The mermaid fatwa

We are often told that religion is a different way of knowing, that it can provide us with a different perspective and different information. I have not believed this at all, because no one has ever been able to give me an example of actual, useful information obtained from a religion, that could not have been generated by a reality-based approach.

Until now.

This is a question that I had never even considered before; it was unexpected and surprising. I think I’ve finally experienced an insightful religious question.

Are you allowed to eat a mermaid?

Apparently, the Koran or some of its promoters discussed mermaids at some point, therefore they are presumed to exist. The question is then a reasonable one: if you throw a net over the side of your dhow, and haul in a mermaid along with a nice catch of ordinary fish, is she halaal? Can you chop her up, sell her at the market, or take her home to the family for dinner?

There is a fatwa on the subject of eating mermaids that cites many scholarly Islamic sources. Here are a few.

Al-Durayr – a Maaliki scholar – said in al-Sharh al-Sagheer (2/182): Sea animals in general are permissible, whether it is dead meat or a ‘dog’ (shark) or a ‘pig’ (dolphin), and they do not need to be slaughtered properly. End quote.

Al-Saawi said in his commentary on that: The words “or a ‘dog’ or a ‘pig’ also include a ‘human’, referring thereby to mermaids. End quote.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, after stating that it is more likely that it is permissible to eat crocodiles and sea snakes: The correct view is that nothing is excluded from that, and that all the sea creatures which can only live in water are halaal, alive or dead, because of the general meaning of the verse – i.e., “Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) water game and its use for food” [al-Maa’idah 5:64].


That was a revelation. I’ll never be able to watch Splash with the same eyes again.

Now I just need recipes. I’ve gutted enough salmon that I probably don’t need cleaning instructions.

Oh, and a mermaid. I wonder if the Asian market in the Twin Cities would have any?

(via Salty Current)