Prawns in the hanafi madhab — Is the opinion it is makruh a valid mainstream opinion?

10 Jun 2019 Ref-No#: 1893

Assalamalaikum,

My question is in regard to the hanafi madhab, and prawns. Specifically prawns/shrimp and not lobster or crab or other such non-fish seafoods.

I understand that there are two main positions within the hanafi madhab, with some saying halal as it qualifies as samak and others saying it is haram as it is not a fish. Within the Bengali community I’ve found the vast majority consider prawns to be makruh. But online the only opinions/fatawa i see referred to state the two opinions of it being either halal or haram — with most considering it to be the former. There is no mention or opinion of it being makruh.

I want to know if there’s an actual valid hanafi opinion that prawns are makruh or if this is just what laity have consequently conferred upon prawn as a result of the two conflicting opinions and confusion.

I would appreciate if you could cite any historical evidences or scholarly opinions in regard to prawn being halal and not makruh as when I have told others that there is a hanafi opinion saying prawns are halal I was rejected for taking from “sheikh google” and told that the hanafi opinion has always been that prawns are makruh for centuries and to ignore the internet.

Apologies for the long query, i understand its a bit longwinded and specific. Many thanks in advance.

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

From your query we understand that you already aware on the basis of the differences regarding prawns. Those scholars who regard prawns as a fish rule that it is Halal, whilst those jurists that disclaim prawns to be a fish render consuming prawns as impermissible.

‘Allama Damiri (may Alllah be pleased with him) stated that prawns are fish. Based on this, Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (may Alllah be pleased with him) passed the verdict that prawns are Halaal. ( Imdaadul Fataawa, Vol.3 Pg.50). This was also the verdict of Mawlana ‘Abdul Hay Laknawi (may Allah be pleased with him), Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri and others.

On the other hand, Mawlana Raheed Ahmed Gangohi (may Allah be pleased with him) did not regard prawns to be fish, and hence he did not permit the consumption of prawns. (Fataawa Rashidiyya, Vol.2 Pg.122). Mawlana Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri Rahmatullahi ‘Alaihi held the same opinion as this. (Tazkiratul Khaleel, Pg.200).

Faqihul Ummat Mufti Mahmoodul Hasan (may Allah be pleased with him) mentions that it is better to abstain from prawns because both type of verdicts have been transmitted from our pious predecessors. ( Fataawa Mahmoodiyya, Vol.5 Pg.107 & 123).

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said:

دع ما يريبك الى ما لا يريبك

“Abstain from that which puts you in doubt, for that which does not put you in doubt.”

If any person prefers to eat prawns, he cannot be prohibited, since there are many  senior Hanafi scholars of the past (and present) who regarded prawns as Halal. There is no use arguing about this, and whichever opinion a person takes, his opinion should be respected.