As Muslims, we have been given a set of guidelines to follow all our lives. These guidelines define everything from what we are allowed to eat and drink to what is harmful to our health and body and how we are supposed to conduct our behavior. Islam even guides us on how we are supposed to dress in our everyday lives. According to these guidelines, we have been told the concepts of halal and haram and set the perimeters of haram things and halal things.
In this era, where western culture has infiltrated daily lives worldwide, western food has become a part of our everyday lives. Everything, including what we eat, wear, drink, and act, is influenced by western media and culture.
For example, the growing trend of consuming different seafood varieties than fish in our meals has been picked up from Western culture. But as Muslims, we can’t forget our ground rules and guidelines engulfed in western culture-inspired life.
In this article, we will be talking about the halal perimeters of crab the seafood. Is it halal for Muslims to consume crab or not? Keep reading to know more!
But first, let’s understand what ‘Halal’ and ‘Haram’ mean in Islam!
What are Halal and Haram?
Most of the terminologies in Islam are derived from Arabic, and the word Halal is no different. The roots of this term have been derived from the Arabic language, and it translates to permissible. So in Arabic or, more precisely, Islamic terms, Halal means ‘permissible’ according to the rules and guidelines of Islam for Muslims.
While most food items are deemed halal according to the Islamic rules and guidelines, there are still some permitted ones that Muslims are prohibited from consuming. The guidelines are set by Allah Almighty but have complete logistics that accord with health issues and other kinds of problems. There are also some guidelines in Islam that pass a food as Halal but attach a set of Haram actions along with it that must be avoided at all costs.
To understand Halal, we must also understand the meaning of Haram. Haram is the opposite of Halal, sometimes also termed as ‘Non-Halal’. According to the same Islamic teachings, things that are not permitted to Muslims or are unlawful are termed Haram.
While Haram is mainly associated with the concept of food and drinks in Islam, it is also sometimes used to define other unlawful acts like corruption or stealing and so on.
What is a Crab?
Crabs belong to the decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura. These species are commonly known to have tiny projecting tails that are typically tucked entirely between their thorax.
Crabs are found in all the oceans worldwide and are common species living under the sea. They are also found on the land or in fresh waters. Their bodies are made covered by a thick exoskeleton and one pair of pincers. The first time Crabs were seen was back in the Jurassic Period.
Now let’s come to the question of whether Crabs are halal for Muslims to eat or not!
Are Crabs Halal?
There is no easy answer to this question. According to the Halal and Haram perimeters defined by Islam, all we can tell is that saying ‘crab is Halal’ depends on a series of considerations.
As mentioned above, even for many Halal food items, several Haram actions must be permitted if you are to consume that item. As Muslims, we must abide by all the guidelines to eat Halal food and refrain from consuming it in a Haram way, hence consuming Haram food eventually.
Islam tells us that for the food item to be deemed and consumed in a Halal way, it must be slaughtered in a way defined in the Islamic teachings, with the right side turned towards Mecca while being slaughtered. In the case of crabs, some of them are Halal while the other types are not, depending on their appearances.
For example, any crab with two claws instead of one is considered Haram for Muslims. Crabs that have naturally 2 sets of legs joined in the middle and make it impossible to be separated are guided to be Haram in the guidelines of Islam.
In comparison, other types of crabs who come without the middle joint and their legs or claws can be separated when cooking are permissible and Halal for Muslims.
So, in the end, we still ask ourselves, are crabs Halal for Muslims? The answer is not clear but can be understood with all its intricacies.
Your understanding of crab as halal and haram will also depend on the Islamic sect you belong to. At the same time, many Sunnis believe that crabs are a Halal food item; most of the Shias believe that crabs are haram and should not be consumed by a Muslim.
In comparison, the Hanafi school of thought believes that crabs are Halal seafood that can be consumed in every case, like Sunnis.
Another sect of Islam called the Sunniyah also believes that crab is Halal seafood that can be consumed if the prepping and cooking method is properly executed as per Islamic guidelines.
If we look at Islamic verses, we won’t be able to find a single verse that labels crabs as Haram. This can only be said because we have spotted a Quranic verse that only says, ‘they (satan) strive throughout the land to spread mischief in it and destroy crops and cattle. Allah does not like mischief.’ [2:205]
So the crux of the argument is that as a Muslim, you are allowed to eat all food items as long as they are not prepared and slaughtered in a Haram way. Moreover, from the perspective of health, some crab species contain a hereditary blood disorder (such as thalassemia).