Common Halal and non-halal Fish

Imam Husain Islamic Centre–fact sheet

"Eat any fish that has scales, and do not eat what does not have scales."
(Imam Baqir a.s) [al-Kolayni, al-Kaafi, vol.6 p. 219]
Halal with scales non-Halal without scales
Anchovies Catfish Eels
Barramundi Eastern Cleaner-Clingfish
Bass Flake
Carp / bream Grayfish
Cod / hake Leather Jacket
Dory Marlin
Flounder Shark
Herring Snake Mackerels
Hoki - Blue Grenadier ( doubtful )** Squab
Jew fish Sturgeons
Kingfish Swordfish
Mackerel – except for snake mackerel  
Red fish  
Trout - But not including: European turbot
(Scophthalmus maximus or Psetta maximus Trevally).
Tuna except for Dogtooth Tuna
also known as Peg Tooth Tuna & Scaleless Tuna.
Yellow tail  
 List of  fish ( with fins/scales & without ) Link     FISH LIST HALAL


Q. What kind of marine animals are Halal?

A. It is not permissible to eat from marine animals anything except fish that has scale; shrimp is considered from that category (of permissible sea animals). But other than fish, like lobster, and similarly the fish that does not have scale is forbidden. Allah knows the best.

Q. Is Kosher meat Halal?

A. It is not Halal.

Q. On the package of meat that is produced in Muslim countries by non-Muslim Companies, it says, “slaughtered according to Islamic laws”.  Are we allowed to eat that meat? Can we eat that meat, if it comes from Muslim Companies in non-Muslim countries? And what is the ruling, if the source is non-Muslim company from a non-Muslim country? 

A. The writing (on the package) has no value at all. If the producer is a Muslim or it was produced in a place where Muslim are in the majority and it is not known that the producer is a non-Muslim then it is permissible to eat it.

But if the producer is a non-Muslim or it was produced in a place where Muslims are not in the majority and it is not known that the producer is a Muslim, then it is not permissible to eat it.

Q. Is it permissible to eat halăl food which has been steam cooked with the steam of meat not slaughtered according to Islamic laws?

A. It is not permissible since the food, as mentioned in the question, will be considered impure (najis) because of coming into contact with the wet parts from the steam of the impure meat.

Q. Commercial fishing vessels place their huge nets [in the sea] and catch tons of fish which are then sold in the markets. It is well known that modern methods of fishing are based on catching the fish alive, and that the fishermen throw the dead fish back into the water for fear of contamination.

Therefore, is it permissible for us to buy such fish in the markets of non-Muslims? Is it permissible for us to buy such fish from Muslims who are not considerate of religious laws? In both the cases to ascertain that this particular fish in front of me was taken out of the water alive, should seek the advice of an expert and reliable witness to testify to that fact which may prove difficult, impractical, and unrealistic.

So, is there a solution for practicing Muslims who face difficulty in ascertaining whether or not the meat of chicken, cow or sheep is halăl, and therefore take to eating fish instead?

A. There is no problem in buying it from Muslims or non-Muslims; as there is no problem in eating it, if they are satisfied that the fish was caught by the method mentioned above and that it belongs to the category of scale fish.

Q. At times we find the name or picture of fish on the cans and come to know that the fish is a scale fish. So, is it permissible for us to rely on the name or the picture in determining the category of fish, knowing well that a wrong statement of this kind would put the manufacturers in great loss or even more serious [situation] than just a loss?

A. If one is satisfied it is the truth, it is permissible to act upon it.

Q. Is it permissible to buy a fish from a Muslim who is not a momin while we have no knowledge whether it is from the category of scale fish or not?

A. It is permissible to buy it but one cannot eat it unless he makes sure that it is from the category of scale fish.


**The ma'sala of Ayatullah Sistani says that a halal fish is one which essentially has scales even if it loses them because of a secondary/external (bil 'aridh) factor.

However, since the fish in question (Hoki) does not lose its scales because of a secondary/external factor rather it loses them as a natural process -- it would be better to exercise precaution and not include this fish in the halal list.