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Why is Islam so Strict? | 2023

Unveiling the Rigorous Nature of Islamic Principles

Why is Islam so Strict?

Islam is perceived as strict due to its comprehensive set of religious laws, known as Sharia, which covers various aspects of life including personal behavior, dress code, dietary restrictions, and social interactions.


Islam, one of the world’s major religions, is often associated with a certain level of strictness in its practices and beliefs. This perception is rooted in various historical, cultural, and theological factors that have shaped the faith over centuries. While not all aspects of Islam are uniformly strict, there are certain elements that contribute to this perception. In this article, we will delve into some of the key reasons behind the perceived strictness of Islam.

Divine Revelation and the Quran

At the heart of Islam lies the belief that the Quran, considered the literal word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, serves as the ultimate source of guidance for Muslims. This sacred scripture is regarded as unalterable and applicable for all times and contexts. The Quran outlines a comprehensive code of conduct that encompasses all aspects of life, from personal ethics to social interactions and governance. The steadfast commitment to the Quran’s teachings contributes to the perceived strictness of Islamic practices.

Emphasis on Submission and Obedience

Islam derives its name from the Arabic word “Salaam,” which means peace, and “Silm,” which means submission. Submission to the will of God is a fundamental tenet of Islam, and Muslims are encouraged to exhibit unwavering obedience to divine commands. This emphasis on complete submission can result in practices that might appear stringent, as adherents prioritize aligning their lives with the teachings of Islam.

Preservation of Religious Purity

The concept of religious purity is central in Islam. Muslims are required to engage in ritual purification before performing prayers and other religious activities. The focus on cleanliness and ritualistic purity can contribute to the perception of strictness, as adherents follow specific guidelines for purification in their daily lives.

Legal and Ethical Framework

Islamic jurisprudence, known as Sharia, provides a comprehensive framework for legal and ethical conduct. Sharia is derived from the Quran, the Hadith (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad), consensus among scholars, and analogical reasoning. The detailed nature of Sharia can lead to the perception of strictness, as it addresses a wide range of topics, including social interactions, finance, family matters, and more.

Cultural and Historical Factors

The perceived strictness of Islam can also be influenced by cultural and historical contexts. In some regions, local traditions and cultural practices might be intertwined with religious observances, amplifying the overall impression of rigidity. Additionally, historical events such as colonialism, political conflicts, and attempts at modernization have led to a defensive stance among some Muslim communities, resulting in a heightened emphasis on traditional practices.

Social and Moral Standards

Islam places a strong emphasis on morality and ethical conduct. Concepts like modesty, chastity, and accountability shape the way Muslims interact with one another and with society at large. The enforcement of these standards, particularly in conservative communities, can contribute to the perception of strictness.

Why is Islam so Strict compared to other religions?

Islam is perceived as strict due to its comprehensive set of religious laws, known as Sharia, which covers various aspects of life including personal behavior, dress code, dietary restrictions, and social interactions.

What is Sharia, and how does it contribute to the strictness of Islam?

Sharia is the Islamic legal framework derived from the Quran and Hadith (teachings of Prophet Muhammad). Its detailed guidelines can be interpreted as strict in various areas of life, such as family matters, criminal justice, and personal conduct.

Are there specific dress codes that contribute to Islam’s strict image?

Yes, Islam prescribes modest dress codes, particularly for women, which can include the hijab (headscarf) and abaya (loose outer garment). These codes are perceived as strict compared to the attire allowed in other cultures.

How do the dietary restrictions in Islam contribute to its strict reputation?

Islamic dietary laws, known as halal, restrict the consumption of certain foods and drinks, such as pork and alcohol. These rules are viewed as strict compared to the dietary freedom in some other societies.

Does the separation of men and women in some Islamic practices add to its strictness?

Yes, practices such as gender segregation in prayer spaces and public settings can be interpreted as strict in terms of limiting interactions between men and women.

Fear of Innovation and Deviation

The desire to preserve the original teachings of Islam and guard against innovation (Bid’ah) or deviation can also contribute to the perceived strictness. Traditionalists argue that straying from the original teachings can dilute the authenticity of the faith. As a result, there might be resistance to changes or adaptations, leading to a perception of rigid adherence.


The perceived strictness of Islam is a complex phenomenon that emerges from a combination of factors. From the emphasis on divine revelation and obedience to the comprehensive legal framework and historical influences, multiple elements contribute to the way Islam is practiced and perceived. It’s important to note that not all Muslims interpret or practice their faith in the same way, and there are diverse expressions of Islam that encompass a range of beliefs and practices. Understanding the multifaceted nature of Islam can help dispel stereotypes and foster a more nuanced appreciation for the religion and its adherents.’


Are there strict rules related to social behavior within Islam?

Yes, Islam provides guidelines for social behavior, such as prohibiting interest-based transactions and promoting acts of charity and compassion. These rules can be perceived as strict compared to other economic systems.

How do punishments like amputation and stoning reinforce the perception of strictness in Islam?

Certain extreme punishments mentioned in traditional Islamic jurisprudence, such as amputation for theft and stoning for adultery, contribute to the perception of strictness, even though their application varies widely among Muslim-majority countries.

Does the emphasis on daily prayers contribute to the view of Islam as strict?

The requirement of performing five daily prayers at specific times can be seen as strict compared to less structured prayer practices in other religions.

How does Islam’s position on certain social issues like homosexuality impact its strict image?

Islam’s traditional stance on homosexuality, which is generally seen as a sin, can contribute to its perception as strict, especially in societies where LGBTQ+ rights have gained more acceptance.

Are there differences in the strictness of interpretation between different sects within Islam?

Yes, there are variations in how different Islamic sects interpret and apply religious laws. Some sects might follow stricter interpretations, contributing to the diverse perceptions of strictness within Islam.

Does the historical context of Islam’s emergence play a role in its perceived strictness?

Islam emerged in a specific historical context that influenced its laws and practices. Some of these historical practices might be perceived as strict in the present day.

How do cultural factors influence the perception of Islam’s strictness?

Cultural practices and norms in different regions often intersect with religious practices, leading to varying degrees of strictness within different Muslim communities.

Is the media responsible for amplifying the perception of Islam’s strictness?

Media portrayal can sometimes focus on extreme or sensational aspects of Islam, contributing to the perception of strictness and overshadowing the diverse interpretations and practices within the religion.

Are there any misconceptions that contribute to the perception of Islam’s strictness?

Misconceptions about Islam can lead to an exaggerated perception of its strictness, as these misconceptions often fail to consider the nuances and diversity within the religion.

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