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Assalamualaikum

Regarding the permissibilty of consuming prawns I am quite sure Mufti Saheb had this question thoroughly answered some time back. I cannot however seem to find the answer and the Q&A list only goes till a certain number on current site.

I’d greatly appreciate if the answer could be reproduced.

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Asked on September 29, 2015 1:25 pm
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Are prawns Halaal?

Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Abdus Salaam Chaatgaamie

Translation edited by

Mufti A.H.Elias
(May Allaah protect him)

The Shar’ie ruling regarding prawns

Question: –

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركته

I would like to enquire from the respected Mufti and honoured Ulama about an issue that has become an object of debate in our area; is prawns Halaal (lawful) to consume or is it Haraam (forbidden)? A number of people regard it as Halaal and consume it, while others regard it as Haraam and sternly prohibit it. They cite as proof for its impermissibility an article printed in the ‘Jhang’ newspaper that Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Yusuf Ludhwiyaanwi عليه الرحمة has ruled that prawns are not a fish and therefore Haraam.

On one occasion I personally asked Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Walie Hasan Tonki Sahib عليه الرحمة regarding this, to which he replied in passing, “There is a difference of opinion amongst the Ulama in this regard, I believe it to be Makruh (disliked).” On another occasion I asked Hadhrat Moulana the same question and he replied that prawns are a fish and therefore Halaal to consume. I then informed him about the viewpoints of other Ulama, to which he replied, “Those who do not regard prawns as a fish have not researched it in detail.” Hadhrat Moulana also provided a reference of a book, which I cannot remember at this moment.

This issue has resulted in many heated arguments and debates between us. We therefore implore Hadhrat Moulana to please look into this matter and rid us of any misconceptions. We have all come to an agreement that we will abide by the findings of Hadhrat Moulana. Scholars such as yourself are the bastions of Deen and its protectors, those who have been blessed with the correct understanding of Deen. We therefore plead to Hadhrat Moulana to reply to this question at the first available opportunity.

As-Salaam
Ahmed and friends
Madinah Munawwarah
20 Dhul Hijjah 1406

Reply

In the name of Allaah

و عليكم السلام و رحمة الله و بركاته

After reading your query regarding prawns, I was saddened to learn the extent to which people quarrel and argue because of a difference of opinion amongst the Ulama and how such arguments have split the community. If only our Ulama would act with a little more tact there would not be such disunity in the Ummat and infighting would be non-existent.

May Allaah Ta’ala forgive us all and grant us the ability to tread the straight path. Aameen.

For some time now I have been deliberating on writing a detailed thesis on the issue of prawns so that people will consider the matter with fairness and impartiality, which would remove all doubts, and the habit of declaring an item as Halaal and Haraam because of one’s devotion to another or as a result of one being awe struck by the persona or fame of another will be put to an end once and for all. However as I continued to deliberate the matter time passed by without me having written anything on the subject.

Your query inspired me to begin research in this regard and in a short while my mind and pen began to flow. All praise belongs to Allaah, whatever proofs I have quoted from Quraan, Hadeeth and the books of history, I have done so with deep insight and without fearing any criticism I have issued a Shar’ie ruling in this regard. If this is the correct ruling as decreed by Allaah Ta’ala then all Praise and Thanks is to Allaah and if it is not then too we hope for reward from Allaah.

Before we begin discussing the issue of the permissibility or prohibition of prawns there are a few principles which need to be understood, which would make the matter easier to understand.

Principle 1: – Whatever is decreed as Halaal (lawful) and Haraam (unlawful) is done so after being proven from the Quraan, Hadeeth, and Ijmaa (consensus) of the Ummat or by making Qiyaas (deduction) upon valid Shar’ie proofs. One cannot pass a ruling of Halaal or Haraam based upon one’s personal opinion or understanding.

Allaah Ta’ala says,

Say, “Tell me about the sustenance (food) that Allaah has provided for you, some of which you make Haraam (of your own accord) and others Halaal.” Say, “Has Allaah permitted you (to make these things Halaal or Haraam) or are you inventing lies about Allaah (by falsely claiming that Allaah had commanded you to regard these things as Halaal or Haraam)?” (Surah Yunus: 59)

In this verse Allaah Ta’ala has severely chastised those who decree the lawful sustenance of Allaah Ta’ala to be Haraam and the unlawful to be Halaal. Allaah Ta’ala has openly declared such individuals to be liars and fabricators against Allaah. This teaches us that the right to declare anything as Halaal and Haraam belongs to Nabi  and no other individuals has this right. Thus none has the right to make Halaal what Allaah Ta’ala has declared to be Haraam through Rasulullaah . If any person will make such a decree then he will be speaking a lie against Allaah Ta’ala.

O you who have Imaan! Do not forbid (declare as unlawful) the pure things that Allaah has permitted (made lawful) for you (by regarding something Halaal as Haraam) and do not overstep (do not exceed the limits of Shari’ah). Surely Allaah does not like those who overstep (exceed limits). (Surah Maa’idah: 87)

Under the commentary of this verse, the author of ‘Tafseer Jalaalain’ writes,

“Do not declare the lawful and pure to be unlawful of your own accord and do not abandon the lawful to indulge in what has already been decreed to be unlawful.” (‘Jalaalain’ page 521)

These verses make it clear that the right to declare things as Halaal or Haraam belongs to the Nabi of Allaah and no individual from this Ummat has this right. Therefore if those items which have not been proven to be Haraam in light of the Quraan, Hadeeth, Ijmaa of the Sahabah or Ijtihaad of the Aimah are proven to be Haraam through modern or new research then this too will be regarded to be fabricating a lie against Allaah and His Rasul .

Principle 2: – The Quraan and Hadeeth have decreed what is pure to be Halaal.

Allaah Ta’ala says in the Quraan,

They (the Muslims) ask you (O Muhammed ) what is permissible (lawful) for them (from the various types of food). Say, “Permitted (made lawful) for you are the pure (wholesome) things.
(Surah Maa’idah: 4)

In another verse Allaah Ta’ala says,

Today the pure (wholesome) things have been permitted (made lawful) for you. (Surah Maa’idah: 5)

Imaam Abu Bakr Jassaas عليه الرحمة writes under the commentary of this verse in ‘Ahkaamul Quraan’,

Pure (wholesome) will refer to all those items which are appetizing and appealing and the heart inclines towards it. (‘Ahkaamul Quraan’ volume 1 page 452)

The author of ‘Jamal’ writes,

This (The permissibility of pure things mentioned in this verse includes all edible foods) except what has already been made decreed as Haraam (unlawful) in the Quraan, Hadeeth, Ijmaa of the Sahabah and Qiyaas of the Aimah.

We learn from this that those edible items which the Quraan and Hadeeth have not prohibited, and there is no mention of its prohibition in the Ijmaa of the Sahabah or Qiyaas of the Aimah, are all pure and Halaal (lawful). Research made many centuries later cannot be used to make them Haraam (unlawful).

Principle 3: – Allaah Ta’ala has decreed that from all the sea creatures, fish are pure and Halaal (lawful).

Allaah Ta’ala says,

Permitted for you (whether you are in the state of Ihraam or not) is the prey of the sea (fish). (Surah Maa’idah: 96)

Imaam Abu Bakr Jassaas عليه الرحمة writes under the commentary of this verse,

“Prey of the sea” of the sea refers specifically to fish and not the other creatures of the sea. (‘Ahkaamul Quraan’ volume 1 page 480)

In another verse Allaah Ta’ala says,

It is He Who subjugated the ocean (placed it at your service) so that you may eat fresh meat (fish) from it. (Surah Nahl: 14)

In both of the above verses Allaah Ta’ala has decreed that fish is Halaal from all of the sea creatures, whether the fish be big or small, delicious or not, regardless of its shape, whether its outer appearance is pleasant or unpleasant, whether it has been seen by people or not, or after seeing it dislike it or not.

Therefore all species and classes of fish are pure and Halaal (lawful). In addition to the verses mentioned above there are many Ahaadeeth as well that shed light on the subject.

All types of fish are Halaal in light of Hadeeth

Whenever Rasulullaah  was asked about the sea and its fish then Rasulullaah  on numerous occasions clearly replied that its water is pure and its fish is Halaal (lawful). A few of the words of Rasulullaah  are as follows,

Its (the sea) water is pure and its dead creatures (fish) are Halaal. (‘Ahmed’, ‘Majma’uz Zawaaid’ v1 p220)

There are many incidents and events leading up to the narration above, one of which is that a few of the Sahabah would travel by sea and as a result needed to use its water and eat its fish but were in doubt as to whether they could use it for the following purposes,

– Is the water pure?
– Can one perform Ghusal (bath) and Wudhu (ablution) with it?
– Is it permissible to consume its fish when fresh and if they are
already dead, in times of necessity?

In reply to all these questions Rasulullaah  said that its water is pure and just as its fresh fish is Halaal so too are those that have already died. However those creatures that have been excluded from this permissibility in Hadeeth are Haraam (unlawful).

We learn from this that fish are Halaal (lawful) and pure, regardless of its size, weight, shape, class and whether it be alive or dead, in all scenarios it is permissible to consume.

The narration I have quoted above has been reported in numerous books of Hadeeth from more than ten different Sahabah in various words. A few of these books are as follows,

1- Musnad Ahmed volume 3 page 373: – Hadhrat Jaabir 

2- Sunan Ibn Maajah page 32: – Hadhrat Jaabir 

3- Ibn Khuzaimah page 59: – Hadhrat Jaabir 

4- Daar Quthni volume 1 page 13: – Hadhrat Jaabir 

5- Sahee Ibn Habbaan page 98: – Hadhrat Jaabir 

6- Haakim volume 1 page 143: – Ibn Zubair  from Jaabir 

7- Tabraani volume 1 page 11: – Ibn Zubair  from Jaabir 

8- Muwatta Imaam Maalik page 67: – Hadhrat Abu Hurairah 

9- Kitaabul Umm of Imaam Shaafie volume 1 page 2
Musnad of Imaam Shaafie volume 1 page 23: – Hadhrat Abu
Hurairah 

10- Ibn Abi Shaibah volume 1 page 131: – Hadhrat Abu Hurairah 

11- Daarmie page 98: – Mugheerah bin Abi Burdah from his father
from Hadhrat Abu Hurairah 

12- Nasaai volume 1 page 21-63: – Mugheerah bin Abi Burdah from
his father from Hadhrat Abu Hurairah 

13- Baihaqi volume 1 page 153-154: – Mugheerah bin Abi Burdah
from his father from Hadhrat Abu Hurairah 

14- At-Talkhees volume 1 page 10-11: – Mugheerah bin Abi Burdah
from his father from Hadhrat Abu Hurairah 

15- At-Taareekh of Imaam Bukhaari as reported in Kanzul-Umaal
volume 5 page 95

16- Musannaf Abdur Razzaaq volume 1 page 94: – Hadhrat Anas
bin Maalik 

17- Daar Quthni volume 1 page 13: – Hadhrat Anas bin Maalik 

18- Musnad Ahmed page 279 and Daar Quthni: – Hadhrat Ibn
Abbaas 

19- Haakim page 140, who said this Hadeeth is Sahee on the
conditions of Imaam Muslim.

20- Daar Quthni: – Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddeeq 

21- Daar Quthni: – Hadhrat Ali 

22- Haakim volume 1 page 142-143: – Hadhrat Ali 

23- Abu Dawood page 11 volume 1

24- Tirmidhi

Based upon these narrations the Fuqahaa have ruled that all types of fish are Halaal.

All types of fish are Halaal in light of Fiqh

Shamsul Aimah Sarakhsi has written in Mabsooth,

All types of fish are Halaal and permissible to consume as proven in the Quraan and Hadeeth. (‘Mabsooth’ volume 21 page 23)

The author of ‘Fatawa Qaadhi Khan’ writes,

There is no problem (with consuming) all types of fish such as eel. (‘Fatawa Qaadhi Khan’ volume 1 page 175)

Malikul Ulama Allaamah Kaasaani writes,

The ruling of permissibility to consume is the same for all types of fish whether they are eel or any other. The reason for this is that the proofs which we have cited from the Quraan and Hadeeth do not differentiate between permissibility of the different types of fish except where it has been specifically mentioned. It has been reported from Hadhrat Ali  and Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas  that eel is permissible and no difference of opinion has been reported from any other Sahabah in this regard, which would mean that there is Ijmaa (consensus) on this matter.

Narrations of this sort have been reported in the books of the other schools of thought (Mathaahib) as well but I have not reported them so that this treatise will not be unnecessarily lengthened.

From what has been mentioned above it becomes clear that all type of fish are Halaal regardless of their size, shape or colour and whether one finds them appetizing or not. In all circumstances it will be Halaal (lawful) to consume. If any person finds it repulsive or the inhabitants of a certain land out of their lack of knowledge or abhorrence to it cannot rule it to be Makruh (disliked) or Haraam (unlawful). The reason being that the ruling of Makruh and Haraam is a Shar’ie ruling and needs to be proven from an authentic Shar’ie proof. However if one does not consume it out of his own accord then it is a separate matter altogether.

A doubt that may arise

A scholarly doubt which may arise is that when the Quraan and Hadeeth have ruled that all types of fish are Halaal, what was the reason for Hadhrat Ali , Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas  and the Fuqahaa after them to specifically mention the permissibility of eel.

The reason for them specifically mentioning eel is that all the other types of fish have no real difference in their shape and make up that would cause doubts in them being a fish. However eel differs greatly in its structure from other fish that one who does not have knowledge of fish would not easily accept it is a fish.

Eel is long and round like a snake with a length of one to two feet, whereas fish are not usually of that shape.

Since those who do not have knowledge of fish would generally be in doubt as to whether this is a fish or not, the illustrious Fuqahaa of the Sahabah, Hadhrat Ali  and Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas , explained this and removed any doubts as to it’s permissibility. The other Fuqahaa also after mentioning the permissibility of consuming all types of fish fulfilled their responsibility by mentioning the opinions of the Sahabah in this regard so as to remove all doubts and not to confine its permissibility.

There are not only a few hundred types of fish but the varieties of fish are in the millions whereas only a few have been mentioned in Hadeeth. This does not mean that only those mentioned in Hadeeth are Halaal and the rest Haraam. In some parts of the world a certain type of fish might be in abundance whereas it might not exist in another and a different type thrives there. It is also possible that one type of fish will be more liked and well-known in one part of the world and in another part a different type is liked and well-known.

It just so happens that the type that we happen to be discussing is prawns, which is found in abundance in almost all parts of the world and well-known in both the east and west. In fact many illustrious Ulama of Egypt and Saudi Arabia have said regarding prawns,

” الذ الاسماك في الدنيا و اغلاها “

(Prawns) are the tastiest of the fish in this world and the most expensive.”

However it is extremely distressing that certain respected Ulama in Pakistan have erred in their ruling or have not found time to research the topic in detail. What is even more astonishing is that some of them have not even seen any of the various types of prawns in their lives.

This is both shocking and distressing at the same time. I hope that these illustrious scholars will have a second look at their research and in future will take more precaution in issuing a fatwa (ruling) in this regard. This unworthy one has full faith in the piety and sense of responsibility that these esteemed Ulama have and that they will once again deliberate over this matter.

Principle 4: – The opinions of those well-acquainted marine life are given preference after the scholars of diction and vocabulary.

In understanding and recognising the various types of fish the opinions of those having greater knowledge of marine life are considered.

This means that those creatures which they categorise as fish will be regarded as such and what they do not categorise as a fish will not be regarded as such. The reason being that it is an accepted fact that after the experts of vocabulary and diction the opinion of those proficient in this field is given priority and those who are well-acquainted with the various types of fish will be those who reside at the sea. Their night and day is spent on the ocean and since they are more experienced in this regard, their opinion will be given priority.

Those Ulama who are not acquainted with this subject will first refer to the scholars of diction and then those who possess more knowledge on the subject.

Now let us examine what the scholars of vocabulary and diction say regarding prawns.

1) The author of ‘Taajul Uroos’, Sayyid Imaam Muhammed Murtadha Az-Zubairi writes,

Prawns are a small type of fish, which resemble a worm. (‘Taajul Uroos’ p 143)

2) The author of ‘Qamoos Muheeth’, Sheikh Majdudeen Muhammed bin Yaqoob Fairoozabadi Sheerani writes,

Prawns are a fish which resembles a worm. (‘Qamoos Muheeth’ v 4 p 332)

3) The author of ‘Sihaah’, Sheikh Isma’eel bin Hamaad Jouhari writes,

Prawns are a type of fish, found more in Basra. (‘Sihaah’ p 235)

4) The author of ‘Jamharatul Lughat’, Imaam Muhammed bin Hasan bin Dareed Azdi Basri, writes,

Prawns are a type of fish. (v 3 p 414)

5) The author of ‘Tahtheebus Sihaah’, Allaamah Mahmood Ahmed Zanjaani writes,

Prawns are a type of fish from its many types. (v 3 p 974)

6)The author of ‘Fiqhul Lughaat’, Hussein Yusuf Moosa writes,

Prawns are a fish resembling a worm. (p 975)

7) The expert on animal life and author of ‘Hayaatul Haywaan’, Allaamah Dameeri writes,

Prawns are a type of small fish. (p 528)

8) The author of ‘Ifsaah’ writes,

Prawns are a fish resembling a worm. (v 2 p 975)

9) It is written in ‘Aqrabul Mawaarid’,

Prawns are a type of white fish, which resemble a worm. (v 1 p387)

10) It is written in ‘Al-Munjid’,

Prawns are a type of fish that resembles a flea. (p 32)

I have sufficed with giving reference of ten Arabic dictionaries only whereas there are over twenty such books wherein this definition can be found.

I will now quote a few Urdu and Faarsi dictionaries,

1) It is mentioned in ‘Misbaahul Lughaat’,

Prawns are a type of fish. (p 31)

2) It is written in ‘Lughaat Siraah’,

Prawns are a type of fish. (p 560)

3) It is written in ‘Muntahal Arab’

Prawns are a type of fish. (v 8 p673)

4) It is mentioned in ‘Farhang Aasfiyah’,

Prawns are a type of small fish. (v 2 p 79)

5) The author of ‘Fayroozul Lughaat’ writes,

Prawns are a type of small fish. (p 386)

6) In ‘Fayroozul Lugaat Urdu Jadeed’ it is written,

Prawns are a type of small fish. (p 269)

7) In ‘Bangla Urdu Farang Rabaani’ it is written,

Prawns are a type of fish. (p 236)

8) In ‘Bustaanul Mufradaat’ it is written,

Prawns are a type of fish and it comes in red, white and other various colours. (p 263)

9) In ‘Kitaabul Mufraaat’ it is written,

Prawns are known as ‘سمك’ and ‘روبيان’ in Arabic, in Faarsi it is called ‘روبيان’ and ‘ماهي’ and in Sindh it is called ‘ ‘. It is a type of fish; its legs are long and are red in colour. It is found in abundance in Karachi. (p 201)

I have given reference of ten Urdu and Faarsi books and fearing that I would unnecessarily lengthen this treatise I have left out a further ten references from English, Urdu to English, and Arabic to English dictionaries, which also state that Prawns are a type of fish.

The purpose of this treatise was to turn the attention of those Ulama, whose lack of knowledge or misinformation, has led them to declare prawns to be a type of worm instead of a fish and therefore Haraam and impermissible to consume.

I could have sufficed with quoting one or two references but my purpose was to illustrate, as the readers might have seen as well, that there is no difference of opinion regarding prawns being a fish amongst the scholars of vocabulary, diction, practitioners as well as those proficient in marine biology.

This is what prompted Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi عليه الرحمة
to write a response to Hadhrat Moulana Rasheed Ahmed Ganghohi عليه الرحمة when he passed the fatwa of impermissibility, wherein he quoted Allaamah Dameeri as well as other Ulama and thereafter stated, “Nevertheless this unworthy one has complete conviction that it is a fish.” (‘Imdaadul Fatawa’ v 4 p103)

In another Fatwa relating to animal intestine and prawns he writes, “The Fuqahaa have written that animal intestine is also a meat and regarding prawns it is written in ‘Durre Mukhtaar’, etc, that all types of fish are Halaal and whether a creature is a fish or not is based upon the discretion of those having expertise in this field. In ‘Hayaatul Haywaan’ it is written that prawns are a type of fish. Therefore intestine and prawns are both Halaal. One should not doubt it being a fish because of it being called a prawn.” (‘Imdaadul Fatawa’ v 4 p 104)

Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdur Raheem Rajpoori عليه الرحمة has given numerous proofs proving prawns to be a fish and therefore Halaal. In conclusion he writes, “Prawns are a type of fish and one should not confuse it to be a worm. Since it is a fish it will be Halaal to consume and to declare it as Haraam is incorrect.

After these studies and investigations, without mentioning any names, the rulings of those Ulama who declare it to be Haraam cannot be supported. The correct and established ruling will be that prawns are a type of fish and therefore Halaal.

Furthermore there is no prohibition mentioned in the Quraan. Hadeeth, Ijmaa of the Sahabah or opinions of the Fuqahaa but instead from the general connotation of the rule and the opinions of scholars of vocabulary and diction as well as those proficient in the subject it is proven that it is fish and Halaal to consume.

My findings and opinion is that prawns were regarded as a fish in the early years and will therefore remain as such today. It was regarded as Halaal previously and none differed with this ruling to this day. If there was any difference of opinion then it was amongst the much later scholars, whose personal opinions are not a valid Shar’ie proof. If any scholar of Deen has proof from the Quraan, Hadeeth or opinions of the Fuqahaa, or a reference can be presented from the books or Fatawa of the Fuqahaa from the first and second century that it is Haraam (unlawful) then it should be brought to light so that it can be given consideration. One should not regard his lack of knowledge as a proof and without valid proof rule it to be Haraam.

May Allaah Ta’ala guide us and all Muslims
Verily He guides to straight path
and may peace and salutation descend upon His Rasul

Muhammed Abdus Salaam Chaatgaamie
Darul Iftaa
Jaamiatul Uloomil Islaamia
Allaamah Benori town
Karachi
12 Safar 1406 A.H

Attestation of other Ulama

Darul Iftaa, Jaamiatul Uloomil Islaamia, Allaamah Benori town Karachi

1) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Nizaamudien Sahib

2) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Walie Darwesh Sahib

3) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abu Bakr Saeedur Rahmaan Sahib:

“Just as it is proven from old and new research that prawns are a fish, there is no doubt that it is Halaal.”

4) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed In’aamul Haq Sahib

5) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Shafeeq Sahib

6) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Abdul Qaadir Sahib

7) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Shahaabudeen Sahib

Attestation of the Ulama of Bangladesh
Ulama of Dhaka

1) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Mansoorul Haqq Sahib

2) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Shamsul Haqq Sahib

3) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abu Saeed Sahib

4) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Faidhulaah Ibraheemi Sahib

5) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Fadhlul Haqq Sahib

6) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Saadiq Sahib

Attestation

Ulama of Darul Uloom Mu’eenul Islaam Hatehzaari Chaatgaam Bangladesh

1) Hadhrat Moulana Ahmed Shafee’ Sahib:

“When it is proven from the Quraan, Hadeeth, opinions of the Fuqahaa and experts in this field that prawns are a fish, what room is there to doubt its permissibility.”

2) Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Azeez Sahib

3) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Ahmedul Haqq Sahib

4) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Noor Ahmed Sahib

5) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Kifayatullaah Sahib

6) Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Muhammed Jaseemudeen Sahib:

“When all the experts on marine life as well as those who reside at the ocean say it is a fish and even mention it to be the most delicious of all fish, as is the opinion of experts in this field in the African countries, Hijaaz, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, then to state it is not a fish based upon European research will be completely incorrect according to the principles of Fiqh. To have any doubts or misgivings is also of no benefit.”

7) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Qaasim Sahib

8) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Qaasim Sahib

9) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Sulaimaan Sahib

10) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Haroon Sahib

Attestation from the Darul Iftaa of Jaamiatul Islaamia Ubaidia
Nanupur Sheetaghoon’a Bangladesh

Respected Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib (D.B)

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركته

Your esteemed letter has reached me and I have had the good fortune of reading it as well. Through the grace of Allaah I am in good health as well as the rest of the faculty in the Jaamia. I hope that you are in good health too. My ruling regarding prawns is the same as the conclusion that you derived at in your treatise. May Allaah reward you abundantly on behalf of all the believers. May Allaah make this treatise a means of removing all misgivings from those who have erred in this regard.

As a means of further explanation or rather to corroborate what you have said, this unworthy servant wishes to add on to what you have said.

Prawns are a fish in accordance with the Ijmaa (consensus) of the four illustrious Fuqahaa and in fact the entire Ummat. The reason for this is that according to three of these Fuqahaa (Imaam Maalik, Imaam Shaafie and Imaam Ahmed) all sea creatures are Halaal, thus according to them prawns are Halaal as well, and since all experts in this field and scholars of diction declare that prawns are a fish, the Aimah of the Hanafi school of thought are in agreement that it is also Halaal as according to them al fish are Halaal (with the exception of those fish that have died of natural causes).

كما في ذبائح اعلاءالسنن وبالجملة فكل ما كان من جنس السمك لفة و عرفا فهو حلال بلا خلافا كالسقنقور و الروبيان

“Whatever is of the fish species, unreservedly or conventionally, is Halaal with no difference of opinion, such as eel and prawns.”

It is incorrect to stipulate characteristics of a fish using Qiyaas (deduction) to differentiate between them, thus excluding some and ruling it as Haraam.

فان الاصل مسلم ان العرف قاض علي القياس

“The accepted principle is that conventional opinion overrules Qiyaas.”

In addition in order to prove anything as Haraam concrete evidence is required, as is mentioned in Kitaabut Tahaarah of ‘Raddul Muhtaar’. So how is it possible to rule it as Haraam when weak evidence does not even exist? Furthermore how can it be declared Haraam when proven to be a fish, as when it is not regarded as a fish there is still difference of opinion amongst the Fuqahaa?

Moreover according to the Hanafi school of thought everything is regarded as permissible until proven otherwise, as mentioned in ‘Raddul Muhtaar’. Then how is it possible to declare it as Haraam from the verse “The impure things have been made Haraam upon them”, when there is a difference of opinion amongst the Ulama in the explanation of “impure things”. Nevertheless it is not mentioned any Tafseer of the Quraan, whether concrete or weak, that this refers to prawns.

To say it resembles a worm or flea and is therefore Haraam is also a baseless claim because two things resembling each other does not mean that they are the same in reality, just as the eel is unanimously considered Halaal despite it resembling a snake.

كما في اعلاء السنن الجريث نوع من السمك يشبه الحيات

“Eel is a type of fish that resembles a snake.”

And Allaah knows best

Saeed Ahmed
Darul Iftaa
Jaamiatul Islaamia Ubaydia
Nanupur Sheetaghoon
Bangladesh
19 / 03/ 1411 A.H

1) Hadhrat Moulana Sultaan Ahmed Sahib

2) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Sulaimaan Sahib

3) Hadhrat Moulana Dhameerudeen Sahib

4) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Haroon Sahib

5) Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Shamsul Haqq Sahib

The opinion of Hadhrat Allaamah Sayyid Muhammed Yusuf Benori (A.R) and Hadhrat Moulana Shah Abdul Azeez Raaipuri (A.R)

Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Yusuf Benori عليه الرحمة relates that on one occasion when Hadhrat Moulana Shah Abdul Azeez Raaipuri عليه الرحمة came to Karachi one of his disciples specially invited both these illustrious personalities. The disciples of Hadhrat Raaipuri, Hadhrat Moulana Yusuf Benori عليه الرحمة and the present principal of the Jaamia, Hadhrat Moulana Habeebullaah Mukhtaar (D.B) were present. Prawn Biryaani was served for meals. When the meals were served a few of the disciples turned towards Hadhrat Raaipuri عليه الرحمة and Hadhrat Benori عليه الرحمة and asked, “Hadhrat some Ulama say that prawns are Haraam. What is the ruling?” Hadhrat Raaipuri عليه الرحمة gave no verbal reply but simply began offering the other guests the prawns to eat. Hadhrat Benori عليه الرحمة on the other hand replied, “According to me prawns are a type of fish and is Halaal and permissible to eat.” All went silent and in this silence all partook of the meal.

There is no equal to Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Yusuf Benori عليه الرحمة in piety, Taqwa and knowledge in this era. In fact even in a few decades we are unlikely to find his equal. Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Azeez Raaipuri عليه الرحمة is the esteemed student of Hadhrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmed Saharanpuri عليه الرحمة and the successor of Hadhrat Shah Abdul Qaadir Raaipuri عليه الرحمة. Both these illustrious personalities did not only understand prawns to be Halaal but would consume it as well. Who will have the courage to stand against these two mountains of knowledge and still claim that prawns are Haraam?

So ponder intelligent one’s

Muhammed Abdus Salaam
7 Sha’abaan 1414 A.H

The opinion of Hadhrat Moulana Muhammed Ishaaq Sahib

Sheikhul Hadeeth of Jaamia Arabia Islaamia Azeezul Uloom
Babuhagahar Chaatgaam Bangladesh

We praise Allaah and send salutations upon His Nabi.

The research made by Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib (D.B) is entirely correct in my opinion. However I still feel that light needs to be shed on a few more aspects so that the entire matter can be understood correctly.

1) The definition of Haraam and Makruh: – Haraam (unlawful) is that which has been proven to be unlawful by concrete unambiguous proof.

Makruh Tahreemi is that which has been proven to be unlawful by weaker proof.

