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Law of Consuming Japanese Ants

By: Dr. KH. Maulana Hasanuddin, M.A. (Deputy Chairperson of the Central MUI Fatwa Commission); and Drs. H. Sholahudin Al-Aiyubi, M.Sc. (Deputy Secretary of the Central MUI Fatwa Commission).

According to the assumption of some people, japanese ants have benefits for treating diseases, such as gout and cholesterol, even treat and relieve heart disease. To consume it by entering the Japanese ant into the capsule shell, then swallowed. Therefore, Japanese ants are sought by many people, and many people cultivate them.

So, how does the law consume Japanese ants and cultivate them? Here’s the explanation.

Based on the texts of Al-Qur’an and As-Sunnah, there are two opinions in understanding the law.

First, it is haram to eat japanese ants for medicine, except in emergency situations.

In the books of Fiqh, insects are called Hasyarat. This animal has blood flowing (Laha damun sailun), and there are also those whose blood does not flow (Laisa laha damun sailun). According to Fuqoha (Fiqh experts), insects whose blood flows, their carcasses are unclean; while the blood does not flow, the carcass is declared pure.

According to Imam Shafi’i and Abu Hanifah opinion, the law of consuming insect is haram. Because it belongs to the Khabaits (disgusting animals), in line with the content of the verse which means: “And Allah justifies for them all that is good, and forbids them all that is bad.” (QS. 7:157). So the law of eating Japanese ants for medicine and others is haram, even though it is a kind of small insect that “doesn’t bleed to flow” when cut off by its organs. It is considered to included khabaits category that haram.

The verse is a sharih and qath’i proposition (firm and certain), that the law of khabaits is haram. The khabaits are all things that are destructive, unclean and/or disgusting, such as; khamar, carcass, blood, and pig as confirmed in the Al-Qur’an. Similarly, khabaits can be categorized as all animals that are forbidden to be eaten based on the hadith of the Prophet saw. like a fanged beast and types of bird that has a strong grip on it.

In the realm of ijtihad, all types of hasyarat (insects) including Japanese ants are categorized as khabaits which mean haram is eaten for medicine and others, except for grasshopper which is halal carcass based on the hadith of the Prophet saw. This is the view of the ulama of Hanafiy madzhab, and the Syafi’iy madzhab. And when legal status of Japanese ants are haram to be eaten for medicine and others, it is certainly the same as eating a carcass that is haram as QS. Al-Maidah: 3.

In particular, the legal status of getting the treatment with a haram object is haram. In the hadith of Abu Dawud’s history: From Abi Darda’, he said: Rasulullah saw. said: “Verily, Allah has put down disease and medicine, and made medicine for every disease, therefore get the treatment, and do not get the treatment with haram objects”. (HR. Abu Dawud)

But if in an emergency, objects that are haram to eat, including for medicine, can be halal. Likewise, Japanese ants which must be haram, if used as medicine as the opinion above, it can be halal when there are no other halal medicine, while the drug becomes an urgent need. But the level is allowed to eat only to the extent of reasonableness without being excessive. Anyone in an emergency, while he (should) not want it, and does not exceed the limit, then there is no sin for him. Allah is Forgiving, Most Merciful. (QS. 2: 173).

Second, japanese ants are halal to eat for medicine, even though not in an emergency.

Priests from the other mazhab set different laws. They have their own base and review. Regarding this matter, we deserve to pay attention to Al-Qur’an’s instructions: “And eat halal food, both from what Allah has blessed you, and devoted Allah and believe in Him.” ??(QS. 5: 88). Also the meaning of the verse: “…and justify for them all that is good and forbid for them all that is bad. (QS. 7: 157).

With this understanding, there is a rule of Fiqh which states: “Al-ashlu fil-manafi ‘al-ibahah”. Meaning: The legal origin of all that is beneficial is permissible or halal.

In addition, there is also the opinion of ulama who view and set (analogous) these insects belong to the type of grasshopper. And the Fuqoha have agreed that the legal grasshopper is halal based on the provisions of the Hadith from the Prophet saw. Even the carcass can be eaten.

From here, japanese ants and other small insect species are halal to eat for medicine and others, and cannot be categorized as khabaits which are haram. Japanese ants, in particular, can be seen as the same as halal grass carcasses based on the hadith of the Prophet saw. Namely, both are types of insects that “not bleeding” when its organs being cut. This is the perspective of ijtihad according to ulama from mazhab Malikiy and mazhab Hanbaliy.

Imam Malik, Ibn Abi Layla, and Auza’i argued insects were halal as long as were not harmful. On the other hand, types of insects such as Japanese ants can be likened to flies that its carcass is purely based on command the Prophet saw. to immerse flies that fall into watery vessels or drinks as in the hadith of the Prophet saw. This hadith can be understood, that the command to immerse the fly which caused it to die and means to be a carcass remains pure because if the carcass of the fly is unclean, of course, it does not order to immerse it.

Hadith concerning the halal carcass of a grasshopper, and conclusions about the purity of the flies as mentioned above, among others: From Abdullah Ibn Umar, actually the Messenger of Allah saw. said: “It is halal for us two carcasses; fish and grasshoppers”. (HR. Ibn Majah).

From Abu Hurairah, actually, the Messenger of Allah saw. said: “If a flies fall into a vessel (water) between you, then let it immerse all of its organs, then let it throw away because actually there is one medicine on its wing, while on the other wing there is a disease”. (HR. Bukhari).

Therefore, then: the two opinions above are both based on texts with different points of view which result in differences of opinion that are equally strong. So, it is difficult to say which opinion is superior between the two.

It would be enough reason, if the opinion was chosen that the Japanese ants were pure and the carcasses were halal to eat for medicine and others based on several arguments, including 1) Japanese ants are not a disgusting type of insect; 2) eating Japanese ants does not cause harm; 3) eating Japanese ants brings benefits, such as to increase body stamina, treat diseases, and so on.

Furthermore, what also needs to be observed is the use of capsule shells. Of course, it must also be halal. If it is not halal, the product also becomes not halal.

In addition, the aspects of the danger and/or benefits of consumption of Japanese Ant products must be based on the evidence of scientific research that can be responsible. It is not based on his words that the source is not clear. Consider the meaning of the verse that reminds us: “Then ask those who have knowledge if you do not know.” (QS. 16:43). And the meaning of the verse like this is repeated again in Al-Anbiyaa’ (21) verse 7. This indicates the importance of science in our lives.

Therefore, we simply need to remind and advise, to consume the products, or food ingredients, supplements, including medicine that halalness has been clear. Don’t act something close to danger, whose halal status is unclear or is considered doubtful. Consuming halal is a religious order that must be followed.

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