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Rules on eating Sea Creatures: Shrimp and Prawns are Halal

Question 647: Salaam. Are prawns and shrimp same or different? Which one is halal? I want to know the rules on eating Sea Creatures and made sure if Shrimp and Prawns are Halal?

Answer 647: It is not permissible to eat from marine animals anything except fish that has scale; shrimp is considered from that category [of permissible sea animals]. But other than fish that does not have scale is forbidden.

No marine animal is halal, except fish that has scales, amongst which are prawns. As for other animals, other than fish, like carp as well as other kinds of fish that have no scales, it is not permissible to consume. [1]

When it comes to the general guidelines about halal and haram animal, there are many criteria and standards stated in the narrations of the Infallible Imams (a.s.); for instance, certain rules and guidelines have been explained for terrestrial animals, birds and aquatic animals. The criterion mentioned for halal aquatic animals is that they should have scales. It has reported[2] that Muhammad bin Muslim asked Imam Baqir (a.s.): “They bring us fish without scales (what should we do)?”

Imam Baqir (a.s.) replied: “Eat the fish that has scales and do not eat the fish that does not have scales?” Scales are the small, thin horny or bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, typically overlapping one another.[3]

It should be noted that the fish should be from the category of scaly fish and there is no objection, if the fish have lost their scales due certain environmental factors or the way the fish live as stated in the narrations.[4]

As for shrimps, we have special narrations according to which “eating shrimps is allowed and that shrimps are a kind fish.”[5]

As for the philosophy of the permissibility of eating shrimps, there are different probabilities which are enumerated as under:

  1. Shrimps are from the category of scaly fish though we do not see the scales with naked eyes.
  2. Shrimps have had scales in the beginning but they have lost their scales over time.
  3. Despite the fact that, essentially shrimp don’t have scales, from the legal perspective it is set within the category of fish that have scales. In other words, for reasons we are not aware of, it has been considered as an exception and consequently halal, although it does not have scales.[6]

In addition, we have a hadith that states the impermissibility of crab: “Eating jerī (type of fish), turtle and crab is haram.”[7] It is clear that crabs are not from the category of scaly fish.

Note: The terms shrimp and prawn are common names, not scientific names. They are vernacular or colloquial terms which lack the formal definition of scientific terms. It seems the both are amongst fish that have scales. If so, there would be no problem to eat them.

For further information on this matter, please read the following answers:

Index: Halal and Haram Meat / The impermissibility of eating rabbit meat, answer 418.

Index: Ruling on foods and drinks containing alcohol / Vanilla Extract, answer 578.

Index: Cheese and Walnuts / Eating cheese in the morning is Makruh, answer 593.

[1] Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja, Vol. 2, Pgs. 590-591, issue 2615; Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 137, book of foods and drinks, issue 2; Ibid (translation), Vol. 3, Pg. 274, issue 2; al-Mukhtasar al-Nafi’, pg. 251; Sharayi’ al-Islam, pg. 169; Tawzih al-Masael (annotated by Imam Khomeini), Vol. 2, Pg. 593, special issue according to Ayatollah Makarem, issue 2255; Majma al-Masael, Ayatollah Golpayegani, Vol. 3, Pg. 64.

[2] . Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.16, pg. 397, and 398, hadith 1, chapt.8.

[3] . Ibid, hadith 3 & 7.

[4] . Ibid, chap.10 (Haram Foodstuffs), pg. 405.

[5] . Wasail al-Shi’ah, pg. 408, hadith 5 & 12 (Haram foodstuffs).

[6] . Footnote of Wasa’il al-Shia, pg. 408.

[7] . Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 24, pg. 146, book of foods and drinks, chapter 16, hadith 1.

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Gog and Magog in Quran / Actions taken by Dhul-Qarnayn

Question 188: Can someone please clearify about who are yajuj and majooj according to the verses 95-96 of Surah Anbiya? Who are Gog and Magog in Quran and what are the Actions taken by Dhul-Qarnayn against them?

Answer 188: The main sources from which information is derived about Gog and Magog is the Quran, and there are also some references made about these people in the Old Testament. The exegetes of the Holy Quran and also historians using these sources and studying historical evidence have made some conjectures and guesses about these people. Read More

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The Story of Harut and Marut in Quran

Question 131: Can someone elaborate on verse 102 of al-Baqarah about The Story of Harut and Marut in Quran? And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].” And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah. And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.

Answer 131: The creatures that you referred to in your question are named jinns in the Quran. Satan was also a jinn.[1] Literally, the word “jinn” refers to anything that is hidden and cannot be seen.[2] In regard to the nature and creation of jinns, the Quran says: “and We created the jinn earlier out of a piercing fire.”[3] Therefore, jinns do exist and they have prophets like man does.[4] They are obligated to worship God[5] and have Muslims and disbelievers depending on their beliefs and actions.[6] Satan, who did not prostrate to Adam, is also among the jinns.[7] Read More

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Rules concerning a menstruating woman

Question 646: What are the rules concerning a menstruating woman, according to Islamic Fiqh?

Answer 646: The follwoings are some rules concerning a menstruating woman.

Firstly: It is not permissible for a menstruating woman to offer prayers, keep fast, perform circumambulation of Ka’bah (Tawaf) or sit in an uninterrupted seclusion (I‘tikãf). Read More

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Shaking Hand with Non-Muslim Break Wudu?

Question 644: Sir, is Shaking Hand with Non-Muslim Break Wudu? I take admission in Canada University for my mtech programs in civil engineering, we have international university there which means that people from all sects weather hindu, Buddhist, Cristian, Jews, Sikhs, and all others study there. Read More

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Marrying a fornicator who repented

Question 640: Aoa sheikh, I have a very serious question. If a women has lost her virginity in the past wrongfully by committing sin or been in relationship.  Can’t she be forgiven in the eyes of Islam?  Should a man accept such a women as her life partner?  What does Islam say about Marrying a fornicator who repented?

Answer 640: Although adultery is a great sin according to the Holy Quran, as He, the Exalted, says: “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils)”[1], but one point of dire importance, is the special favor and grace which Allah, the Almighty bestows upon someone who repents; repentance destroys and effaces all of the sins and negative consequences of sins before Allah. Read More

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Father’s permission for marriage: Brother’s consent is not required

Question 076: I am 48 years old. I love a girl 44 years of age. We want to get married by nikah. The girls father has passed away. She has two brothers who will not allow her get married because she is the hard worker of their family business. She has to do all the work whereas the elder brothers do not contribute. We really want to be together through nikah, as we are deeply in love. Please, tell me what to do? So, please tell me about Father’s permission for marriage and Brother’s consent if it is required?

Answer 076: According to maraja, a rashidah virgin girl whose father passed away doesn’t need others’ permission to get married. [1] Read More

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Kunya Abul Qasim referring to the Holy Prophet (pbuh)

Question 075: So in shia duaas and sufi duaas. We here “Abul Qasim” mentioned. Is this referring to the Rasulallah SA or Mehdi A.S? Or referring to it dually?

Answer 075: This kunya is describing the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as father to his son Qasim ibn Muhammad. Read More