Is it haram (forbidden) to eat squid (calamari)?
It is not permissible to eat squid according to Hanafi sect.
The verse which is translated as “It is He Who has made the sea subject, that ye may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender” (1) and the verse which is translated as “Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food,- for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel” (2) indicate that seas are full of boons and people can benefit from them.
In the verses, Allah, the Supreme, states that all sea animals are permissible to eat without any exception and without the obligation of slaughtering like other animals, and He provides His servants with easiness and wideness. Moreover, He gives people the permission to use anything to catch them on condition that one avoids torturing the animal as much as possible.
As it is already known, animals are divided into two as sea animals and land animals depending on where they live. The land animals can be eaten and that cannot be eaten are recorded in Islamic jurisprudence books. However, as for the sea animals, there are different views among sects regarding which ones are permissible to eat and which ones are not.
According to the scholars from Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali sects, who base their judgments on the verses whose interpretations we have given above, all of the sea animals, i.e. animals which cannot live out of sea, are permissible to eat, no matter what species they are and no matter where they are. According to the same sects, that permissibility is not affected by the difference in these animals’ names, whether they are alive or dead, whether they are caught by Muslims or non-Muslims.
While the sect of Maliki does not make any exceptions regarding the sea animals, the sect of Hanbali considers it haram to eat eel because it deems eel pernicious; the sect of Shafii defines eating the animals that live both in the sea and on the land like frogs, crabs and crocodiles as haram.
According to the sect of Hanafi, it is haram to eat the sea animals which are not in the form of fish. In this sense, all kinds of fish which always live in the sea can be eaten. Turbot, carp, dolphin and eel are included. On the other hand, other sea animals are not permissible. Animals such as mussel, shell, lobster and crab are not considered permissible to eat; they are regarded as forbidden. (3)
According to those criteria, while sea animals such as mussel and shell can be eaten according to the sects of Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali, they cannot be eaten according to the sect of Hanafi. The reason why the sect of Hanafi considered them haram is that those animals are not nice both physically and with respect to their edible parts, and they are deemed ugly and filthy.
1. Chapter an-Nahl, 14.
2. Chapter al-Maidah, 96.
3. al-Madhahibu’l-Arbaa, 2:5.
Mehmed Paksu Halal-Haram
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