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Ahkam in the Quran

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Ahkam in the Quran is a subject that demands careful attention. Many of the Ahkam or religious laws of the religion of Islam have been mentioned in the Holy Scripture of Muslims, the Noble and Glorious Quran. Ahkam of acts of worship, marriage and divorce, raising children, and laws concerning certain crimes are mentioned in the Quran. Therefore, by studying the verses of the Quran one can learn a lot about the different rulings and ahkam in Islam.

The Noble Quran is a comprehensive Holy Scripture that contains many of the things that a Muslim human being needs for achieving prosperity in this world and the next. One of the most important contents of the Quran is the Aḥkām (أحکام) meaning religious laws that God Almighty has stated in it. There are rulings about many things in the Quran, some have been explained in detail while others have been mentioned in brief, leaving the Prophet to explain the details of them to people. The Quran has mentioned laws such as:

  • Laws of acts of worship including:
    • hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
  • Marriage and divorce
  • Nursing a child
  • Granting someone a loan
  • Inheritance
  • Crimes such as:
    • murder
    • theft
    • adultery and fornication

In this article on Islam4u , we will analyze ahkam in the Quran

The Ahkam of Salat in the Quran

The Quran has greatly emphasized the importance of prayer or salat and has asked Muslims to maintain it so that they are blessed by God in both worlds. However, God does not explain all the Ahkam and rulings of salat in the Quran. Nevertheless, certain rulings such as the prerequisites of salat that would be wuḍū (وُضو) meaning ablution are explained. A part of verse six of surah Mā’idah states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ

O you who have faith! When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles.

The same verse also speaks about the laws of tayyammum (تَيَمُّم) and ghusl. If one uses the bathroom, one must make ablution or tayyammum before praying. Tayyammum is the act of rubbing one’s face and hands with dust. In fact, it is done when there is no water for making ablution. On the other hand, ghusl is necessary after intercourse. It is immersing and washing the entire body in water. However, the details of ghusl have not been given in the Quran.


Ahkam in the Quran and the Details of the Rulings of Salat

The Quran has not mentioned how many raka‘āt (رَکَعات) or units one must pray or even how exactly one should pray. As a matter of fact, the Quran itself has said that if you want to know more about religion, ask the Prophet, and he will explain the rulings that are not mentioned in the Quran:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا ﴿52﴾

O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you. And if you dispute concerning anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you have faith in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more favourable in outcome. 1

Therefore, the details of the rulings of certain acts such as salat are not in the Quran and one must refer to the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them, whom the Quran names as Rāsikhūn fī al-‘Ilm (الراسخونَ في العِلم), 2 meaning those firmly grounded in knowledge.

In this regard, it has been narrated that once Ammar Yasir (عَمّار یاسر) was on a journey and he had to do ghusl, but there was no water. Therefore, thinking he is doing tayammum, he rolled his body on dust. When he went to the Prophet, the Prophet told him it would have been enough if you used your hands to wipe a part of your face and the back of your hands. Therefore, this shows that the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt are needed to explain certain rulings that we do not know even by reading the Quran.

The Ahkam of Hajj

Certain ahkam of hajj have been mentioned in the Quran in several verses. For example, verse 196 of surah Baqarah explains some specific laws regarding the pilgrim who has gone on hajj:

وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّـهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ ﴿196﴾

Complete the hajj and the ‘umrah for Allah’s sake, and if you are prevented, then [make] such [sacrificial] offering as is feasible. And do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its [assigned] place. But should any of you be sick, or have a hurt in his head, let the atonement be by fasting, or charity, or sacrifice. And when you have security—for those who enjoy [release from the restrictions] by virtue of their ‘umrah until the hajj—let the offering be such as is feasible. As for someone who cannot afford [the offering], let him fast three days during the hajj and seven when you return; that is [a period of] ten complete [days]. That is for someone whose family does not dwell by the Holy Mosque. And be wary of Allah, and know that Allah is severe in retribution. [Translation by Qara’i]

The Ahkam of Fasting in the Quran

The Quran has explained a lot about fasting in the Quran, though all of its rulings have not been mentioned either. There a group of verses in surah Baqarah that are known as ayāt al-ṣiyām (آیات الصيام). These verses are all about the month of Ramadan and the issue of fasting in this holy month. They are verses 183-187 of surah Baqarah. Verse 183 states that fasting was obligatory not only for Muslims but also those before them:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿183﴾

O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be Godwary. [Translation by Qara’i]

The Quran, the Book of Ahkam, Was Revealed in Ramadan

The Noble and Glorious Quran was revealed in the holy month of Ramadan as stated in verse 185 of surah Baqarah, which is also about fasting. The verse states:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿185﴾

The month of Rama¤¡n is one in which the Quran was sent down as guidance to mankind, with manifest proofs of guidance and the Criterion. So let those of you who witness it fast [in] it, and as for someone who is sick or on a journey, let it be a [similar] number of other days. Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you, and so that you may complete the number and magnify Allah for guiding you, and that you may give thanks. [Translation by Qara’i]

Some Ahkam of Fasting in the Quran

Verse 187 of surah Baqarah states a few rulings of fasting in the month of Ramadan. In fact, besides eating and drinking, the verse stresses that sexual intercourse is only permitted on the nights of Ramadan, not during the day when one is fasting. As a matter of fact, God Almighty, instead of harshly and strictly saying that you are not allowed to have intercourse while you are fasting, uses a much more lenient and compassionate tone and instead says that you are allowed to have intercourse at night. How beautiful, that He says you and your spouse are like garments for each other who cover each other. That is to say, you are the ones who do not allow immorality to be spread in society.

