the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
Fish are among the creatures in Allah’s creation that He blessed us to derive benefit from. Allah says: “Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 96]
If any kind of sport with these fish brings any sort of harm to them, then this is unlawful to engage in such a sport. These fish represent populations of beings that glorify and praise Allah. We can, therefore, fish as long as we eat the fish we harvest or give them to others to eat.
If we have no purpose behind our pulling these fish out of the water with a hook – thereby injuring them – except to amuse ourselves, then it is unlawful for us to do so.
Muslims are prohibited from abusing animals. The Prophet (peace be upon him) informs us of how a woman earned Allah’s wrath for her mistreatment of a cat. She entered the Hellfire on account of a cat that she imprisoned, neither feeding it nor letting it hunt for food. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) even forbade the cursing of animals: Once, while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was on a journey, he heard a woman invoke Allah’s curse upon a camel that she was riding. He said: “Offload the camel and let it go, since it has been cursed.” [Sahîh Muslim]
Sport fishing, which at the very least brings pain to the animals, and at worst serious infection or death, is clearly a transgression against these principles.
As a general rule, it is unlawful to kill animals except for food or to protect ourselves from harm. Even when we slaughter an animal for food, we must do so in the best, most humane manner possible. The Prophet (peace be upon him)) said, “When you kill, you should kill well, and when you slaughter, you should slaughter well. Sharpen your knife and give relief to your slaughtered animal. [Sunan Abî Dâwûd]
We cannot even kill insects except if they cause harm to us in some way, and then we may kill them only to the extent that we must in order to safeguard ourselves from their harm. Evidence for this is that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “A prophet once sat under a tree when he got bitten by an ant so he burnt the ant’s village. Allah inspired to him: Why not only one ant?” [Sahîh Muslim]
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today