When Western people travel to eastern Islamic countries, they often prefer to eat the folk and favorite local food of the region. But what is it that makes western Muslims starve for a KFC classic chicken–on–the–bone bucket meal, or a McDonalds’ double burger if they don’t eat meat?! Muslims are Muslims, not vegetarians and eating meat in Islam is allowed, But like the followers of other religions who have specific slaughtering rituals, Muslims also have explicit rulings for slaughtering particular animals to make it lawful (Halal).
As it is defined in the Quran, believers are welcomed to enjoy all of the blessings of this world . Therefore, about eating meat, Allah does not mention what to eat, but He excludes what is not lawful to eat and maybe physically or spiritually harmful to the human's body and soul. "You are permitted animals of grazing livestock, except what is [now] announced to you…" (5:1) and what is recited as prohibited is mentioned in the Quran as below:
You have prohibited carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and what has been offered to other than Allah, and the animal strangled or beaten to death, and that which dies by falling or is gored to death, and that which is mangled by a beast of prey— barring that which you may purify —and what is sacrificed on stone altars [to idols], and that you should divide by raffling with arrows...(5:3).
Other than the mentioned meats all other kinds of meat are Halal as described in the Quran: Say, ‘I do not find in what has been revealed to me that anyone is forbidden to eat anything except carrion or spilled blood, or the flesh of swine—for that is indeed unclean—or an impiety offered to other than Allah.’ But should someone be compelled, without being rebellious or aggressive, indeed your Lord is all-forgiving, all-merciful’ (6:145).
Please note that all kinds of lawful (Halal) meat must be slaughtered according to Islamic rulings: “Do not eat [anything] of that over which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned, and that is indeed transgression…” (6:121).
Even the above mentioned prohibited meats are lawful (Halal) while you are living in a problematic situation and following the rules of Islam will put you in extreme difficulty. Please note that difficulty does not mean that you do not have ready food at home and therefore you may eat forbidden (Haram) meat. A difficulty, as written in Islamic jurisprudence, is when one’s life is at risk, and there is no other food available but forbidden (Haram) meat.
A Detailed Description of Lawful (Halal ) and Forbidden (Haram ) meats
To be more precise on which meat is lawful, let’s have a review of the Islamic jurisprudence.
Fish that have scales are the only type of Halal sea creatures. Other sea creatures and fish are Haram .
Among all domestic land creatures; sheep, cow, and camel are Halal, but eating the meat of horse and donkey is detestable (Makruh). The rest of domestic land creatures such as dogs, cats, etc. are forbidden (Haram).
Deer, cow, zebra, mountain goat, and wild donkey are all Halal. However, eating the meat of wild predatory animals that are predatory in essence, have strong and sharp nails, claws, and fangs such as, lions, leopards, cheetahs, wolves, or animals with less sharp fangs such as foxes and hyenas as well as rabbits, while not part of the predatory category, are considered Haram.
Also, insects and reptiles, such as snakes, mice, lizards, hedgehogs, fleas, lice, etc., are all Haram. Animals who have undergone metamorphosis (maskh) [i] such as, elephants, monkeys, bears, etc. are Haram as well .
Birds that flap their wings more than they glide while flying are Halal, but birds that glide and spread their wings more while flying in the air instead of flapping their wings are Haram. Also, birds with gizzards and spurs at the back of their feet are Halal [ii] .
All insects are Haram [iii] .
It is permissible to eat Halal meat cooked or uncooked or even burned (as long as it has no harm to human health) .
Please note that the rules of slaughtering and eating hunted meat are slightly different from all the rulings mentioned above, and we will discuss that in a separate article.
"For every nation, We have appointed a rite so that they might mention Allah’s Name over the livestock He has provided them" (22:34).
Although Jews have their specific rules of slaughtering that have many similarities to the Islamic rulings, as there are minor differences in the slaughtering of Jews and Muslims, therefore kosher meat is not lawful (Halal) for Muslims .
[i] In Arabic, Maskh means for something to change form to an uglier one. In the Quran and Islamic tradition, this term refers to a specific divine punishment that was sent upon the wrongdoers and wrongdoing nations in the past (of course not all wrongdoers, but those who committed certain wrong acts) which can be called metamorphosis .
[ii] Birds with sharp claws such as eagles, hawks, falcons, etc. are Haram.
[iii] If a locust is caught by hand or any other means, it is lawful (Halal) (after dying) .
- “Say, who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which he has produced for his servants and the good (lawful) things of provision?”(7:32)
- Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 137, the book of foods and drinks, issue 2; al-Mukhtasar al-Nafi’, pg. 251; Sharayi’ al-Islam, pg. 169.
- food in Islam
- Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 603.
- Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, pg. 593, issue 2622.
