As a Muslim consumer, I have often found myself questioning the halal status of certain foods, particularly when it comes to seafood. In this article, I aim to shed light on the halal status of Anchovies, debunking common myths and providing factual information to help fellow Muslims make informed dietary choices.

Clearing Up Confusion

Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permissible” or “lawful” in Islam. For a food to be considered halal, it must comply with the dietary regulations set forth in the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). These regulations prohibit certain types of food and set standards for how permissible food should be prepared.

For Muslims, following a halal diet is an important part of practicing their faith. There are several criteria that must be met for seafood to be considered halal:

  • It must come from the water, not the land. As stated in the Qur’an:

“Lawful to you is game from the sea and its food as provision for you and the travelers.” (Qur’an 5:96)

  • It must have fins and scales. 

“…the fish that has scale is halal, but if it doesn’t have scale it is haram and there is no difference of opinion in it.”

  • It must be caught and slaughtered properly according to Islamic guidelines.

This article will examine the halal status of anchovies based on these regulations. Anchovies are small, common forage fish of the family Engraulidae that are used frequently in cuisines around the world.

Overview of Anchovies

Anchovies are small, oily fish that travel in large schools and inhabit temperate and tropical waters worldwide. Some key facts about anchovies:

  • There are over 140 species of anchovies, with the most commonly fished being the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) and the Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens).
  • Anchovies are typically 4-6 inches in length when mature.
  • They feed on plankton and are a key part of marine food chains. As described by Wikipedia:

“These fish are frequently processed into foods like anchovy paste and fish sauce.”

  • The main countries fishing anchovies are Peru, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Morocco.

“In Malaysia, anchovies are mainly harvested from the coastal areas in West Malaysia.”

  • After catching, anchovies are beheaded, gutted, and cleaned before being dried, salted, or canned for preservation.

The wide availability and use of anchovies globally leads to the question – are anchovies halal?

Determining If Anchovies Fish Are Halal

When evaluating the halal status of seafood in Islam, there are a few key criteria to consider:

  • As stated on Al-Islam:

“The general rule is that all types of fish are halal provided that they have scales.”

  • Islamic Laws further explains:

“The fish that has scale is halal, but if it doesn’t have scale it is haram and there is no difference of opinion in it.”

  • HalalHaramWorld adds:

“Fish need to be slaughtered according to Islamic guidelines to be considered halal.”

Based on these criteria, anchovies are generally considered halal:

  • Anchovies have easily visible scales and fins, meeting the basic requirement for halal seafood.
  • Species like the European anchovy are slaughtered immediately after catching, in line with halal guidelines.
  • Various halal certification organizations like IHI Alliance have approved certain anchovy products as halal.

Therefore, anchovies can be permitted for consumption by Muslims provided proper halal verification is performed. Processed anchovy products must also avoid non-halal additives like alcohol to maintain permissibility.

Preparing and Eating Anchovies

When preparing and eating anchovies, there are some important considerations from a halal perspective:

  • Freshness is key. 

“The anchovies are freshly harvested by fishermen and brought to processors within hours to ensure quality.”

  • Cleaning and storage is critical. Anchovies spoil rapidly, so be sure to wash, pat dry, and refrigerate or freeze anchovies soon after purchase.

  • Cooking enhances flavor. Some common preparation methods include:

    • Frying or grilling, enhances umami flavor
    • Adding to soups, curries, or pasta dishes
    • Curing or fermenting, develops complex tastes
  • Avoid non-halal ingredients.

“Fish sauce almost always contains alcohol, which would make it haram.”

  • Anchovies can provide important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iron. Eating small fish like anchovies promotes good health.

Following basic hygienic practices and avoiding non-permissible ingredients will allow Muslims to enjoy delicious halal anchovy recipes.

Availability of Halal Anchovies Seafood

Finding certified halal anchovy products is getting easier globally:

  •  Malaysia is a major source:

“In Malaysia, anchovies are mainly harvested from the coastal areas in West Malaysia.”

  • Companies like Pantai Remis Fishing sell Malaysian anchovies online with halal certification.

  • IHI Alliance has certified anchovy products from companies worldwide.

  • Online markets like eHalal make verified halal anchovies available.

When purchasing processed or canned anchovy products, check for halal symbols from certification bodies or contact manufacturers to verify halal status:

  • In Southeast Asia, look for certification from JAKIM or MUIS.
  • In the Middle East, look for certification from ESMA or GSO.
  • In other regions, look for IHI Alliance certification.

With some careful checking, Muslims around the world can access authentic halal anchovy products.

Are Anchovies Halal – FAQ

Are anchovies considered halal or haram?

According to Islamic dietary laws, halal refers to what is permissible and lawful for Muslims to consume, while haram refers to what is forbidden. The halal status of anchovies is a topic of debate among scholars and various opinions exist. However, the general consensus is that anchovies are halal and permissible to consume.

Are anchovies considered fish?

Anchovies are indeed classified as fish. They belong to the family Engraulidae and are small, oily fish commonly used in various cuisines around the world.

What does it mean for a food to be considered halal?

For a food to be considered halal, it must meet certain criteria. It should not contain any haram ingredients, such as pork or alcohol, and must be prepared according to Islamic dietary laws. Additionally, the food should be processed and handled in facilities that adhere to halal standards.

Is it necessary for anchovies to have scales to be halal?

In Islamic dietary guidelines, it is generally preferred for fish to have scales in order to be considered halal. However, there is a difference of opinion among scholars regarding the scale requirement for fish. Some scholars argue that all fish, regardless of having scales or not, are permissible for consumption. Therefore, anchovies, which do not have scales, are still considered halal by many.

Can anchovies be consumed by Muslims?

Yes, Muslims can consume anchovies as they are generally considered halal. However, it is always recommended to check the halal certification of the particular brand or source of anchovies to ensure they meet the required standards.

Do all Muslims agree that anchovies are halal?

No, there may be different opinions among Muslims regarding the halal status of anchovies. The variation in viewpoints can be attributed to differences in interpretation of Islamic dietary laws and adherence to different schools of thought within Islam.

Are anchovies considered kosher?

No, anchovies are not generally considered kosher. Kosher dietary laws have different requirements and restrictions compared to halal dietary laws, and anchovies do not meet the criteria for being considered kosher


In summary, anchovies are generally considered halal for consumption by Muslims based on the following points:

  • Anchovies meet the Quranic and scholarly criteria for halal seafood, having visible scales and fins.

  • They are slaughtered soon after catching in accordance with halal principles.

  • Reputable halal certifiers like IHI Alliance have approved anchovies as halal when properly verified.

However, care must be taken when eating anchovies:

  • Freshness and proper storage are important to maintain food safety.

  • Non-halal ingredients like alcohol must be avoided when preparing or eating anchovies.

As the Islamic Services of America states:

“Anchovies are a halal seafood as long as they are fresh and not contaminated with haram ingredients.”

With proper handling and avoidance of haram additives, Muslims can enjoy anchovies as part of a halal diet.