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THE FINE LINE BETWEEN HALAL AND HARAM

THE FINE LINE BETWEEN HALAL AND HARAM
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He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and any (food) over which the name of other than Allah has been invoked. (16:115)

As Muslims, we all should refrain from haram and only opt for halal things. Allah (SWT) has mentioned all haram things in Quran and while mentioning them He has been very specific and pinpointed those few things that are haram as mentioned in the above ayah. The reason behind mentioning them separately is so that there is no ambuigity and that one may not fall prey to the and clearly know what is halal and what is haram. But, have you ever come across a situation in which you really don’t understand whether doing an act is permissible or not? A simple example is having your favorite McDonalds meal? According to some scholars its prohibited because of the doubt in their slaughtering method, while other scholars are of the opinion that since they are targeting Pakistani population so they must follow Islamic norms. What should one do when faced with such a situation? The answers to this is in the following hadith that we studied in the 4th class of Al-Arbaeen An-Nawawi that states:

“The halal is clear and the haram is clear, and between them are matters unclear that are unknown to most people. Whoever is wary of these unclear matters has absolved his religion and honor. And whoever indulges in them has indulged in the haram. It is like a shepherd who herds his sheep too close to preserved sanctuary, and they will eventually graze in it. Every king has a sanctuary, and the sanctuary of Allah is what He has made haram. There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart.” (Bukhari & Muslim) The above situation is one of the examples of “matters unclear/ doubtful matters /grey area between halal and haram”.

Imam Al-Shawqani R.A. has described five types of such doubtful situations which are as follows.

1. CONFLICT BETWEEN THE COMMAND OF TWO AYAHS OR AN AYAH AND A HADTH OR TWO HADITH

Example: According to most Imam Abu Hanifah R.A., to perform Sajda we first keep our feet on the ground then our knees then hands then nose and then forehead but a companion of the Prophet (PBUH) has reported that once he saw Prophet (PBUH) keeping his hands before he kept his knees – this may be because at that time Prophet (PBUH) might be feeling weak or he might be ill, because keeping one knees after feet means transferring bodyweight to knee and while one is weak it is easy to keep hands first that aids in keeping the body intact — now which method to follow?

2. CONFLICT BETWEEN FATWA OF TWO SCHOLARS

Example: The McDonalds issue, cited above.

3. A HALAL SITUATION WHICH LEADS TO HARAM

Example: Attending a wedding in order to fulfill huqooq-ul-ibaad, but which might lead to indulging in all sorts of haram acts like interacting with members of the opposite gender, listening to music, backbiting and slander due to unnecessary gossip at such events.

4. SITUATIONAL PERMISSIBILITY OF SOMETHING HARAM

Example: Using lifesaving medicine with alcohol in it.

5. COMMANDS WHOSE SOURCE IS A WEAK HADITH

Example: According to a weak hadith, the milk of a specific animal is healthy but its meat unhealthy. Now since the hadith is weak, what should one do?

Our choice in such doubtful situations is not difficult to make anymore because the above hadith clearly states that the best way out of such situations is to refrain from them because if one indulges in it, it would take him to the prohibited territory, i.e. the haram . A beautiful example as illustrated in the hadith is like a shepherd taking his cattle to graze in the vicinity of another farmer’s pasture. The chances are very likely that his cattle might enter the other farmer’s pastures. Similar is the case with grey area between halal and haram. It’s such a thin line if one goes near it, he might cross it unknowingly and fall into haram.

The last few lines of the hadith are related to one’s heart. What is the wisdom of linking the heart with the issue of the grey area between halal and haram? The answer is simple. When faced with such a situation ask your heart. As comes in a hadith narrated by Wabisah bin Ma’bad R.A.: I went to the Messenger of Allah PBUH and he asked me, “Have you come to inquire about piety?” I replied in the affirmative. Then he said, “Ask your heart regarding it. Piety is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.” (Ahmad and Ad-Darmi).

But hold on! Can it be any heart that can judge the mushtabihaat, the doubtful matters between the halal and haram? Can a dirty filter give pure water? Can our hearts filled with the love of worldly pleasures guide us to the right path? No, because, my friends, hearts are also of three types.

1. PURE HEART (QALB-E-SALEEM): “The day when wealth and children will not benefit anyone except he who will come to Allah with the Qalbin Saleem (A pure heart)” (26:87-89)

2. DEAD HEART: “The difference between someone who remembers His Lord and someone who does not is like the difference between the living and the dead.” (Bukhari)

3. DISEASED HEART: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ar-Ran (covering of evil deeds and sins) which they used to earn” (83:14)” Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated: Allah’s Messenger May peace be upon Him said : “When a slave (a person) commits a sin (an evil deed) a black dot is dotted on his heart. Then if that person gives up that evil deed (sin), begs Allah to forgive him, and repents, then his heart is cleared (from that heart covering dot); but if he repeats the evil deed (sin), then that covering is increased till his heart is completely covered with it. (At-Tirmidhi).

Hence it is clear, that it is only the qalb-e-saleem, shining bright with the noor of purity and the love for Allah SWT that can give the fatwa of righteousness and peity, such as in the hadith of Wabisah R.A.

Here another question arises, how to cure our ill hearts? The doctors of all doctors, The Ultimate Curer has prescribed the medicine too. Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest (13:28). Remember Me and I will remember you. (2:152) It is Dhikr-Remembrance of Allah- that purifies our Qalb/Heart and makes it sound. The utmost way of remembering The Almighty is to fulfill our obligations toward our Lord. Then doing tasbeehat regularly and lots of Istighfar while remembering our sins and repenting for them. Also, frequently contemplating in the creation of Allah which would further strengthen our belief and clean our hearts since the cleaner the heart the better its fatwa. May Allah (SWT) give a ghusul to our ill hearts before our bodies are given a ghusul. Ameen!

By Farhat Aziz

Student, Darasaat-Deenia 1st year

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