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Halal is sufficient and haram is superfluous

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One of the beauties of Islam is that it has prohibited only such things as are unnecessary and dispensable, while providing alternatives which are better and which give greater ease and comfort to human beings. This point has been explained by Ibn al-Qayyim.

Allah has prohibited seeking omens by drawing lots but has provided the alternative of istikhara which is a supplication for Allah’s guidance.

Allah has prohibited usury but has encouraged profitable trade. Allah has prohibited gambling but has permitted betting on forms of competition which are useful for their (the Muslims) religious striving, such as horse or camel racing and competing in marksmanship. Allah has prohibited (to men) the wearing of silk but has given them the choice of other materials such as wool, linen and cotton.

Allah has prohibited adultery, fornication and homosexuality but has encouraged lawful marriage. Allah has prohibited intoxicating drinks in order that everyone may enjoy other delicious drinks which are wholesome for the body and mind. And Allah has prohibited unclean food but provides alternative wholesome food.

Thus, when we survey the Islamic injunctions in their totality, we find that if Allah limits the choice of His servants in relation to some things, Allah provides them with a still wider range of more wholesome alternatives in relation to other things not to make peoples’ lives difficult, narrow and circumscribed; on the contrary; Allah desires ease, goodness, guidance and mercy for all, according to His saying:

Allah desires to make clear to you and to guide you to the ways of the (righteous) people before you and to turn to you in mercy; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. And Allah desires to lighten your burden, for man was created weak. (4:26-28)

Another Islamic principle is that if something is prohibited, anything which leads to it is likewise prohibited. By this means Islam intends to block all avenues leading to what is haram. For example, as Islam has prohibited sex outside marriage, it has also prohibited anything which leads to it or makes it attractive, such as seductive clothing, private meetings and casual mixing between men and women, the depiction of nudity, pornographic literature, obscene songs and so on.

Accordingly, Muslim jurists have established the criterion that whatever is conducive to or leads toward the haram is itself haram. A similar principle is that the sin of the haram is not limited only to the person who engages in it but extends to others who have supported him in this, materially or morally; each is held accountable according to his share. For example, in the case of intoxicating drinks, the Prophet (peace be on him) cursed not only the one who drinks them but also the one who produces them, the one who serves them, the one to whom they are served, the one to whom the price of them is paid, etc. This point will be discussed again later. Again, in the matter of usury, the Prophet (peace be on him) cursed the one who pays it, the one to whom it is paid, the one who writes the contract and the one who acts as a witness thereto. Accordingly, we derive the rule that anything which assists in the doing of what is haram is itself haram, and anyone who helps another person to do it shares in the sin of it.

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