Is it halal to eat live shrimp?

The fiqh of allowed and forbidden animals

The fiqh of allowed and forbidden animals

[Translator's Note: The article translated below provides an answer Muftī Muḥammad b. Adams to the question: "Which animals are allowed for consumption according to the Hanafi school?". The translator's attention was drawn to this article because he was looking for fatāwa regarding the consumption of "newworldly animals" and came across many questionable fatāwa. There are seldom differentiated fatāwa that the reader can understand. The translator hopes that the following article will fill this gap.]

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Gracious,

Islam is a religion of mercy and compassion. He commands and forbids only what is in the best interests of the human being. The human mind may not be able to understand the logic behind each direction because it is limited and constrained. He may not understand why a certain judgment is made accordingly, but our Creator - the Merciful and All-Knowing - is best in deciding what is beneficial or harmful to us.

Almighty God blessed humanity with his beloved Messenger ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam as light and bringer of light. The holy law [šarīʿah] of Islam, with which the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam came from God made a distinction between the living and dead animal. Dead or dead animals became forbidden [ḥarām] explained. Certain animals that are harmful to human welfare have also been banned, such as pigs, dogs, cats and predators. As a result, the animals that Shari'a has prohibited consumption are forbidden because of the fact that they harm humans if we eat them, whether we acknowledge and understand it or not.

Below are the basic principles of permission or prohibition with regard to the consumption of animals according to the Hanafi school of law, as they are mentioned in the classic books of Hanafi Fiqh.

[Taken from: al-Fatāwa al-Hindiyya, 5 / 289-291, Badāʾiʿu aṣ-Ṣanāʾiʿ, 5 / 35-39 and Radd al-Muḫtār, 304-308.]

1. Animals that are explicitly and clearly forbidden in the Koran or Sunna are undoubtedly forbidden. For example pigs, donkeys, etc.

2. Animals born or living in the water are all prohibited except fish. All types of fish are allowed, with the exception of those that perish naturally in the water without any outside influence. However, if a fish dies due to an external influence, such as cold, heat, or because it is thrown against the coast by the surf and hits a stone or the like, it would be allowed.

The most high God says:

"You are forbidden [to enjoy] dead things, blood, pork [...]" [Sūrat al-Māʾidah, 5: 3]

In the above verse, Almighty God forbade the flesh of all dead animals without making a distinction between aquatic and land creatures. For this reason, all aquatic animals are included in this general ban. Fish, however, was exempted from this general rule as the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam explicitly mentioned his permission.

Sayyidunā ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar - may God be pleased with him - reports that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam said, "Two kinds of dead meat and two kinds of blood were allowed you for consumption: the dead meats are: fish and locusts, and the two kinds of blood are: liver and spleen." [Sunan Abū Dāwūd, Muṣnad Aḥmad, and Sunan Ibn Māǧah.]

In addition, nowhere in the hadith literature is it mentioned that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam or his companions had ever consumed the meat of aquatic animals other than fish, if consumption were permitted it would have been eaten at least once to show permission. [Dars Tirmiḏī, 1/280]

As for the fish that dies in the water without any external cause, Sayyidunā Ǧābir b reports. ʿAbd Allaah - may God be well pleased with him - that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam said: "What the sea throws out and is left behind by the tides [or: the waves], you may eat, but what dies and drifts in the sea do not eat!" [Sunan Abū Dāwūd, no. 3809, Sunan Ibn Māǧah]

Sayyidunā ʿĀlī - may God be well pleased with him - forbade the sale of naturally perished fish in the markets. [Badāʾiʿu aṣ-Ṣanāʾiʿ, 5/36 and al-Iḫtiyār.]

In the light of the above, all aquatic animals except fish are prohibited. Even if it has not been slaughtered according to Sharia law, it is legal to eat fish. However, if a fish dies naturally, without any external influence, and drifts on the surface of the water [samak ṭāfī], it is considered forbidden.

3. The third principle is that those land animals are forbidden which do not have blood in them. For example hornets, flies, spiders, beetles, scorpions etc. [1]

The most high God says:

"... He commands them what is right and forbids them what is reprehensible, he allows them the good [clean] things and forbids them the bad [unclean] [...] [Sūrat al-A :raf 7: 157]

For this reason, animals that do not carry blood, such as spiders or the like, are counted among what is considered "unclean", since a healthy person would consider their consumption to be abhorrent.

The only exception to this are the locusts, as the messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam clearly permitted their consumption, as is clear from the zitadīṯ already quoted, which is mentioned in the Sunan Abū Dāwūds and in the Muṣnad Aḥmads.

It is also narrated that Ibn Abī Awfā - may God be pleased with him - was asked about eating locusts and he replied: “I fought with the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam in six or seven battles, and we tended them [the locusts]. to eat with him. ”[Sunan Abū Dāwūd, no. 3806]

4. The fourth principle is that those land animals which have blood in them but whose blood does not flow are considered forbidden. For example snakes, various lizards, etc.

[These animals also have blood circulation, but differ biologically from the higher vertebrates in that they are cold-blooded, poikilothermal, which results in a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure. According to Prof. Dr. Abdurrahim Kozali is likely to understand this as follows: If higher vertebrates ["animals whose blood flows"] are slaughtered, the animal will bleed out within a short time after being slaughtered and a heartbeat is clearly perceptible. The blood of the above [poikilothermic] animals escapes to a much lesser extent during slaughter, and a heartbeat is usually barely perceptible. This may be the reason why the animals were classified in such a way in the classical works [mündl. Message]. [Note d. Ü.]]

5. The fifth principle is that all kinds of pests [ḥašarāt al-ʿarḍ] considered prohibited, such as mice, rats, etc.

The reason for their prohibition is the above verse from Sūrat al-ʿArāf, on the basis of which they are considered unclean [ḫabīṯ] be considered for consumption.

6. The sixth principle is that land animals, which have flowing blood [when slaughtered], live on grass and leaves, do not tear other animals [i.e. Land animals that are not predators] are considered permitted for consumption. Examples of this are camels, cattle, goats, buffalo, sheep, red deer, etc. However, within the Hanafi school there is a small difference of opinion regarding horse meat, we will come to this later. Donkeys are also exempt from this general rule, as their meat is considered forbidden for consumption.

God the Most High says:

"And (also) the cattle He created. In him you have warmth and benefit (of all kinds); and you eat from them." [Sūrat an-Naḥl, 16: 5]

“It is Allah Who has made cattle for you, so that you can (partly) ride on him; and you can eat (part of) from him. ”[Sūrat Ġāfir, 40:79]

In the two verses above, the most High God uses the term "Al-Anʿām" [Cattle], which, according to the consensus of all linguists, denotes land animals that are not predators [predators].

As for the consumption of horse meat, Imām Abū ūanīfa - may God be well pleased with him - regards its consumption as slightly frowned upon [makrūh tanzīhan] because of the honor of these animals and the fact that they are needed to fight. Imām Abū Yūsuf and Imām Muḥammad - may God be well pleased with them - consider consumption to be permitted [ḥalāl]. It is also narrated that Imām Abū Ḥanīfa [later] distanced himself from his opinion. Because of this, it is permissible to eat horse meat, although it is better to refrain from eating.

As for the flesh of donkeys and mules, God Almighty says:

  • "And (He created) the horses, the mules and the donkeys that you might ride on them, and (also) as ornaments. And He creates what you do not know." [Sūrat an-Naḥl, 16: 8]

So, as for non-carnivores, God mentioned that He created them for consumption [as we saw in previous verses]. However, as for donkeys and mules, he mentions them for riding and jewelry purposes [zīnah]. Had the consumption of these animals been permitted, the Almighty would surely have mentioned it.

In addition, Sayyidunā ʿAbd Alāh b. ʿUmar - may God be well pleased with him - that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam forbade the meat of donkeys on the day of the battle of Ḫaybar. [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Buḫārī No. 5202]

Sayyidunā Abū Ṯaʿlaba - may God be well satisfied with him - narrates that the messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam forbade the consumption of donkey meat. [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Buḫārī, No. 5205]

Sayyidunā Anas b. Mālik - may God be well pleased with him - narrates that a person should be sent by God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam came and said, "The donkeys were [slaughtered and] eaten." Another man came and said, "The donkeys were destroyed." ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam to proclaim a shout to the people: “Allaah and his Messenger forbid you the meat of donkeys because it is unclean!” and so the saucepans were tipped out while the [donkey] meat in them was boiling. [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Buḫārī, No. 5208]

Regarding the mules, Sayyidunā Ḫālid b. al-Walīd - may God be well pleased with him - that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam forbade the meat of horses, donkeys and mules. [Muṣnad Aḥmad, 4/89, Sunan Abū Dāwūd, no. 3790, Sunan Nasāʾī and Sunan Ibn Māǧa.]

The fuqahāʾ [legal scholars] tell us that the judgment of a mule depends on its mother. If the mother animal was a donkey, its meat is definitely forbidden. If the mother animal is a legal animal, such as a cattle, then it is completely legal; if the mother animal is a horse, the judgment regarding the meat of horses applies. [See: Radd al-Muḫtār]

7. The seventh principle is that all land-dwelling predators, i.e. animals that hunt with their catches, are considered forbidden, for example: tiger, tiger, leopard, wolf, fox, dog, cat, etc.

8. The eighth principle says that all birds of prey, i.e. those that hunt with their catches, are considered forbidden. For example, falcon, eagle, kite, buzzard, etc.

Proof of these two principles [the seventh and eighth] is the famous Ḥadīṯ of Sayyidunā ʿAbd Allah b. ʿAbbās - may God be well pleased with him - which says that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam the consumption of all animals with a catch is forbidden, and all birds which have catches. [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, No. 1934]

Because of this, all predators and birds of prey that hunt with their catch are consistently considered to be prohibited.

9. The ninth principle is that birds that do not hunt with their catches do not chase other animals, but instead feed on legumes and the like are considered permitted. For example chickens, ducks, sparrows, pigeons, etc.

Sayyidunā Abū Mūsā al-ʿAšʿarī - may God be well pleased with him - narrates: “I saw the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam to eat the meat of a chicken. ”[Ṣaḥīḥ al-Buḫārī, no. 5198]

10. The tenth principle says that if a permitted animal only ingests unclean things so that a bad smell develops in its meat or milk, it is frowned upon. Consuming his meat or his milk becomes so makrūh [frowned upon]. However, if the animal eats other things besides the unclean things, or if the food does not produce a bad smell in meat or milk, both meat and milk are absolutely permitted. [Radd al-Muḫtār, 6/340]

In al-Fatāwa al-Hindiyya it says:

"A chicken is only considered frowned upon if the majority of its feed is unclean, and this permeates the meat in a way that it gives off a foul odor." [See: Fatāwa al-Hindiyya, 5/189]

11. The final principle is that an animal, one parent of which is allowed and the other parent forbidden, is judged according to the mother animal.

a) If the mother animal is a permitted animal, its offspring is also permitted, such as a mule whose mother is a cattle.

b) However, if the mother is a prohibited animal, the offspring is also prohibited, such as a mule whose mother is a donkey.

The above points are eleven basic and general principles regarding the consumption of animals according to the Hanafi school of law. It should be noted that “allowed” in the related sense only means that these animals are allowed for consumption. For information on slaughtering or hunting these animals, see other articles or the books of Fiqh. If these regulations are disregarded, it can happen that the meat of an animal that is permitted in itself is forbidden [due to wrong slaughter].

In the light of the above principles, the following animals are allowed or prohibited according to the Hanafi school [both lists are incomplete]:

Animals whose meat is allowed:

Camel, goat, sheep, buffalo, red deer, hare, rabbit, cattle, wild ass [the ban on Ḥadīṯes only applies to domesticated donkeys], fish [all species, including shrimps, according to those who consider shrimps to be fish. Still others forbid the consumption of prawns because they are of the opinion that they are not considered fish.], Antelope, gazelle, duck, heron, nightingale, quail, parrot, grasshopper, partridge, lark, bunting, sparrow, goose, ostrich, pigeon , Stork, chicken, star, hoopoe, etc.

Animals whose meat is prohibited:

Wolf, hyena, cat, monkey, scorpion, leopard, tiger, cheetah, lion, bear, pig, croissant, hedgehog, snake, turtle, dog, crab, jackal, [domesticated] donkey, lizard, fox, crocodile, weasel, elephant [Radd al-Muḫtār, 6/306], falcon, buzzard, kite, bat, vulture, rat, all kinds of insects [except: locusts].

And Allah knows best,

[Muftī] Muhammad b. Adam al-Kawthari

Dār al-Iftāʾ

Leicester, UK

Translated by Matthias B. Schmidt

[1] All invertebrates, invertebrates, have no blood in the sense of the higher vertebrates, which is why the list could go on indefinitely. [Note d. Ü.]