Eating Crow is Halaal or Haraam?? – Answer to an Objection Against Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahimahullah)

A person from Saharanpur posed the following question to Qutb al-Aqtab Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahimahullah):

Question: The places where people consider crow as haram and revile those consuming it, so will it fetch reward to consume crow at such places, or will it neither have reward nor punishment?

Answer: He will have reward.   [Fatawa Rashidiya 2/130]

The petty issue prompted the so-called Barelwi Ulama to open Pandora box of abuses and filthy words and revile the elders, whereas this was not a new issue, rather this issue was raised in the time of the Imams and they also issued fatwas of its lawfulness.

But it is 14th century’s freedom of expression and liberty that led them to blindly criticize this fatwa throwing aside the reason, the Shari’ah principles and even the Hanafi School of Fiqh.

I fail to understand if Ulama of Deoband can be criticized for issuing fatwa that normal crow is lawful, then why they do not criticize Imam Malik (rahmatullah alayh) who regards all types of crows as halaal, as the following reference says that all types of crows are halaal (lawful) according to Maliki School of Fiqh:

المالکية قالوا: یحل اکل الغراب بجمیع انواعه۔ [الفقهعلی المذاهب الأربعة، ج۲، ص۱۸۳، کتاب الحظر والاباحة، طبع مصر]

It is surprising if the Maliki Fiqh regards all types of crow as halaal, they do not utter even a word against them, but if the Ulama-e-Deoband issue fatwa of lawfulness of a thing with the references of Hanafi Fiqh, then they start making hue and cry. Isn’t it only their prejudice and enmity against Deoband?

Moreover, it seems as if they are aware of this fatwa of Fatawa Rashidiya only and they are unaware of their own house where their Ala-Hadhrat has even regarded bats and owls as lawful and halaal.

Ala-Hadhrat Says: Bats are Lawful

“Bats, whether big or small which are called bagul in this region, are lawful according to some Ulama, while some other Ulama disagree with this view, since it has canine teeth; but according to Hanafi Fiqh, it is lawful as only having canine teeth will not make it haram, rather it will be considered haram only when it preys with the teeth and it is obvious that the bat is not a preying bird. This is the reason that the opposite view was regarded weak in al-Durr al-Mukhtar.” [Fatawa Rizwiya: 20/318]

The Barelwis should ponder to which stage they have been dragged by their Guru Ahmad Raza Khan. Now they need not worry to buy costly chicken for their rituals of Som, Chaliswan, Shashmahi and Salanah feasts as well as in Khatms and marriages, they have a cheaper alternate in the form of bats.

If they say that Ala-Hadhrat has not regarded it lawful by himself, rather he has referred to the Hanafi jurists, then we also say that a type of crow also was regarded halal by the Hanafi jurists, then why you blame the Deobandi Ulama?

Ala-Hadhrat Says: Owl is Lawful

Those objecting to the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’at should open their eyes and see that Ahmad Raza Khan has quoted one opinion of owl being lawful, as he writes:

“Some Ulama says that shaqraq (coracias) should not be eaten, but owl can be consumed. According to one opinion of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah), owl is lawful.” [Fatawa Rizwiya: 20/313, 134]

Though Ahmad Raza Khan has regarded this opinion as weak, but if a Barelwi seeing at this fatwa follows the opinion of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) and consumes owl, then will the Barelwis attack him with the filthy words with which they target the Ulama of Deoband and will they speak ill of Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) too? Or are these abuses and bad words only meant for the Ulama of Deoband?

They will never speak against them; since they get delicious food in their feasts for speaking against the Ulama of Deoband and if they will speak against the elders shoes will be hurled at them.

Common Crow and the Hanafi Jurists

The readers must know that the fatwa of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi is as per the opinions of Hanafi jurists and it is testimony of his great expertise in Fiqh. Before we mention the opinions of the Hanafi jurists, it is necessary to tell that the crows are of three types:

A crow that eats only filth, it is unlawful and haram as per the unanimous opinion of the Ulama.

A crow that eats only pure things like grain etc that is found generally in rural areas, it is unanimously lawful.

A crow that eats filth as well as pure things, such type of crow is makrooh according to Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) and halal according to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) and the fatwa is given as per the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah). This crow is found in our areas and this was regarded as halal in Fatawa Rashidiya.

