Q. I would like to know if we could eat mangrove crabs or land crabs, because while my parents were in Trinidad, someone said Maulana Sheraz of the Nur E Islam Masjid said it was haram and they said lobster is haram, so would that not mean shrimp and all shell fish is haram? Would sea crabs fall in the same category as land crabs because we do get ocean or atlantic crabs in Canada?
A. Land crabs have been considered foul and are not permissible according to Imam Shafi, Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Hanifa.
With respect to lobster, shrimp and shellfish, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad have allowed the consumption of these saying that they are all lawful.
Imam Abu Hanifa however, has stated that from the sea, only the Fish is permissible to consume. Hence, only those things that fall within the definition of ‘fish’ would be permissible. Based on this, according to some Scholars of the Mazhab of Imam Abu Hanifa, shrimp, lobster and shell fish would not be permissible since they do not fall within the definition of a ‘fish’.
Some other scholars of the Mazhab of Imam Abu Hanifa have however, considered shrimp as a ‘fish’ and have given allowance to consume it. Lobster will be treated in the same manner.
Sea crabs are lawful for consumption according to Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad. According to Imam Abu Hanifa it is not lawful.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan