The Lawful and Unlawful Affairs are Clear

an-Nu’man ibn Basheer (radi Allahu anhu) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) saying: “Surely, the Halal (permissible) is clear and the Haram (impermissible) is clear and between the two are doubtful unclear matters that many of the people do not have knowledge of. So, whoever abstains from the doubtful matters has saved his Religion and his honor, and whoever falls into the doubtful matters falls into the Haram (impermissible), just as the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary is likely to indulge freely grazing therein. Truly, every king has a sanctuary, and Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Verily in the body, there is a morsel of flesh that if it is correct then the whole of the body is set aright, and if it is corrupt, the whole of the body is corrupt. It is the heart.

[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary:

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) has divided the affairs into three types:

1. The Halal (permissible) that has no doubt in it, and

2. The Haram (impermissible) that has no doubt in it.

These two are clear. Either it is Halal (permissible) so that a person does not obtain a sin, or it is Haram (impermissible) so that the person does obtain a sin. The example of the first type is the permissibility of livestock and cattle, and the example  of the second type is the prohibition of alcohol.

As for the third type, it is the doubtful unclear affair that its verdict is unclear whether it is from the Halal or Haram. Its verdict is hidden from many of the people and known to others.

Therefore, the Messenger has said that it is from piety to abstain from it and not fall into it. Due to this, he said, “So whoever abstains from the doubtful matters has saved his religion and his honor”. He saves his religion in that which is between him and Allah. He saves his honor in that which is between him and the people so that it is not said, ‘So and so has fallen into the Haram,’ when it is known to the people and it is doubtful and unclear to him.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) then struck the example of the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary (i.e. around forbidden land that the cattle do not graze therein so that it has greenery and vegetation. It has not been grazed so the cattle are drawn to it and gravitate towards it and graze in it); “Just as the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary is likely to indulge freely grazing therein.” Then He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Truly every king has a sanctuary,” meaning the norm is that kings possess some gardens and meadows that have much herbage and vegetation. “And Allah’s sanctuary are His prohibitions” i.e. that which He has prohibited for His servants is His sanctuary because he has prohibited them from falling into it.

Then he clarified that there is a morsel of flesh in the body, meaning a morsel of flesh a size that is equal to that which one may eat. lf it is correct, then the whole of the body is set aright. Then he clarified it with his statement, “It is the heart” This is an implication that it is incumbent upon man to protect his heart from desires that may shake him violently so that he falls into the Haram the doubtful unclear affairs.

And from the Benefits of this hadith:

  • The Halal and Haram of the Islamic Shareeah are clear and some of the people have knowledge of the doubtful unclear matters.
  • When a matter is unclear to a person whether it is Halal or Haram, he should abstain from it until it becomes clear to him that it is Halal.
  • lf a person falls into the doubtful unclear affairs, then it is likely that he will fall into the Haram clear affairs. So when he does the doubtful unclear thing, his desires call him to do the Haram clear matter, and at that point, he is destroyed.
  • The excellent teaching ability of the Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) by his striking examples and clarifying them.
  • The focal point of righteousness and corruption is the heart. Based upon this benefit, it is incumbent upon man to constantly and consistently care for, and protect his heart until it becomes upright.
  • Outward corruption is an indication of inner corruption due to the statement of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) “If it is correct then the whole of the body is set aright, and if it is corrupt, then whole of the body is corrupt. ” Outward corruption is a sign of inner corruption.

And Allah Knows Best!

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