Halal & Haram- Permissible and Not Permissible

Muslims believe that Allah revealed rulings and guidance for mankind to follow through the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The word Halal can be translated as ‘lawful’, whereas Haram, its opposite, means ‘prohibited’. These terms are applied to all aspects of a Muslim’s life and extend to include food, drink, clothing, behaviour and practices.
Food and Drink:
Muslims follow strict guidelines concerning the food and drink they consume.
There are a number of things which Muslims are not permitted to consume:
  • Alcohol or any other substance that may cause intoxication.
    • The meat of pigs and any of its derivatives.
    • The meat of any animal that has not been slaughtered according to Islamic Law.
    • The meat of any animal that eats other animals and any of its derivatives.
In order for animal meat to be considered halal, it must be killed according to Islamic jurisprudence teachings (Shariah law), which include the following rulings:
  • An invocation or prayer should be said before the animal is killed.
    • The animal should be facing towards Makkah when it is killed.
    • The animal’s throat should be cut with a sharp knife to minimise the time it takes to slaughter.
    • The animal should be killed humanely, and should not be mistreated.
    • The blood should be drained from the animal after it has been killed to rid it of impurities.
    • Animals should only be killed for human consumption and not for fun, sport or any other reason.
Note: This method of slaughtering has been scientifically proven to be far quicker and humane than those used in the majority of factories in the Western world, which often stun the animal with electric shocks before either cutting or breaking its neck.
Behaviour and Practices:
In terms of conduct in their daily lives, Muslims also adhere to guidelines on how to behave.
Some practices which are considered haram include:
  • Adultery.
    • Murder.
    • Gambling.
    • Earning interest.
    • Lying or cheating.
    • Backbiting.
    • Activities considered harmful to society at large.
Muslims believe that by adhering to these teachings they will be rewarded in the afterlife by Allah, particularly if it is difficult to stick to the rulings, for example, when living in a non-Muslim society.
If a person gives in to temptation and commits wrong, they may face the consequence of being punished, thus Muslims must try their utmost to follow Allah’s commands.
A person should never give up, however, if they have done wrong, as Allah tells us, He is the Forgiving and the Merciful in the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam. If a person repents sincerely after realising they have done wrong, Allah may choose to forgive him or her, however, they must not repeat the act again.