Category: Miscellaneous
Fatwa#: 36477
Asked Country: Bangladesh

Answered Date: Aug 08,2018

Title: Is it permissible to consume whale meat?

Question

Assalamu-alaikum,

I would like to know the following:

1. Can we eat Shark and Stingray ?
2. I have heard that our prophet Muhammad PBUH liked the meat of Anmber fish, is that true? Which fish is this? Can you please give the details?
3. Can you please share the English name of Anmber fish? Is that Whale ?

Jazakallahu Khairan,

Shawkat Hasan

Chittagong, Bangladesh

 

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Ḥaẓrat Jābir RaḍiyAllāhu ‘Anhu states:

غَزَوْنَا جَيْشَ الْخَبَطِ وَأُمِّرَ أَبُوْ عُبَيْدَةَ فَجُعْنَا جُوْعًا شَدِيْدًا فَأَلْقَى الْبَحْرُ حُوْتًا مَيِّتًا لَمْ نَرَ مِثْلَهُ يُقَالُ لَهُ الْعَنْبَرُ فَأَكَلْنَا مِنْهُ نِصْفَ شَهْرٍ

Translation:

“We set out in the army of al-Khabaṭ and Abū ‘Ubaydah was made the commander, [and] we were struck with incredible hunger when [suddenly] the water threw a large dead fish. We had not seen anything like it, it was called al-‘Anbar. We ate from it for half a month”[1]

In an addition to the above-mentioned narration, Ḥaẓrat Jābir RaḍiyAllāhu ‘Anhu mentions:

فَلَمَّا قَدِمْنَا الْمَدِيْنَةَ ذَكَرْنَا ذَلِكَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ كُلُوْا رِزْقًا أَخْرَجَهُ اللهُ أَطْعِمُوْنَا إِنْ كَانَ مَعَكُمْ فَأَتَاهُ بَعْضُهُمْ فَأَكَلَهُ

Translation:

“Thus when we came to Madīnah, we mentioned this [incident] to the Prophet Ṣallallāhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, and so he said, ‘Eat, for it is sustenance that Allah has extracted for you, and feed us if you have some [of it] with you’, so some of them gave it to him and he ate from it”[2]

It is permissible to eat the ‘Anbar fish. ‘Allāmah Hāshim al-Tatawī al-Ḥanafī Raḥimahullah (d.1174 AH) writes in his Fākihatul Bustān:

لَمَّا كَانَ الْحُكْمُ عِنْدَ الْحَنَفِيَّةِ فِيْ حَيْوَانَاتِ الْمَاءِ كُلِّهَا أَنَّهُ لَا يَحِلُّ أَكْلُ شَيْءٍ مِنْهَا إِلَّا السَّمَكُ اكْتَفَيْنَا هَهُنَا عَلَى بَيَانِ بَعْضٍ مِّنْ أَقْسَامِ السَّمَكِ فَقَطْ...فَمِنَ السَّمَكِ صِنْفٌ يُقَالُ لَهُ الْعَنْبَرُ...َوهُوَ السَّمَكُ الَّذِيْ وَرَدَ ذِكْرُهُ فِي الصَّحِيْحِ فِيْ حَدِيْثِ السَّرِيَّةِ 

Translation:

“When the ruling for all the creatures of the sea according to the Ḥanafīs is that it is not halāl to eat anything from them except fish, we shall suffice with mentioning only a few types of fish…from amongst them is a type called al-‘Anbar, this is the fish that has been mentioned in the authentic narration in the Ḥadīth of the conquest”[3]

‘Anbar has been classified as a large fish (سَمَكَةٌ كَبِيْرَةٌ).[4] However, there remains a difference of opinion amongst contemporary scholars over whether the word ‘Anbar refers to a whale or not.

Some have held the opinion that it refers to a whale.

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr al-‘Asqalānī Raḥimahullah has quoted ‘Allāmah al-Azharī Raḥimahullah who said:

الْعَنْبَرُ سَمَكَةٌ تَكُوْنُ بِالْبَحْرِ الْأَعْظَمِ طُوْلُهَا خَمْسُوْنَ ذِرَاعًا يُقَالُ لَهُ بَالَةٌ

Translation:

Al-‘Anbar is a fish that exists in large seas, its height is fifty hand spans, it is called Bāl (whale)”[5]

Muftī Kifāyatullah Raḥmatullāhi ‘Alayh was of this view. In a lengthy Fatwā in Kifāyatul Muftī, he concludes:

عنبر اور بال ہم معنی یا عنبر بال کی ایک قسم ہے اور بال اور وہیل ہم معنی اور ایک ہی جانور کے نام ہے لہذا وھیل کے حلال رہنے میں کوئی شبہ نہ رہا

