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Extension of Halal Concept to the Personal Habits of the Muslims

 by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D. 
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA




Islam is a universal religion. Islam is submission to the Will of God.  This implies doing right, being an example to others to do right, and having the power to see that the right prevails.  One should set an example to others to eschew wrong and have the power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated.


 Islam disciplines the human being so that a Muslim can do good and ward off evil.  Islam brings out the best in a human being, exalts him/her to the highest position on earth.  Therefore by following the word and spirit of Islam one can strive to become a perfect human being.  This statement is supported by the fact that our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the most perfect human being ever lived on earth (See Dr. Ahmad Deedat's Video Tapes).


     One should have the knowledge to distinguish between what is good and what is bad or evil.  Anything that produces harm, injury or death is bad, by definition.  Also anything that deviates or distracts a Muslim from performing his Islamic obligations or duties is also bad or harmful. Halal means lawful, permissible.  The acts of Halal are made by Allah (SWT) and revealed to man through Al-Qur'an. If one examines Halal in detail one sees that Halal is designed for the benefit and welfare of mankind.  It is designed to be for the "good" of mankind. Therefore Halal can be construed as good and could be synonymous with "good".  Similarly Haram could be interpreted to mean bad or evil.  Whenever the word Halal is mentioned we invariably understand that it applied to meat and other foods.


    In this paper the personal habits of Muslims are examined and analyzed to find whether they conform to Halal or Haram.  Some of the personal habits of the Muslims are: Caffeine consumption, bottle-feeding the babies, tobacco consumption.


 Some Items such as Alcohol and Gambling are forbidden by the Qur'anic Commands; hence they will not be discussed here.


Let there arise out of you

A band of people inviting to all

That is good, enjoining what is right

And forbidding what is wrong:

They are the ones to attain felicity.

      Al- Qur'an, 3: 104


Commenting on this verse Allama Yusuf Ali says " the root idea is attainment of desires, happiness, in this world and the next; success; freedom from anxiety, care or disturbed state of mind;.....   The ideal Muslims community is happy, untroubled by conflicts or doubts, sure of itself, strong, united, and prosperous: because it invites to all that is good; enjoins the right; and forbids the wrong. "


    Al Qur'an is guidance for all of mankind and for all times, present and future. The concept of Halal to the personal habits of Muslims is extended based on the arguments given initially and on the following verses taken from the Noble Qur'an:


Enjoin ye righteousness upon mankind.

                   …… Surah, Baqara, 2: 44


Eat and drink of that which Allah hath provided, and do not act corruptly, making mischief in the earth.

…………… Surah, Baqara, 2: 60


Those who believe and do good works: such are rightful owners of the Garden (Jannah).  Surah Baqara, 2: 82


0 mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you.  ……..Surah, Baqara 2: 168


0 ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you.... .  2: 172


The righteous man is he who wardeth off (evil).  Surah, Baqara, 2: 189.


The best provision is to ward off evil.  ..   Surah, Baqara, 2: 197


Allah loveth those who have a care for cleanness… Surah Baqara, 2: 222.


0 Ye who believe! Strong drink (intoxicants) and games of chance (gambling) and idols and divining arrows (superstition) are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork.  Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed (prosper).       …Surah, Al-Ma'ida, 5: 90


Satan seeks only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink (intoxicants) and games of chance (gambling) and to turn you from remembrance of Allah and from (His) worship.  Will ye then not abstain?

                                                            ………Surah, Al-Ma'ida,. 5: 91


...   So be mindful of your duty (to Allah) and do good works, and again: be mindful of your duty, and believe; and once again: be mindful of your duty, and do right. Allah loveth those who do good………Surah, Al-Ma'ida……5: 93




     Caffeine is a habit-forming drug. One develops addiction and dependence on this drug.  A look at Table I shows that some of the sources of caffeine are the ones everyone consumes everyday such as beverages, prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs. Let us see the benefits and disadvantages of caffeine.


Benefits: Caffeine is a powerful stimulant of the Central Nervous System at all levels. Cortex stimulation results in more rapid and clear flow of thought and to allay fatigue and drowsiness.   Caffeine stimulates medullary, respiratory, vasomotor and vagal centers.  This action is therapeutically utilized for treating medullary depression caused by morphine and other drugs. Caffeine gives a false feeling of well being and good aroma.