Ahkam in the Quran: Eating and Drinking in Ramadan

Once again, God does not use negative words such as you are not allowed to eat and drink while fasting, but kindly says:

وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ

And eat and drink until the white streak becomes manifest to you from the dark streak at the crack of dawn. Then complete the fast until nightfall. [Translation by Qara’i]

So you are allowed to eat and drink from the time of the maghrib prayer to just before the dawn adhan is chanted. After that, you must not eat and drink until the maghrib adhan is chanted again.

The Ahkam of Marriage in the Quran

Marriage is one of the very important issues in Islam on which God Almighty has laid great emphasis in the Quran in different verses. The following verse orders Muslims to have their young ones married once they reach the age of maturity:

وَأَنكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ ۚ إِن يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّـهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿32﴾

Marry off those who are single among you, and the upright among your male and female slaves. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His grace, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing. 3

Moreover, certain laws of marriage have been mentioned in the Quran too, such as giving the dower or dowry to the wife, which of course is paid if the wife demands it. For example, verse four of surah Nisā’ states:

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً ۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِيئًا ﴿4﴾

Give women their dowries, handing it over to them; but if they remit anything of it of their own accord, then consume it as [something] lawful and wholesome. [Translation by Qara’i]

Another Ruling of Marriage

God has said in the Quran in verse 235 of surah Baqarah that if one wishes to get married to women who have lost their husband or have been divorced, one should not keep it secret. In other words, one should say it in good words so the means for marriage with that person is provided:

وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا عَرَّضْتُم بِهِ مِنْ خِطْبَةِ النِّسَاءِ أَوْ أَكْنَنتُمْ فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ عَلِمَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّكُمْ سَتَذْكُرُونَهُنَّ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تُوَاعِدُوهُنَّ سِرًّا إِلَّا أَن تَقُولُوا قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا ۚ وَلَا تَعْزِمُوا عُقْدَةَ النِّكَاحِ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْكِتَابُ أَجَلَهُ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ ﴿235﴾

There is no sin upon you in what you may hint in proposing to [recently widowed] women, or what you may secretly cherish within your hearts. Allah knows that you will be thinking of them, but do not make troth with them secretly, unless you say honourable words, and do not resolve on a marriage tie until the prescribed term is complete. Know that Allah knows what is in your hearts, so beware of Him; and know that Allah is all-forgiving, all-forbearing.

Ahkam of Divorce in the Quran

God the Exalted talks very much about divorce in the Quran and mentions many of its rulings. This is perhaps because divorce is a very delicate matter that should be fully explained. In fact, there is a whole chapter called Ṭalāq meaning divorce in the Quran that talks about some of the laws concerning divorce. Verses one to two of surah Talaq explain the most important ruling regarding divorce that is the ‘iddah or the term. Surah Baqarah verse 228 gives more detail about this term or period saying that a divorced woman must wait for “three periods of purity [after menses].” After that, she is allowed to get married to someone else.

Ahkam of Nursing a Child in the Quran

The Quran has even talked about the laws regarding nursing a child. Verse 233 of surah Baqarah gives information about nursing a child, as well as mentioning other things that one needs to know concerning raising a child:

وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ ۚ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَّهُ بِوَلَدِهِ ۚ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَٰلِكَ ۗ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا ۗ وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُم مَّا آتَيْتُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ ﴿233﴾

Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years—that for such as desire to complete the suckling—and on the father shall be their maintenance and clothing, in accordance with honourable norms. No soul is to be tasked except according to its capacity: neither the mother shall be made to suffer harm on her child’s account, nor the father on account of his child, and on the [father’s] heir devolve [duties and rights] similar to that. And if the couple desire to wean with mutual consent and consultation, there will be no sin upon them. And if you want to have your children wet-nursed, there will be no sin upon you so long as you pay what you give in accordance with honourable norms, and be wary of Allah and know that Allah watches what you do.[Translation by Qara’i]

Therefore, two complete lunar years is the duration of nursing a child according to the Quran. After that, a mother should not nurse her child.

Laws Concerning Granting Someone a Loan in the Quran

God in the Quran mentions the laws concerning granting someone a loan in surah Baqarah verse 282. In fact, this is the longest verse in the entire Quran and takes up a whole page. In this verse, God says that when one gives someone a loan, he should write it down. In addition, the one who is incurring a debt on himself should dictate while the receiver of the debt should write. The verse goes on to say that if the debtor is feeble-minded or weak, his guardian should dictate and two witnesses should be taken. Moreover, God says that you must take witnesses when you are making a deal and also you should write down the contract.

