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Haram

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Haram

    Legal term for what is forbidden or inviolable under Islamic law. Also describes the area around the three holy cities of Islam—Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem—indicating their role as sanctuaries where no one may be killed. Hunting, uprooting trees, harvesting grain, violence toward humans except in self-defense, and carrying weapons are forbidden in these areas. Entry of non-Muslims into Mecca and Medina is also forbidden. Haram is the root of the word harem, referring to women's quarters that are forbidden to any males except relatives and husbands. The word is used as an exclamation in Arabic in reaction to bad news, meaning “God have pity!”

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