Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
We previously published a brief work entitled “Muharamaat: Prohibitions that are taken too lightly”, which discussed some of the various offences against Sharee’ah which may involve shirk and major and minor sins. Evidence for these things being prohibited was quoted from the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and real-life situations were described in order to explain clearly the different ways in which people may fall into committing sin.
There are many things that have been prohibited in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and it is very important for the Muslim to know about them so that he can keep away from them and thus avoid earning the wrath and anger of Allaah or bringing about his own doom in this world and the next. So I thought of compiling this list of prohibited things, in accordance with the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Religion is sincere advice (al-deen al-naseehah),” and in the hope that it will be of benefit both to myself and to my Muslim brothers. So I have compiled what information I could from the Qur’aan and from the ahaadeeth classed as saheeh by the scholars who specialize in this field (relying mostly on the reports classed as saheeh by al-‘Allaamah Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani in his books). Topics are grouped according to the classifications used in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). I have not quoted every hadeeth in full, only the relevant parts. In most cases the reports include words which clearly indicate prohibition (such as “Do not…”), and I have explained the reason for the prohibition in some cases. I ask Allaah to help us to avoid sin and wrongdoing wherever it exists, visible or hidden, and to accept our repentance. Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds.
List of prohibitions mentioned in the Qur’aan and Sunnah
Allaah and His Messenger have prohibited many things, avoiding which brings great benefits and protects us from many kinds of evil and harm. These prohibitions include both things which are haraam (forbidden) and things which are makrooh (disliked, discouraged). The Muslim should avoid these things, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us: “What I have forbidden you to do, avoid.” The committed Muslim is keen to avoid all things that have been prohibited, whether they are classed as haraam or makrooh. He does not act like the weak of faith, who do not care if they do things that are makrooh, even though taking such matters lightly leads to committing haraam deeds, as the makrooh deeds effectively form a barrier around haraam actions. Moreover, the person who avoids makrooh deeds will be rewarded for this, if he avoids them for the sake of Allaah. On this basis, we make no distinction here between makrooh and haraam, because making this distinction requires a great deal of knowledge, but most of what follows describes actions that are haraam rather than makrooh. There now follows a list of things that are prohibited in Islam:
‘Aqeedah (basic tenets of faith):
Shirk in general, whether major, minor or hidden.
It is forbidden to go to fortune-tellers and soothsayers, to believe in what they say, to offer a sacrifice to anything other than Allaah, and to speak about Allaah and His Messenger without knowledge.
It is forbidden to wear or hang up amulets, including the kind of pearls which are used to ward off the evil eye; to perform the kind of sihr (witchcraft) used to cause a split between two people or to bring two people together; to perform any kind of sihr (witchcraft, magic) in general; to engage in fortune-telling and soothsaying; to believe that the stars and planets have any effect on events and people’s lives (astrology); and to believe that things may bring benefits when Allaah has not created them so.
It is forbidden to think about the nature of Allaah – one should instead think about His creation. No Muslim should die thinking in any way of Allaah except positively.
It is forbidden to state that any believer is going to go to Hell; to call any Muslim a kaafir except with sound proof; to ask anyone to do something for you or to give you something for the sake of Allaah; or to refuse to give something when you are asked for it for the sake of Allaah – you should give it so long as it does not involve sin, because this is respecting the rights of Allaah.
It is forbidden to curse time, because Allaah is the One Who is controlling it; to be superstitious, because this is a form of pessimism.
It is forbidden to travel to the lands of the mushrikeen; to live with the kuffaar; to take the kaafirs –Jews, Christians and other enemies of Allaah – as close friends instead of the believers; or to take kaafirs as close friends whom one consults and is friendly with.
It is forbidden to cancel out good deeds by intending to show off, gain a good reputation or remind others of one's favours in a hurtful fashion.
It is forbidden to travel to any place for the purpose of worshipping there, except for three places – al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah), the Mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (in Madeenah) and al-Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem). It is forbidden to erect structures over graves and take them as places of worship.
It is forbidden to curse the Sahaabah; to indulge in arguments about any disputes that arose among the Sahaabah; to indulge in arguments about qadr (divine predestination); to argue about the Qur’aan with no knowledge; to sit with those who engage in false arguments about the Qur’aan; to visit a sick person who is a follower of al-Qadariyyah and other similar groups who engage in bid’ah; and to attend the funeral of any such person.
