Islamic Religious Taboos
29 SEP 2017
Islamic taboos dictate what Muslims may not do in their daily life and reflect the moral teachings of the religion. Muslims must avoid forbidden ("haram") acts in order to maintain a good relation with God, and many Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia impose these taboos as law.
The Islamic religion advocates restrictions on what individuals consume and prohibits foods that the Qur'an says contaminate the body or the mind. Alcohol is strictly forbidden by Islamic law and many Islamic countries such as Iran and Pakistan prohibit citizens from consuming alcohol. Consuming pork is another taboo, since Muslims believe that the animal is unclean. Most other meat is acceptable as long as it is halal, meaning that the animal was killed in the kindest manner possible with a sharp instrument and a minimal amount of pain.
2 Reproductive Taboos
Many Islamic taboos relate to human reproduction and sexual intercourse. Sex outside of marriage is strictly forbidden, as is adultery. The Qur'an also forbids same-sex relationships, and the Islamic vocabulary even lacks an equivalent word for homosexuality. Abortion is another taboo, though according to the BBC, all major Islamic movements permit abortions in situations where pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. However, the permissibility of abortion in other circumstances differs between schools of Islamic law.
3 Human Form Depictions
The Qur'an teaches that God created human beings in his image and forbids any artistic rendering of this image in pictures, icons or idols. Representational art of this kind is considered disrespectful towards God, and typically, Islamic art does not feature any depictions of the human form, instead favoring elaborate geometric patterns. Depictions of God or the prophet Muhammad are particularly taboo and considered offensive by many Muslims.
4 Suicide and Euthanasia
Muslims teach that life is sacred and a gift from God, thus any act that would destroy this gift is forbidden. Obviously, this prohibits murder, but the Muslim faith also discourages suicide and euthanasia. This stems from the belief that God, not man, should decide on the length of a human being's life. However, the Islamic Medical Association of America permits euthanasia in cases where the doctor simply turns off life-support, as they view this mechanical assistance as a temporary and human-assisted extension of life.
- 1 Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions, Volume 1; Yudit Kornberg Greenberg
- 2 BBC Religions: Abortion
- 3 Harvard University Press: The History and Philosophy of Representational Art in Islam
- 4 BBC Religions: Sharia
- 5 The Economist: Tipsy Taboo
- 6 BBC Religions: Euthanasia, Assisted Dying, Suicide and Medical Ethics