The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam

by Yusuf al-Qaradawi

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Table of Index

Reviewer's Note
Chapter 1: The Islamic Principles Pertaining to Halal and Haram
1. The Basic Asl Refers to the Permissibility of Things
2. To Make Lawful and to Prohibit Is the Right of Allah Alone
3. Prohibiting the Halal and Permitting the Haram Is Similar to Committing Shirk
4. The Prohibition of Things Is Due to Their Impurity and Harmfulness
5. What is Halal Is Sufficient, While What is Haram Is Superfluous
6. Whatever Is Conducive to the Haram Is Itself Haram
7. Falsely Representing the Haram as Halal Is Prohibited
8. Good Intentions Do Not Make the Haram Acceptable
9. Doubtful Things Are To Be Avoided
10. The Haram Is Prohibited to Everyone Alike
11. Necessity Dictates Exceptions
Chapter 2: The Halal And The Haram In The Private Life of Muslim
Section 1: Food and Drink
The Attitude of the Brahmins Toward Slaughtering Animals and Eating Meat
Animals Prohibited to the Jews and Christians
The Attitude of the Pre-Islamic Arabs
Islam Permits What Is Wholesome
The Prohibition of Eating What Is Dead and Its Wisdom
The Prohibition of Flowing Blood
That Which Is Dedicated to Anyone Other Than Allah
Types of Dead Animals
Reasons for the Prohibition of the Foregoing Categories
Animal Sacrifices
The Exemption of Sea Food and Locusts
Making Use of the Skin, Bones, and Hair of the Animal
Necessity Dictates Exceptions
Medical Necessity
Necessity Does Not Exist if the Society Possesses Excess Food
The Islamic Manner of Slaughtering
All Marine Animals Are Halal
Prohibited Terrestrial Animals
The Requirement of Slaughtering in the Islamic Manner
The Conditions of Islamic Slaughtering
The Wisdom of the Islamic Manner of Slaughtering
The Significance of Mentioning Allah's Name
Animals Slaughtered by the People of the Book
Animals Slaughtered for Churches and Christian Festivals
Animals Slaughtered By Electric Shock and Other Methods
The Meat of Zoroastrians and Others Like Them
A Rule: What We Do Not See Should Not Be Probed Into
Conditions Pertaining to the Hunter
Conditions Pertaining to the Game
Conditions Pertaining to the Instrument
Hunting with Weapons
Hunting with Dogs and the Like
When the Game is Found Dead
All That Intoxicates Is Haram
Whatever Intoxicates in Large Amounts is Haram in Any Amount
Trading in Alcohol
Alcohol Cannot Be Given as a Gift
Avoiding Drinking Parties
Alcohol, Itself a Disease, Cannot Be a Medicine
The Consumption of Harmful Things is Haram
Section 2 : Clothing and Adornment
Cleanliness and Beautification Are Characteristics of Islam
Gold and Silk
Gold and Pure Silk are Haram for Men
The Wisdom of These Two Prohibitions Concerning Men
Why Gold and Silk are Permitted to Women
The Dress of the Muslim
The Dress of the Muslim Woman
Concerning Woman's Imitating Man and Vice Versa
Dressing for the Sake of Ostentation and Pride
Artificial Changes of Features
Going to Extremes in Beautification by Changing What Allah Created
The Prohibition of Tattooing, Cutting the Teeth, and Undergoing Surgery for Beautification
Plucking the Eyebrows
Wigs and Hairpieces
Dyeing the Hair
Letting the Beard Grow
Section 3: The Home
Items Related to Luxurious Living and Paganism
The Use of Gold and Silver
Gold and Silver Utensils
Islam Prohibits Statues
The Wisdom of Prohibiting Statues
The Islamic Manner of Commemorating the Great
The Exemption of Children's Toys
Incomplete or Defaced Statues
Paintings and One-Dimensional Ornaments
The Permissibility of a Debased Figure
The Subject Matter of Photographs
A Summary of the Rulings Pertaining to Figures awl Their Makers
Keeping Dogs Without Necessity
The Permissibility of Keeping Hunting Dogs and Watch Dogs
The Findings of Scientific Research Relative to Keeping Dogs
Section 4: Work and Earning Livelihood
The Obligation to Work If One Is Able
When Begging is Allowable
Dignity of Work
Earning Through Agriculture
Prohibited Crops
Industries and Professions
Industries and Professions Condemned by Islam
Prohibited Kinds of Trade
Salaried Employment
Prohibited Types of Employment
A General Rule in Earning a Living
Chapter 3: The Halal And The Haram In Marriage And Family Life
Section 1: The Physical Appetites
The Prohibition of Approaching Zina
Looking With Desire at the Opposite Sex
The Prohibition of Looking at the 'Awrah of Others
What May Be Seen of the Man or Woman
The Display of Women's Adornment: What Is and What Is Not
Women's 'Awrah
Concerning Women Going to Public Baths
The Prohibition of the Display of Women's Attractions
How a Muslim Woman Should Conduct Herself
