Halal and Tayyib-Intro

These writings were part of my post graduate Islamic Studies degree, Quran and Haddith module, marked and passed by Sheikh Sayad Mekic, University of Cambridge.

It is important for us to firstly look at the baseline of the guidance, that Allah subhana wa t’Allah has given us  and that is the criterion of the Holy Quran. The reason being, what we are to consumed has been ordained by Allah and manifest in the example, the Sunnah, the lifestyle of his most beloved prophet, Muhammad, salah la liahi wa salem.




The Quran is a divinely dynamic book; it contains historical adventure stories, facts and figures, auspices for morals and manners and universal themes for living running through its pages. It is the ultimate timeless book of holistic guidance because it is God’s word over man.  For Muslims it is the measuring stick by which laws are made and decided. Revealed via the  Angel Gibreel (Gabriel) to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam / saws / may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), in the Arabic month of Ramadhan, on 22 December 609 C.E.[1]  It was revealed in stages, over a period of 23 years, slowly, gradually to strengthen the Prophet’s (saws) resolve and address social problems as they arose. Some chapters were revealed in Makkah and some in Madina. As it was revealed, it was narrated word for word by the Prophet (saws) to his companions who wrote it down on anything they could find. It was ordered, chronologically, also by him, as directed by the Angel Gibreel. Zayd Ibn Thabi, (may Allah be pleased with him) the most important scribe of the prophet and Hafsa, (may Allah be please with her), wife of the Prophet and daughter of the second caliph, Umar ibn al Kitab (may Allah be pleased with him) were involved in the commission authourised by the third caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, (may Allah be please with him) who reigned from 644-654 AH/1246-1258 CE), that was critical in determining the eventual canon of the quran.”[2] It is said that previous copies were burnt but the original from which the standardised Quran was copied, was returned to its owner, Hafsah.

From this divine book all the laws of what is permissible/halaal and not permissible/haram are taken.


The Quran is unusually divided. Unlike other books it is not divided into chapters of equal length but consists of 114 chapters “surats” that decrease in size. It has 6236 verses. It is divided into 30 “juz” reading sections of equal length, that overlay the actual chapter lengths. There are themes running through the book. Scholars differ on the numbers of themes.


Fazul Rahman cites 11 themes ; God, Man As An Individual, Man In Society, Nature, Prophet And Revelation, Eschatology, Satan And Evil, Emergence Of Muslim Community, Religious Situation Of The Muslims In Makkah, The People Of The Book And Diverse Religions.”[3]

There are also word pairings and grouping like “eyes, ears and hearts”, a theme that appears many times in the Quran.  Halaal “lawful” and tayyib “good” are also a word pairing that occurs united as theme in a number of surats.



In Surat Al Baqara, The Cow, Chapter 2, Verse 168:


 “O ye people, eat what is on the earth, lawful and good, and do not follow the footsteps of the evil one,”[4]


In Surat Al Ma’ida, The Table Spread, Chapter 5, Verses 4, 5, 86 and 87:


“They ask thee what lawful (halaal) is for them (as food). Say lawful unto you are all things good and pure.”[5]


 “This day are (all) the good and pure (tayyib) made lawful unto you,”[6]


“O ye who believe, make not unlawful the good things that Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no excess, for Allah loved not those who commit excess.”[7]


“Eat of the things that Allah has provided for you, lawful and good, but fear Allah, in whom you believe.”[8]


There are many explanations of why the Quran repeats phrases or themes, one of them is emphasis. Repetition lays emphasis on the human mind.[9]

 Halaal and tayyib, lawful and good are also mentioned in,

Chapter 7, Al A’raf, The Heights, Verse 157:


“He (Allah) makes lawful for them the good things and forbids them from the evil things”[10]


The explanation ‘tafsir’ of the renowned scholar, Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) makes the reference to this last Quranic surat,


He cites “meaning , He makes lawful bahirah, sa’ibah, wasilah and hami. They were prohibitions that they invented which were only hard for themselves. He also forbids them from usury / ribr and food that was treated as lawful, although Allah The Exalted has forbidden them.” [11]

Bahirah, sa’ibah  are to do with animals that were released in the name of an idol of their milk was used only in idol sacrifice, the people deprived themselves of these good things but the Quran made them lawful.

hhh sorrel aniseed management tex
Sorrel and Ginger Tea. Foto Karimah bint Dawoud















[1] Fazlur Rehman , Chronology of Prophetic Events, Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd, 2001, page 50

[2] Douglas Pratt, The Challenge of Islam, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2005, pages35-36

[3] Fazul Rahman, Major Themes of the Quran, 3rd edition (1st, 2nd edition bibliotheca islamia)University of Chicago Press, 2009, page 7

[4] Yusuf Ali,The Meaning Of The Holy Quran,Amana Publications, tenth edtion, 2001 verse 2:168 page 67.

[5] Yusuf Ali, ibid, page 254.

[6] Yusuf Ali, ibid, page 246.

[7] Yusuf Ali, ibid,pages 275-276.

[8] Yusuf Ali ibid, page 276.

[9] Fateh Ullah Khan Gandepur, God Created the Universe with the Purpose to Serve Humankind. Khyber Mial, Pakistan, 2009, page 48

[10] Yusuf Ali, op.cit., pages 389-390

[11] Tafsir ibn Kathir , Abridged version, Volume 4, Supervision Shaykh Mubarakpuri, Daruslaam, 2000, pages 180-181

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