In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu `alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
There is a difference of opinion pertaining to the permissibility of prawns. One group of Ulama hold the view that it is permissible while another group believe it is not permissible.
The reason for the difference stems from the categorization of prawns. Those who hold the view of the permissibility of prawns believe that prawns are fish. Others believes that prawns are not fish.
Amongst the Ulama who believe that prawns are fish are
a)Hazrath Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi
b)Hazrath Mufti Abdur Raheem Lajpuri rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi
c)Hazrath Mufti Mohammad Abdus Salaam Chatgami rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi
Those Ulama who have not regarded prawns to be fish are
a)Hazrath Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi
b)Hazrath Maulana Khaleel Ahmed Saharanpuri rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi
c)Hazrath Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Ludyanwi rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi
When analyzing the basis of the different views, one finds disagreement on what constitutes the valid shar’ee measure upon which we could base the classification of prawns. Those that regard prawns as impermissible believe that the valid grounds would be the classification of the scientists.
Hazrath Mufti Rasheed Ahmed Ludyanwi(ra) in Ahsanul Fatāwā mentions that there are three features in fish.
1) Spine 2) Gill 3) Fins
These features are not found in prawns, hence prawns are not fish.
Hazrath Mufti Abdur Raheem Lajpuri rahmatullāhi ῾alaihi states that prawns have been referred to as fish. Hereunder are some references;
1) الروبيان (جهينكا) هو السمك صغير جداً (حيوة الحيوان 1/460)
2) الاربيان بالكسر سمك كالدود (قاموس المحيط 4/332)
3) (و الاربيان بالكسر سمك كالدود) و في الصحاح بيض من السمك كالدوديكون بالبصرة فصل الراء من باب الواو و الياء (صحاح مع تاج العروس عربي 10/143) امام بغوي و السيد مرتضى الزبيدي
Hazrath Ml Ashraf Ali Thanwi (ra) says “there are no specific features of a samak(proven through valid evidence) in the absence of which, would discount it from being classified as a samak.”
There are two reliable opinions with respect to the issue of prawns. Taqwā would demand that a person refrains from eating prawns, though there is leeway in consuming it.
And Allah knows best.
Ali bin Cassim
Student Darul Iftaa
Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Checked and Approved by,
Muftī Ebrahim Desai
35 Candella Rd, Durban, South Africa
T : 031-207-5772 F: 086-692-7275