It is forbidden to insult the gods of the kuffaar, because this may lead to them insulting Allaah, may He be glorified; to follow deviations and become divided in religion; to treat the Signs of Allaah as a jest; to allow what Allaah has forbidden and forbid what Allaah has allowed; to bow down or prostrate to anything other than Allaah; to sit with hypocrites and sinful people in order to enjoy their company or to keep them company; to keep away from the jamaa’ah, which is those who are agreed upon the Truth.
It is forbidden to imitate the Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians by letting the moustache grow and trimming the beard – we should trim our moustaches and let our beards grow; to initiate the greeting of salaam to a kaafir; and to believe or disbelieve what the People of the Book say about their Scriptures – because we do not know what is true and what is false in them; to consult any of the People of the Book with regard to religious matters (with the intention of gaining knowledge or benefitting from them).
It is forbidden to swear by one’s children, or by false gods or rivals to Allaah; to swear by one’s forefathers or by one’s honour; to say “whatever Allaah and you want”; for a slave to say “my lord, my lady” (rabbi, rabbati) – he should say, “my master, my mistress” (mawlaaya, seedi, sayyidati); for a master to say “my male slave, my female slave” (‘abdi, amati) – he should say “my young man, my young woman (fataaya, fataati, ghulaami); to say “khaybat al-dahr” (what an awful time!); to curse one another by wishing the curse and wrath of Allaah upon one another, or wishing Hell for one another.
Tahaarah (cleanliness and purity):
It is forbidden to urinate into stagnant water; to answer the call of nature at the side of the road or in places where people seek shade or places from which they draw water; to face the Qiblah or sit with one’s back towards it when urinating or defecating (although some scholars make an exception in the case of toilet facilities inside a building); to clean oneself with one’s right hand after urinating or defecating; to wipe oneself with one’s right hand; to use bones or dung to clean oneself, because these are the food of our brothers among the jinn; to clean oneself with dung because it is the food of their animals.
It is forbidden for a man to hold his penis in his right hand when passing water; to give the greeting of salaam to one who is answering the call of nature.
When one has just woken up, it is forbidden to put one’s right hand into any vessel before washing it.
It is forbidden to perform naafil (supererogatory or “extra”) prayers when the sun is rising, when it is at its zenith, or when it is setting, because it rises and sets between the horns of the Shaytaan, and when the sun-worshipping kuffaar see it they prostrate to it. It is forbidden to pray after subh (fajr) until after the sun has risen. It is forbidden to pray after ‘asr until after the sun has set. These prohibitions apply to naafil prayers done for no specific reason; if they are done for a specific reason, such as tahiyyat al-masjid (“greeting the mosque”), there is nothing wrong with praying them at these times.
It is forbidden to make houses like graveyards by not praying naafil prayers in them; to follow a fard (obligatory) prayer with a naafil prayer without speaking in between (by making dhikr or otherwise) or by going out then coming back; or to pray anything but the two sunnah rak’ahs of fajr after the adhaan for fajr prayer.
It is forbidden to anticipate the imaam in any movement of the prayer; to pray standing alone behind a row; to look around during prayer; to raise one’s eyes to heaven whilst praying; or to recite Qur’aan during rukoo’ and sujood – although there is nothing wrong with reciting a Qur’aanic du’aa’ in sujood.
It is forbidden for a man to pray wearing only one garment, leaving both shoulders bare; to pray when there is food ready that one wishes to eat; to pray when one needs to pass water, stools or wind – because this is a distraction that keeps one from concentrating properly.
It is forbidden to pray in graveyards and bathrooms; to pray like a chicken pecking, bobbing up and down; to look around like a fox; to spread one’s arms like a beast of prey; to rest one’s forearms on the ground like a dog; to settle like a camel – which means always praying in the same spot in the mosque; to pray in the resting-place of camels, because this was created from the shayaateen.
It is forbidden to wipe the ground during prayer, but if it is necessary to do so, to smooth the gravel or whatever, then one sweep of the hand is enough. It is forbidden to cover the mouth during prayer; to raise one’s voice in prayer in such a way as to disturb other believers; to continue praying qiyaam al-layl if one becomes drowsy – in this case, one should sleep, then get up again; to pray qiyaam al-layl for the whole night, especially if this is done continuously.
It is forbidden to yawn and blow during prayer; to step over the necks of people (in the mosque); to tuck up one’s clothes and hair when praying.
