Fresh Water Snails, Are They Halal to be Consumed?

By: Dr. K.H. Maulana Hasanuddin, M.A. (Deputy Chairman of the Central MUI Fatwa Commission); and Drs.H. Sholahudin Al-Aiyub, M.Si. (Deputy Secretary of the MUI Center for Fatwa)

In sharia rules (Islamic law), in fact, the halal or haram provisions are the prerogative of Allah and His Messenger, which is mentioned in the Quran and/or the Al-Hadith. One should not designate something as halal or haram, without reference to the verses of the Quran and/or the Hadith of the Prophet saw. Notice the meaning of the verse which expressly states, “And you shall not speak against what your tongue falsely calls “this is lawful and this is haram”, to make up lies against God. Surely those who make up lies against God are unlucky.” (Q.S. An-Nahl, 16: 116). While the provisions in the Hadith of the Prophet saw are in accordance with the stipulation of the verse: “What the Apostle gave you, then accept it. And what it forbids you, then leave it. And be devoted to God. Surely God is very harsh in his punishment.” (Q.S. Al-Hasyr, 59: 7).

Furthermore, in the aspect of consumption materials, the Quran and the Quran explain that the haram is already a certain, and the number and type are very few. The rest of the illegitimate decrees, of which are far more numerous and of many kinds, are lawful for the consumption of mankind: “He is Allâh, who makes everything on earth (kosher) for you all.” (Q.S. Al-Baqarah, 2: 29). Among them is this Rice Field Conch (Pila ampullacea) animal. Because, there is not a single nash that mentions Sharihly, or explicitly, that this animal is illegitimately consumed.

Moreover, the Rice Field Snail, which is popular in the community called “Tutut”, belongs to aquatic animals. Does not live in two realms, although it can live on land for several moments. It is not a barma’iyyun type of animal, an expression with a combination of the word Barrun meaning land, and Maa’un meaning water; or animals that live in two realms.

In principle, animals are legally halal consumed, based on the nash of the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet saw. Among them, the verse that says, “It is justified for you the game of the sea and the food (which comes) from the sea as a delicacy for you…” (QS. Al-Maidah, 5: 96).

What is meant by water here is not only seawater, but also includes freshwater animals. Because the definition of “al-bahru al-maa’ “ is a collection of a lot of water. Imam Asy-Shaukani said, “What is meant by water in the above verse is any water in which there is an aquatic animal to hunt (catch), be it a river or a pond.” (see Fathul Qodir, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Asy-Shaukani, 2/361, Mawqi’ At-Tafasir).

As for the Hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah, he says, “Someone once asked the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, “O Messenger of Allah, we once boarded a ship and brought only a little water. If we abide by him, then we will be thirsty. Are we allowed to ablution with sea water?” The Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam then replied, “The sea water is holy and the carcass is halal.” (HR. Abu Dawud no. 83, An Nasai no. 59, At Tirmidzi no. 69).

In general, rice conch also does not contain elements of Khobaits, or more specifically elements of Istiqdzar, things that are considered disgusting. In contrast to snails or snails, this type of snail is also, which lives on land, and some declare it disgusting, even containing toxic substances that are harmful when consumed. But the opinion that the snail is disgusting is also as Lil-Ihthiyati, for caution. The disgusting problem itself is punished as illegitimate, is an opinion in the Shafi’i Madzhab. Meanwhile, the other three Imams of Madzhab, namely Imam Hanafi, Imam Maliki and Imam Hanbali, stated that disgusting was not a factor that caused him to become illegitimate.

Furthermore, the opinion that states animals living in the two realms as illegitimate animals, is also an opinion in the Madzhab shafi’i and Hanbali, while in the Madzhab Hanafi and Maliki do not forbid it. According to Imam Hanafi and Maliki, animals although considered to live in two realms, they are still punished by one by looking at their factual conditions. If the animal lives more and breeds in water, as an indicator, then it is punished as an aquatic animal. But if he lives more and breeds on land, then he is punished as a land hewat.

So in conclusion, according to the opinion in the famously stricter Madzhab Syafi’i, consuming Rice Conch is a law halal. Similarly, the opinion of the jumhur (majority) of other scholars and Imams of madzhab. As for the discussion about its nutritional content, it is welcome to consult with a nutritionist expert. Wallahu a’lam.

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