2) The reality of fish and its definition: – As far as the research of this unworthy one goes, I have still not found a proper definition or any characteristics of a fish mentioned in the books of the Fuqahaa or scholars of Hadeeth, by which we will be able to differentiate between the various creatures of the sea. However it is written in ‘I’laaus Sunan’,

كما في ذبائح اعلاءالسنن وبالجملة فكل ما كان من جنس السمك لفة و عرفا فهو حلال بلا خلافا كالسقنقور و الروبيان

“Whatever is of the fish species, unreservedly or conventionally, is Halaal with no difference of opinion, such as Eel and prawns.” (‘v 18 p 158)

3) The ruling regarding the creatures of the sea is lenient in all of the Mathaahib (schools of thought) such that with the exception certain sea creatures like sea-humans, sea-pig, alligator and snakes, they regard all creatures of the sea as Halaal (lawful). According to the clarification of Imaam Nawawi عليه الرحمة the correct opinion of Imaam Shaafie عليه الرحمة is that all creatures of the sea are Halaal with the exception frogs. The sternest of all four Mathaahib (schools of thought) is the Hanafi, which states that only fish are Halaal and not the other creatures. However it should be borne in mind that they too have ruled that all types of fish are Halaal (lawful).

When there is no evidence to prove that prawns are not a type of fish, when on the contrary all reliable dictionaries classify it to be a fish, then to rule it not a fish and say it is Haraam or Makruh would result in belittling the research of a large number of recognised scholars. There can be no greater form of impudence and carelessness then this. It is stated in ‘Fatawa Shaamie’,

اذا استفتيت عما فيه تحريم و تحليل: – فلا تعجل في فتياك اخطار و اهوال هذا والله اعلم بالصواب

Note: – It is has been stated in ‘Dars Tirmidhi’ (volume 1 page 284-283) that only Allaamah Dameeri in ‘Hayaatul Haywaan’ has classified it as a fish and his ruling is not accepted as he was not an expert in this field. It is uncertain then why it is not proven to be a fish by the numerous other references which Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam quoted, wherein it is stated that “Prawns are a type of fish that resembles a worm.” If it is not then what type of dictionaries are these that cannot even establish the true meaning of a word? What reliance can be placed on these dictionaries then? Is it not proven from these books that according to the definition of the Arabs prawns of a fish? Will the opinions of a few who classify it not to be a fish overrule what has been stated in the dictionary? An esteemed Imaam of Arabic diction and vocabulary such as Allaamah Jaahiz عليه الرحمة classifies it as a fish in ‘Kitaabul Haywaan’ (page 102 volume 4),

“Certain types of fish such as prawns…”

“Every creature which swims is not a fish even if it resembles a fish in many aspects such as sea dog… (Allaamah then listed a number of other sea creatures which are fish but did not include prawns in that list but instead has mentioned what we have said previously.)”

In ‘Bustaanul Mufradaat’, which is a recognised book on medical science, written by the renowned Hakeem Muhammed Abdul Hakeem bin Ustaadul Hukamaa Moulana Hakeem Kaathim Ali (Lakhnawi) and contains tributes of many other giants in this field it is written

Prawn fish: – (Faarsi) Maahi, Rubayaan
(Arabic) Rubayaan
It is Halaal and eaten extensively.

“من علم حجة علي من لم يعلم”

Those who have knowledge are a proof against those who do not have knowledge.

This is the reason why those who know that prawns are a fish and rule it to be Halaal (lawful) without any form of reservation are a proof against those who regard it to be Haraam (unlawful) and remain in doubt as to its permissibility or impermissibility.

Prawns being regarded as a fish is not something new but instead has been regarded as such for many centuries. Will one now rule it to be Haraam because unsubstantiated or speculative evidence presented today.

As far as the opinions of other experts in biology are concerned: whose definition of fish is based upon their own experience and personal opinions, many creatures which adherents of the Hanafi school of thought do not regard as a fish will meet the criteria of a fish as defined by them. Will it then be permissible for them to consume such fish as Sea dog, sea pig and sea human? Based upon their definition will they rule these creatures to be Halaal? We will once again quote the text of Jaahiz,

“Every creature which swims is not a fish even if it resembles a fish in many aspects such as sea dog… (Allaamah then listed a number of other sea creatures which are fish but did not include prawns in that list but instead has mentioned what we have said previously.)”

Now is it possible to say that the definition of a fish is that it has vertebrae and breathes through its gills, which would include those creatures that are not a fish as well? This is a definition based upon their own opinions.

As far as the opinion of Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi عليه الرحمة is concerned, it has been quoted out of context by the author of ‘Dars Tirmidhi’, who stated that the author of ‘Hayaatul Haywaan’ was not an expert on biology. Refutation of this presumption can be found in the Fatwa of Moulana Thanwi عليه الرحمة; “The author of ‘Hayaatul Haywaan’ discusses the characteristics of animals and there is no reason to regard him as unreliable.” Hadhrat Moulana has said that he discusses the characteristics of animals and not that he was an expert in biology. This strengthens the rationale behind which Hadhrat Moulana ruled his opinion to be credible and refutes the presumption of the author of ‘Dars Tirmidhi’ that he was not an expert in biology. Vague defamation holds no weight against clear veneration. Knowledge is a proof against ignorance and not ignorance against knowledge.

The second proof which Hadhrat Moulana Thanwi عليه الرحمة cited was the opinion of the author ‘Makhzan’ stating it was a fish and Halaal to consume. This was the opinion of an expert in biology. Now is it possible to say that this substantiated claim can be refuted by the unfounded views of the author of ‘Dars Tirmidhi’? It is possible for one to have reservations. However Hadhrat Moulana Thanwi عليه الرحمة stated, “I now have complete conviction that it is a fish.” Whoever wishes, may study his fatwa for himself.