It is forbidden to repeat a prayer that has been performed properly – which is of benefit to those who suffer from waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan that make them doubt the validity of their prayer). It is also forbidden to stop praying if one is uncertain as to whether one has broken wudoo’ by passing wind – you should wait until you hear a sound or detect an odour. It is forbidden to sit in circles in the mosque before praying Salaat al-Jumu’ah; to smooth the gravel; to fidget and speak during the khutbah; or to sit with one’s knees drawn up to one’s stomach and with one’s garment drawn over them or one’s hands clasped around them during the khutbah.
It is forbidden to offer any prayer once the iqaamah for a fard prayer has been given; for the imaam to stand in a place that is higher than the congregation, unless it is for a valid reason; to walk in front of a person who is praying; for a person who is praying to allow anyone to walk in front of him or between him and his sutrah (object placed in front of him whilst praying as a kind of “screen” – people may, however, walk in front of the sutrah – Translator).
It is forbidden to spit towards the qiblah or to one's right during prayer – but one may spit to one’s left or beneath one’s left foot. It is forbidden for a person who wants to pray to put his shoes to his right or his left, lest he disturb the people beside him; he should put them between his feet. It is forbidden to sleep before ‘ishaa’ if one cannot be sure that one will not miss it; to speak after ‘ishaa’ except for a legitimate reason; to lead a man in prayer in his own place of authority, except with his permission; for a visitor to lead the head of the house in prayer, unless he asks him to; to lead a group of people in prayer when they have objections for a legitimate reason.
It is forbidden to buy, sell or make lost-and-found announcements in the mosque; to use the mosque as a thoroughfare or for any purpose other than dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) and salaah; to carry out shar’i punishments in the mosque; to clasp one’s hands when one has gone out heading for the mosque, because once a person has decided to go and pray, he is considered to be in a state of prayer. It is forbidden for anyone to leave the mosque without praying once the adhaan has been given. It is forbidden to sit down in the mosque before praying two rak’ahs; to hasten unduly when the iqaamah is given – one should walk in a calm and dignified manner; to form a row between two pillars of the mosque unless it is essential to do so. It is forbidden for anyone who has eaten garlic, onions or anything that has an offensive smell to approach the mosque. It is forbidden for a man to walk through the mosque with anything that may harm the Muslims; to prevent women from going to the mosque as long as all conditions of Sharee’ah are complied with; for a woman to wear perfume when she is going to the mosque. It is forbidden to have intercourse with women during i’tikaaf (retreat in the mosque); to show off and compete in the building of mosques; to decorate them with red or yellow paint, engravings or anything that may distract the worshippers.
It is forbidden to build anything over graves or to raise them and make them high; to sit on graves; to walk between graves wearing shoes; to illuminate them or to write on them; to excavate them. It is forbidden to take graves as places of worship or to pray facing any grave except when praying the funeral prayer at the graveside. It is forbidden for a woman to mourn for a deceased person for more than three days, except for her husband, for whom the period of mourning is four months and ten days. It is forbidden for a recently-widowed women to wear perfume, kohl, henna, adornments such as jewellery and fancy, decorated clothes.
It is forbidden to wail for the dead, to help another woman in wailing, because this is crying for the sake of something other than Allaah, and joining together in weeping is classified as wailing. It is forbidden to hire a woman to wail; to tear one’s clothes or to leave one’s hair uncombed as a sign of grief.
It is forbidden to announce a death in the manner of jaahiliyyah, although there is nothing wrong with simply informing people that the deceased has died.
It is forbidden to fast on the day (Eid) of Fitr and the day (Eid) of Adhaa, on the three days of Tashreeq following the day of Adhaa, or days when there is doubt as to the date (e.g., when there is confusion as the beginning of Ramadaan – Translator). It is forbidden to single out a Friday or a Saturday for fasting; to fast all the time; to start fasting one or two days before the start of Ramadaan; to fast in the second half of Sha’baan, unless one has the habit of fasting regularly. It is forbidden to fast for two days continuously without breaking one's fast at night; to fast on the Day of ‘Arafaah in ‘Arafaah, unless one does not have an animal to sacrifice; to rinse one’s mouth or nose excessively whilst fasting; for a woman to observe a naafil fast when her husband is present, except with his permission; to forsake suhoor – one should eat or drink something, if only a sip of water; to engage in obscenity, vehement arguments or fights when fasting.
