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Whales, Dolphins and Sharks

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Mahmoodiyah


Mufti saheb
I have a question that I would like to ask.
Are any of the following Halaal: Whale, dolphin, Shark?
My reason for asking is that we Hanafis can only eat fish, now are these classified as fish? While scientist say that only a shark is a fish, not the other two, would we pass judgement based on what they say?
I saw a Hanafi website which said that the whale is Halaal as Sahaba and Nabi (sallallaahu alaihee wasallam) ate it and that under the commentary of that Hadith the Hanafi scholars mentioned that what they ate was a fish. It was called amber, which is a sperm whale, thus a sperm whale is a fish in Shari’ah, thus it is Halaal. Is this correct?
As for the shark, another website mentioned it to be called the dog of the sea and according to Hanafi Ulamaa the dog of the sea is Haraam. The reference given was (Jassaas).
Similarly they mentioned that the dolphin is the pig of the sea and according to (Jassaas) the pig of the sea is Haraam.
Could you please clarify this for me.




The whale as you have mentioned is Halaal.  It was consumed by the Sahabah (R.A.) while on an expedition under the leadership of Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Jarrah (R.A.) after running out of provisions on their journey.  (Khaane Peene ki Halaal aur Haraam Cheezain, Page 74, Hayaatul Hayawaan, Vol. 2, Page 79-81)

According to the Ahnaaf only fish is Halaal from amongst the marine animals.  Imam Jassaas in ‘Ahkaamul Qur’an’, Vol. 2, Page 479 has mentioned the same ruling of the Ahnaaf but has not classified the shark as being the dog and the dolphin as being the pig of the sea.   The shark in the Arabic language is called ‘Al-Qirsh’ whereas the dog of the ocean is called ‘Al-Qundus’ as mentioned in “Hayaatul Hayawaan”.  The author of “Hayaatul Hayawaan” after defining both these animals has stated that the shark is Halaal and not the dog of the sea.  (Hayaatul Hayawaan, Vol. 2, Page 206-207 and Page 298)

This shows that the dog of the sea is something other than the shark.

As for the dolphin the author of “Hayaatul Hayawaan” when making mention of dolphins has stated it to be Halaal after classifying it to be a fish.  But he mentions in another place that the dolphin is the pig of the sea.  (Hayaatul Hayawaan, Vol. 1, Page 436, 481 and 482)  In light of the above one should refrain from eating dolphins Ihtiyaatan (as a precautionary measure)

And Allah Ta’ala knows best

Qasim bin Hashim Limbada

Attested to as correct by:

Mufti Muhammad Ashraf

Darul Iftaa

Jameah Mahmoodiyah


17 June 2004

28 Rabee’ul Aakhir 1425

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