Common signs of haram activities for muslims in Ghana
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For a country like Ghana that has a constitution centred on the ethos of secularism and most citizens not being Muslims, it would be rare to find state apparatus enforcing religious rulings or clamping down on activities solely prohibited on religious grounds.

In that regard, what is considered a crime or sin from a religious perspective might not be unlawful in the eyes of a secular state and vice versa.

What is Haram?

Generally, it is any act be manifest or hidden that is prohibited or unlawful within the tenets of Islam and forbidden for any Muslim to carry out.

Going contrary to this results in one being sinful and as such must repent and seek the forgiveness of Allah.

Task of avoiding the Haram

Ghanaian Muslims are often faced with the task of scrutinising daily activities to decipher what is right from wrong and in so doing drawing the line between the halal and the haram.

Without foreknowledge and understanding of the teachings of Islam, making the distinction can get blurry and tricky especially when emotions and finances are invested.

Below are some pointers that could guide any Muslim identify haram red flags as they embarks on a halal living to please Allah in a secular state like Ghana.

1. Being 18 years and above

If being of age has nothing to do with getting married, registering as a voter or acquiring a driver’s license, then any other activity or transaction that demands you to be 18 years or above could be a haram trap for you.

Meeting this age criterion of 18 is often required when engaging in haram activities such as gambling at casinos or sports betting centres, buying alcohol, entering pubs and soliciting for sex workers.

2. “Connection” deal

You can think of this as the back door deal where you can get things done for you at either a discounted price, quick pace or without due documentation or process.

Either way, it could be a haram trap as you are likely to find yourself on the wrong side of the laws of both Ghana and Allah when you end up with smuggled or stolen goods, paying a bribe to sidestep due processes or procedures or worse swindled out of greed (punishment from Allah).

3. “See me in Chambers”

A phrase from the legal profession has made its way into the arena of corruption where it could be an invitation to grease a palm for a favour.

Paying bribes in cash or kind is abhorred and punishable under the laws of Ghana. Within the context of Islam, the Prophet Muhammed, has described the giver and receiver of bribes as inhabitants of Jahanam (hell).

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In order not to find yourself between a rock and a hard place, try to avoid “seeing people in chambers” when you know exactly what they mean by that.

4. Double return on investment:

Finding a venture that could guarantee you double the investment made as returns could be a haram trap especially when you do not know exactly how those investments are utilised.

There is nothing wrong with having a double return on investment if one is not into gambling, a Ponzi scheme or funding a high-risk interest-generating portfolio or haram ventures such as drugs or alcohol.

With the emphasis on halal earnings and baraka, Muslims are required to as much as possible shun interest (usury) generating activities and make average profits on business transactions.

5. Disclaimers

Repudiations that manufacturers or service providers issue to recuse themselves of the risk, harm or liability arising from using a product or service could be a haram pointer.

It is well established that a Muslim should not use anything that could harm him. And so for such products and services, it is advisable to abstain from them except under compulsion.

“Smoking cigarettes can be injurious to health”, “Gambling can be addictive”, and “Drink responsibly” among others are some disclaimers we mostly hear and see during advertisements of products and services that Islam has already made forbidden for followers.

6. Dark Interventions

It would be difficult to say seeking guidance on matters of spirituality is wrong. However, when people become gullible and vulnerable at the mercy of so-called spiritual heads, then it becomes a problem.

The prophet is known to have said (in paraphrase) that Allah does not put the cure of any condition in what he has made unlawful for us.

One, therefore, needs to be careful when it comes to what he is being told and the demands being made of him/her while seeking help.

Uncommon religious rituals, demand for sex, naked baths at odd places, requests for haram items to be provided, and weird incantations are some pointers Muslims need to be cautious of especially when they become desperate in seeking solutions to their problems.

Conclusion

While these pointers could be heads-up for haram activities that one may encounter, it is important to seek clarity from qualified scholars to provide more knowledge on the subject matter before a decision is taken.

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