I just read a question that asks if eel is halal and it reminded me of something I always wondered about. Lobsters and crabs are boiled alive when cooked. That means it's haram to eat them right? I know its haram to eat wild animals, either from land or sea. However, I don't know if lobsters and crabs can be considered "wild" since eating them is so common. However, does the fact that the process of cooking them is so cruel make eating them haram?

I have seen a few people ask similar questions to this on this site and the main answers I saw claimed that anything from the sea is halal (really? even sharks and whales?), which would make eating lobsters and crabs halal. However, fish die soon after they leave the water, and there is a process that one must go through when slaughtering an animal for food, it must be as quick as possible to prevent needless pain. My issue lies with the fact that the lobsters and crabs will be boiled alive.

If eating them is halal, is there another way of cooking them or is it that they just don't feel the pain, and if they don't feel the pain how do you know?

  • Good question! I've always wondered about the boiling alive part. But I think the title should reflect that distinction. Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 20:24
  • And on a culinary note; yes, there are other ways to prepare crab and lobster that don't involve boiling them alive. Boiling alive is only done to insure freshness. Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 20:25
  • If you want, a good place to ask for alternate ways of cooking crabs/lobsters etc: cooking.stackexchange.com
    – user123
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 16:15
  • Linked- are-shrimp-lobster-crayfish-and-crab-halal? Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 9:36
  • 1
    Well eating the sea food is halal. But boiling them alive? Its pure torture! :( Commented Aug 17, 2013 at 20:49

4 Answers 4


Different schools said differently in this regard.

In Hanafi madthab, it is haram to eat shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp, oyster, etc.)
In Shafi'i and Hanbali, everything from the sea is halal.
In Maliki, everything but the eel is halal.

About the slaughter of animals:

Allah the most high says:

Say, "I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine - for indeed, it is impure - or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful." [6:145 :: Surat Al-'An`ām (The Cattle) - سورة الأنعام ]

The main counsel of Islam in the slaughter of animals for food is to do it in the least painful manner.. And also disliked eating alive. [Fatwa on Stunning Animals]

It is forbidden to eat any kind of dead meat, whether it died by drowning, strangulation, electric shock, falling from a high place, fighting with another animal in the herd or was killed by a wild animal – unless one is able to slaughter it properly before it dies. [Disallowed Matters- Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid]

It is best to avoid eating any animal that was boiled, burned or drowned alive.

See The Fiqh of Halal and Haram Animals for more details


There is a malliki opinion on snails expounded upon in this islamqa post:

The Maalikis did not stipulate that a creature which has no flowing blood should be slaughtered, rather they included it under the same ruling as locusts, and its slaughter is by boiling, roasting, or piercing it with a stick or needle until it is dead, whilst saying the name of Allaah over it.

In al-Mudawwanah (1/542) it says:

Maalik was asked about something in the Maghreb (North Africa) which is called a snail, that is found in the desert on the trees – can it be eaten? He said: I think it is like the locust. If it is taken alive and boiled or roasted, I do not think there is anything wrong with eating it, but if it is found dead, it should not be eaten.

As well as this, in a question I asked NesreenA answers (in summary):

As for slaughtering it yourself and invoking Allah's name, the hadith you quoted above already explains that meat from the sea is already slaughtered correctly.

I would conclude, excepting questions as to the lobsters bottom feeding habits, that boiling lobsters is OK.


As salaam 'aleykum wa rahmatullah!

Indeed, the only madhab which states that this would be makruh to eat is the Hanafi Fiqh... Meanwhile, the majority of scholars state that everything from the sea is halal, with exception of eel, and poisonous fish... Apart from that the general prohibition of eating non-slaughtered MEAT only applies to MEAT and not for seafood... This comes from a general comprehension that in the arabic language, "Lahm" does not stand for fish, or octupuss, or crabs, or lobsters, or shrimps, or whatever... Only for earth-living animals.

May Allah bless you all, brothers (Baraka Allahu fikum)... Shall us eat a "Seafood Spanish Paella"?

Sincerely, your brazilian brother, "Marcelo Salahuddin"!


All of these answers are talking about animals and not fish and creatures that live in the sea. Different rules applie to sea creatures.

  1. You cannot eat a fish that is floating on the face of the water.

  2. Fish must be killed by an external cause. This includes very high temperatures, very low temperatures, and blunt force to kill the catch.

So to answer your question, you can kill your catch by throwing it on ice to freeze it or to quickly boil it. As long as it's dead before consumption and that it did not die in it's natural habitat.

Enjoy the Barakah,


  • 1
    Please cite a source or evidence.
    – Hosam Aly
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 10:36
  • What about the sahih hadith ""Its water is pure (and Purification) and its 'dead meat' is permissible (to eat)." and the hadith of a SHabi called Shorayh شُرَيْح, al-Bukahri mentioned in his Tareekh saying: "Everything in the sea is slaughtered"(كل شيء في البحر مذبوح).
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 2:16

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