Imam Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Sarkhasi (rahimahullah) writes in his famous book al-Mabsoot:

فان کان الغراب بحیث یخلط فیاکل الجیف تارۃ والحب تارۃ فقد روی عن ابی یوسف ؒ انہ یکرہ لانہ اجتمع فیہ الموجب للحل والموجب للحرمۃ وعن ابی حنیفۃ ؒ انہ لا باس باکلہ وھو الصحیح علی قیاس الدجاجۃ فانہ لاباس باکلھا [المبسوط، ج11، ص 248، بیروت]

“If a crow eats carrion sometime and eats grain sometime, then Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) says that it is makrooh as it combines the causes of lawfulness and unlawfulness, but Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) says that there is no harm in eating it just like hen.” [Al-Mabsoot: 11/248, Beirut]

Now the Barelvis should answer that if they consider Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) their imam or not. They should read this text repeatedly and ponder what was quoted by Imam Sarkhasi (rahimahullah) from Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) and how he has justified it. The fatwa of crow being lawful was not given only Maulana Gangohi (rahimahullah) rather it is proved by Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) as well.

Imam Alauddin Abu Bakr Kasani Hanafi (rahimahullah) says while discussing the issue of crow:

فحصل من قول ابی حنیفۃ ان ما یخلط من الطیور لا یکرہ اکلہ کاالدجاج و قال ابو یوسف ؒ یکرہ لان غالب اکلہ الجیف۔ [البدائع الصنائع ، ج6، ص197]

“So according to the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) that birds that eat both types of halal and haram things are lawful like hen, while Imam Abu Yusuf says that they are makrooh since their dominant feed is haraam.” [Al-Mabsoot: 11/248, Beirut]

This implies that if the dominant part of feed is haram and filth then according to Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) it is haram, this is the reason that he regards astray hen also as haram. But such birds are halal according to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh). It is surprising that the Barelwis, out of their enmity towards Deoband, follow the opinion of Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah alayh) regarding crow, but throw out his fatwa regarding hen.

It is written in al-Durr al-Mukhtar:

حل (غراب الذرع) الذی یاکل الحب (والارنب والعقعق) ھو غراب یجمع بین اکل جیف و حب والاصح حلہ۔ [درمختار مع فتاوی شامی، ج۹، ص۳۷۳]

“It is lawful to eat the crow of farms that eats grain, as far as Arnab and Aqaq types of crow is concerned that combines both haraam and halaal, according to the correct opinion it is also lawful.” [Al-Durr al-Mukhtar with Shami: 9/373]

Likewise, it is written in Fatawa Alamgiri, the famous compendium of Hanafi Fiqh:

والغراب الابقع مستخبث طبعا فاما الغراب الذرعی الذی یلتقط الحب مباح طیب و ان کان الغراب بحیث یخلط فیاکل الجیف تارۃ والحب اخری فقد روی عن ابی یوسف رحمۃ اللہ علیہ انہ یکرہ و عن ابی حنیفۃ انہ لا باس باکلہ وھو الصحیح علی قیاس الدجاجۃ۔ [فتاوی عالمگیری، ج۵، ص۳۵۸]

“The Abqa’ type of crow is naturally disliked as it lives on carrion, but crow of farms that eats grain is lawful and pure. However, if a crow eats carrion sometimes and grain sometimes then according to Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah alayh) it is makrooh, but it is lawful according to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) just like hen.” [Fatawa Alamgiri: 5/358]

These references clearly indicate that a crow or bird that eats filth as well as pure things is halal as per the preferred opinion and this is the reason that it was called lawful in Fatawa Rashidiya. There is no doubt about such crow being lawful, but since it is not eaten generally therefore neither anyone thought to eat it nor asked about its ruling, rather the general public kept on considering it as haraam crow. In this scenario, a person from Saharanpur posed a question to Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) and he replied it briefly. Thereafter, this petty issue was raised by the so-called molvis and they showered abuses and filthy words in their speeches against Ulama of Deoband. These ignorant molvis did not think that their bad words are not targeting only Hadhrat Maulana Gangohi (rahimahullah) rather the elders of this Ummah are also being reviled.

However, this ruling about crow is written in the authentic books of Hanafi Fiqh and we are not going to quote all books due to length. It is fact that one reference is enough for one who wants to believe and obey, but piles of references are insufficient for those who are bent to deny.

It is established that Imam Azam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) regarded the common crow as halaal and lawful.

How surprising is it that, owing to their enmity with Ulama of Deoband, the Barelwis not only left the taqlid of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) rather they said good bye to their leader in whose name they are running their shops.

Moreover, it is also proved that Imam Abu Yusuf regards eating hen as makrooh, they prohibit crow acting upon the opinion of Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullah alayh), but they do not follow his opinion regarding hen being haraam. They will die but will not leave eating hen and chicken though it is haraam and unlawful.

So, the Barelwis should think if they regard crow as haraam as per the opinion of Imam Abu Yusuf, then they should give fatwa of hen being haraam as well. In this way, they will have to leave the one dozen chicken items mentioned in the Wills (wasaya) of Molvi Ahmad Raza Khan. So are they ready for the same???


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