The Arabic language has two separate words, حرم haram and حرام harām, both derived from the same triliteral Semitic root H-R-M. Both of these words can mean “forbidden” and/or “sacred” in a general way, but each has also developed some specialized meanings.A third related word derived from the same root, حريم ḥarīm, most directly corresponds to English “harem”.This article covers the word ḥaram (with short vowels in the singular form). For the technical Islamic legal meaning of ḥarām with a long vowel (meaning something which is forbidden by Islam, such as eating pork).
Haram and Khamr
Haram: Haram is the Arabic word for that which is forbidden. Many things are Haram. Haram is a similar concept to immoral, generally that which is immoral to a Jew or a Christian will be Haram to a Muslim. Haram also has the meaning of unclean, that which will defile a person.
The worst form of Haram is Shirk. Shirk means to pair someone or something with God (Allah). Nothing is like God but God, nothing can be compared to God. A Muslim must not worship or pray to anyone or anything except God. No one is to be regarded as divine except God. This is why cults like the so-called “Nation of Islam”, the followers of Farrakhan, can not be considered to be Islamic, they commit Shirk by ascribing divinity to certain men, such as Wallace Deen Fard (a.k.a. Fard Mohammed).
Any sex outside of marriage is Haram, whether fornication (sex with [or by] an unmarried person), adultery (sex with a married person [or by a married person with someone other than their spouse]), pederasty (sex with a child), bestiality (sex with an animal), or homosexuality (sex with a member of the same sex). All are forbidden. One can not become a Muslim without giving up immorality. While there are homosexuals who claim to be Muslim, they can not be true Muslims while practicing this perversion.
Khamr: The greatest problem in our society today, however, is Khamr (intoxicants). Anything which befogs the mind, anything which can cause you to not think clearly, is Khamr. All alcoholic drinks, beer, wine, gin, whisky, rum, vodka, tequila, moonshine, etc., are Khamr. All illegal drugs are Khamr. Cocaine is probably the greatest problem in our community today, it is very much Khamr, an intoxicant. It destroys many people, making them unable to hold a job, look after their family, say their prayers, or do much of anything they need to do. A person who uses cocaine is a criminal legally and a sinner in Islam. A person who sells or gives cocaine to others is worse than someone who just uses it. Other destructive drugs such as heroin, ecstacy, LSD, etc., are just as bad, of course, but cocaine is the drug which is destroying our communities.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ” Every intoxicant is khamr, and every khamr is haram.”
Umar, the second Khalifah of the Prophet, declared from the pulpit of the Prophet: “Khamr is that which befogs the mind.”