What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: what does Islam say about eating prawns, crabs and shellfish?
Questioner: Zubaydah from UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
It is haram (prohibited) to consume anything other than fish from the creatures that live in water. The fish that die naturally and float on water are also haram for consumption. Consuming crabs and shellfish is also haram. There is a difference of opinion on whether or not prawns are included among fish. Thus, there is also a difference concerning its lawfulness and prohibition. The correct opinion is that prawns are included among fish and consuming them is lawful. However, it is better to abstain from it. This faqir (poor slave) has never consumed prawns nor intends to do so in the future.
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states regarding fish that float upon water, “Fish are lawful, be they dry or wet, except for those that die naturally and float upon water. It is mentioned in Alamgiriyyah:
السمک یحل اکلہ الاماطفا منہ
‘Fish are lawful for consumption except for those that die and float upon water.’”
[Fatawa Hindiyyah, vol. 5, pg. 289, Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 20, pg. 333]
Crabs and shellfish are aquatic creatures. According to the Hanafi school, all aquatic creatures other than fish are haram. Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states, “In our (Hanafi) school, all aquatic creatures except fish are absolutely haram.”
[Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 20, pg. 337]
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) considered prawns to be included among fish but also stated that it is better to abstain from it. He states in Fatawa Ridawiyyah, “Those who do not consider prawns to be fish deem it to be haram. This faqir consulted lexicons, medical and zoological works, and found that there is unanimity on prawns being fish. It is stated in al-Qamus:
الاربیان بالکسر سمک کالدود
‘Prawns are fish that resemble insects.’”
[al-Qamus al-Muhit, vol. 4, pg. 235, Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 20, pg. 337]
He also states, “Those who consider prawns to be a type of fish deem it to be lawful. All types of fish are lawful according to us (Hanafis). Those who consider prawns to be other than fish deem it to be haram. According to us, all aquatic creatures other than fish are haram. In such issues, abstaining is better.”
[Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 20, pg. 339]
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath Team
Read the original Urdu answer here – [Q-ID0354] Are Prawns, Crabs & Shellfish halal to eat?