Friday, November 24, 2017 - 5 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439
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Are amphibious animals permissible to eat?

Are amphibious animals permissible to eat?

Answer

In the Quran, God the Almighty details for us the types of food which He has made unlawful for us to eat. Remembering that the authority to prohibit anything belongs only to God the Almighty, we know that only those things mentioned in the Quran or hadiths as forbidden can be classified as such. As you realize, hadiths may provide clarification to Quranic directives which may either restrict or expand their application.

What is mentioned in hadiths as forbidden is only pronounced as such from divine instructions, because the hadiths are nothing more than the Prophet's expression of revelation vouchsafed to him from on high. As such, what hadiths describe as unlawful has been forbidden by God Himself.

On four separate occasions, the Quran mentions the type of animals whose meat is unlawful for us. In one verse, God the Almighty instructs Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to say: "I do not find in what has been revealed to me anything which is forbidden to eat unless it be carrion or spilled blood, or the flesh of swine, for all this is an impurity, or an abomination upon which the name of someone other than Allah bas been invoked. But if one is driven by utter necessity, with no intention to violate [divine instruction] or transgress, then your Lord is most forgiving, compassionate" [6: 145]. The way this Qur'anic verse is phrased clearly defines the four types of foods that are prohibited. Carrion denotes any animal that dies by itself without being slaughtered for the specific purpose of eating; spilled blood which is distinguished from that which is found solid in internal organs such as the liver or the spleen; the flesh of swine which includes all parts of the animal; and lastly, any animal on which other than God’s name has been invoked, whether a sheep, cow or indeed anything else.

These, then, are the types of foods that are unlawful for us to eat. In the third verse of Surah 5, these four categories of food are described in greater detail. For example, the Quran provides us with the instances that make the meat of an animal carrion. If an animal dies by strangling; from a fall; or from being attacked by another animal, a wild animal or birds of prey, the presumption is that it becomes carrion and therefore unlawful to eat. Similarly, any animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice to a human being or an idol is also forbidden.

Apart from the aforementioned, there are several types of animals which are likewise unlawful to eat. The Maliki school of jurisprudence designates these as reprehensible rather than forbidden. These include wild animals and birds of prey, poisonous reptiles, etc. I am, however, amazed at the classification you have mentioned. I have given you the clearest verdict which is mentioned in the Quran. You can take it as definitive. As for crabs, they are certainly permissible to eat.
And God the Almighty knows best.
 

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