Belief System
The Tyranny of the Haram
6 min read

Not long ago, one of my fellow Muslims spotted my silver necklace and said: brother, this is haram (forbidden)! 

In the past, this kind of observation would make my blood boils. 

Now, I don’t know if I should laugh about it or cry. 

When we see the actual state of Muslims, it’s unimaginable for me that they worry about such small things.


Anyway, I asked him why he thinks it’s haram. 

And he replied: Because you’re imitating women. And women’s imitation is forbidden for men. 

I didn’t comment on this. Instead, I asked him: Did our Prophet wear a ring? 

He nodded. 

Then I added: Rings are mostly worn by women, right?

He confirmed. 

So I asked: Why our beloved Prophet imitated women then?

He answered: I don’t know. 

Although it wasn’t my best argument, it was enough to make him question something he internalized without thinking. 

This is just a tiny example in the ocean of haram.  

Far from being geographically restricted, we can find this mindset in Muslims living in the East or the West. 

Like any regime, the tyranny of the haram comes with downsides. 

The Spread of the Haram  

Every day, you have a new fatwa making something haram. 

A fatwa is a legal opinion given by an Islamic religious leader. 

The proliferation of fatwas is explained by some as a result of modern times. 

In their words, the world became a filthy place so it’s normal that the list of haram things goes bigger and bigger. 

Simultaneously, the more haram things are added, the more Muslims get confused. 

You can notice this confusion from the countless questions Muslims ask on forums or Islamic channels. 

The Prophet didn’t preach Islam in an ideal land. Some nasty things were happening in the Arabic peninsula. 

How many questions did people ask at that time? 

The Quran only immortalized a few of them. 

Look for the places in the Quran that start with they ask you. Here’s what you’ll find: 

They asked about the hour, the spirit, alcohol and gambling, mountains, spoils of war, menstruation, charity, or halal food.  

The questions weren’t that many and the prohibitions even lesser. 

It’s in total contradiction with what we are witnessing today. 

The Tyranny of Jurists  

We are no more slaves of Allah; we are slaves of the jurists. 

Haram is used as a weapon to subdue people. 

“We are most knowing of what they say, and you are not over them a tyrant. But remind by the Qur’ān whoever fears My threat.” [Quran 50:45] 

If the highest Muslim authority is asked to not be a tyrant, what can we say about our jurists? 

Today, everything is haram except what a sheikh tells us it’s halal.  

No wonder many Muslims can’t stand this religion anymore! 

Since when we need the opinions of jurists in everything we do? 

I wrote once in Few Thoughts for Muslims

“Some Muslims have made Islam so complicated that you can’t scratch your head without a hadith that allows you to do so. “

Making many things haram falls into this same category where we overcomplicate Islam. 

Jurists and sheikhs participate heavily in this. 

The Prophet and Honey  

The Prophet and Honey
Photo by Art Rachen on Unsplash

Another meaning of haram is to deprive oneself of something. 

It’s a prohibition that is neither from Allah nor from Jurists. 

You probably know the story of the Prophet with honey. 

The Prophet used to stay longer with his wife Zainab drinking honey.  

Hafsa and Aisha wanted to have an equal time with the Prophet.  

Instead of complaining to him directly, they came up with a strategy. 

if the Prophet came to any of them, they would say to him that he has a nasty smell. 

So the Prophet was ready to deprive himself of something permissible that he likes. 

Then the ayat came: 

“O Prophet! Why do you prohibit yourself from what Allah has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Quran 66:1] 

Under the pressure of our loved ones, we can end up making haram what Allah made halal. 

The Paradox of Haram  

The paradox of haram is that when society puts limits on everything, the few warnings that are used to protect the individuals lose their weight. 

Haram is so used now that it becomes a casual word.  

It’s not supposed to be this way. 

Haram is the highest level of prohibition. It’s a warning sign telling you Don’t cross this limit for your safety. 

And when we try to overprotect, we obtain the opposite result. 

Parents who don’t allow their kids to do anything turn them into rebels.  

People try to avoid the driving zones that have multiple stops for the ones with more freedom.  

Instead of focusing on the few things that Allah made forbidden, we put everything in the same basket:

-Wearing a necklace and adultery.

-Using an app that ages you with drinking alcohol.

-Listening to music and killing the innocent. 

We made one-word qualifying indiscriminately all these things. 

Why be surprised then that many Muslims are confused, frustrated, or burdened by this religion?  

The Spirit of Islam  

In Islam, there are a handful of things we need to stay away from; the rest is permissible. 

When Allah prohibits something, it’s to protect us from harm. 

Even though He has the power to impose on us whatever He wants, He doesn’t do so. 

We can see this in the way the Prophets call to His path. 

From the Prophets, we learned freedom. They oppose their people but don’t impose on them. 

How many times does Allah remind the Prophet of his role? 

“So, continue to remind all, O Prophet, for your duty is only to remind.” [Quran 88:21] 

Islam has clear proof. It doesn’t need force or tyranny to be adopted. 

What it needs is hearts that embrace willingly the permissible and stay away from the forbidden. 

Allah meant to bring ease with this religion: 

“He commands them to do good and forbids them from evil, permits for them what is lawful and forbids to them what is impure, and relieves them from their burdens and the shackles that bound them.” [Quran 7:157] 

Turning Islam into an unbearable belief is a crime.  

Final Thoughts  

Final Thoughts about Haram
Photo by Zosia Korcz on Unsplash

The best way to kill Islam is to make the list of the forbidden bigger and bigger. 

Why? Because it’s overwhelming and Muslims can’t focus on any of them. 

By reserving the list of the haram to the important, we allow Muslims to spend their energy in the meaningful. 

Islam has five pillars that constitute its foundation. 

Imagine if Allah said no, Islam needs a thousand pillars. How Muslims could cope with this? 

When Muslims decide to take their religion seriously, they go straight to the five pillars and start building from there. 

Similarly, the haram must have its pillars. Otherwise, it would defeat the purpose of protecting us. 

It becomes the equivalent of shooting oneself in the foot. 

Article posted the 04 July 2021

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