Sunday, March 1, 2009

Halal or Haram?

Today's posting contemplates the five substances which are, according to Islam, known as haram [ha-rram] or prohibited. The five items are: pork, alcohol, dead meat, al zinnah and riba and all five are explained in more detail below:

1. Pork
Pork and all pork devrivatives (e.g. pork scratchings, gelatine) are banned because of the following Koranic verses

1.1 The Table 5:3
"You are forbidden carrion, blood and the felsh of swine; also any flesh dedicated to any other than God."

1.2 Cattle 6:145
"Say: 'I find nothing in what has been revelaed to me that forbids men to eat of any food except carrion, running blood, and the fesh of swine - for these are unclean - and any flesh that has been profanely consecrated to gods other than God.'"

1.3 The Bee 16:115
"He has forbidden you carrion, blood and the felsh of swine; also any flesh consecrated other than in the name of God. But whoever is compelled thorugh necessity, intending neither to sin nor to transgress, will find that God is forgiving and merciful. You shall not falsely declare; 'This is lawful and that is forbidden' in order to invent a falsehoold about God. Those who invent falsehoods about God shall never prosper."

2. Alcohol
Alcohol and alcohol derivatives (e.g. gripe water and rubbing alcohol.  Items such as deodorants and grapes are not used/consumed by the more austere) because of the following verses in the Koran:

2.1 The Cow 2:219
They ask you about drinking and gambling. Say: 'There is great harm in both, although they have some benefit for men; but their harm is far greater than their benefit."

2.2 Women 4:43
"Belivers, do not approach your prayers when you are drunk, but wait till you can grasp the meaning of your words."

2.3 The Bee 16:67
"And the fruits of the palm and the vine, from which you derive intoxicants and wholesome food. Surely in this there is a sign for men of understanding."

2.4 The Table 37:47
"Belivers, wine and games of chance, idols and divining arrows, are abominations and devised by Satan. Avoid them, so that you may propser. Satan seeks to stir up enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and gambling, and to keep you from the rememberance of God and from your prayers. Will you not astain from them?"

2.5 That Which is Coming 56:6
"They shall recline on jewelled couches face to face, and there shall wait on them imortal youths with bowls and ewers and a cup of the purest wine (that will neither pain their heads nor take away their reason)."

2.6 The Unjust 83:22
"The rightous wil surely dwell in bliss. Reclining upon soft couches they will gaze around them: and in their faces you shall mark the glow of joy. They shall be given a pure wine to drink, securely sealed, whose very dregs are musk (for this let all men emoulously strive); a wine tempered with the water of Tasnim, a spring at which the favoured will refresh themselves."

3. Dead Meat
Dead meat is meat which has not been slaughtered in a Halal method. That is when the animal has the knife drawn across its throat, the blood leaves the animal, at which time a Koranic verse is recited.

3.1 The Table 5:3
"You are forbidden the flesh of strangled animals and of those beaten or gored to death; of those killed by a fall or mangled by beast of prey (unless you make it clean by giving the death stroke yourselves) also of animals sacrified to idols."

4. Al Zinnah
The act of having sex with someone you are not married to. {see wgaw blog archives: 15/o3, 13/o2 and 11/o2}

4.1 The Belivers 23:1
"Blessed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers; who avoid profane talk, and give alms ot the destitute; who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them: transgressors are those who lust after others than these)."

4.2 The Ladders 70:22
"Who restrain their carnal desire (save with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)."

4.3 The Confederate Tribes 33:50
"Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom God has given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you and any beliving woman who give herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. This priliege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer."

5. Riba [rib-bah]
Ursury or interest {see wgaw blog archive: 17/o3} is not allowed, as written in the Koran in the following locations:

5.1 Al Baqarah, 2:275
“Those that live on usury shall rise up before God like men whom Satan has demented by his touch, for they claim that trading is not different from usury. But God has permitted trading and made usury unlawful.”

5.2 Al Baqarah, 2:276-279
“God has laid his curse on usury and blessed almsgiving with increase. God bears no love for the impious and the sinful. Those that have faith and do good works, attend to their prayers and render the alms levy will be rewarded by their Lord and will have nothing to fear or to regret. Believers have fear of God and waive what is still due to you from usury, if your faith be true; or war shall be declared against you by God and His apostle. If you repent, you may retain your principal, suffering no loss and causing loss to none.”

5.3 The Imrans, 3:130-2
“Believers, do not live on usury, doubling your wealth many times over. Have fear of God that you may prosper.

5.4 Al Nisa, 4:161
“Because time after time they have debarred others from the path of God; because they practice usury - although they were forbidden it - and cheat others of their possession.”

5.5 Al Rum, 30:39
“That which you seek to increase by usury will not be blessed by God; but the alms you give for His sake shall be repaid to you many times over.”

Additional Items
As quoted in, 'The Table 37:47', games of chance (gambling), idols (e.g. faces removed in paintings for Muharram {see wgaw blog archive: 17/o2}) and divining arrows (fortune telling), are also frowned upon and banned in many Muslim countries.

That which is allowed, according to the Koran.

Please Note:
All quotes are taken from 'The Koran' translated by N. J. Dawood, 1993, Penguin, London, ISBN: 0-14-044558-7


Josh said...

Very informative list. I've heard these before, but it helps to see them again. Seeing as I am not part of this faith I have a couple of questions that I don't understand:

1) Why would something like wine be forbidden while on earth but used as incentive for eternity?

2) "Who restrain their carnal desire (save with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)." Not only are slave girls not wives, but we're talking about slaves here. Please explain.

Fatima said...

Good work. But Grapes are not haram. My Sheikh eats them and they are fine...they are included in fruits category.

wgaw said...

Josh; I'm going to ask for help on those two questions, when I have some suggestions I'll get back to you.

Fatima; agree with you about the grapes, but I've had students who refuse to eat them ...

Uzer said...


Just thought I'd drop by my 2 cents worth.

In Heaven ("eternity") anything and everything you can desire will be yours without any of the ill-effects. Similarly alcohol will be available freely without any of its intoxicant effects. Other things which are forbidden on Earth (such as silk clothes for men due to their association with ostentation and arrogance) will be allowed in Heaven since Heaven is in effect the reward of a person's sacrifice in Earth. Further details have been written by people more intelligent than I am:

Slaves were a reality of life at the time of revelation and had to be addressed by the religion. Among the many injunctions regarding the treatment of slaves (ie equal to the treatment of their 'masters') was the allowance of concubines. Bear in mind that slavery resulted only through conquest and obtaining POWs (not selling one's children, or kidnapping people off the street). If a slave girl had children through the master then the child is automatically free and the mother could no longer be sold. For more details try this as a starting point:

Hope this helps.

wgaw said...


Many thanks for your comments :-)

I find it interesting to hear another's point of view, but for me there are still some very big stumbling blocks e.g. non-intoxicating alcohol, concubines and women wearing silk when men can't.

Will continue to think about what you've said and thanks for posting.

Turkish Muslimah said...

nice post =]