The author of ‘Dars Tirmidhi’ also stated that it is not regarded as a fish conventionally, this too is without basis. It is uncertain upon which populace this deduction has been made. In order to differentiate between a fish and non-fish the stance of those residing in a place where fish is primarily found is considered. The opinion of the population of Karachi and India is not valid. In our country (Bangladesh) where there is an abundance of fish and it is consumed extensively, if you were to send a person to buy fish and he returned with prawns then he will be regarded as having fulfilled the order to the letter, just as Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib has stated that some Arabs say,

” الذ الاسماك في الدنيا و اغلاها “

(Prawns) are the tastiest of the fish in this world and the most expensive.”

This is what is apparent to this weak one.

And Allaah knows best

Muhammed Ishaaq

(Sheikhul Hadeeth)
Jaamia Islaamia
Babunagar, Fatakchari
Chaatgaam

Fatwa from Darul Iftaa of Jaamia Islaamia Babunagar, Chaatgaam, Bangladesh

All praise belongs to Allaah, the Rabb of the universe. Peace and salutations upon the unlettered Nabi, leader of the Ambiyaa, Muhammad and upon his progeny and companions.

The distinguished scholar of this era, Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Shafee Sahib عليه الرحمة has adequately described the reality when saying,

“Islaam is an inherent and universal Deen-religion. Its laws are the same for the learned, ignorant, married and unmarried, male and female. Just as its laws apply to the Ulama, philosophers, academics, governors and kings so too does it apply to the villagers and nomads. It applies to those villages who do not possess modern day instruments nor are they able to use it. On the other hand it has been given consideration in various acts of worship so that likeness may be observed in Ibaadat (acts of worship) and in these places of worship, so that there be no differentiation between rich and poor and all those who recite the Kalimah may perform their Ibaadat in one manner at the same time.

“Mahmood and Ayyaaz have stood in the same row”

The same garments worn by all during Hajj, the standing and prayers at Minaa, Muzdalifah and Arafaat all in unison are a clear proof to this. This is the reason why the basis of all Ibaadaat, instructions and prohibitions have been made so simple that in every age, every country, every village, every Muslim may act the same. It is not such that the rich may simplify their Ibaadat by means of their wealth and modern day instruments while the poor continue in a different manner. The Ibaadat of Islaam was not based upon the ideologies of the ancient philosophers nor is it in need of modern day science and various new inventions and in fulfilling these devotions there is no need for any philosopher nor scientist. (‘Aalaat Jadeedah” page 172,173)

When the reality is that the basis of all aspects in Islaam is so simple and uncomplicated that it can be practiced upon in the same manner by all Muslims in every era, country or village then what was so special about this matter that the simple manner of Islaam had to be abandoned and the new modern sciences of modern day scientists adopted to pass a new ruling on the matter? How was a ruling passed based upon the principles of science?

It was a clear night on the twenty-ninth of Ramadaan with not a cloud in sight. The inhabitants of the town scanned the sky but did not see the new moon. However all astrologists in the city using modern sciences and machinery announced that the new moon was indeed born but the size of the crescent was so miniscule that it could not be seen with the eye. Will you now pass the ruling that the moon has been sighted and signal the end of Ramadaan? No! Never! You will announce publicly that Rasulullaah  has based this decision simply on the sighting of the moon. It is a simple rule which can be acted upon by all in every place with complete ease. At the same time you will inform them that these scientific calculations are not one hundred per-cent certain as well, as daily weather predictions prove.

The husband is present and the wife still in his Nikaah, during which a child is born to them. Science and DNA testing asserts that this is not the child of the husband but of some other man. Will you now rely on the findings of these scientists and rule this to be an illegitimate child? No! Never! Instead relying on the Islaamic principle that any child born whilst in Nikaah will be attributed to the husband, you will decree this child to be the legitimate child of the husband. In fact you will also order those who call this child illegitimate to be given the Islaamic punishment for slander. There are many other examples of this sort wherein the ruling was based upon a simple Islaamic principle and all other scientific and technical research was discarded.

If this is the case in all other matters then why when it comes to the matter of whether a prawn is a fish or not then the ruling is based upon scientific principles? Allaah Ta’ala says in the Noble Quraan,
“Permitted for you (whether you are in the state of Ihraam or not) is the prey of the sea (fish).” There is Ijmaa (consensus) that this verse refers to fish. It is mentioned in ‘Shaamie’,

“هو الطهور ماءه والحل ميتته” – المراد منه السمك كاية “احل لكم صيد البحر” لان السمك مراد بالاجماع

“Its waster is pure and its dead (creatures) are Halaal.” – This refers to fish just as the verse, “Permitted for you (whether you are in the state of Ihraam or not) is the prey of the sea (fish)” as fish is implied their by Ijmaa (consensus).”

According to the Quraan and Hadeeth it is clear that fish is Halaal. Now the question arises as to what is a fish exactly? What does it refer to? Just as we interpret the other words of the Quraan and Hadeeth by looking at its meaning in the dictionary as well as its conventional usage, so too we will solve this matter. Nothing can be found in Aathaar so we seek aid from the dictionary and its usage in common language. The dictionary says,

السمك : حيوان مائي و هو انواع كثيرة, لكل نوع اسم خاصة يميزه

Fish: – a creature that lives in water and consists of many species, each of them with a name that differentiates them from the rest.” (‘Mu’ajamul Waseeth’)

This same definition can be found in nearly all dictionaries and no dictionary specified any particular criteria with which a one fish can be differentiated from the next. The reason for this is that it is commonly known what species of aquatic life are regarded as fish and which are not. However the dictionary did aid us by mentioning that there are various types of fish, and prawns are one of these types as all dictionaries agree.

