Difference between Laghw and Haraam
Fatwa No: 333880

Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Brother. I was just wondering what the difference is between Laghw (ill speech) and haram, and also I get the feeling that everything is Laghw, like, we cannot play sports and so on. Do you know what I mean? Laghw could be everything apart from eating, sleeping, and worshiping. I am not being disrespectful. I am very confused about what Laghw means because it could mean anything.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Laghw is more general than haraam, as it includes what is prohibited, such as disbelief and sins, as well as what is permissible but of no benefit. Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

"Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And they who turn away from Laghw.} [Quran 23:3] It means that they do not attend gatherings in which falsehood occurs, and this includes Shirk (polytheism), as some scholars said, and sins, as others said, as well as words or deeds that are of no benefit. As Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {...and when they pass near Laghw, they pass by with dignity.} [Quran 25:72] Qataadah said, 'By Allah, there came to them from Allah that which kept them away from that (evil).'" [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Knowing that, you realize that perceiving every activity as Laghw is wrong. The wise believer can transform all the lawful acts and activities into good deeds and acts of worship yielding rewards. For instance, when he plays sports, he holds the intention of gaining physical strength and good health so as to be able to carry out acts of worship to Allah. The same applies to all the lawful actions and activities.

Mu'aath, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "I count my sleep as an act of worship just like my wakefulness." [Al-Bukhari] If the person carries out lawful acts and engages in permissible activities without holding an intention (to turn them into acts of worship), then he is not sinful for that, but he is not rewarded either. This is not considered haraam and is not related to it at all.

Allah knows best.

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