Haram literally means prohibited or unlawful. In technical language it means ‘that which the Law-Giver has absolutely prohibited, i.e.in the Holy Quran or in the sound clear Sunnah; anyone who engages in it is liable to incur the punishment in this world.’ Islam puts a ban on all erotic activities, which excite human sex and passion. The Holy Quran forbids the Believers “to come near Zina (fornication), it bans all sorts of exciting and provocative activities that are intended to tempt, excite, and lead to sexual advances. Allah says:
وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا
“And (do) not go near adultery. Indeed, it is immorality and (an) evil way.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:32)
It is not only Muslims, but people of every religion also give emphasis to halaal and haraam.
Halaal is just an Arabic word for what is lawful and encouraged.
Haraam is just an Arabic word for what is sinful and prohibited.
What is Halal?
The following products are definitely Halal:
- Milk (from cows, sheep, camels, and goats)
- Fresh or dried fruits
- Plants that are not intoxicant
- Fresh or naturally frozen vegetables
- Grains such as wheat, rice, rye, barley, oat, etc.
- Legumes and nuts like peanuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.
Animals such as cows, sheep, goats, deer, moose, chickens, ducks, game birds, etc., are also Halal, but they must be Zabihah (slaughtered according to Islamic Rites) in order to be suitable for consumption. The procedure is as follows: the animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim. The animal should be put down on the ground (or held if it is small) and its throat should be slit with a very sharp knife to make sure that the 3 main blood vessels are cut. While cutting the throat of the animal (without severing it), the person must pronounce the name of Allah or recite a blessing that contains the name of Allah, such as “Bismillah Allah-u-Akbar”.
What is Haraam?
- Blood and blood by-products
- Foods contaminated with any of the above products
- Meat from swine – pork, ham, gammon, bacon, etc
- Animals were killed in the name of anyone other than Allah
- Pork-based products and by-products – sausages, gelatine etc
- Animals improperly slaughtered, or already dead before slaughtering is due to take place
- Most carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears (i.e., snakes, reptiles, worms, insects etc.)
While many things are clearly halal or clearly haraam, there are some things that are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorise them as halal or haraam. Such items are often referred to as Mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable. Food falling into this category should be treated as haraam until you know otherwise.
Foods which are forbidden: The Holy Quran, 5:3 – Forbidden to you (for food) are dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in the due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars)…
Prohibition of intoxicants: The Holy Quran, 5:90 – O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.
Permissibility of seafood: The Holy Quran, 35:12 – Nor are the two bodies of flowing water alike,- the one palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink, and the other, salt and bitter. Yet from each (kind of water) do ye eat flesh fresh and tender, and ye extract ornaments to wear; and thou seest The ships therein that plough the waves, that ye may seek (thus) of the Bounty of Allah that ye may be grateful.
Allah has also mentioned that which is forbidden with regard to marriage, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “Forbidden to you (for marriage) are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your foster mother who gave you suck, your foster milk suckling sisters, your wives’ mothers . . .” (Al-Nisa’ 4:23)
Zinaa – fornication and adultery: One of the aims of Islamic shari’a is to preserve honour and lineage, so zinaa (unlawful sexual intercourse) is forbidden. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
Because of the repulsive nature and enormity of this sin, Allah inflicted four kinds of punishment which He had never before inflicted in combination upon any other people; they were: these people would be blinded, their city would be turned upside-down, stones of baked clay, piled up, would be rained down upon them, and an awful cry would be sent upon them. It is a well-known fact that alcoholic drink causes intoxication. Allah says:
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
“Allah wishes to make clear to you and to guide you (to) ways (of) those before you and (to) accept repentance from you. And Allah (is) All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Surah An-Nisa` 4:26)
That is, a Muslim should not sit in the company of wrongdoers, even if they are not, at that time engaged in evil talk, as there is every likelihood of their indulging in the foul talk at any moment. Islam is the code of life that is Divine and which is fully approved by Allah. It is only by following this code that a man can find success and salvation both in this world and in the next world. Allah mentions what has been prohibited as food: Allah says:
هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَسَوَّاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
“He (is) the One Who created for you what (is) in the earth, all. Moreover, He turned to the heaven and fashioned them seven heavens. And He of everything (is) All-Knowing.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:29)
The history of mankind shows that it is mostly with regard to the food of animal origin that peoples of all ages have differed. They have also differed in eating and drinking habits. Sometimes they have been at the diametrically opposite poles. Allah says:
يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا إِنَّهُ لَ
“O Children (of) Adam! Take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink but (do) not be extravagant. Indeed, He (does) not love the extravagant ones.” (Surah Al-A’raf. 7:31)
Islam is not only a religion it is a way of life with protocols, rules and manners governing every facet of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws carry a special significance. Muslims are expected to eat for survival, to maintain good health and not to live for eating. In Islam, eating is considered to be a matter of worship of God like prayer, fasting, alms-giving and other religious activities.
Don’t Kill Yourself:
Muslims cannot consume anything that may cause death, either quickly or gradually, Hence, they cannot eat or drink anything like poison or any substance injurious to health. In Islam, even gluttony is not permissible. Man is not his master in its entirety; one is a slave to a Master Who not only creates but wants to keep him alive for a fixed period. Allah says:
وَأَنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ وَأَحْسِنُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“And spend in (the) way (of) Allah and (do) not throw (ourselves) [with your hands] into [the] destruction. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the good-doers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:195)
Hence, man has no choice but to live as long as -his Creator and Lord decide. He cannot, therefore, do anything that may put his life in danger. It is because of this fact, nobody is allowed to commit suicide. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنكُمْ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا
“O you who believe[d]! (Do) not eat your wealth between yourselves unjustly. But that (there) be business on mutual consent among you. And (do) not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you Most Merciful.” (Surah An-Nisa. 4:29)
Showing off in worship: among the conditions for any good deed to be acceptable is that it should be free of any kind of showing off and within the framework of the Sunnah. The person who performs acts of worship, like praying, in order to be seen by other people is a mushrik and his deed is unacceptable. Allah says:
إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ وَإِذَا قَامُوا إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ قَامُوا كُسَالَىٰ يُرَاءُونَ النَّاسَ وَلَا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
“Indeed, the hypocrites (seek to) deceive Allah and (it is) He who deceives them. And when they stand for the prayer, they stand lazily, showing off (to) the people and not they remember Allah except a little.” (Surah Al-Nisa’ 4:142)
Thus, one is supposed to have deviated from the path of Islam if he does not serve the above-mentioned two purposes of dressing i.e., covering and adornment. Allah, the Almighty warns against following the path of Satan by taking the course of nakedness and shabby appearance. Allah says:
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُخَفِّفَ عَنكُمْ وَخُلِقَ الْإِنسَانُ ضَعِيفًا
“Allah wishes to lighten for you and was created the mankind weak.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:28)
Islam is very kind to human nature and loses no opportunity to make it refined and dignified wherever it is possible. One thing that draws a line of demarcation between man and animal is a shame. A man has been endowed with the feeling of shame but an animal is devoid of it because the sense of feeling is unknown to him. It is by nature that man wants to cover his private parts, while animals have no sense like that.