Caffeine is a habit-forming drug. Just as cigarette smokers are addicted to nicotine, caffeine consumers are addicted to caffeine.  Overindulgence leads to chronic poisoning.  Caffeine intake results in irritability, inability to work effectively, nervousness, restlessness, disturbed sleep, lethargy, and headache on missing coffee in the morning. Children are more susceptible than adults to excitation by caffeine and these result in hyperactivity.  Consumption of caffeine results in prolonged augmentation of gastric secretion; therefore it should be avoided by the peptic ulcer patients.  It should also be avoided by patients with hypertension because of the action on the cardiovascular and nervous systems.  Myocardial stimulation is reflected in cardiac irregularities, especially premature systoles, palpitation and tachy cardia.





Beverages                                                             Caffeine (mg)


 Brewed coffee (5 oz)                                           100 - 150

 Instant coffee (5 oz)                                               86-99

 Decaffeinated (5 oz)                                                2 - 4

 Cola drinks (12 oz can)                                       33 - 60

 Tea  (5 oz)                                                               33 - 75

Cocoa and chocolate (6 oz)                                10 - 35


 Prescription Drugs


 Cafergot                                                                  100 mg per tablet

Darvon compound                                                   32 mg per tablet

 Fiorinal                                                                      40 mg per tablet

 Migral                                                                       50 mg per tablet

Tri-Aqua                                                                     99 mg per tablet


 Non-Prescription Drugs


 Stimulants (Standard dose)


 Caffedrine Capsules                                                200

 NoDoz tablets                                                           200

 Vivarin tablets                                                          200


Pain relievers (Standard dose)

Anacin                                                                  64

Excedrin                                                                  130

Midol                                                                        65

Plain aspirin (any brand)                                     100



Aqua-Ban, Permathene                                          200

Cold remedies                                                           30 mg per tablet


Weight Control aids (daily dose)

Dexatrim, Dietac, Prolamine                                    200 - 280



    There is an association between coffee drinking and cancer of the lower urinary tract and cancer of the pancreas. Several deaths have occurred after the ingestion of caffeine.  The lethal dose of caffeine is 10 grams (100 cups of coffee).




"Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling………………."                                      …………Al Qur'an, Surah, Baqara, 2: 233


There is a dramatic decline in breast-feeding in the United States Canada, Europe, and even in the third world countries, including Muslim countries.  Bottle-feeding has many disadvantages for the child, mother, society, and the nation.  The liberated women think bottle-feeding is natural and normal, and that breast-feeding is old-fashioned, animal like, primitive, and obsolete.  They treat breast-feeding as a sign of backwardness, low social status, ignorance and poverty.  On the contrary, none of these is true.  They are being exploited by self-interested, profit making commercial enterprises, which manufacture bottles, nipples, baby foods, milk powder, formulas, pacifiers, etc.


Breast-feeding is a very natural and normal way designed by God. The only disadvantage of breast-feeding in a developed country is one needs privacy and cannot be done in public, as is the case in a developing country. However, if all mothers start breast-feeding then it becomes a natural thing.


Benefits to the Child:


     Breast-fed babies grow healthy with mental and physical development and also survive longer than bottle fed babies.  Human milk is the best food for the human infants.  It contains more than 100 separate constituents of which few of them are available to the bottle fed infant.  A mother can breast feed her baby even under unhygienic conditions without fear of infection due to the presence of lysozomes.  Fewer infections, absence of food allergy, and many immunological benefits are derived from breast milk.

     The first milk secreted by the breast (colostrum), which no formula can duplicate, contains natural antibodies against measles, polio, mumps, and a host of other diseases.  Breast milk protects a child from obesity, staph, and other infections.  Breast fed babies have less diaper rash and require less care.


God has designed baby's facial structures, such as flat nose, sucking pads in the cheeks, in such a way, as is best fit for breast-feeding.  The ridged edge of the gums helps the baby to grasp and to hold on to the nipple while sucking.  In Western countries, a dentist will point out the frequent problems of bottle fed babies, such as lip and finger sucking, tongue thrusting, tooth decay, bite deformities, incorrect swallowing and mouth breathing.  The tongue and jaw muscles of a breast fed baby show better muscular development, as he has to suck harder with his lips, tongue, and jaw muscles.  The breast is nature's pacifier for the baby.  It calms the infant.  The baby finds security and warmth at the mother's breast.


Benefits to the Mother:


    The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute of United States, report that cancer of the breast is more apt to develop in those breasts that do not give milk (among Nuns, unmarried women, married women with no children, mothers who bottle-feed) and scientific studies confirm the fact that long-term breast-feeding lowers the breast cancer risk.

