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The Importance of Halaal and Haraam

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 8th March)

The first hadeeth in the chapter of business in Bukhaari Shareef starts off with ‘al-halaalu bayyinun walharaamu bayyinun’. Halaal is clear and haraam is clear. Water is halaal and there is no doubt in it. Similarly, fish is halaal and you do not need to ask whether it is halaal. On the other hand, pork is haraam and this is clear. You will not ask whether you get halaal pork. However, between the both you get mushtabihaat, that which is unclear and doubtful. So what must you do in such cases? The hadeeth instructs us that we should refrain from doubtful areas. Had Allah Ta‘ala wished He could have made all things abundantly clear without anything being doubtful. However, this world is a place of test and thus in His wisdom Allah has allowed these doubtful areas to come about in order to test a person.

The hadeeth says that the one who guards himself against doubtful areas then he has secured and safeguarded his deen and his respect and dignity. For example, you see a girl stranded on the side of the road. From one dimension, you would like to help her as she is stranded and in need, but from another angle sharee‘ah has prohibited men from being in seclusion with strange women. Hence, there is the element of doubt in this. And by leaving this out you will guard your deen and dignity, and you will not allow people to have suspicions about you. There are plenty illustrations of this nature.

Aspects of halaal and haram are extremely important. Someone asked Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullahi ‘alaih), the leading student of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) that why is it that you have written so many kitaabs but no kitaab on tasawwuf. He replied that the purpose of tasawwuf is to cleanse oneself and have that connection with Allah Ta‘ala, and this is based on one’s consumption of halaal and haraam. Hence, I have written a book on business dealings since every person is engaged in some type of business which then gets him involved in halaal and haraam. Thus how important it is to get our business dealings in order.

Among the most important things for ensuring halaal is the aspect of contentment. With contentment, you will get barkat which will manifest at times in your very lifetime and sometimes after you leave this world. Therefore, lead a simple and basic life. One’s family members will complain that the whole world moves in good cars, goes on holidays, has this type of clothing for their children etc., and in order to appease them one puts himself into greater problems. Hence, instil the quality of contentment and there will be no problem.

A major problem nowadays is that we have taken our lifestyles from others and then we follow them in their culture and ways. What we need to do is to think that what Islam wants of us. Islam is wealthy and is not short of anything. It does not require any outside help. Whatever Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has left is perfect. However, since it is not in vogue and not in the market we feel that the Islamic way is not workable.

The mentality that we have is ‘just do it’. This is a Shaitaani mentality. We just rush and do things without thinking about it. However, when it comes to deeni matters, then we are very relaxed and casual about thing, whereas it is supposed to be the opposite. In deeni matters there should be no delay. If a suitable match is found for nikaah then the hadeeth says that we should not delay, if the time for salaah approaches then we should not delay. We want to rush in everything else but not deeni matters.

Each person should work within his capacity to bring about the correct Islamic ethos. Others in other parts of the world are doing their jihaad, so we too should do our share of our jihaad. Our jihaad will be to stick to what is the Islamic ethos. There may be something that is permissible but it does not blend with what Islam wants of us. For example, for the salaah to be valid, a male is only required to cover from his navel to his knees. However, will we allow a person dressed just in a loincloth to go forward and lead the salaah. We will not, though his salaah is valid. So this should apply to all other facets of life as well. Then there will be no need to go out on holidays, get the latest cars, etc. When we add the ingredient of contentment to our lives then ‘enough’ is not enough, it will be more than enough.

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