Ahkam Regarding Inheritance in the Quran

Perhaps the most sophisticated of laws that is mentioned in the Quran is inheritance. God talks about inheritance and its rulings in surah Nisā’ (النِساء). It begins by saying in verse seven:

لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ ۚ نَصِيبًا مَّفْرُوضًا ﴿7﴾

Men have a share in the heritage left by parents and near relatives, and women have a share in the heritage left by parents and near relatives, whether it be little or much, a share ordained [by Allah]. [Translation by Qara’i]

God goes into the details of the laws of inheritance in verse 11 of the same surah and says:

يُوصِيكُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنثَيَيْنِ ۚ فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَاءً فَوْقَ اثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ ۖ وَإِن كَانَتْ وَاحِدَةً فَلَهَا النِّصْفُ ۚ وَلِأَبَوَيْهِ لِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا السُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَانَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۚ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلَدٌ وَوَرِثَهُ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ الثُّلُثُ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ إِخْوَةٌ فَلِأُمِّهِ السُّدُسُ ۚ مِن بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِي بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ ۗ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ لَا تَدْرُونَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ لَكُمْ نَفْعًا ۚ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا ﴿11﴾

Allah enjoins you concerning your children: for the male shall be the like of the share of two females, and if there be [two or] more than two females, then for them shall be two-thirds of what he leaves; but if she be alone, then for her shall be a half; and for each of his parents a sixth of what he leaves, if he has children; but if he has no children, and his parents are his [sole] heirs, then it shall be a third for his mother; but if he has brothers, then a sixth for his mother, after [paying off] any bequest he may have made or any debt [he may have incurred]. Your parents and your children—you do not know which of them is likelier to be beneficial for you. This is an ordinance from Allah. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-wise. [Translation by Qara’i]

Moreover, verse 12 further explains laws regarding inheritance in a very long verse. So as you can see, the issue of inheritance is of great importance and for this reason God fully explains the laws regarding it in the Quran.

Ahkam Concerning Crime in the Quran

The Quran also talks about the laws concerning crimes that are committed by people. It specifies the exact punishment that they should receive. For example, it talks about the crime of theft and says:

وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَالًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿38﴾

As for the thief, man or woman, cut off their hands as a requital for what they have earned. [That is] an exemplary punishment from Allah, and Allah is all-mighty, all-wise. 4

Of course, as for the details of this law, it has been said that there are certain conditions that must be met in order that this punishment is administered. For example, one of the important ones is that the theft must have taken place during the day and not at night. Therefore, sometimes we must see what the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them, as the true interpreters of the Quran have said in the narrations about verses that mention certain laws.

Ahkam Concerning Murder in the Quran

There is perhaps no sin and crime bigger and graver than murder. The Quran has expressly said that whoever kills a believer intentionally, he will dwell in hell forever:

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا ﴿93﴾

Should anyone kill a believer intentionally, his requital shall be hell, to remain in it [forever]; Allah shall be wrathful at him and curse him and He shall prepare for him a great punishment. 5

If, God forbid, a murder takes place, the family of the one who is killed has the right to either demand retribution or to forgive by asking for the blood money or diyah (دِيَة). If they ask for retribution, which is known as qiṣāṣ (قِصاص), the murderer must be executed after being tried by the government officials. In reality, qisas is a deterrent in Islam and is so that people do not go close to murdering someone. As a matter of fact, qisas guarantees security and is a source of life as the Quran put it:

وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿179﴾

There is life for you in retribution, O you who possess intellects! Maybe you will be Godwary! 6

Ahkam Concerning Fornication in the Quran

The Quran has explicitly stated the punishment for fornication at the beginning of surah Nūr (النور). The verse states:

الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ ۖ وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿2﴾

As for the fornicatress and the fornicator, strike each of them a hundred lashes, and let not pity for them overcome you in Allah’s law, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day, and let their punishment be witnessed by a group of the faithful. 7

This seems like a very harsh punishment. However, it must be noted that it is necessary that one brings four witnesses who testify that a person has committed fornication for the punishment to be administered. Therefore, it is not very easy to find a person who has definitely committed fornication and for the above punishment to be inflicted on him.


Many religious laws or ahkam have been mentioned in the Quran. Some of them have been explained in detail and fully while some have been mentioned briefly. Therefore, the Quran can be considered a book of ahkam as well, just as it is a book of guidance, morality, and lifestyle. Furthermore, it is important to note that those laws that have not been explained fully to us must be interpreted by knowledgeable people, specifically the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them. In other words, those who have knowledge of the Quran should inform us of the details of certain laws. Above all, just as I have noted, one should constantly refer to the narrations from the Ahl al-Bayt in order to understand certain verses and ahkam in the Quran.


  1. Quran 4:59 (Qara’i).
  2. Cf. Quran 3: 7.
  3. Quran 24:32 (Qara’i).
  4. Quran 5:38 (Qara’i).
  5. Quran 4:93 (Qara’i).
  6. Quran 2:179 (Qara’i).
  7. Quran 24:2 (Qara’i).
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