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Added 1 Aug 2023

Does Islam really 'forbid' xyz?

Linguistically, islam means submission, in this case submission to the Creator rather than anything in creation. Islam can refer to the entire way of life or the entry level, which is to admit your position and God's and to establish prayer only for and to God.

Doing more than that can certainly be advantageous and could be the difference between ultimate success or not, but it's only the pillars which are required as a starting point, and then with each person those pillars become strong enough to support various other trades with Allah.

An alcoholic, for example, can easily enter Islam, but as that person progresses in prayer they're likely to make other changes in exchange for what Allah provides. But that's a personal journey to a great extent. For some it's like ripping off a band aid, and for others it's a drawn process. So folks don't all achieve the same things in religion and spirituality. That's okay.

That is not to say, however, that there aren't dangers of ignoring Allah's guidance, and, unfortunately, Muslims are often ignorant or poor in character when trying to advise each other. For example, a transgender musician who smokes cannabis shouldn't have any trouble entering Islam. But, folks make it complicated.

There was a man who went so far as to urinate in the masjid during the life and in the presence of the Prophet Muhammad, peace on him. It was a different time and the Arabs, while sophisticated in some ways, there were other less sophisticated traits and also Bedouins who lived outside the city. It was the time of jahiliyah (general ignorance) that the Prophet entered into in order to guide people. So, while the companions were angered by the man, the Prophet peacefully asked that water be poured on the place to purify it and then too the man under his wing. The interaction ends with the man volunteering supplications to Allah that the Prophet be blessed.

We don't have to take Allah's guidance as a means to hurt each other. But, yes, Allah speaks on all matters of life and there aren't many regrets in taking on either voluntary worship or avoiding what Allah told us will hurt us. Rather than dig into those things, though, I'll overview of haram and halal, which are the matters of Islamic law and jurisprudence.

Because what does forbid mean? It depends on whether it's a matter of belief, singular practice, or social. If it's a matter of belief, then a person must accept Allah's Speech as true and right to the level they are aware and to the level they're able to comprehend it. But if it's a matter of practice by way of avoiding what Allah forbade, then those are things Allah forgives so long as they don't infringe on others. In that case, where there are direct impacts on others, then we have to make things right before seeking Allah's forgiveness. And the rights of a community and an individual aren't easy to balance, as governments find.

To finally take a specific example, what is obligated on a Muslim who reads and understands that Allah "has forbidden you (Muslims) only dead animals, and blood, and the swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than God” (Quran 2:173). that Allah does not forbid it in and that is outdated or wrong or whatever, then that is kufr disbelief on the tongue, at least. It's best, then, to come to terms with al-Qur'an and as-Sunnah before even becoming a Muslim, though I know as a convert, myself, that I tussled with the book a few more times before really settling on what it is and finding total comfort in that belief. So, there ought to be some patience even in this area as people grapple with specific verses and what they mean or don't mean. Contrariwise, however, a Muslim might believe the verse and what it most apparently means, but eats pork knowing it is forbidden. That's not necessarily an issue of disbelief, though it can undermine or endanger faith.

No one will avoid all Allah forbade all the time except by the protection of Allah. It's normal for humans to sin. Allah makes such matters crystal clear, nearly at the expense of asking people to sin. There's a statement of God in which God says that if humans stopped sinning, God would destroy them and create new people who would sin. Laugh a little because we all know, most of all God, that such a condition will not happen. We have to learn from everything, even our mistakes.

All that said, yes, Allah forbids some things, but whatever Allah does not mention, then it is allowed. So, with beverages, it is in accordance with Allah's guidance that we drink whatever we like so long as there is no serious harm in it and that it does not contain significant alcohol. For some people that's not a challenge for them, but something else Allah has ordained for us will be. The main test is that we accept that Allah knows better than we do what is good for humanity. What's not commonly understood, though, is that not every bad habit will be resolved and sometimes it's actually a good habit. Cannabis or eating pork are allowed in Islam under the right circumstances.

Generally speaking, people get far too uptight far too often, whereas in other cases people are flippant. We have to be smart, balanced, and patient with ourselves and others, not parade Allah's guidance around as a weapon to attach each other with. The other danger, though, is when people are too lenient and careless about what Allah has already warned us against. The least is to affirm what Allah has said and to dislike evil. If we can speak to good or change things for the better, then we should, but not in a way that causes worse harm to ourselves or others. Allah told even the Prophet, himself, peace upon him, that if he had been harsh, his companions would have left him long ago.

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