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Is Alligator Halal?

16 May, 2023
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I am a Muslim living in the US. One of my non-Muslim friends invited me to a banquet where alligator meat was served. I did not eat from it thinking that it is haram. I am wondering now, was I right in this thinking?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Eating alligator meat is a controversial issue. The view that carries weight is that eating alligator meat is halal (lawful) as it does not fall in the categories prohibited by the clear texts of the Shari`ah. In addition, it is considered to be an amphibious animal and takes the rulings pertaining to fish.

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Answering your question, by the late prominent Saudi scholar Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymeen, states:

It is clear that eating alligator meat is something controversial. Some scholars adopt the view that it is halal (lawful) as is the case with fish.

They support their view by quoting the verse that reads, “Say: I find not in that which is revealed unto me aught prohibited to an eater that he eat thereof, except it be carrion, or blood poured forth, or swine flesh for that verily is foul or the abomination which was immolated to the name of other than Allah. But whoso is compelled (thereto), neither craving nor transgressing, (for him) lo! Your Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-An`aam 6:145)

They also quote the Hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) describing the sea, “Its water is pure and its dead animals are lawful.” (An-Nasa’i)

Some other scholars hold the view that it is not lawful as it is considered to be one of the prey animals which are declared prohibited in Islam such as lions, tigers, etc. The first view is preponderant.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.