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Halal and Haram

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Food & Drink

God says in the Quan,

“O you who believe! Eat of the good things We have provided you, and be grateful to God, if it is indeed, He whom you worship.”
Quran (2:172)

To fulfill its earthly purpose, the body has physical needs that need to be provided for with moderation. Eating pure and nutritious food plays an integral role in nourishing the body and fulfilling it rights. Dietary guidelines in Islam allow most foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and dairy products. Certain animal meat, for example beef, lamb, and poultry, is rendered permissible to eat if the animals are properly slaughtered according to Islamic Law. All types of food that can be consumed are termed Halal, which means permissible in Arabic.

As for foods that are impure and impermissible, or Haram to eat, God says,

“He has only forbidden you carrion, blood, swine, and that over which other than God has been invoked. But there is no sin or blame on those who are compelled by necessity without transgressing or going too far. For God is Forgiving, All-Merciful.”
Quran (2:173)

Besides impermissible foods and their by-products, there are other substances prohibited by Islamic law due to their detrimental effects on the mind and body. A general rule in Islam is that it is forbidden to intentionally harm the self or others. Substances like alcohol and other intoxicants are prohibited since they cause their users to lose their mental faculties and self-control, bringing about many individual and societal ills. God warns us against these harms,

“Satan only wants to stir up enmity and jealousy among you by means of alcohol and gambling, and to hinder you from praying. So will you stop?”
Quran (5:91)

Drugs, unless for medical purposes, are also prohibited for the same reasons mentioned above. Although some people may be able to consume small amounts of intoxicating substances without reaching the point of intoxication, the consumption of any amount of intoxicant is forbidden.

Dress Code

The Prophet said, “Modesty does not bring anything except goodness.”

Modesty, therefore, permeates the life of the believer, both male and female, and reflects in his or her speech, manners, gaze, actions, and clothing.

Modesty is the underlying principle of Islamic dress. There is, however, no specific article of clothing that must be worn; there is a vast range and diversity of accepted styles that differ from country to country and culture to culture so long as the following is observed:

The limits set by God pertaining to clothing are associated with two areas: the materials one wears, and the parts of the body that are covered or left bare. The rulings of Islamic law regarding clothing materials are gender specific. Women are subject to no restrictions on what materials they may wear. For men, on the other hand, it is forbidden (ḥarām) to wear gold (as jewellery or otherwise) and natural silk (whether in clothes or accessories).

In terms of the parts of the body that must be covered, for a man, the requirement is to cover the area of the body from the navel to the knees when in front of others. This requirement is the same whether in public or private, and regardless of whom he is with. For women, the limits of what should be covered vary by situation. In public, the entire body, except the face and hands, should be covered. To this end, Muslim women wear the headscarf (ḥijāb), a simple cloth wrapped around the head, to cover their hair and neck. The requirement of what must be covered is reduced when a woman is in two settings: when she is surrounded only by other women, or when she is with unmarriageable kin. There is no minimum area that must be covered between spouses, although modesty is a virtue that is always encouraged.