“Dogs are haram!” “Music is haram!” “Makeup is haram!” “Bright colored clothes are haram!” “Pictures of people or animals are haram!”
I know you’ve all heard this before. For the person who is just learning about Islam, it can be overwhelming. It can leave you wondering if Muslims are allowed to do ANYTHING but wear black, pray, and read the Qur’an.
What does the Qur’an say is forbidden?
The blood and meat of animals who die of natural causes or are killed or partially eaten by a wild animal, pork, and anything sacrificed or slain by the name of any other but God. If you are starving and this is the only food available, then you are permitted to eat it. Sharing meals with Christians and Jews is not forbidden.
2:172-173 “O you who believe, eat from the good things We have provided for you, and be thankful to God; if it is Him you serve. He has only made unlawful for you that which is already dead, and the blood, and the meat of pig, and what was dedicated to other than God. But whoever is forced to, without seeking disobedience or transgression, then there is no sin upon him. God is Forgiving, Merciful.”
5:3-5 “Forbidden to you is that which is already dead, and the blood, and the meat of pig, and what was dedicated to other than God, and that which has been strangled, and that which has been beaten to death, and that which has fallen from a height, and that which has been gored, and that which the wild animals have eaten from except what you managed to rescue, and what has been slaughtered on altars, and what you divide by the arrows of chance. This is vile. Today the rejecters have given up from your system, so do not be concerned by them, but be concerned by Me. Today I have perfected your system for you, and completed My blessings upon you, and I have approved submission as the system for you. So, whoever is forced by severe hunger and not seeking sin, then God is Forgiving, Merciful. They ask you what was made lawful to them, say: “All the good things have been made lawful for you, and what the trained dogs and birds catch, you teach them from what God teaches you.” So eat from what they have captured for you and mention the name of God upon it, and be aware of God. God is swift in reckoning. Today, the good things have been made lawful to you, and the food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them…”
Alcohol, gambling, idols, and fortune telling. God tells us that these things are used by Satan to distract us from Him and prayer.
2:219 “They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: “In them is great harm, and a benefit for the people; but their harm is greater than their benefit.”…”
5:90-91 “O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and stone idols, and fortunes are an affliction used by the devil. You shall avoid him so that you may be successful. The devil only wants to cause strife between you through intoxicants and gambling, and to repel you away from remembering God and from the prayer. Will you be deterred?”
This is a hard one. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a mortgage or car payment every month! But this verse seems to address those who collect interest, not those of us who have to pay it.
2:275-276 “Those who consume usury do not rise except as one being influenced by the touch of the devil. That is because they have said: “Trade is the same as usury.” While God has made trade lawful, and He has made usury unlawful. Whoever has received understanding from His Lord and ceases, then he will be forgiven for what was before this and his case will be with God. But whoever returns, then they are the people of the Fire, in it they will abide. God condemns usury, and He grants growth to the charities. And God does not love any wicked sinner.”
Anyone who is related to you by blood or marriage, or a similar bond: mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, foster parents, foster siblings, mother-in-law, step daughters, or marrying sisters. This applies to the male counterparts for women. Also anyone who is a polytheist or fornicator.
4:22-23 “And do not marry who your fathers had married from the women, except what has already been done. It is a lewdness, and an abhorrence, and an evil path. Forbidden for you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and the sisters of your father, and the sisters of your mother, and the daughters of your brother, and the daughters of your sister, and your foster mothers who suckled you, and your sisters from suckling, and the mothers of your women, and your step-daughters who are in your lodgings from your women with whom you have already consummated the marriage; if you have not consummated the marriage then there is no sin upon you; and those who were in wedlock with your sons who are from your seed, and that you join between two sisters except what has already been done. God is Forgiving, Merciful.”
24:3 “The adulterer will only marry an adulteress or she who is a polytheist. And the adulteress, she will only be married to an adulterer or he who is a polytheist. And such has been made forbidden for the believers.”
Nowhere are dogs forbidden or labeled unclean. Music is not forbidden. Nowhere are pictures of animals or people forbidden. Neither bright colors (which mimic the plants and flowers that Allah created and colored!) nor makeup are forbidden. Music, photos, and makeup should, of course, be in good taste, but they are allowed.
Allah (SWT) has warned us about forbidding what He does not forbid. He chastised Muhammad (PBUH) for trying to do just that!
66:1 “O Our Prophet! Why do you forbid what God has made permissible to you? Do you seek to please your wives? God is Forgiver, Merciful.”
So enjoy the good things Allah (SWT) has made permissible for us!