Allah has forbidden:
- Things and deeds which tend to undermine one’s active physical and mental strengths;
- Things and deeds which tend to exhaust the vigour and vitality of one’s self;
- Deeds which gradually and insidiously impair one’s personality;
- Deeds which slow one down in the walk of life;
- Deeds which enervate, incapacitate or devitalize human potential;
- Deeds which might retard man’s personal development;
- Deeds which, as human weaknesses, might stand in the way of achieving sublime objectives
Allah has used the term “ithmun” (اِثم) in the Quran to identify the quintessence of such deeds. The word “ithmun” (اثم) comes from the word “Aathimatun” (آثمہ) which the Arabs, at the time of the Revelation, used to describe a she-camel that was tardy, weary, jaded, fatigued and slow in going.
The word “ithmun” (اِثم) also implies “lack of benefaction” and may also be used to signify:
- Any malign deed or thing
- Anything harmful in nature or influence
- Anything devoid of goodness
- Anything that keeps one from achieving goodness
[See the use of word “ithmun” (اثم) versus “birrun” (بِرّ) in Al-Quran Surah 5: Verse 2 and 58:9].
Allah not only forbids wrongdoings which are committed against others (although these may indirectly harm one’s own self or personality) but also those things and deeds which can directly harm only one’s own self [compare Quranic terms ithmun اثم & udwaan عدوان ]. Someone may think that drinking alcohol is OK as long as one is not causing any harm to others but Allah has forbidden drinking alcohol in the Quran because it has malignant effect (ithmun اثم) on one’s own physical and metaphysical health. Allah says in the Quran that intoxicants and ways of obtaining easy money, such as gambling, although have some benign aspects but their overall malignant effect (ithmun اثم) is far greater than their possible benefit [Al-Quran Suran 2: Verse 219].