In Islam, the question of permissibility and prohibition is closely related to the more important feeling of being conscious of Allah and fearing Him. It is the pivot around which every intention and every action in the life of a believer turns. Thus, it transforms human life into a relationship with Allah, a recognition of His Greatness, and a consciousness of His Presence and Power in all situations, whether we are alone or with others.
Allah introduces prohibitions for the spiritual and mental well-being of man as well as for the moral and material benefit of humanity. Prohibitions are not arbitrary nor are they intrusions from Allah. On the contrary, they are signs of Allah’s interest in the welfare of humanity and an indication of His caring for man.
When Allah prohibits certain things, it is not because He Almighty wants to deprive man of anything good or useful. It is because He means to protect man and allow him to develop a good sense of discrimination, a refined taste for the better things in life, and a continued interest in higher moral values. To achieve this, good care must be taken of man’s spirit and mind, soul and body, conscience and sentiments, health and wealth, physique and morale. Prohibition, therefore, is not deprivation but enrichment, not suppression but discipline, not limitation but expansion.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: “Everything that Islam prohibits is based on tangible benefits and utilities or masalih. Allah Almighty says, “He has permitted all good things for you, and has prohibited all bad things.” (Al-A`raf 157)
So, things are prohibited because they entail serious evil consequences relating to individuals and societies. For instance, consider the Islamic prohibition of intoxicants. Even some of the wisest people have said that intoxicants are the greatest enemy of mankind. Just imagine the serious consequences of intoxicants: its toll on individuals, families, societies, as well as its toll on the economy. This would convince anyone of the Divine Wisdom behind the prohibition of alcohol. The same applies to all other things that Islam has prohibited.”