The Taboos of Islam

The Quran is the primary holy book of Islam.
... Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The second largest religion in the world, Islam was founded by the Prophet Mohammed in what is now Saudi Arabia and claims more than a billion followers around the world. As with other religions, some things are taboo in Islam and thus considered sinful. Muslims also pray five times a day and some of the religion's taboos are deemed as such to prevent adherents from neglecting this duty.

1 Food Taboos

Various dietary laws govern what Muslims may eat, which makes certain foods taboo. Pork is forbidden to Muslims as are foods containing pork products. Other meats, including beef and chicken, are also taboo if they are not slaughtered according to Islamic standards, making them Halal, or permissible for consumption. Foods containing blood, like black pudding, are also not allowed, along with birds of prey and animals that consume meat.

2 Alcohol

The consumption of alcohol is strictly taboo in Islam and is considered a "great sin" in the Quran. This ban is believed to be connected to the requirement for Muslims to pray, while sober, five times a day, leaving little time to drink and recover from its effects before needing to worship again. It is also believed that alcohol is banned in Islam by a higher power due to its ability to have a negative impact on health.

3 Sex-Related Taboos

In Islam, sex is taboo when it takes place between unmarried men and women, and intercourse during a woman's menstrual period is also prohibited. According to the Islam Basics website, it is also taboo not to wash before saying prayers after intercourse. In some Muslim countries, sexual taboos extend to unrelated men and women being separated in school, work and social settings. Such taboos also influence men and women to dress modestly.

4 Depicting the Prophet

Though he has been included in works of art in past centuries, Muslims usually consider creating depictions of the Prophet Mohammed taboo. This belief has caused great strife when Mohammed has been depicted in an unflattering light. Generally, Islamic scholars believe that Mohammed forbade his companions to create portraits of him. There is also a fear that if pictures of Mohammed are made, they may be worshipped and Muslims are only supposed to worship Allah.

Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.