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Recreational fishing

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.org.au
I would like to find out if it is permissible to do fishing as a sport or for leisure. May Allah reward you.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

If a person does fishing with the intention of consuming the fish that he catches, it will be permissible for him to fish even if he derives pleasure out of fishing. However, it is not permissible to do fishing just to pass time and to have fun when one does not have a valid shar’ee purpose, such as to keep the fish for consumption, etc. Therefore, recreational fishing and sport fishing in which one catches fish merely to release them again is not permissible. Releasing the fish due to it being undersized according to the law of the country is a different issue (i.e. one must abide by this law of the country).

To persistently spend a lot of time on fishing is also not permissible as it causes ghafla (heedlessness), because of which the person is deprived of praiseworthy as well as compulsory acts. Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Whoever pursues the game (i.e. hunted animal, fish etc.) becomes heedless.”  (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i).

Mulla Ali Qaari (May Allah be pleased with him) explains the hadith thus: “i.e. whoever persistently pursues (the animal, fish etc.) and engrosses himself in it and mounts himself in order to pursue it — such as a pigeon etc. — for amusement and delight, becomes heedless:  i.e. of Allah’s obedience, His worship, the congregation, and Jum’ah; and he distances himself from gentleness and mercy because of his resemblance with a predatory animal and a beast.” (Mirqaatul Mafaatih vol. 7 pg. 279)

In short, to fish with a valid Shar’ee purpose — such as to keep the fish for eating — is permissible even if one derives pleasure out of it with the condition that one does not habitually spend too much time on it. To fish merely for fun without having a valid Shar’ee purpose is not permissible.

فتاوى محموديه: ج 17 ص 200-203 مكتبة شيخ الاسلام ديوبند

في كتاب الصيد من تنوير الأبصار: هو مباح إلا للتلهي إلخ ؛ وفي الدر المختار: كما هو ظاهر ؛ وقال ابن عابدين رحمه الله: ( قوله كما هو ظاهر ) لأن مطلق اللهو منهي عنه إلا في ثلاث كما مر في الحظر ( رد المحتار: ج 10 ص 53 ط دار المعرفة )

قال ابن حجر رحمه الله: وفيه إباحة الاصطياد للانتفاع بالصيد للأكل والبيع وكذا اللهو بشرط قصد التذكية والانتفاع ، وكرهه مالك، وخالفه الجمهور…(و بعد أسطر)… فإن لازمه وأكثر منه كره، لأنه قد يشغله عن بعض الواجبات وكثير من المندوبات وأخرج الترمذي من حديث ابن عباس رفعه: “من سكن البادية جفا، ومن اتبع الصيد غفل” ( فتح الباري: ج 12 ص 752 ط دار الكتب العلمية )

وقال بدر الدين العيني رحمه الله: فإن فعله بغير نية التذكية فهو حرام لأنه فساد في الأرض وإتلاف نفس عبثا وقد نهى سيدنا رسول الله عن قتل الحيوان إلا لمأكلة ونهى أيضا عن الإكثار من الصيد وروى الترمذي من حديث ابن عباس رضي الله تعالى عنهما مرفوعا من سكن البادية فقد جفا ومن اتبع الصيد فقد غفل ومن لزم السلطان افتتن ( عمدة القاري: ج 21 ص 138 ط دار الكتب العلمية )

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Faizal Riza

This answer was collected from Fatwa.org.au, which is connected to Darul Ifta Australia, based in Melbourne, Australia.
It is operated by Mufti Faizal Riza, a student of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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