In Islam we use the word Haram for things that are forbidden, but when we say Majid-e-Haram, why do we use the "Haram" word?


2 Answers 2


Assalam Alaikum,

May Allah (SWT) bestows His blessings upon you,

The Arabic word Haram has multiple meanings, similar to words like in English, for instance,

Bear - Word is used for an Animal Bear and also means Tolerate, for example,

  • I saw a grizzly bear in the woods
  • I cannot bear this anymore

Similarly, The Arabic language has two separate words, حرم ḥaram and حرام ḥarām, both derived from the same triliteral Semitic root Ḥ-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".

In Arabic it is easier to differentiate the two as they are pronounced and written different, so it is better to be called as Harm (sacred) rather than Haraam (forbidden)

I hope this answers your question.

May Allah (SWT) be pleased with you and all of us, Ameen!


Well i think it's helpful to know that the Big Mosque in Mekka which includes the Ka'aba has many frequent names (here just a few of them):

  • Bait-ul Allah al-Haraam بيت الله الحرام or al-Baytu-l Haram البيت الحرام (referring to al-Ka'aba in first place) = The Sacred House! Because of this Mekka is also called al-Baladu-l Haram البلد الحرام = the sacred City! (read for example the Verses 5:2 and 5:97)
  • Al-Masjid al-Haraam المسجد الحرام read for example 2:144) = The Sacred Mosque, here haraam حرام stands for sacred, and taboo.
  • Al-Haram al-Makky ‏ الحرم المكي ‏(referring to the ring around Mekka and the Mosque) = The Meccan Sanctuary, حرم here mean's sanctuary or prohibited (why see later) etc. (read for example in the Qur'an 29:67), we also call the Hijaz Bilad al Haramayn the Land of the two Sanctuary! And don't forget that it is prohibited to enter this ring for non-Muslims because of 9:28 amongst others!
  • Al-Bait al-'Atiq البيت العتيق (referring to al-Ka'aba in first place) = The Ancient House (read for example 22:29 and 22:33)
  • Al-Qibla القبلة (referring to al-Ka'ba in first place) = the direction of prayer (read for example: 2:143)

And you can read in the hadith why it was called haram/haraam:

See for example in Sahih al-Bukhari (also to be find in Sahih Muslim), Sunan an-Nasa'i and Sunan ibn Majah.

Therefor the mosque was called al-Masjid al-Haram because it is prohibited to fight in/on it, to chase in it,... "since the day He created the Heavens and the Earth . So, it is a sanctuary by Allah's Decree till the Day of Resurrection." and it is prohibited to enter for non-Muslims!

Here some Arabic references: 1, 2, 3. And here a reference which gives some more details about the meaning of sanctuary or sacred places.

Just as an addition some people think that the word harem/haram is an translation of the Arabic حريم, but you may look and find, that حريم and حَرَم have the same meaning, when it comes to women so it mean wife/wife's/female members of the family or woman in general (for example when you invite somebody and his wife you write و حرمه), but both can also mean sanctuary! As حريم is also a plural form of حَرَم!

On the other hand a wife of anybody is haraam (prohibited) for somebody else!

And Allah knows best!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .