Are prawns Haram or Makruh in the Hanafi Madhab?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

Prawns are prohibited in the Hanafi Madhab. Is the prohibition Haram or Makruh? Both have been mentioned in authoritative Hanafi books. Therefore, one can refer to prawns as Haram or Makruh. There is very little difference between Haram and Makruh Tahreemi, when it comes to prohibition.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: أُحِلَّتْ لَنَا مَيْتَتَانِ: الْحُوتُ، وَالْجَرَادُ

(Sayidina) Abdullah Ibn Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with them both) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Two types of animals which have died a natural death have been permitted to us, fish and locust.’ (Sunan Ibn Maja 3218, Hasan Lighayrihi).

There is no doubt that consuming prawns is prohibited in the Hanafi Madhab. Since the Hanafi scholars concluded from the relevant verses of Quran and Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ that only fish is permitted when it comes to marine life.

However, the statements of authoritative scholars differ when it comes to the type of prohibition. Is it Haram or Makruh? This issue is not unique to this Masalah. The difference between Haram and Makruh Tahreemi is subtle when it comes to prohibition. Haram is a slightly more emphatic prohibition than Makruh Tahreemi. However both a prohibited and one is sinful in both cases.

Due to the minimal  difference between Makruh Tahreemi and Haram, we find the Hanafi scholars using the terms somewhat interchangeably. Regarding the issue at hand Imam al-Ayni has referred to it as Haram and Makruh Tahreemi in the same book.

{وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ} [الأعراف: 157]، وما سوى السمك خبيث) ش:؛ لأن الخبيث ما يستخبثه الطبع السليم، وما سوى السمك يستخبثه الطبع السليم فيحرم. (البناية شرح الهداية).

And He has prohibited upon them that which is repugnant. (Surah al-Araf, 157). And everything other than fish is repugnant. This is because anything a person of sound nature considers repugnant is indeed repugnant. And everything other than fish is considered repugnant by a person of sound nature, therefore it is Haram. (Imam Badr al-Din al-Ayni, al-Binayah Sharh al-Hidaayah).

وقال شيخ الإسلام خواهر زاده: ويكره أكل ما سوى السمك من دواب البحر عندنا كالسرطان، والسلحفاة، والضفدع. (البناية شرح الهداية).

And Shaykh al-Islam Khawahir Zadah said, and with us it is Makruh to consume anything other than fish (Samak) from the animals of the sea, like crab, turtle and frog. (Imam Badr al-Din al-Ayni, al-Binayah Sharh al-Hidaayah).

As seen above it is fine to refer to prawns as being Haram or Makruh. However it is more appropriate to refer to them as Haram, especially when addressing people who have not studied Fiqh. This is because such people misunderstand the term Makruh. They assume that Makruh is always used for something that is best avoided but not sinful (Makruh Tanzeehi). Therefore they take it lightly. Whereas the reality is that Makruh Tahreemi is almost the same as Haram and thus cannot be taken lightly.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid

See also:

Is eel Halal in the Hanafi Madhab?

Is crab or lobster Halal in the Hanafi Madhab?

Is frog halal?

Are prawns Halal in the Hanafi Madhab?

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