Basic Principles of Halal and Haram

Categories: Halal Standards

The Holy Qur'an

The Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) said:

Whatever Almighty Allah declared as lawful and permissible (halal), it is halal. And whatever He declared as forbidden and impermissible (haram), it is haram. Whatever He is silent on is allowed as a favour (Tirmidhi: hadith no. 1728).

What Almighty Allah has made lawful and permissible (halal) in His Book, it is halal; and what He has forbidden/impermissible (haram) in His Book, is haram. And concerning what He is silent is allowed as a favour (for you), for Almighty Allah is not forgetful. (Ibn Majah: hadith no. 3367). He (s.a.w.s.) then recited:

And your Lord is never forgetful (Maryam: Q19: 64)

That which is lawful (halal) is manifest and that which is unlawful (haram) is manifest; between the two of them are doubtful matters (shubuhat) about which many people do not know. Thus, he who avoids doubtful matters, frees and protects himself regarding his religion (din) and his honour. But he who falls into (and subscribes to) the doubtful matters, falls into the unlawful (i.e. the haram). (Bukhari and Muslim).

The Basic Principles for Halal & Haram

  1. To make lawful and to prohibit is the right of Allah alone.
  2. The basic asl (origin) refers to the permissibility of things (permissible-origin).
  3. What is halal is sufficient, while what is haram is superfluous.
  4. Prohibiting the halal and permitting the haram is similar to committing shirk.
  5. Whatever is conducive to the haram is in itself haram.
  6. The prohibition of things is due to their impurity and harmfulness.
  7. When it is forbidden to perform an act, it is also forbidden to request its performance.
  8. When a prohibition is removed the thing to which such prohibition attaches reverts to its former status of legality.
  9. Good intentions do not make the haram.
  10. When prohibition and exigency conflict; preference is given to prohibition. Consequently, a person may not sell to another person a thing which he has given to his creditor as security for debt.
  11. Falsely representing the haram as halal is prohibited.
  12. An accessory which is attached to an object in fact is also attached to it in law, i.e. it cannot be dealt with separately, for example, when a pregnant animal is sold, the young in its womb is sold with it.
  13. The haram is prohibited to everyone alike.
  14. Doubtful things are to be avoided.
  15.  Necessity dictates exceptions.
  16.  Necessity renders prohibited things permissible.

[Taken primarily from: Halal & Haram – Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi]

Basic Determinants that Renders Something Haram (Unlawful / Prohibited)

[Please refer to the Standard on “Contamination & Haram Products” for details]

  1. The pig  – (e.g. ham/gammon), all its derivatives, including its blood and excretions
  2. The dog – all its derivatives, including its blood and excretions
  3. Alcohol – how little or how much of any alcoholic drink or beverage
  4. Blood – flowing or congealed blood

The taste, smell or color – once any of these factors has changed in the original halal-complaint product or liquid, the latter is rendered as not halal.


Author: Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust

The MJC Halaal Trust (MJCHT) is a major role-player in the positive promotion of and orientation on halal lifestyle for South African Muslims, specifically and other communities, globally. The MJCHT specializes in the certification and endorsement of food commodities and other consumables as halal, in accordance with Islamic principles, ethics, values and standards.

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