- Imam Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol. 2, pg. 162
- Halal food
- halal food in Islam
These days, adultery or having sexual relationships without a marriage contract is becoming more and more normal to people of different faiths and beliefs. This is against all Abrahamic religions that had strictly forbidden adultery. However, those who commit adultery may bring many logical reasons to justify their act. Most people who commit adultery may simply think that this is the natural way of satisfying their biological needs, while not considering themselves as adulterers with a negative meaning.
Many unmarried men and women believe that experiencing a sexual intercourse with their girlfriend/boyfriend is very important for them to decide if they would like to marry that person and live the rest of their life with her/him.
Being aware of all different modern ideas about the importance of experiencing sexual relationship before marriage, in this text we try to have a quick study on the idea of Islam about adultery and the reasons and philosophies behind those ideas.
There are a few verses in the holy Quran that directly speak about adultery and some other verses that indirectly guide people on how to stay away from this vile action.
To clarify the state of fornication among other sins, Allah (SWT) brings it alongside the greatest sins one may commit: “Those who do not invoke another deity besides Allah, and do not kill a soul [whose life] Allah has made inviolable, except with due cause, and do not commit fornication…” (25: 68). As it is clear in the verse, adultery is counted alongside with infidelity and murder.
Another indication in the Quran about adultery says: “Do not approach fornication. It is indeed an indecency and an evil way.” (17:32)
In this verse, apart from calling fornication an indecency, it considers it as a “way”. Allamah Tabatabayi has studied the word “way” in this verse in comparison with the same word in the following verse addressing the homosexual people at the time of Prophet Lout (PBUH): “Do you come to men, and cut off the way, and commit outrages in your gatherings?” (29:29), concluding that the word way refers to healthy reproduction of human beings. He states that the verses refer to the fact that homosexuality and fornication will lead to the weakening of the families and therefore, to the weakening of the society. 
Another important point mentioned in the above verse is that it does not say ‘do not commit adultery’ but it emphasizes not to even go near it. Not only being alone with a marriageable kin (Non-Mahram), kissing, touching, etc. may lead to adultery and are forbidden (Haram). Simpler acts such as looking, talking on the phone, sending text messages or sending likes on social networks, if prepare the grounds for adultery are considered forbidden (Haram). 
But how should we keep away from adultery in a world in which media and advertisement encourage and invite people to fornication and adultery?
When Allah (SWT) emphasizes on not going near adultery, He provides us with practices and the right lifestyle to be able to stay away from it. Some of the tips are mentioned bellow:
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (AS) that “An evil glance is one of the poisonous arrows of Satan. Many of such glances becomes a cause of prolonged regret.” 
Controlling the look is one of the practices that helps one to be able to control his/her sexual desires. Allah (SWT) teaches us to cast down our looks and not to gaze lustfully at those of marriageable kin (Non-Mahram) or even at animals and things
“Tell the faithful men to cast down their looks and to guard their private parts. That is more decent for them.” (24: 30)
“And tell the faithful women to cast down their looks and to guard their private parts …” (24:31)
These days the rule applies to the movies, pictures and advertisements, etc. in which the naked or half nude images or films of men and women are visible. 
The other approach that the Quran offers to keep the society away from adultery is for women to wear Hijab and cover their body except what is legally observable, such as hands and face. They should also cover their beautification, make up, jewelry, and not even try to announce men of the ornaments they are wearing under their cover by making noises; for example, their bangles and bracelets:
“… and not to display their charms, beyond what is [acceptably] visible, and let them draw their scarfs over their bosoms … And let them not thump their feet to make known their hidden ornaments …” (24:31)
Some men and women may even wear the Islamic dress code and not even look in each other’s eyes, but they do not observe the chastity of speech. They should not speak to each other in a soft and enticing voice to encourage each other’s feelings and they shouldn’t make jokes and flirt with each other.
“…if you are wary [of Allah], do not be complaisant in your speech, lest he in whose heart is a sickness should aspire.” (33:32)
So if the opposite sexes are not allowed to enjoy being together, what is the whole point of them being created in two different sexes and having attraction for each other?
Allah (SWT) has put this attraction and desire toward the opposite sex for people to make families and reproduce and find peace and calmness beside their spouses:
“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you...” (30:21)
Having a family and being loyal to it helps the society to be a safer place in which people can perform their duties and missions in life without being distracted by vain thoughts and concerns. Therefore, Allah (SWT) emphasizes on getting married and helping others to get married:
“Marry off those who are single among you, and the upright among your male and female slaves. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His grace, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing.” (24:32)
And for those who cannot find a spouse for themselves, Allah (SWT) recommends them to keep their chastity: “Those who cannot afford marriage should be continent until Allah enriches them out of His grace.” (24:33) they should trust in Allah’s word and wait for His promise to come true. Sooner or later Allah (SWT) will enrich them as promised: “… And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Indeed, Allah carries through His commands. Certainly, Allah has ordained a measure [and extent] for everything.” (65:3)
The other guideline for preventing adultery is that the opposite sex of marriageable kin (Non-Mahram) should not stay lonely in a private place together. It is narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that: “A man should not be alone in the company of a woman (marriageable kin (Non-Mahrams)) for in that case Satan will be the third person.” 
