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Assalamualaikum wbt,

Regarding the ruling of fishing using live bait, for example a live shrimp or worm, what is the ruling for it, and the belief that if a husband goes fishing using live bait while his wife is pregnant will result with them having a child with cleft lip and palate. What is ustaz’s opinion about this?


Waalaikumussalam wbt.

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Regarding this issue, we would like to state that as humans, we should have compassion towards other living creatures. This is the perfection of iman and Islam. From Abu Hurairah RA, companions of the Prophet PBUH asked the Prophet PBUH:

يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِي البَهَائِمِ أَجْرًا قَالَ فِي كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ

“Allah's Messenger, is there for us a reward even for (serving) animals? He said: “Yes, there is a reward for service to every living animal.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (2363) and Sahih Muslim (2244)

From Syaddad RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الْإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَإِذَا قَتَلْتُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا الْقِتْلَةَ وَإِذَا ذَبَحْتُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا الذَّبْحَ وَلْيُحِدَّ أَحَدُكُمْ شَفْرَتَهُ فَلْيُرِحْ ذَبِيحَتَهُ

"Verily, Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill in the least painful manner you can; and when you slaughter an animal, do it in the best possible way; and any of you should sharpen his blade so that the animal may be spared from the suffering of the slaughtering."

Sahih Muslim (1955)

Imam al-Nawawi (w.676) comments on the above hadith:

The Prophet PBUH’s command of ‘killing in the least painful manner’ includes all living creatures, whether slaughter animals, or punishment by qisas or hudud and others. This hadith is included as the hadith used in Islamic legal rulings.” Refer al-Minhaj Syarh Muslim (13/106)

Hence, humans’ responsibility as the caliph of this world is to have compassion when killing or slaughtering animals and to minimize their sufferings. Furthermore, if the killing of animals is just for fun or entertainment, then it is prohibited.

From Abdullah bin Amr RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

مَنْ قَتَلَ عُصْفُورًا بِغَيْرِ حَقِّهِ سَأَلَهُ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

"There is no person who kills a small bird or anything larger, for no just reason, but Allah will ask him about it.”

Sunan Ahmad (6551)

From Ibnu Abbas RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

لَا تَتَّخِذُوا شَيْئًا فِيهِ الرُّوحُ غَرَضًا

"Do not take any living creature as a target practise."

Sahih Muslim (58)

This is a stern warning for those who hunt not for food or remove harm but killing or hunting animals as a sport or entertainment for them, as has been practised in certain places.

Regarding the question asked, which is using live bait (from animals that are not prohibited to be killed, such as frogs), such as shrimps or worms, this issue need to be discussed in detail.

In Mausu`ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah (5/131), it is stated:

According to Hanafiyyah and Hanabilah jurists, a live fish cannot be eaten until it is dead or killed. It is makruh to eat the fish alive for it will result in unnecessary suffering, thus it is best to wait until it dies.

Imam al-Nawawi states in his book al-Majmu` (9/73):

If someone eats a fish alive, or cut part of it to eat, then there are two opinions regarding the matter. The strong opinion states that it is makruh (undesirable), while the second opinion prohibits it as concluded by Abu Hamid (Imam al-Ghazali).

According to these statements, through qiyas (analogical deduction), it is not prohibited to use live bait to fish if the purpose is permissible. The reason is, humans are created and placed at a higher standing than other creatures and animals are created to benefit humans. Allah SWT state:

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مِّنْهُ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth - all from Him. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.”

Surah al-Jathiah (13)

Allah SWT states:

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا

“It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth.”

Surah al-Baqarah (29)

The best way is to kill the bait, such as shrimp or worms first before using it to fish, by cutting at the critical parts or drowning it or others.

Whereas, as for the relation of using live bait and having a cleft lip and palate child is just a superstition and a prohibited belief that should be avoided.