For someone entering the Islamic faith, especially from a background where you have seen so little of the ways of Muslims, then it can be challenging to know what is right and what is wrong.
More importantly what is Islamic and what is cultural or simply based on traditions or even just personal opinions.
As you move forward into the Islamic faith it does actually become much clearer and I hope the following will help you.
Haram is simply those things that are forbidden or prohibited. Things we are simply told not to do – such as not to eat pork (Quran 2:173).
There are a number but this is not the place to try and list them. If you are unsure then read the Quran itself. The more you read it the more you will understand for yourself and you will find either direct answers or that your conscience will tell you what is and what isn’t ok to do. Even more importantly it will tell you why.
Essentially everything else is fine… the simple answer is that if it is not forbidden then it is Halal – permissible.
You will of course encounter many things which aren’t clearly Halal or Haram, such as music, but what becomes clearer is that it is the way we make use of them or the situation within which they may get in used that makes them Halal or Haram.
Some seek to offer further guidance around this with Sunni Muslims offering five categories around permissibility (Hanafis offer seven.)
For Sunni’s these are:
1. Obligatory (fard or wajib)
2. Recommended (mandub or mustahabb)
3. Neither recommended nor disliked (mubah)
4. Disliked (makruh)
So this can be helpful but equally important is to remember that all of those above are Halal – permissible.