Islamic concepts

Ḥarām — not allowed, forbidden; sacred, inviolable

ALA-LC ḥarām
IPA ˈħærɑɑm

Activities that are Ḥarām include not only those that are harmful but also those that lead to harm. If something is Ḥarām, don’t go anywhere near it.

5. Haram (Prohibited): This category is prohibited for the Muslim to do such as stealing and lying. Doing the haram counts as a bad deed and not doing it counts as a good deed.

ḥarām things become OK when there is necessity:

Example of alcohol

Just because something is Ḥarām doesn’t mean it must be banned overnight. The idea is rather that you should work towards becoming independent from it. The case of alcohol in the early Muslim community illustrates this point well.

As opposed to Prohibition in the United States, for example, which became unpopular and ultimately failed, Islam was very gentle and gradual on forbidding wine. The Sharīʿāh is a gradual process that is first cultivated from within before any external laws can be even considered. First, it was forbidden to pray while drunk. Eventually an amnesty depot was set up where people could safely get rid of their booze. And so on.

Laws alone are ineffective for social change. It has to come from the minds of the community.

2:286 no one is forced beyond their capacity 2:219 drinking alcohol is not forbidden. no direct command to quit. identified as sin-prone and corrupting.

Aḥkām أحكام‎ — rules and guidelines

Mustaḥabb or Mandub or Nafl (bonus or additional)
Makrūh Tanzihan
frowned upon
not allowed
Makrūh Taḥrīman
prohibitively disliked

Examples of Ḥarām actions

  • Insulting the beliefs of non-Muslims 6:108
  • Shirk
  • Stealing from an orphan.
  • Committing adultery or fornication.
  • Disobeying parents.
  • Collecting interest on investments.
  • Accusing a chaste woman falsely.
  • Giving false testimony.
  • Committing murder or suicide.
  • Committing infanticide.
  • Enslaving a free person.
  • Engaging in slander and gossip.
  • Using intoxicants

Ahkam — permission levels