In the present global scenario, the word Halaal is widely and commonly used by many. While it may be something that non-Muslims might not relate to, but for Muslims, it has a greater significance and they are habitual of hearing and using the word in different aspects, whether it relates to food, clothing or business. The concept of Halal and Haram is a key idea in Islam that dictates what a Muslim can do and what is not allowed. Halal is a Quranic term that refers to anything that is considered permissible and lawful under Islam. On the other hand, Haram is the forbidden things or acts which are punishable according to Sharia’h, the Islamic law. The terms Halal and Haram are often linked with foods and drinks which are permissible or prohibited but these terms cover a much broader spectrum of issues.
What is Halal?
In Arabic, the word Halal means ‘something that is permitted or lawful in Islam’. According to the Shariah, it means that the particular thing has been ordered by Allah as legitimate or lawful.
In the worldly context, the word Halal can be used for several things such as – legal accumulation of wealth, a business that is not illicit and the list goes on. Hence, Muslims are only allowed those things that have been permitted in Islam. It must be understood- all that Allah has created for humanity and there are benefits derived from them are permissible. Nothing is Haram except what is forbidden by a Qur’anic verse or a clear and authentic Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) which are the two main sources of Islamic law. Very few things are forbidden in Islam while the sphere of permissible things is vast.
10 Strictly Haram Things According To Islam
Islam only forbids the things which are unnecessary or harmful, while providing better alternatives that give greater ease and comfort. It emphasizes the purity of intentions and the nobility of feelings. In Islam, having a good intention transforms routine matters and mundane activities into acts of worship and devotion to Allah. While this stands true to permissible things, the Haram actions remain Haram no matter how good the intentions are or how honourable the purpose may be.
Here are the top ten Haram actions that must be avoided in life:
1. Shirk: The act of associating partners with Allah is called Shirk which is considered a major sin in Islam because of the heavy importance that Islam lays on the oneness of God. Every other sin may be forgiven by Allah except Shirk and it requires specific repentance.
2. Fornication and adultery: Islam forbids illicit sexual relations which are considered a major sin but it encourages lawful marriage.
3. Homosexuality: It is considered a sin that should be punishable by Islamic law.
4. Alcohol and intoxication: Consumption of alcohol or anything that intoxicates is forbidden regardless of whether the amount is less or more. When the Prophet (PBUH) was asked about certain drinks made from honey, barley or dates until the process of fermentation, he said:
“Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every Khamr is haram.”
5. Murder: Killing comes under major sins that is punishable under Islamic law. Allah says in the Quran,
“….Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely…..”
(Quran – Chapter 5, Verse 32 )
6. Gambling: Allah has forbidden gambling which is a sinful activity that wastes time and effort. It makes people rely on accidents than working hard to get money.
7. Theft: Stealing is forbidden in Islam
8. Gossiping and talking bad about others
9. Slandering against another person without knowing about the truth
10. Magic and seeking Omens
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Halal and Haram Food According to the Quran and Hadith
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“O mankind eat from the earth that which is permissible and good and do not follow the footsteps of the Satan. Indeed he is for you an open enemy”.
(Quran – Chapter 2, Verse 168)
Muslims are advised to abstain from certain food and drinks as Allah has prohibited some kinds of food and permitted others. Things that are beneficial to the body are permitted while things which are impure and have disadvantages are prohibited. He says,
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah.” Indeed, Allah is swift in account.”
(Quran – Chapter 5, Verse 4)
Things that are not allowed for consumption include animals slaughtered not in the name of Allah, animals killed in an accident or a fight, pigs, reptiles etc. Allah says:
“O you who believe! Verily the intoxicants and [the] games of chance and (sacrifices at) altars and divining arrows (are an) abomination from (the) work (of) the Shaitaan, so avoid it so that you may (be) successful.”
(Quran – Chapter 5, Verse 90)
“He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
(Quran – Chapter 2, Verse 173)
While these things are prohibited in Islam, Allah has opened other doors for Muslims to enjoy the good foods which are healthy and beneficial to the body.
“O messengers eat from the good foods and work righteousness. Indeed, I, of what you do, am Knowing.”
(Quran – Chapter 23 Verse 51)
All foods are considered Halal except the following (which are Haram):
- Alcoholic drinks and intoxicants
- Non-Halal Animal Fat
- Enzymes (Microbial Enzymes are permissible)
- Gelatine from non-Halal source (fish gelatine is Halal)
- L-cysteine (if from human hair)
- Lipase (only animal lipase need to be avoided)
- Non-Halal Animal Shortening
- Pork, Bacon or Ham and anything from pigs
- Unspecified Meat Broth
- Rennet (All forms should be avoided except for plant / microbial)
- Stock (a blend of mix species broth or meat stock)
- Tallow (non-Halal species)
- Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and certain other animals
- Foods contaminated with any of the above products
[Read Also: Animal Sacrifice (Qurbani) and its Importance]
What is the difference between Halal meat and Haram meat?
Haram meat refers to Maytah (dead animals), pork and any meat that is not slaughtered in the name of Allah. Poultry products such as cows, veal, lamb, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, game birds, bison, venison, etc, are considered Halal and they must be prepared strictly by following Islamic laws. Alcohol should not be used while preparing fish or seafood. It is only during emergency or need, prohibited things may become permissible (Halal), as Islam puts a priority on life over death.
Muslims are permitted those things that are slaughtered and prepared according to Islamic rules. The rules are:
- The slaughterer must be a sane adult Muslim.
- The slaughterer must say the name of Allah before making the cut.
- The animal should be slaughtered in the name of Allah in order to emphasize the sanctity of life and animal being killed for food with Allah’s consent.
- The animal must be killed by cutting the throat with one continuous stroke or motion of a sharp knife, without lifting it.
- The slit must cover three of the trachea, oesophagus, and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat.
- The spinal cord must not be cut.
- Animals must be treated well before being killed.
- Animals must not see other animals being killed.
- The knife must not be sharpened in the animal’s presence.
- The knife blade must be free of blemishes that might tear the wound.
- The animal must not be in an uncomfortable position.
- The animal must be allowed to bleed out and be completely dead before further processing.
Islam is a way of life with rules for holy and clean living, and being a Muslim we should follow these rules. Eating is also considered as worship towards Allah if done in the light of Sunnah. May Allah grant us the strength to live life according to the teachings of Islam and the Prophet (PBUH).