Hyderabad-based Jamia Nizamia has triggered controversy after reportedly issuing a ‘fatwa’ or decree that consuming prawn was not allowed in Islam.
Dated January 1, the fatwa was issued on January 1 by Mufti Mohammad Azeemuddin the chief mufti of the 142-year-old Islamic seminary. Speaking to TNM, an official from the Jamia Nizamia confirmed the same.
The fatwa labels prawns as ‘makruh tahrim’ or abominable, as prawn is an arthropod and it does not fall under the category of fish.
There are three categories of food according to Islamic interpretations – Halal or lawful, haram or prohibited and makruh or abominable. However, the classification also varies among the different schools of thought in Islam.
Speaking to the Times of India, Mufti Merajuddin Abrar, principal of Islamic school Anwarul Huda, said, “Dar-ul-uloom, Deoband, which once considered prawn as makruh, has now declared it as halal. In Hanafi School, consumption of prawn is not advisable, but in Shafi School, it’s permitted. There is no sin even if a Hanafi adherent eats prawn. Though prawn is not a fish, people who eat prawn do not equate it with an insect. Thus it cannot be an abominable or despicable food.”
A copy of the fatwa also started doing the rounds on social media, like Facebook and Twitter.
In 2016, the Jamia Nizamia issued a fatwa stating that Muslims should not chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, as it symbolised a goddess, which Muslims cannot worship.
At the time, Islamic seminary Al Mahad al Aali al Islami also issued a fatwa saying it was "impermissible" for Muslims to chant “Bharat Mata ki Jai.”
However, on occasions, the seminary has also helped authorities.
In 2015, when the police was having a tough time enforcing a ban on loud celebrations in the predominantly Muslim area of Old City in Hyderabad, they secured a fatwa from Jamia Nizamia, and used it to impose restrictions on events that inconvenienced people.