Translation:

“‘Anbar and Bāl are synonymous or ‘Anbar is a type of Bāl, Bāl and Whale are synonymous and are names for one animal, therefore, there is no doubt in a whale being halāl”[6]

Muftī Taqī Uthmānī Ṣāḥib (Dāmat Barakātuhum) is also of this opinion. He writes in his Takmilah Fatul Mulhim:

"الْعَنْبَرُ" وَهُوَ السَّمَكُ الَّذِيْ يُسَمَّى "الْبَالُ" أَوْ "وِهيْل" (Whale) الْيَوْمَ

Translation:

‘Al-Anbar – it is the fish that is known as al-Bāl or Whale in today’s times”[7]

Muftī Riḍā al-Ḥaq (Dāmat Barākātuhum) has also adopted the view that Anbar refers to a whale.[8]

On the contrary, ‘Allāmah Hāshim al-Tatawī al-Ḥanafī Raḥimahullah (d.1174 AH) has indicated that ‘Anbar is not a whale.[9]

Muftī Sa‘īd Pālanpūrī (Dāmat Barakātuhum) also holds the opinion that ‘Anbar is not a whale.[10]

In consideration of the difference of opinion amongst the contemporary scholars on this issue, and in consideration of the fact that experts in the field of marine life have categorised a whale as a mammal[11]  and not a fish, we would advise that a person exercise precaution and avoid consuming whale meat.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Muadh Chati

Student Darul Iftaa
Blackburn, England, UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.



[1] (صحيح البخاري لمحمد بن إسماعيل البخاري ت١٥٦ه ج٥ ص١٦٧ دار المنهاج)

 

[2] (صحيح البخاري لمحمد بن إسماعيل البخاري ت١٥٦ه ج٥ ص١٦٧ دار المنهاج)

 

[3] (فاكهة البستان ص٤٣٣ دار الكتب العلمية)

 

[4] هي سمكة بحرية كبيرة

(النهاية لإبن الأثير ص٥٧٧ دار ابن الجوزي)

 

[5] (فتح الباري لإبن حجر ت٨٥٢ه ج٨ ص٨٠ المكتبة السلفية)

 

[6] (كفاية المفتي ج٩ ص١٣٤-١٣٧ دار الإشاعت)

 

[7] (تكملة فتح الملهم ج٣ ص٢٨٣ دار القلم)

 

[8] (فتاوى دار العلوم زكريا ج٦ ص٢٦٧ وص٦٠٠)

 

[9] (قد ذكر الشيخ التتوي أن العنبر سمكة وهو حلال ثم قال بعد صفحتين): وقد عد الدماميني في عين الحياة أقساما كثيرة من السمكات...منها البال...فلم تعد تلك الأقسام ههنا تحت السمك ليصير الكلام مستوعبا لجميع الأقسام قلت إنما لم أعد تلك الأقسام ههنا تحت السمك لما ذكر في عين الحياة في لفظ السمك...فعلم بهذا أن لفظ السمك عند الشافعية كثيرا ما يستعمل في المعنى الأعم...فاقتصرت في هذا المقام على ما صح عندي أنه حوت ولم أتعرض لغيره لبصح الكلام مع حصول المرام

(فاكهة البستان ص٤٣٧ دار الكتب العلمية)

 

[10] عنبر مچھلی ایک قسم کی مچھلی ہے جو سانپ کی شکل سے قریب ہوتی ہے اور خوشبودار مادہ خارج کرتی ہے

(تحفہ القاری ج١٠ ص٤٠٦ مکتبہ حجاز دیوبند)

 

[11] اس قسم کی تحقیقات میں شرعا وعقلا ہر ماہرین فن کا قول فیصل ہونا چاہئے دور جدید کے ماہرین حیوانات مچھلی کی چار علامات بیان کرتے ہیں: ۱) ریڈھ کی ہڈی ٢) سانس لینے کے گلپھڑے ٣) تیرنے کی پنکے ٤) ماحول کے مطابق جسم کے درجہ حرارت کا کم وبیش ہونا

(احسن الفتاوی ج٧ ص٣٩١ ایچ ایم سعید)

[A Whale is a mammal; accordingly, it is warm-blooded and has lungs that allow it to breath. It does not breath under water]

 

DISCLAIMER - AskImam.org questions
AskImam.org answers issues pertaining to Shar'ah. Thereafter, these questions and answers are placed for public view on www.askimam.org for educational purposes. However, many of these answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation or another environment. Askimam.org bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context.
  • The Shar's ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
  • AskImam.org bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
  • This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of AskImam.org.
  • Any or all links provided in our emails, answers and articles are restricted to the specific material being cited. Such referencing should not be taken as an endorsement of other contents of that website.