t specified in the Quran. So, when it comes to shrimp, what follows is a general summary of the Islam-related rules and regulations pertaining to eating shrimp.
Some say that shrimp is occasionally forbidden as an unclean-animal (Arabic arak), as it can only be eaten alive with hoods on its head and its tail hanging down.
However, the majority of scholars believe that, since shrimp is from the sea and permissible fish come from the sea as well, shrimp is halal and permissible to eat.
In any case, there are a few restrictions on eating shrimp based on which school of thought (madhhab) you follow.
Different Islam school opinions
The Maliki school says it is allowed, so long as you do not eat the head of shrimp as that is considered a part of the body.
The Hanafi school says it is allowed; however, large shrimp and shrimp pulled out of its shell are not permitted as this would be considered “eating what was killed” (lahma ajrun).
And, according to the Hanbali school of thought, the rule is that shrimp can only be eaten with its head and tail intact.
The Shia school of thought says that shrimp is only allowed to be eaten alive or cooked.
And finally, the Sunni school of thought says that shrimp is permissible for consumption in all ways.
As you can see, the variety of guidelines regarding shrimp is a bit confusing, but to simplify it, one may say that almost all schools of thought consider shrimp permissible as long as it is alive (or cooked).
The only difference between them being Hanafi and Hanbali where the former says it can be eaten without its tail and head on.
Why are shrimps halal?
This question is simply answered by the fact that shrimps are from the sea, and like other sea creatures like fish, shrimp is halal to eat.
When it comes to animals that are either land or sea dwellers, and that are halal to eat, the only difference between them is in the name.
For example, a cow is considered “land” while a chicken is considered “sea”, so whatever commands there are for land animals apply to chickens as well.
And of course, the same rules apply for shrimp as they do for any other sea dweller.
Shrimp is a sea creature and since it is halal to eat, it falls under the category of animals that are permissible to eat in any form.
Halal Food List In Islam: Therefore, if one wants to be safe when eating shrimp, there should only be live shrimps in the dish or cooked before consumption.
If you are unsure of the species of shrimp from which the shrimps in a dish are, you can always ask the chef where they come from and what species they are.
Are there any Muslims that believe shrimps are haram?
In the past, there have been some Muslims that thought shrimp is not halal to eat, but these days this opinion is no longer valid.
There have been many people who converted to Islam and continued to eat shrimp because of the good taste or economic reason.
As for those people who continue to avoid consuming shrimp in Islam are mostly coming from the anti-shrimp health reasons or due to old opinions from scholars that do not conform with today’s modern food standards.
The science of medicine has now proven that shrimp is a health food.
In terms of the Science of Nutrition, the shrimp contains good fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals and is beneficial for the health.
Also, in recent years there have been studies conducted to show that the shrimp can be a source of protein for athletes and infants.
According to one study conducted by the University of Houston’s Medical School, children can benefit from eating shrimp as a source of protein.
Can we eat shrimp during Ramadan?
It is not recommended to eat shrimp during Ramadan, but according to the majority of scholars, shrimps are permissible.
The majority of scholars have agreed that shrimp is halal and permissible to eat in any form, as long as it is alive or cooked before consumption.
Based on this, eating shrimps is permissible as long as they are alive. As for its consumption during the month of Ramadan, the main concern is the “principle of exorbitance”.
If a Muslim can eat less than 50g of shrimp in one meal to keep from breaking his fast, then it is allowed. However, if he eats more than that amount he has to make up for it with fasting later on.
Conclusion: Is eating shrimp Halal or Haram?
All Praise is due to Allah Almighty.
1- In Islam, it is forbidden to eat dead animals. Shrimps are not considered dead animals. The Salamisah (slaughtering) of shrimps is permissible for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
2- It is important to know that all edible seafood contains “Leukocytes” in their flesh (Leucocytes are white blood cells), among them is the shrimp.
3- The blood in the flesh of shrimps is considered a pure, natural liquid and it never affects the edibility of the shrimp.
4- The universe is full of chemical compositions; some are harmful to humans while others are harmless. Allah Almighty knows what is beneficial and what is not beneficial for us. He has created these chemical compositions because they have a purpose in our lives, they serve for our well being and health.
So, can Muslims eat shrimp?
The simple answer is yes!
The majority of Muslim scholars consider shrimp as halal and permissible to eat for all Muslims, (as long as they are not haram-animals).
However, if you are still not sure whether shrimp is halal or haram, you can always verify it with your local Imam or get a fatwa from the appropriate Islamic authority.
Comments from our readers…
“Shrimps are excellent food and it’s perfectly halal to eat them!” – Malik N
“Yes, they are halal for eating because the Quran’s verses state so.” – Muhammad T
“Yes, shrimp is halal to eat; it is only haram if you do not clean it properly. The shrimp should be cleaned by removing the shell and the hard parts. Then, take meat from the front part of the shrimp and then clean them with salt water. Now, take a knife and carefully take meat from the back of the shrimp and clean them with salt water. These steps are important for shrimps to be halal, otherwise it is haram.” – Muhammad N
“I agree with you that shrimp is halal. It is haram to cook shrimps without cleaning it first. If you want you can ask your Imam or local Islamic authority to give a fatwa on this matter. Hey, keep up the great work and thanks for sharing your knowledge!” – Raju
“Yes, shrimp is halal to eat even without cleaning it.” – Moulana
“Shrimp is halal to eat in any form. It depends on you if you want to clean it before eating or not from the source of Halal (the shrimp) sea. If you have any doubt, then you can ask a Muslim authority about this matter.” – MohdinZ
“Shrimps are halal as long as you don’t cook it yourself. If you are saying that it is halal, then you have to go and ask your local Imam about it, because most of the times Imam will not be able to give a fatwa. Do check with your local Imam before eating shrimp, so that there would be no confusion. Shrimps are good for health and taste. Keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.” – Mohd N