     If the infant is allowed to suck immediately after birth, the sucking causes a strong uterine contraction, which helps to expel the placenta, and also prevents post-partum (after birth) hemorrhage. With continued ' nursing, the uterus involutes rapidly without shots and pills.  Many times a third-degree prolapse of the uterus after the birth of a child virtually disappears without surgical correction in cases of breast-feeding mothers.  It has been well established that breast-feeding has a contraceptive effect by delaying the return of ovulation. As a result of this, the return of menstruation is delayed anywhere from eight to eighteen months.


This is good for the mother as her body's iron is conserved.  A lengthy absence from menstrual periods following childbirth is called lactation amenorrhea.  Lactation amenorrhea is a health asset to the mother in her childbearing years.  Breast-feeding eliminates the need for drugs and prevents breast cancer.


    Nursing provides brief rests during the day and gives relaxation for a mother who tends to be tense and nervous or gives a break for a busy mother.  Bottle feeding mothers don't have prolactin, a "mothering" (Manila in Urdu) hormone, whereas prolactin in a nursing mother produces the mood and a feeling of a good mother.  The personal satisfaction that a woman can experience only through breast feeding, the total giving of herself to her baby, and a deep feeling of pride in her motherly accomplishments cannot be found in bottle feeding mothers.  A nursing mother learns that true fulfillment comes in the giving and not the taking.


     Breast feeding not only helps satisfy the baby's nutritional and emotional needs, but satisfies the emotional needs of the mother— not only in that it is restful for her, but she derives satisfaction in doing what is best for her baby and from having a contented and quiet baby as a result. Baby and mother thrive on each other. Physical contact generates warm feelings of being loved and appreciated.  The baby feels secure in the mother's arms or bosom.

     For a traveling mother, nothing can match the conveniences of breast feeding without the problems of baby stops, warming the bottle, or running short of formula.


Benefits to the Family, Society and Nation:


Breast-feeding saves money for the family.  Money not spent on bottles, nipples, brushes, sterilizer, formula, juice, foods, food and bottle warmers, and the gas, electricity or fuel wood required in the preparation, is money saved for the family.  In the years to come, less money will be spent on doctor's fees, hospital fees, and probably fewer drugs and fewer dental bills.  Except the tender loving care, breast-feeding costs nothing. In case of bottle fed babies, the artificial foods and juices stain baby's and mother's clothes and require frequent washing and dry-cleaning.

    When all infants are breast fed, then the society will have mentally and physically healthy and active children.  When these children grow the nation will be proud of its great leaders and admirable citizens.   Such a nation will be strong in character and a model nation to emulate.


     Breast-feeding never pollutes a country's air or water, nor does it detract from the environment. It was mentioned earlier that prolonged lactation protects against pregnancy mainly by delaying the return of ovulation.  In a country where the practice of birth control is not widespread, breast-feeding can check population growth to some extent.




Tobacco can be used in the form of cigarette smoking, snuffing and chew.  The latter two come under smokeless tobacco.


    Cigarette smoking is the most widespread example of drug dependence in the United States and it is America's worst drug addiction problem.  It involves addiction to the drug nicotine found only in tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in America.  As important a cause of death as were the great epidemic diseases that affected previous generations.  A major and certainly removable cause of ill health and premature death.


    The moment cigarette smoke touches the lips, it begins to attack living tissues and continues to do so wherever it goes; mouth, tongue, throat esophagus, air passages, lungs, stomach, and its breakdown products eventually reach the bladder, pancreas, and kidneys.  Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and esophagus, and is a contributory factor for the development of cancers of the bladder, pancreas. Kidney and uterine cervix in women.


    Nicotine, an alkaloid poison found in nature only in tobacco, is a powerful stimulant to the brain and central nervous system; later doses have a depressant effect.  Nicotine causes blood pressure to rise and increases heart rate by as many as 33 beats a minute.  The first daily dose of nicotine stimulates the large bowel, while curbing appetite and slowing digestion.  It also lowers skin temperature and reduces blood circulation in the lees and arms.  Sixty milligrams of nicotine taken at one time will kill the average adult human being by paralyzing breathing. It is about as lethal as cyanide.  The reason it doesn't kill smokers quickly is that they take it in tiny doses, which are quickly metabolized and excreted by the body.