Hajj and Udhiyah (sacrifices):
It is forbidden to delay Hajj with no reason or excuse; to engage in obscenity or arguments during Hajj.
It is forbidden for a person in ihraam to wear a shirt, turban, trousers, cloak or socks; for a woman in ihraam to wear a face-veil or gloves; to uproot, cut down or strike the trees of the Haram.
It is forbidden to carry weapons in the Haram; to hunt or disturb the animals of the Haram; to pick up lost property, unless to find the owner; to put perfume on one who has died in ihraam, or to cover his face or to embalm the body – he should be buried in his ihraam garments, for he will be resurrected reciting the Talbiyah.
It is forbidden to leave Hajj before completing Tawaaf al-Wadaa’ (final circumambulation of the Ka’bah), but women who are menstruating or bleeding after childbirth are excused.
It is forbidden to slaughter one’s sacrificial animal before the Eid prayer; to sacrifice an imperfect animal; to give the butcher a fee for slaughtering; for the one who intends to offer a sacrifice to remove anything from his hair, nails or skin once the first ten days of Dhoo’l-Hijjah have started, until after he has offered his sacrifice.
Trading and earning:
It is forbidden to consume riba (interest, usury); to engage in transactions that involve unknown goods, cheating and deception; to sell sheep in return for meat; to sell left-over water; to sell dogs, cats, blood, intoxicants, pork, idols, animal semen used for breeding purposes; to accept the price of a dog, because the price of anything that Allaah has forbidden is also forbidden, whether one is buying or selling. It is forbidden to artificially inflate the price of a product which one has no intention of buying, as is done at many auctions. It is forbidden to conceal the faults of a product when selling it; to sell anything after the second call to prayer on Friday; to sell something which is not in one's actual possession; to sell something before taking possession of it; to sell gold for gold or silver for silver, except like for like. It is forbidden for a man to outbid his brother or undercut his brother; to sell fruits before it is known for sure that they are free of faults; to cheat in weights and measures; to hoard goods; to go out and intercept travellers coming from elsewhere for the purpose of trade – one should wait until they reach the marketplace, because this is fair and is in the interests of all concerned.
It is forbidden for a city-dweller to sell on behalf of a Bedouin (such as a resident of a city or country acting as an agent for someone who has come from outside) – he should leave him to conduct business on his own terms. It is forbidden to sell the skin of an animal one has offered in sacrifice; for a person who has shares in a plot of land or a palm tree, etc., to sell his share without first offering it to his partners; to earn a living by means of the Qur’aan (like those who recite the Qur’aan for people and ask for payment in return); to wrongfully consume the property of orphans; to gamble; to engage in extortion; to offer or accept bribes; to steal; to pilfer anything from the war-booty, because this is stealing from the wealth of all the people. It is forbidden to seize people’s wealth by force, or to take it with the intention of destroying it; to withhold from the people the things that are their due; to conceal lost property that one has found; to take lost property, unless one is the rightful owner; to cheat in any way; for a Muslim to take anything from his brother’s property, except with his consent, and whatever is taken by embarrassing a person is haraam. It is forbidden to accept a gift in reward for interceding; and to accumulate wealth and distribute it in different parts of the world in such a way that a person becomes overburdened with it and does not remember Allaah.
It is forbidden to remain celibate and never marry; to be castrated; to marry two sisters at the same time; to marry a woman and her paternal aunt or maternal aunt at the same time – regardless of which is married first – for fear of breaking the ties of kinship; for a man to marry his father’s wife.
It is forbidden to make deals in marriage, such as saying, “Marry your daughter or sister to me and I will give you my daughter or sister in marriage”, because this exchange is wrongful oppression and is haraam. It is forbidden to enter into mut’ah (temporary) marriage, which is a marriage for a period of time agreed upon by both parties, after which the marriage is over. It is forbidden to marry except with a wali (guardian of the bride) and two witnesses; for a man to propose to a woman when his (Muslim) brother has already proposed, unless the first suitor gives up the idea or gives him permission; to make a clearly-stated offer of marriage to a woman who is in ‘iddah because her husband has died, although it is acceptable to hint. It is forbidden to make any kind of offer of marriage at all to a woman who has been divorced (talaaq) once or twice (as she may still return to her husband - Translator). It is forbidden for a divorced woman whose divorce is still revocable to go out of her husband’s house or to leave during her ‘iddah. It is forbidden for a man to keep his divorced wife or to take her back when he does not care for her, because this will only prolong the pain for her and cause her anguish.