A Woman's Serving Male Guests
Sexual Perversion: A Major Sin
A Ruling Concerning Masturbation
Section 2: Marriage
No Monasticism in Islam
Seeing the Woman to Whom One Proposes Marriage
Prohibited Proposals
The Consent of the Girl
Women To Whom Marriage is Prohibited
Marriages Prohibited by Reason of Fosterage
In-Law Relationships
Sisters as Co-Wives
Married Women
Mushrik Women
Marriage to the Women of the People of the Book
The Prohibition of a Muslim Woman's Marrying a Non-Muslim Man
Temporary Marriage (Mut'ah)
Marrying More Than One Woman
Justice Among Wives - A Condition
Why Marriage to More Than One Woman is Permitted in Islam
Section 3: The Relationship Between Husband and Wife
The Sexual Relationship
Prohibited Intercourse
Guarding the Secrets Between the Husband and Wife
Section 4: Contraception
Valid Reasons for Contraception
Section 5: Divorce
Mutual Tolerance Between Husband and Wife
Rebelliousness and Strife
When Divorce Becomes Permissible
Divorce in the Pre-Islamic Period
Divorce in Judaism
Divorce in Christianity
Differences Among Christian Denominations Regarding Divorce
Consequences of the Christian Stand on Divorce
The Christian Stand on Divorce: A Temporary Injunction, Not a Permanent Law
The Islamic Limits for the Regulation of Divorce
The Prohibition of Divorcing During Menstruation
Taking an Oath of Divorce
Where the Divorcee Resides During the Waiting Period
Repeated Divorce
Reconciling Honorably or Separating with Kindness
The Divorced Woman's Freedom to Remarry
The Woman's Right to Demand Divorce
The Prohibition of ill-treatment
The Prohibition of the Oath of Desertion
Section 6: The Relationship Between Parents and Children
The Protection of the Lineage
The Prohibition of Denying Paternity
The Prohibition of Legal Adoption
A Practical Example of the Abolition of Legal Adoption
Adopting a Child to Rear and to Educate
Artificial Insemination
Attributing the Child to a Man Other Than the Child's Father
"Do Not Kill Your Children"
Equal Treatment of Children
Observing the Limits of Allah Regarding Inheritance
Disobedience to Parents: A Major Sin
Insulting Parents: A Major Sin
The Parent's Consent for Jihad
Non-Muslim Parents
Chapter 4: The Halal And The Haram In The Daily Life of The Muslim
Section 1: Beliefs and Customs
Respect for Allah's Laws in the Universe
The War Against Superstitions and Myths
Believing in Those Who Foretell the Future Constitutes Kufr
Divination With Arrows
Charms and Amulets
The War Against Jahili Customs
No Chauvinism in Islam
Lineage is Without Significance
Mourning for the Dead
Section 2: Business Transactions
The Prohibition of Selling Haram Goods
The Prohibition of a Sale Involving Uncertainty
Price Manipulation
The Condemnation of Hoarding
Interference in the Free Market
The Permissibility of Brokerage
Exploitation and Fraud
"He Who Deceives Us Is Not of Us"
Frequent Swearing
Withholding Full Measure
The Prohibition of Buying Stolen Property
The Prohibition of Interest
The Wisdom of Prohibiting Interest
The Borrower on Interest and the Writer of the Deed
Concerning the Prophet's Seeking Refuge with Allah from
Sale for Deferred Payment (Credit)
Payment in Advance
Partnership Between Capital and Labor
Partnership Among Owners of Capital
Insurance Companies
Do Insurance Companies Constitute Cooperatives?
A Modification
The Islamic System of Insurance
The Use of Cultivable Land
1. Cultivating the Land Himself
2. Lending the Land to Others for Cultivation
3. Taking a Proportion of the Crop
4. Renting the Land for Money
Partnership in Raising Animals
Section 3: Recreation and Play
"A Time for This and a Time for That"
The Humanness of the Messenger of Allah
Relaxing the Mind
Permissible Sports
Foot Racing
Spear Play
Horseback Riding
Playing with Dice: Backgammon
Playing Chess
Singing and Music
Gambling, the Companion of Drinking
The Lottery, a Form of Gambling
Section 4: Social Relationships
The Unlawfulness of Severing Ties with a Fellow Muslim
Settling Disputes
"Let Not Some People Mock at Other People"
"Do Not Slander"
"Do Not Revile by Nicknames"
Spreading Gossip
The Sacredness of Honor
The Sacredness of Life
"The Murderer and the Murdered Will Be in Hell"
The Sanctity of the Lives of Allies and Non-Muslim Residents
Capital Punishment
The Sanctity of Property
The Prohibition of Bribery
Gifts to Officials
Bribery to Redress a Wrong
Wasteful Spending
Section 5: Social Relationships
Special Consideration for the People of the Book
Non-Muslim Residents of an Islamic State
Meaning of Friendship with Non-Muslims
Seeking Help From Non-Muslims
The Extension of Islam's Universal Mercy to Animals
Concluding Remarks


