The meaning and significance of the concepts of halal and haram Dar-ul-Islam

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4.1 The meaning and significance of the concepts of halal and haram

Dar-ul-Islam - The abode of Islam/lands ruled by the Shari’ah

Halal - That which is permitted or lawful

Haram - That which is forbidden or unlawful

As we grow up we learn that there are some things that we can do that please people, parents, friends etc. and some things that make people cross. At home and at school there are certain rules that you have to obey in order to keep the family or school running smoothly. These rules might be simple and easy to keep, like making your bed every day, or more difficult, like not talking in class. Keeping to the rules helps everyone in the community work together and feel secure.

Muslims also have rules that are part of their religion and which help them to live their lives pleasing Allah. These rules are commanded by Allah in the Qur’an and fall into two main groups, halal, things that are allowed, and haram, things that are forbidden.

For Muslims, Islam is not just a system of beliefs but a complete way of life, and knowing what is halal and what is haram is important so that they can please Allah in all aspects of life. Actions and things that are forbidden, haram, are clearly written in the Qur’an. There is no doubt about them, and Muslims believe that doing these things brings about punishment from Allah and bars their entry into paradise.

Everything else that is not haram is halal, but there are some things that, although they are not forbidden, are not considered the best things to do. There are five groups into which actions fall:


Forbidden, for example sex outside of marriage


Discouraged, for example divorce




Recommended, for example du’a prayer

Fard or Wajib

Compulsory, for example observing the Five Pillars

Examples of Haram:

  • Setting anyone equal with Allah

  • Being unkind to parents

  • Being unfair in business

  • Charging interest on a loan

  • Pre-marital sex

  • Certain foods

  • Alcohol
The significance of halal and haram

  • They are commanded by Allah in the Qur’an and Muslims believe that obeying Allah enables them to lead a good life and brings rewards in the next life.

  • They were followed and taught by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and all Muslims should follow his example.

  • Observing halal and haram clearly identifies one as a Muslim and strengthens the fellowship between Muslims and unites the ummah.

  • Observing halal and haram constantly reminds Muslims of the teachings of Allah and that Islam is a way of life.

Many Muslims find it difficult to balance their everyday lives in a non-Muslim country with the commands of Allah. Countries where Shari’ah law is kept are called Dar-ul-Islam.


All Muslims try to live their lives in obedience to Allah’s commands. This means being very careful to observe the rules regarding actions that are haram.

Be careful!

Many students only focus on food laws when they answer questions on the principles of haram and halal – remember that certain foods are just one of the many things that are haram.

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