Lit. “That which is hateful and unbecoming.” A term used in the religious, civil, and ceremonial law of Islam, for an act the unlawfulness of which is not absolutely certain, but which is considered improper and unbecoming.
The author of the Hidiyah remarks that the doctors of the Hanafi sect have disagreed as to the extent to which the term can be received.
The Imam Muhammad is of opinion that is unlawful, but as he could not draw any convincing argument in favour of his opinion from either the Qur’an or Traditions, he renounced the general application of “unlawfulness” with respect to such things or acts, and classed them under those which are merely improper.
The Imams Abu Hanifah and Abu Yusuf hold that the term applies to that which in its qualities nearly approaches to unlawful without is being actually so. (Hidayah, vol. iv p. 86.)
In the Kitabu ‘t-Ta’rifat, that which is makruh is divided into makruh tahrimi, “That which is nearly unlawful”; and makruh tanzihi, “that which approaches the lawful.”
In all works on Muslim law, a section is devoted to the consideration of things which are held to be makruh.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam