What do the learned Ulama-e-Deen and the Mufti’s of Islam decree in the issue of Jhinga (shrimp / prawn). Is it permissible to eat it or not? Or is it Makhrooh or Haraam? Please forward a reply with signature and Official seal.
The Answer: In our Madhab (Hanafi), with the exception of fish, all the other (sea) creatures are regarded as Haraam (not permissible for consumption). Thus, those few who say that the jhinga (shrimp) is not a fish, according to them; it should be regarded as haraam. This humble servant has however, researched this thoroughly and has found that according to the Books of Language (Dictionary); Books of Tibb and the Books of information on animals, the jhinga is regarded a fish.
It is in Qaamoos: “Irbiyaan (shrimp) which is with the Hamza-e-Maksoora, is a fish, which in appearance is like a large ant.”
It is in Sihah and Taajul Uroos as follows: “Irbiyaan is a whitish fish which looks like a large ant and is usually found in Basra.”
It is in Siraah as follows: “Irbiyaan is a type of fish.”
It is in Muntahi ul Arab as follows: Irbiyaan is a type of fish which is known as jhinga in hindi
It is in Makhzan as follows: “It is known as Roobiyaan and Irbiyaan. It is called Roobiyaan Fish and Machli and Mek Machli and in Hindi it is called jhinga.”
It is in Tuhfatul Mo’mineen as follows, “In Farsi, Roobiyaan is the name of a Fish.”
It is in Tazkira-e-Dawood as follows: “Roobiyaan is a type of fish which is found a lot in the seas of Iraq and Qaam. It is like a reddish crab with lots of legs, but it has more flesh on it.”
It is in Hayaatul Haywaan Kubra as follows: Roobiyaan is slightly red and is a very small fish.
Now after examining all this, then according to Merajud Diraaya it should be Halaal since in the quotation of Merajud Diraaya it is clear that all species of fish are Halaal: “And Taafi is not a fixed species, but it is a description which every species is linked towards.”
It is clearly stated as follows in the Meraj (book as mentioned above), “Such a small fish in which the stomach can not be cut open and it is fried (or cooked) without removing the stomach, then with the exception of Imam Shafi’i it is Halaal according to all the A’ima. It is in Raddul Muhtar that it has been mentioned in Merajud Diraaya. If a fish is found in the stomach of a fish then it can be consumed, but according to Imam Shafi’i (radi Allahu anhu) it will not be eaten as it is regarded in the ruling of bird droppings and according to him, the droppings of the bird is regarded as napaak (impurity).”
We say that it is only regarded as droppings if it has changed its originality. As for those fish which are so small that their stomachs can not be cut open, then according to the Shafi’i Imams, it is not Halaal to consume, since they base this on the (same) ruling that (apply to) the droppings of the bird as being an impurity and according to the remainder of the Ulama, to consume such fish is halaal.
However, this faqeer (Aala Hazrat) has seen in Jawaahir that all such small fish are Makrooh-e-Tahreemi and this seems to be more correct. It is in Jawaahir as follows: “It has been mentioned that all very small fish are Makrooh-e-Tahreemi. This seems to be more correct. The jhinga (shrimp) looks a lot different from any other fish. It looks more like a worm and it must be noted that the term Maahi (fish) is also used for things which are not really from the fish species, such as a skink or a small limbed lizard, even though it is the young of an alligator and is born on the dry banks of the river Nile (commonly). There is no source according to our A’ima (Learned Leaders) that shows the shrimp to be lawful to consume and even if it is a fish, then the shrimps here are generally very small and the law will be as correctly mentioned in Jawaahir. Thus, it is better when faced with such difference of opinion and doubt to abstain if there is no necessity, and to abstain is Oola (better).
والله تعالٰی اعلم
كتبه عبده المذنب احمد رضا عفى عنه
بمحمّد ن المصطفى صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم
First Note: It is the manner of the learned scholars to end their decrees with the words “And Allah Knows” which in Arabic will read as follows:
والله تعالٰی اعلم This will be used at the end of the decrees rather than the translation.
Second Note: The above mentioned Arabic text is one of the ways which Aala Hazrat (radi Allahu anhu) ended his decrees and this became one of his well recognised signatures, wherein he referred to himself as the servant of the religion, hopeful of salvation through his Master Muhammad (sall Allaho alaihi wasallam). This will not be translated in the rest of the book, but the actual Arabic text will be used to end the decrees.