It is forbidden for a divorced woman to conceal what Allaah has created in her womb. It is forbidden to treat the matter of divorce lightly. It is forbidden for a woman to ask for the divorce of another, whether she is married or engaged, so that she can marry the man instead. It is forbidden for a husband and wife to speak to anyone else about the intimate details of their relationship. It is forbidden to make a woman hate her husband or vice versa. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade men to speak to women without their husbands’ permission. It is forbidden for a woman to spend her husband’s money without his permission; for a woman to forsake her husband’s bed, because if she does this without a valid excuse, the angels will curse her. It is forbidden for a man to annoy a rebellious wife who has come back to obeying him. It is forbidden for a woman to let anyone into her husband’s house without his permission, although his general permission is sufficient so long as the rules of sharee’ah are not broken.
It is forbidden to refuse an invitation to a waleemah (wedding party) with no legitimate excuse; to wish a newly-married couple “bi’l-rafaa’ wa’l-baneen” (wishing them happiness and many sons), because this is the greeting of Jaahiliyyah, and the people of Jaahiliyyah used to dislike daughters.
It is forbidden for a man to have intercourse with a woman who is pregnant from another man; for a man to withdraw from his wife (coitus interruptus) without her permission; for a man to knock on the door and startle his family when returning at night from a journey – but if he has already told them what time he will arrive, there is nothing wrong with it. It is forbidden for a man to take any part of his wife’s mahr without her consent, or to put pressure on her to give up her money. The practice of zihaar (a jaahili form of divorce in which a man said to his wife, “You are to me like my mother’s back”) is forbidden. It is forbidden for a man to show a preference for one of two wives, or to be unfair in dealing with his wives. It is forbidden to enter into nikaah al-tahleel, which is where a thrice-divorced woman (i.e., one who has received the third and final talaaq) gets married so that she can then be divorced by the second husband and be free to remarry her first husband.
Matters pertaining to women:
It is forbidden for a woman to display her beauty except to her mahrams (close relatives who she is forbidden to marry); to make a wanton display of herself (tabarruj); to utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood (i.e., by making illegal children belong to her husband). It is forbidden to treat a mother unfairly on account of her child, or to treat a father unfairly on account of his child; to separate a mother and child. It is forbidden to go to extremes in circumcising women. It is forbidden for a woman to travel alone without a mahram. It is forbidden to shake hands with a non-mahram woman; for a woman to wear perfume when she is going to go out and pass by men. It is forbidden for a man to be alone with a non-mahram woman; to be a duyooth (a weak man who has no self-respect and does not care if his womenfolk dress or behave inappropriately); to look at a non-mahram woman, or to follow one glance with another.
Matters of meat and food:
It is forbidden to eat any kind of dead meat, whether it died by drowning, strangulation, electric shock, falling from a high place, fighting with another animal in the herd or was killed by a wild animal – unless one is able to slaughter it properly before it dies. It is forbidden to eat blood, pork, anything that has been slaughtered in the name of anything other than Allaah, anything that was sacrificed to idols, or anything that was slaughtered without having the name of Allaah mentioned over it deliberately.
It is forbidden to eat the meat or drink the milk of any scavenger, which is an animal that feeds on dirt and filth; to eat the meat of any carnivore that has fangs or any bird that has talons; to eat the meat of donkeys; or to kill frogs for medicine, because they are unclean and according to the majority of scholars, their meat is not to be eaten.
It is forbidden to torment animals, by restraining them and hitting them with something until they die, or by locking them up without food. The animal that is thus tortured with arrows is the “mujaththamah” which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade us to eat, because it is not slaughtered in the correct way as prescribed by sharee’ah.
It is forbidden to eat game caught by an untrained dog, or where it has been caught by a number of dogs, such that it is impossible to tell which dog caught it. It is forbidden to eat game that has been hit by a tool and killed by its weight, except for game that has been struck and pierced by an arrow, and the name of Allaah has been mentioned over it.
It is forbidden to kill animals using teeth and nails; to slaughter an animal in front of another; to sharpen the knife in front of the animal to be killed.
It is forbidden to eat the food of those who compete in preparing extravagant meals for the purpose of showing off, because this is counted as wrongful consumption.
Clothing and adornment:
It is forbidden to be extravagant in clothing; for men to wear gold; to wear rings on the middle finger and the finger next to it (the forefinger); to wear iron rings.