After providing all the above hints to people to keep themselves chaste and stay away from fornication and adultery, for those who do not follow the guidelines and insist on committing adultery and have no fear of publicizing it, Allah (SWT) has considered punishments in different levels. 
In Surah Furqan, after stressing on the nasty nature of adultery and its great punishment, Allah (SWT) assures His servants that if they regret their deed and repent to their Lord, deciding not to commit their sin again, Allah will forgive them: “except those who repent, attain faith, and act righteously. For such, Allah will replace their misdeeds with good deeds, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.” (25:70)
Islam tries to bring peace and happiness to human life with its laws and legislations. It also provides life skills by which one can achieve both worldly and spiritual improvement,
Every day we meet several people at work, in the shops, at the university, in the neighborhood, or at parties and gatherings with whom we communicate and interact. Talking, telling jokes, shaking hands, touching or kissing usually happen in these interactions; but, is a Muslim allowed to do all these with whoever he/she wants? Or is he/she permitted to be exposed to such acts? These and many similar questions are answered in Islam.
To clarify and form the relations among people, Islam has presented the concept of Maharim and the two categories “Mahram” and “non-Mahram” which sometimes serve as conditions, requirements, or the basis of several Islamic laws. Regarding the Islamic rules on marriage, these categories define who a person can and cannot marry. Likewise, when dealing with the Islamic dress code, i.e., explaining whom one must cover specific parts of a body in front of, the concept of Maharim is required.
One’s Mahram is anyone whom it is permanently forbidden to marry because of blood ties, marriage ties or breastfeeding. However, a woman does not need to cover her hair and put on Hijab when she is in their presence. A woman's male Mahrams fall into three categories plus her spouse . Mahrams for a man are derived similarly. The Maharim for both, extracted from the verses of the Holy Quran (4:22-23) and (24:31), are listed below , and all other people and relatives are considered as non-Maharams.
Permanent or blood Mahrams, with whom one is Mahram through blood ties:
parents, grandparents, and further ancestors;
children, grandchildren, and further descendants;
siblings of parents, grandparents, and further ancestors (cousins and their children are not Mahram);
children and further descendants of siblings;
In-law Mahrams, with whom one becomes Mahram through marriage ties:
stepfather (mother's husband) if their marriage is consummated, stepmother (father's wife) even if their marriage is not consummated;
stepson (husband's son) even if their marriage is not consummated, stepdaughter (wife's daughter) if their marriage is consummated[i];
Rada or "milk-suckling Mahrams," with whom one becomes Mahram because of being breastfed by her. When a woman breastfeeds an infant that is not her child for a certain amount of time under certain conditions, she becomes the child's rada mother and everything concerning blood Mahrams apply here, such as rada father/mother, rada sister/brother, rada aunt/uncle and so on. In English, these can be referred to as milk-brother, milk-mother, etc. [ii].
It is forbidden (Haram) to marry Mahrams, but one can marry non-Mahrams who have reached puberty. As explained above, Married couples are Mahram to each other. But unlike other Mahrams, the limitations and rulings on looking and touching do not apply to them; i.e., married couples are the only ones allowed to touch and look at the whole body of one another; even the private parts.
Regarding social interactions, there are some rules according to the concept of Maharim:
Women and men are both required to keep their gazes downcast and should not stare at the other person when facing non-Mahrams or talk to them. Even Mahrams are not allowed to see certain parts of the body of each other (this will be discussed more under a separate topic “the Islamic rules on looking“);
When talking to non-Mahrams, the tone of voice should be serious, and the dialogues should be direct and as much as necessary. One should also avoid telling jokes and laughing loudly [iii];
Any physical contact (i.e., shaking hands, hugging touching) with non-Mahrams is forbidden (haram), except for curing patients. In this case, if a doctor of the same gender as the patient exists and can cure, then it is forbidden to refer to a non-Mahram doctor.
When being sole in a closed room (where no one else can enter, i.e., locked place), it is forbidden for a non-Mahram man to remain alone in the company of a non-Mahram woman. The Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) said: “No man is alone with a woman except that Satan is the third one present ” ;
It is required (Wajib) to cover specific parts of a body in the presence of a non-Mahram according to the Islamic dress code. For men, this includes from navel to knee. For women, the clothing should cover their hair and body, but covering the face and the hands, from the wrist to the fingers, is not mandated .
[i] sister-in-law and brother-in-law are not Mahram.
[ii] Refer to your source of emulation (Marja’ Taqlid) for more details and the rulings.
[iii] See the article on modesty.
- Mahram and non Mahram
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 20, p. 131.
- A. Aroussi Howayzi, “Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn”, vol. 3/589, T. 105.