In discussing the distinction between Fiqh and Sharia, IslamicLearningMaterials.com highlights the example of smoking:

...initially, Muslim scholars ruled that smoking was disliked because of the smell and it was imitating non-Muslims. But it wasn’t forbidden. ... However, when it was discovered that smoking cigarettes can be deadly, Muslim scholars ruled that cigarettes are forbidden in Islam.

...Shariah cannot be changed. But Fiqh can change based on new information.

In this example, we see that the fiqh ruling changed based on scientific discoveries.

(The related question about smoking here is: Is smoking allowed in Islam?, which doesn't go as far as to declare smoking forbidden, so it's possible that IslamicLearningMaterials.com is not fully accurate, but this should be irrelevant to the question.)

Question: Are there things which were considered halal at the time of the Prophet, but are now considered haram due to scientific discoveries?

  • Zilch. None. Though Muslim scholars make mistakes all the time. Unfortunately! – Honey Jan 19 '17 at 20:21
  • It depends on what you mean, as the time of the prophet covers an era of 23 years in which many former rules have been changed! For example drinking alcohol was halal at a time then frowned upon then haram. – Medi1Saif Oct 29 '17 at 11:08
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    I also think that your question is somewhat badly formulated or based on a wrong assumption... If anything was declared halal or haram until the prophet's death, none will ever discuss the ruling as it will be accepted as is (no matter what scientific discoveries may tell). But what could change is a verdict on a new matter which may have arise later! And that's the basis of the fiqh schools and different fatwas as this is a matter of ijtihad. – Medi1Saif Oct 30 '17 at 11:00
  • That's why I wrote "considered halal" instead of "halal". – Rebecca J. Stones Oct 30 '17 at 11:01

No. If something was happening around the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he said it is Halal and returned to his Lord without specifying otherwise, then we will always consider that to be Halal.

Divinely revealed prohibitions and permissions do not change unless abrogated (which no longer occurs). And they did not get abrogated by 'science' but rather by Allah (ﷻ) Himself. No one else has the authority to change them. If Qur'an/Sunnah says X is Halal then it remains Halal.. and if Qur'an/Sunnah says X is Haram then it remains Haram.. regardless of science.

To add on to that, is it possible for Islam to permit something and then science to determine it is harmful? No. Because Allah (ﷻ) only forbids what is harmful and only permits what is good, per the Qur'an itself. [eg, Quran 7:157, etc]. Therefore, science never truly contradicts Islam; Islam is always right from the get-go and science always reaches the same conclusion as Islam ultimately.

Moreover, I do not think that the website is correct since I've seen it been stated otherwise. Concerning tobacco/cigarettes:

"We, our scholars and teachers, their teachers, and all the truth-seeking scholars from the leaders of the Da’wah, of the Najd and the rest of the Muslim world, from the time of its onset around 1010 AH until this day, have stated its prohibition, all basing their evidence from the principles of the religion and observation" - Compilation of Fatawa.

The kinds of rulings that often change over time are those concerning culture/customs. You may refer to IslamQA and Islamweb for more on this topic. But principles of the religion and clearly defined rulings from Islamic texts do not change.

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  • This article disagrees with what you say. – G. Bach Jan 19 '17 at 21:39
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    @GBach - My point was that since the beginning there have been scholars saying that tobacco/cigarettes are haram, in refutation of the learningmaterial website which claims that the view it was haram only came after advances. (Advances only showed that the view that it is haram is correct). As for your link disagreeing with it being haram, the line of reasoning was amateurish (do you know the credentials of the person who wrote the article?). Idk how this person can liken a verified cancer-causing item to “other products” like what, junk food (chips, cookies, etc)? There is no comparison. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Jan 19 '17 at 23:13
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    @Insight01 The quote you give sounds like there is consensus and has always been, which is not true. Look into the fiqh discourse among hanafis about tobacco and you'll find the view in the article I linked to be somewhat prominent. – G. Bach Jan 19 '17 at 23:28
  • <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate of tangential points. – goldPseudo Apr 2 '17 at 7:43

Are there things which were considered halal at the time of the Prophet, but are now consider haram due to scientific discoveries?

The religion of Allah is complete and what ever that was revealed will take effect until the day of qiyaamah. What Allah and his messenger made halal cannont be made haram and what Allah and his messenger made haram cannot be made halal no matter what.

“This day (the day of arafa), I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3].

With regard to the example quoted in your question, The ruling on smoking that it is haram was a ruling which was derived by scholars based on evidences from the Quran. (refer following link - https://islamqa.info/en/110) because it is not stated directly in Quran or hadeeth. This does not have anything to do with altering of initial permissions and prohibitions made by Allah and his messenger. because in this case , none of the laws of Allah has been changed or altered.

If the fact that smoking was not forbidden by scholars initially is true, then it is due to their own inaccuracy or lack of awareness. Now there is a generally accepted consensus among the scholars and the ummah that smoking is haram.

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    There's no consensus about smoking as you try to underline (this is already quoted in the question post). And in your answer you only tangentially addressed the actual question. – Medi1Saif Oct 30 '17 at 11:02

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