It is forbidden to be naked, to walk naked, and to expose one's thighs.
It is forbidden to wear one’s clothes below the ankles; to trail one’s clothes along the ground in order to show off; to wear garments of fame and vanity; to wear clothes made of silk.
It is forbidden to wear clothes dyed with red safflower dye, which men should not wear. It is forbidden for men to look like women and wear their clothes, and for women to look like men and wear their clothes. It is forbidden for women to wear short, tight-fitting clothes.
It is forbidden to put shoes on whilst standing, because of the discomfort that this entails, especially with laced shoes that need to be tied. It is forbidden to walk in only one shoe, because the Shaytaan walks in only one shoe.
It is forbidden to have tattoos or to file one’s teeth – but this does not include straightening the teeth with braces, etc.
It is forbidden to imitate the mushrikeen by letting the moustache grow and trimming the beard – we should trim our moustaches and let our beards grow.
It is forbidden to pluck facial hair, especially the eyebrows; for women to shave their heads; to add hair extensions and wigs, whether they are made from human hair or artificial hair – this applies to men and women alike. It is forbidden to pluck grey hairs or to conceal them with black dye; to dye the hair black; or to shave part of the hair and leave part.
It is forbidden to make pictures or images of animate beings, whether on clothing, walls or paper, and whether they are drawn, printed, engraved, etched, cast from moulds etc. If one has to make pictures, they should be of trees and other inanimate objects (things that do not have a soul).
It is forbidden to use silk or tiger skins, or anything else that is ostentatious, for furnishing. It is forbidden to cover walls.
Diseases of the tongue:
It is forbidden to bear false witness.
It is forbidden to falsely accuse chaste women.
It is forbidden to accuse the innocent or to engage in slander or defamation.
It is forbidden to slander, backbite, call one another by offensive nicknames, gossip, make fun of Muslims, boast about one’s lineage, cast aspersions on a person’s lineage, swear, curse, utter obscenities, speak in an offensive manner or utter evil in public except by one who has been wronged.
It is forbidden to lie, and the worst kind of lies are lies about dreams, such as making up dreams and visions for the purpose of improving one’s status, making some material gains, or alarming someone towards whom one feels enmity. One of the punishments for lying about dreams is that the person who is guilty of this will be instructed on the Day of Resurrection to do something impossible, namely to tie two grains of barley together.
It is forbidden for a person to praise himself. It is forbidden to exclude people, such as two people excluding a third, because this makes the excluded person sad. It is forbidden to hold secret council for sin and wrongdoing and to curse the believers and those who do not deserve to be cursed.
It is forbidden to raise one’s voice above the voice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which includes raising one’s voice above the voice of a person reading or reciting hadeeth, and raising one’s voice near his grave.
It is forbidden to curse the dead; to curse the cockerel, because it wakes people for prayer; to curse the wind, because it merely does what it is instructed; to curse sickness, because it is an expiation for sin; or to curse the Shaytaan, because this only makes him feel great – the best thing to do is to seek refuge with Allaah from his evil.
It is forbidden to pray for or wish for death because of some harm that has befallen one, or to pray against one’s self, one’s children, one’s servants or one’s wealth.
It is forbidden to call grapes karm, because the people of Jaahiliyyah used to think that wine led to generosity or nobleness (karam). It is forbidden to say “My soul has become evil (khabuthat nafsi),” or to say “I have forgotten such-and-such an aayah” – instead, one should say “I have been made to forget.” It is forbidden to say, “O Allaah, forgive me if You want to,” because we should be positive in our du’aa’s and pleas. It is forbidden to address a munaafiq (hypocrite) as sayyid (“Mister”). It is forbidden to say, “May Allaah make you ugly!” especially when this is said by a husband to his wife. It is forbidden to say “raa’inaa” [in Arabic, this means “Be careful; listen to us and we listen to you,” but in Hebrew it means “an insult,” and the Jews used to say it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with bad intentions]. It is forbidden to ask for anything before giving salaam, and to praise one another.
Etiquette of eating and drinking:
It is forbidden to eat what is in front of others or to eat from the middle of the platter – one should eat from what is in front of or next to one, because the barakah (blessing) comes in the middle of the food. It is forbidden to leave a morsel that has fallen on the ground – one should remove any dirt and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.
It is forbidden to drink from vessels of gold and silver; to drink standing up; to drink from the edge of a broken vessel lest one harm oneself; to drink from the mouth of the jug; to breathe into the vessel; or to drink in one draught – one should drink in three draughts, because this is more enjoyable and more healthy.
It is forbidden to blow on food and drink; to eat and drink with one’s left hand; to eat lying on one’s stomach; to put two dates in one’s mouth at once without first asking permission from the person with one whom is eating, because this looks greedy and is unfair to one’s companion. It is forbidden to use the used vessels of the People of the Book, but if there is nothing else they must be washed before eating from them. It is forbidden to sit at a table where wine is being drunk.
Etiquette of sleeping:
It is forbidden to sleep on a roof that has no walls around the edge, lest one turn over in one’s sleep and fall off. It is forbidden to stay alone overnight; to leave fires lit in one’s house when going to sleep; to sleep with something harmful in one’s hand; to sleep on one’s stomach; to put one leg on top of the other when lying on one’s back, because this shows the ‘awrah (private parts); to speak about a bad dream or interpret it, because bad dreams are one of the tricks of the Shaytaan.
It is forbidden to kill anyone for no legitimate reason; to kill one’s children for fear of poverty; to commit suicide.
It is forbidden to commit zinaa (fornication or adultery) or homosexuality. It is forbidden to drink alcohol, to make it, carry it or sell it. It is forbidden to run away from the battlefield, except for a legitimate reason. It is forbidden to annoy believing men and women undeservedly, or to please people by doing things that anger Allaah.
It is forbidden to break oaths after having confirmed them. Singing and playing drums (tablah), flutes and musical instruments is forbidden. It is forbidden to attribute a child to anyone but his real father; to torture by means of fire; to burn anyone, alive or dead; to mutilate the dead in war; or to help anyone to commit sin or cooperate in wrongdoing; to bear arms against the Muslims.
It is forbidden to issue fatwas without proper knowledge; to obey anyone if this involves disobeying Allaah; to swear an oath when lying; to swear a calamitous oath; to accept the testimony of one who has slandered chaste women and was unable to produce four witnesses, unless he has since repented; to forbid the good things that Allaah has allowed; to follow in the footsteps of the Shaytaan; to put oneself forward before Allaah and His Messenger in word or deed [i.e., hastening to decide in matters of religion before knowing the correct teachings of Islam].
It is forbidden to eavesdrop on people (listen to their conversation without their permission); to look into people’s houses without their permission; to enter people’s houses without their permission; or to look for people’s faults.
It is forbidden to claim to have something that one does not; to boast about things that one does not have; or to look for praise for something that one has not done.
It is forbidden to enter the houses of peoples who were destroyed by Allaah without weeping or showing regret, or seeking to learn a lesson rather than just looking around. It is forbidden to make a sinful oath; to spy on one another; to think badly of righteous men and women; to envy, hate or forsake one another; or to persist in falsehood.
Arrogance, pride, showing off and self-admiration are all forbidden, as is rejoicing over some worldly gain that can lead to arrogance and boastfulness.
It is forbidden to walk in insolence through the earth; to turn one’s face away from people in pride – which is a sign of arrogance; to take back one’s charity, even if one buys it back; to kill a father who has killed his child. It is forbidden for a man to look at the ‘awrah of another man or for a woman to look at the ‘awrah of another woman. It is forbidden to look at the thigh of any person, living or dead. It is forbidden to violate the sanctity of the Sacred Months, although fighting the kuffaar at this time is permissible.
It is forbidden to spend from ill-gotten money.
It is forbidden to benefit from the labour of a hired worker without paying him his wages; to be unfair in giving to one’s children. It is forbidden to change a will to the detriment of one or more heirs, or to make a will in favour of a rightful heir, because Allaah has already given the heirs their rights. If a person wills all his estate to others and leaves his heirs poor, his will should not be executed except with regard to one-third of the estate.
It is forbidden to be a bad neighbour, to annoy or disturb one’s neighbours, or to forsake a Muslim for more than three days without a valid reason.
It is forbidden to throw pebbles between two fingers, because this usually harms people, like putting out an eye or breaking a tooth. It is forbidden to be aggressive and hostile.
It is forbidden for people to raise their voices above one another when reciting Qur’aan; to interrupt two people who are conversing; to pass between two people without their permission; to make a person get up so that one can sit in his place; to leave one’s brother when visiting without asking his permission first. It is forbidden to stand at the head of one who is sitting down; or to sit in a place that is partly in sunlight and partly in shade, because this is the place where the Shaytaan sits.