The methodology of this book is unique in dealing with the many subjects it covers. In fact, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a pioneer, the first to handle this subject using this particular approach. He has attempted, with considerable success in the Arabic original, to collect and summarize the issues from both ancient and modern Islamic references. Being himself a recognized Islamic scholar, he has had to make a judgement in selecting those points of view which he strongly felt meet the needs of Muslims in reference to the changing circumstances of this time.

However, this by no means presents all dimensions of the "discussion relating to each issue, which it is impossible to cover in a book of this modest size. Although the present volume is very useful, it cannot by itself fill the gaps, meet the challenges, or answer the multitude of questions which face Muslim communities living in the Western world. It is time that sincere and qualified Muslim scholars who have lived in the West, and who possess mastery of the Islamic fiqh, introduce into English a fiqh which will meet our Islamic needs in this part of the world, one which will demonstrate the ability of Islam, as Allah's final message to mankind, to meet the changing requirements of human society. We hope that this call to our brothers and sisters will not be lost, and that the Muslims in North America will carry out the responsibilities which confront them in a forceful and dynamic fashion. Insha'Allah the day will not be far off when the major reference works available in the Islamic languages - Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Turkish, etc. - will be accurately translated into English, giving the English-speaking Muslims the privilege of drawing their own conclusions concerning the many issues which confront them today.

We pray that Allah will forgive us, and that He will bless our work and make it useful for the Muslims of the English-speaking world.

Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Hammad


Al-Halal (the lawful): That which is permitted, with respect to which no restriction exists, and the doing of which the Law-Giver, Allah, has allowed.

Al-Haram Al-Haram (the prohibited or unlawful): That which the Law-Giver has absolutely prohibited; anyone who engages in it is liable to incur the punishment of Allah in the Hereafter as well as a legal punishment in this world.

Al-Makruh Al-Makruh (the detested): That which is disapproved by the Law-Giver but not very strongly. The makruh is less in degree than the haram, and the punishment for makruh acts is less than for those that are haram, except when done to excess and in a manner which leads an individual toward what is haram.