Home Quranet Chapter 9 What is the borderline between what is enjoyable and what is forbidden?
What is the borderline between what is enjoyable and what is forbidden?
Chapter 9

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُحَرِّمُواْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللّهُ لَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ (سورۃ المائدة, آيۃ 87)

O ye who believe! make not unlawful the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, but commit no excess: for Allah loveth not those given to excess. (Surah 5, Verse 87)

Ali, Walad and Kamal are friends who live in the same neighborhood. A representative of the neighborhood committee complained to the school counselor that the boys were disturbing the peace. They spent all their time in the street, playing football and other games, even during the afternoon siesta hours and late at night. The counselor summoned the boys to her office. She offered them candies and talked to them about their games. They admitted that they played outside at unacceptable times. Then she opened her copy of the Quran and read out: "O ye who believe! make not unlawful the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, but commit no excess: for Allah loveth not those given to excess". "There is a time for everything", she told them. "There is a time to study and a time to play and we must maintain the proper balance between study and play". The boys were ashamed and promised to stop disturbing the neighbors. They also suggested, on their own initiative, that they go to the representative who had complained and ask him to convey their apologies to the neighbors.

Explanation: in almost everything we do, we need to maintain proportions - not too much and not too little - with regard to food, clothing, friendships etc. The counselor was right to cite this particular verse and to convey to the boys the important message of proper balance. She could have scolded them for disturbing neighbors. She could have ignored the complaints. But she chose the middle road of equilibrium between enjoyable acts and forbidden behavior. She told them that it was permissible to play and even desirable for them to enjoy themselves because games were no less important for their development than studies. These are the good things which God allows the believers and made lawful for them. At the same time, she showed them the border between good and bad, between what is permissible and what is forbidden. It is important for parents in general to remember this important rule. When they tell a child what is forbidden they should also tell him what is permitted, since otherwise children may feel that everything is forbidden. Many parents treat their children very authoritatively and focus mainly on the "no" and the "mustn't". But the Quran exhorts us not to forget to emphasize what is lawful because God wants us to enjoy good things.