It is forbidden to harm the Muslims; to unsheathe a sword at a Muslim or to point to a Muslim with a weapon.
It is forbidden to handle an unsheathed sword, for fear of injury; to refuse a gift unless it contains something haraam; to be extravagant; to go beyond one’s means in serving a guest; to give money to foolish people; to wish for the things in which Allaah has made some people to excel over others, as both men and women will have reward for what they have earned.
It is forbidden to engage in disputes; to feel pity for adulterers and fornicators when the sentence is carried out on them; to cancel out one’s charity by means of hurtful reminders.
It is forbidden to conceal one’s testimony; to oppress orphans; to spurn beggars. It is forbidden to use bad things for medicine, for Allaah will never put the cure for this ummah into something that He has forbidden them. It is forbidden to kill women and children in war. It is forbidden to go to extremes in religion. It is forbidden to ask provocative questions, i.e., to come to a scholar and ask him difficult questions in order to make him commit an error or confuse him, or else to show off one’s own knowledge and intelligence, or to ask him hypothetical questions for the sake of argument and not in order to learn more about one’s religion.
It is forbidden to play with dice; to curse animals; to scratch one’s face at times of disaster; to deceive the people under one’s authority. It is forbidden to look at people who are higher in status than oneself – one should look at those who are lower in status so that one will appreciate the blessings of Allaah and not think little of them. It is forbidden for one person to feel proud and boast over another.
It is forbidden to go back on a promise or to break a trust. It is forbidden to conceal knowledge, or to intercede for bad purposes.
It is forbidden to ask people for things when one is not in need; to [jarasa] when travelling; or to keep a dog, except those kept for a reason, such as herding, farming, hunting or guarding.
It is forbidden to administer more than ten lashes, except in the case of one of the prescribed punishments (hudood); to laugh excessively; to force the sick to eat or drink – because Allaah will give them to eat and drink; to stare at people suffering from leprosy.
It is forbidden for one Muslim to alarm another with regard to his property or take it away, whether this is done in jest or is serious. It is forbidden to give and take with one’s left hand. It is forbidden to make vows, because they do not change the qadr (decree) of Allaah, although they may make a stingy person give up something. It is forbidden to practice medicine without experience; or to kill ants, bees and hoopoes.
It is forbidden for a man to travel alone; or to prevent a neighbour from attaching a piece of wood to his wall.
It is forbidden to give salaam only to the people whom one knows – salaam should be given both to those one knows and those one does not know. It is forbidden to answer a question asked by one who does so before giving salaam. It is forbidden for a man to kiss another man.
It is forbidden to swear an oath not to do good; in this case one should do good and offer expiation for the oath. It is forbidden to judge between two disputing parties when one is angry, or to decide in favour of one without hearing what the other has to say.
It is forbidden to allow children to go outside when the sun is setting, until it is completely dark, because this is the time when the shayaateen spread out. It is forbidden to pick fruit or harvest at night, because this deprives the poor of their right, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “... pay the due thereof on the day of its harvest…” [al-An’aam 6:141].
It is forbidden for a man to walk through the marketplace carrying anything that may harm the Muslims, such as sharp instruments that are not covered properly. It is forbidden to enter or leave any town that has been stricken by the plague.
Cupping is forbidden on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays; it should only be done on Thursdays, Mondays or Tuesdays. It is forbidden to say “yarhumuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you)” to someone who does not say “al-hamdu Lillaah (praise be to Allaah)” when he sneezes. It is forbidden to spit in the direction of the Qiblah; to break one’s journey in order to sleep or rest at the side of the road, because this is the dwelling-place of animals. It is forbidden to laugh when someone farts, because this is just the sound of passing wind, which can happen to anyone, and not laughing is being considerate towards others.
It is forbidden to refuse perfume, cushions and aromatic plants.
This is the list of forbidden actions that I was able to compile. We ask Allaah, the Most Generous, the Lord of the Mighty Throne, to help us to avoid sin and evil actions, both obvious and hidden, to keep us far away from everything that may earn His wrath, and to accept our repentance, for He is the All-Hearing, the Ever-Close, the One Who answers prayers. “Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Honour and Power! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And peace be on the Messengers!” [al-Saaffaat 37:180-181 – interpretation of the meaning].
Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.