This is the reason why Hadhrat Moulana Zafar Ahmed Thanwi عليه الرحمة in his treasury of Hadeeth, ‘I’elaaus Sunan’ writes,

كما في ذبائح اعلاءالسنن وبالجملة فكل ما كان من جنس السمك لفة و عرفا فهو حلال بلا خلافا كالسقنقور و الروبيان

“Whatever is of the fish species, unreservedly or conventionally, is Halaal with no difference of opinion, such as Eel and prawns.” (‘v 18 p 158)

It is also for this very reason that through the centuries to this very day, no scholar has attempted to change this simple principle using modern research to differentiate between various types of fish. However they have said this much,

All types of fish are Halaal, such as eel and the ruling for other creatures like it is the same. According to us (Hanafi school of thought) only fish can be eaten from the aquatic creatures. (‘Mabsooth’ v 1 p248)

According to the dictionary and common usage the words of the Quraan and Hadeeth such as this word ‘سمك’ (fish) will be interpreted using this simple principle. If the new research of every age is used as the governing principle in this matter then the principles of Shari’ah will be destroyed. Based upon this we cannot base a Shar’ie ruling on ever changing scientific findings. Therefore whether or not prawns are a fish will be determined using the simple principles of Shari’ah.

Whatever has been said above will only apply if one accepts every scientific finding as accurate. How can we be sure that each of their findings are correct and then use it as the final verdict in our discussion? It is ridiculous to claim that all their findings are correct and therefore their findings should be the final verdict in this discussion. As opinions of this sort are obtained in two manners, one is by overhearing or being told when asking and the other is by studying their research and findings in detail, of which only the second is accepted. When we study the books and research of experts in this field we find that the differentiating characteristics by which they distinguish various animals is based upon principles formulated by them by which they are able to categorise into one of three groups. Of these three groups one is fish. After great difference of opinion they have tried arduously to make this their final decision. This is their own definition and classification. Can this classification be used to determine an old Shar’ie law? No! Therefore this new research about prawns will not be accepted.

Those senior Ulama (may Allaah be pleased with them) who previously ruled that prawns were Haraam, did so either because they were not acquainted with all the types of fish or could not obtain clarification from those who were acquainted with it. As a result as they doubted whether this was a fish or actually a worm, as was the case with the eel which prompted the earlier scholars to clarify the matter. Consequently the Fatawa of some of our senior Ulama cannot be relied upon in this regard.

Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib may Allaah reward him abundantly in both worlds, because of the conflict that has arisen in some areas regarding this matter has made a detailed and successful effort in this direction. He has explained this matter in a simple yet substantiated manner, which had been required for some time now. We hope our Ulama will ponder over his findings and in the future abstain from decreeing what is Halaal to be Haraam.

Mahmood Hasan–Darul Iftaa
Jaamia Islaamia
Babunagar, Chaatgaam
Bangladesh
The research of Hadhrat Moulana Junaid Al-Babunaghari

Ustaad at Jaamia Azeezul Uloom Babunagar Sheetaghonagh Bangladesh

The first proof which those who say that prawns is Haraam cite is that it is not a type of fish and all those aquatic creatures that are not fish are Haraam, thus prawns are Haraam. We accept the major proposition that all other creatures besides fish are Haraam but we do not accept the minor that prawns are not a fish (and therefore Haraam), therefore their conclusion will be incorrect and prawns will be Halaal. The reason for this is that in a syllogism both the major and the minor propositions must be correct, which is not found here. We do not accept the minor proposition (that prawns are not a fish) because many Ulama of diction and scholars of vocabulary have clearly stated that it is a fish, just as Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib Chaatgaamie has mentioned in the following treatise.

In addition prawns are also commonly regarded as a fish. Prawns are imported and exported from country to country as a fish and when conventional usage does not contradict the Quraan or Hadeeth then it is accepted in Shari’ah. It is written in ‘Ashbaah wan Nadhaair’ (page 116),

All types of fish are Halaal, such as eel and the ruling for other creatures like it is the same. According to us (Hanafi school of thought) only fish can be eaten from the aquatic creatures. (‘Mabsooth’ v 1 p248)

This is the reason why, amongst many other Ulama, Hadhrat Abdul Hayy Lakhnawi عليه الرحمة also clearly stated that prawns are Halaal. He writes, “And prawns which are known as ‘Irbayaan’ in Arabic is said to be Halaal, as is supported by ‘Sihaah’, etc. The reason being that it is a type of fish and all types of fish are Halaal. Those who have ruled it to be Haraam do not regard it to be a fish, whereas in reality it is a fish. (‘Majmooa Fatawa’ page 366)

May Allaah Ta’ala reward Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib abundantly, who completed this task in a detailed and researched fashion, leaving no room for any doubt thereafter. In this manner he has saved the Muslim Ummat from great division and disagreement.

It should be borne in mind that many illustrious Ulama have written that prawns are Haraam or Makruh, we honour and revere them and hold their research in high esteem, but based upon the evidence at hand we disagree with them in their conclusion. Differing in opinion based upon proof is the practice and manner of the senior Ulama, even if the difference be with them. If this was incorrect then it would be incorrect to adopt the Madhab of Imaam Maalik عليه الرحمة instead of Imaam Abu Hanifah عليه الرحمة, Imaam Shaafie عليه الرحمة instead of Imaam Maalik عليه الرحمة and Imaam Ahmed عليه الرحمة instead of Imaam Shaafie عليه الرحمة. They were all Imaams of Haqq and rightly guided and it is in these sorts of differences that we follow them.

May peace and blessings descend upon Muhammed , his progeny, and companions.

And Allaah knows best

Muhammed Junaid
Babunagar
Chaatgaam
Bangladesh
17 Rabiul Awwal 1411

Attestation from Darul Uloom Deoband

1) Mufti Nizaamudien Sahib عليه الرحمة:

This research is correct, the ruling of which should not be doubted. Taqwa is of his own accord.

2) Mufti Kafeelur Rahmaan Sahib

3) Mufti Muhammed Thafeerudeen Sahib:

The respected Mufti Sahib needs to be congratulated on removing all doubts. Prawns are a fish and has always been consumed in the east.

In actual fact those who reside where there is no river or ocean, or few types of fish are the ones who are in doubt. This treatise will, Allaah-willing, remove all doubts and reservations.

Translation edited by
A.H.Elias (Mufti)
May Allaah be with him
26th Rabi Awaal 1433
2nd February 2012

About the book

The author, Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Abdus Salaam Sahib has made a detailed and meticulous research into this subject. He has explained the permissibility of consuming prawns in a simple yet convincing manner, which will leave the reader with no doubts as to its Halaal status.

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