Is It Haram to Have Fish as Pets? The Debate Surrounding Fish Ownership


There has been a long-standing debate in the Islamic community about whether it is haram to have fish as pets. Some argue that keeping fish in captivity goes against the principles of Islam, while others believe that it is permissible and even encouraged. This article explores both sides of the debate, shedding light on the different perspectives and providing insights into the reasons behind these viewpoints.

is it haram
is it haram why

The Prohibition Argument

Those who argue against fish ownership as pets cite various reasons why it may be considered haram. One of the key arguments is that keeping fish in small tanks or bowls restricts their freedom and natural habitat, causing them unnecessary suffering. Islam places great emphasis on kindness and compassion towards all creatures, and advocates for the protection of animal rights. Keeping fish in captivity may be seen as a violation of these principles, as it deprives them of their natural environment and limits their ability to exercise their instincts.

Another argument is that fish ownership promotes a culture of objectification and consumerism. Fish are often considered decorative items, and their value is associated with their aesthetic appeal rather than their inherent worth as living beings. This perception goes against the teachings of Islam, which encourage believers to appreciate and value all creatures for their roles in maintaining the ecological balance.

is it haram
is it haram why

The Permissibility Argument

Advocates for fish ownership as pets present a contrasting view, arguing that Islam does not explicitly prohibit keeping fish in captivity. They maintain that as long as the fish are provided with a suitable environment, proper care, and are not subjected to undue harm or suffering, it is permissible to keep them as pets. They believe that the principle of permissibility applies in the absence of clear and direct prohibition.

Furthermore, proponents argue that fish ownership can serve educational purposes, especially for children, fostering a sense of responsibility, empathy, and appreciation for the natural world. By observing and caring for fish, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of aquatic life and the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

The Middle Ground

While the debate between those who believe fish ownership is haram and those who consider it permissible continues, there is a middle ground that emphasizes responsible fishkeeping. This approach encourages individuals to consider the well-being and welfare of the fish before deciding to keep them as pets. It stresses the importance of providing spacious tanks or ponds, maintaining proper water conditions, and ensuring access to adequate nutrition. Additionally, it advises against excessive ornamentation in fish tanks, promoting a more natural and ecologically-friendly habitat. By adopting these practices, individuals can reconcile their desire for fish ownership with their duty to exhibit kindness and care towards all creatures.


Ultimately, the issue of whether it is haram to have fish as pets remains a subject of debate within the Islamic community. While some argue for the prohibition of fish ownership due to concerns about animal welfare and the objectification of living beings, others maintain that it is permissible as long as certain conditions are met. The key lies in striking a balance between personal desires and responsibilities towards the well-being of the fish. By considering this middle ground and adhering to the principles of compassion and environmental stewardship, individuals can make informed decisions about fish ownership that align with their beliefs and values.

is it haram
is it haram why

Faqs about “is it haram to have fish as pets”

Is it haram to have fish as pets in Islam?

No, it is not haram (forbidden) to have fish as pets in Islam. Keeping fish as pets falls under the category of permissible (halal) actions. However, there are certain guidelines to follow, such as providing proper care, cleanliness, and not causing harm to the fish. It is always advised to treat animals with kindness and fulfill their needs.

Are there any specific conditions for keeping fish as pets?

While keeping fish as pets is generally permissible, there are some conditions to consider. Firstly, the fish should be kept in a suitable environment, such as an aquarium with appropriate water conditions, temperature, and filtration. Secondly, it is important to provide proper care, including feeding them appropriately and maintaining their health. Lastly, fish should not be treated in a cruel or harmful manner.

Does Islam prohibit the decoration of fish tanks?

No, Islam does not prohibit the decoration of fish tanks. It is permissible to decorate fish tanks as long as the decorations used are not made of materials that are considered haram, such as those derived from prohibited animals or substances. Common decorations like rocks, plants, and artificial structures are generally acceptable.

Can fish be kept as pets for purely aesthetic purposes?

Yes, fish can be kept as pets for aesthetic purposes in Islam. The enjoyment of observing and appreciating the beauty of animals is allowed as long as the proper care and treatment of the fish are maintained. However, it is always important to remember that animals should not be treated solely as decorative objects but as living creatures deserving respect and care.

Is it necessary to say Bismillah before keeping fish as pets?

Saying Bismillah (In the name of Allah) before keeping fish as pets is not obligatory in Islam. While saying Bismillah is recommended before starting any action, it is not specifically required for keeping fish as pets. However, it is certainly praiseworthy to invoke the name of Allah and seek His blessings when taking care of any animal.

Can fish be kept in small bowls or containers?

It is not recommended to keep fish in small bowls or containers as their natural habitat is larger bodies of water. Fish require sufficient space to swim, proper water circulation, and suitable conditions for their well-being. Keeping them in small bowls or containers can lead to stress, poor health, and shortened lifespans. It is advisable to provide them with adequately sized aquariums or tanks.

Are there any special dietary requirements for pet fish?

Different fish species have varying dietary needs. Some fish may require specific types of food such as flakes, pellets, or live/frozen food, while others may have a more general diet. It is essential to research and provide fish with appropriate nutrition suitable for their species. Consulting with a veterinarian or a pet store specializing in fish can help determine the proper diet for pet fish.

What is the Islamic perspective on catch-and-release fishing?

Catch-and-release fishing is considered permissible in Islam as long as it is done in a manner that does not cause harm or excessive stress to the fish. It is recommended to release fish back into the water quickly and handle them with care to minimize any potential injury. The principle of balancing enjoyment with kindness towards animals applies in this context.

Does Islam encourage the breeding of pet fish?

Islam does not specifically address the breeding of pet fish. However, breeding fish to maintain their species or enhance their well-being can be seen as a positive action, as long as it is done responsibly and does not involve cruelty, harm, or neglect. Breeding fish can contribute to the preservation and diversity of aquatic life and can be considered a commendable endeavor.

Is it permissible to keep predatory fish species as pets?

Keeping predatory fish species as pets is generally allowed in Islam. However, certain precautions need to be taken to ensure the safety of other fish species or animals in the same environment. It is advisable to house predatory fish in appropriate tanks or aquariums where they cannot harm or prey upon other animals. Responsible pet ownership and welfare should always be prioritized.

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