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The Debate Over Crab Consumption in Islamic Law: A Study of Diverse Perspectives

The debate over the legality of crab consumption in Islamic law has elicited differing opinions from various Islamic schools of thought, with some considering it permissible and others deeming it forbidden.

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The Debate Over Crab Consumption in Islamic Law: A Study of Diverse Perspectives

The contentious issue of crab consumption in Islamic law, due to the creature's existence in both terrestrial and aquatic spheres, known as "al-hayawan al-barma'i," has sparked a wide-ranging debate among different Islamic schools of thought. The matter has elicited divergent views, with some scholars deeming it permissible, while others consider it forbidden.

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Maliki and Hambali Perspectives

The Maliki scholars, as referenced in Wahbah Az-zuhaili's book, 'Fiqih Islam Wa Adillatuhu,' along with the Hambali scholars, including Imam Ahmad's position, have proclaimed the consumption of crab as halal (permissible). Their argument hinges on the fact that crabs lack flowing blood. This standpoint is further reinforced by Ibnu Qudamah in his authoritative work, 'Al-Mughni.'

Hanafi and Shafi'i Stances

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Conversely, Hanafi and Shafi'i scholars are of the opinion that consuming crabs is haram (forbidden). They limit the consumption of marine creatures to fish only, as per the views of Imam Abu Zakaria bin Syaraf al- Nawawi. This position is also cited in a fatwa issued by MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia).

The Middle Ground

Offering a nuanced perspective, Buya Yahya suggests that the permissibility of crab consumption depends on the species. According to him, sea crabs are halal, while those inhabiting both land and water are deemed haram. The MUI Fatwa Commission, in conjunction with LPPOM MUI, explored this issue in 2022. Based on extensive research and expert insights from Dr. Sulistiono of the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences at IPB, the commission concluded that crabs commonly consumed in Indonesia are solely aquatic in nature. Therefore, they are halal, provided they do not pose any health risk to humans.

In conclusion, the debate over the legality of crab consumption in Islamic law exemplifies the complexity and diversity of interpretations within the Islamic jurisprudence. It underscores the need for ongoing research and dialogue to reach a consensus that respects diverse viewpoints while adhering to the core principles of the faith.

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