    Cigarette smoke 'tar' (smoke condensate) is made of more than four thousand solid chemicals.  Among the chemicals in cigarette smoke are acids, alcohols, volatile hydrocarbons, phenols, and such corrosive gases as hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen oxide, as well as a heavy dose of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO). Heart and circulatory disease, lung and other cancers, emphysema and chronic bronchitis have been experimentally linked with certain of these substances.  All these conditions are disabling and potentially lethal.  While nicotine causes the heart to work harder, CO deprives it of the extra oxygen this demands.  CO also promotes cholesterol deposits in arteries, reduces the normal flow of blood and can easily trap blood clots, resulting in stroke and heart attacks.  CO impairs vision, and judgment, and reduces attentiveness to sounds.  Thus, CO Is dangerous to drivers, reduces athletic performance, and poses particular hazards to flight crews.

    Dental diseases particularly inflammation of the gums, destruction of the supporting bony tissue and loss of teeth, are much frequent among smokers than among non-smokers.  Smoking causes vitamin C and B deficiency besides destroying minerals like zinc in the body.

Smoking damages sexual ability of both male and female.


Smoking During Pregnancy

Cigarette smoke contains 2000 components. Some of the most harmful for pregnant women and their babies is thought to be nicotine, carbon monoxide and cyanide. These substances have been found to cross the placenta and reach the baby. One of the most concerning effects of smoking during pregnancy is that the baby’s growth is restricted. A baby of a woman who smokes weighs on average 170 to 200 grams lighter. The more a woman smokes the greater the weight reduction. Having a smaller baby is not a positive thing. The reason babies are smaller is that cigarette smoking restricts blood vessels, therefore reducing the amount of nutrients and oxygen reaching the baby. This leads to a lower birth weight and a baby more prone to becoming ill after birth.   Pregnant woman who smoke not only have babies with reduced birth weights but also have greater risks of stillbirths or death during labor and in the first week after birth. They deliver babies prematurely or have spontaneous abortions.  Children of parents who smoke risk developing bronchitis or pneumonia in the first year of life.

Potential effects of smoking during pregnancy include an increased chance of genetic abnormalities. There has been associations made between pregnant women smoking and increased chance of cleft lip, cleft palate, problems with bowel, eyes, ears and spinal cord. There have been links made between women smoking during pregnancy and their children developing respiratory problems, such as asthma, later in childhood.

In the West, around 20 per cent of pregnant women smoke. Of these women, over half smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day. Only about four per cent of women who smoke manage to stop smoking in the second half of their pregnancy. It is known that if a pregnant woman stops smoking in the first half of her pregnancy that by the time of birth the baby will be close to normal size. However there is no safe level of smoking. If a pregnant woman is unable to stop smoking completely - it is important to remember ‘the less she smokes, the less effects on her baby’.

Smoking can affect pregnancy. Smoking increases heart rate increases blood pressure and depresses the nervous system. This not only affects the baby but also causes increased complications for the mother. The increased rate of chest infections and blood clotting disorders is of particular concern.

Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of ectopic (outside uterus) pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, problems with the placenta, vomiting requiring hospitalization, bleeding during pregnancy, polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid), thrush, urinary tract infections and premature birth. Again the more the woman smokes, the higher the risk of complications.

It is very difficult to stop smoking, however the family physician or Obstetrician can help.

The risk Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is increased if the mother smokes during her pregnancy. There is also evidence to show that if the father smokes while the mother is pregnant, SIDS also is increased. Ideally both parents would stop smoking during pregnancy, but the less one smokes the less the risk of SIDS.

After birth it is important to keep babies in a smoke free environment. Stop people from smoking in the house, car or anywhere near the baby. By following these simple steps it helps to reduce the incidence of SIDS.




(1) I. B. Syed.:  THE EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE, the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association,   Vol. 16 (No .10) : 568-572, October 1976.

(2)  I. B. Syed.: BREAST FED IS THE BEST FED.  Published by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America.  1986.

(3)  I. B. Syed.: SMOKING IS UNLAWFUL IN ISLAM, the Journal of Islamic Medical Association of North America. Vol. 15: 110-112, October 1983.

(4)   I. B. Syed.: SMOKING AFFECTS SEX. Caravan Magazine, pp.31-32, August (Second) 1975.

(5) J. H. Jaffee.: DRUG ADDICTION AND DRUG ABUSE (Ch.l6). In: The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. Goodman LS and Gilman A (Editors), Macmillan Pub. Co. Inc., New York, 1975

(6) J. Palmer.: Smoking During Pregnancy  27th November  2000

(7) Ceida.: Smoking during pregnancy. Handout. Australia, 1997 

(8) National SIDS Council.  Reducing the risk of sudden infant death Syndrome (SIDS). : Melbourne, Australia, 1997. 

(9) J. Palmer.:  Maternal cigarette smoking: The effects. Midwifery Matters,       9 (2), 18-21, 1995

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