Fruits for the Week

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The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “That which is lawful (halal) is clear and that which is unlawful (haram) is clear and between the two of them are ambiguous matters (mashbuh) about which not many people are knowledgeable. Thus, he who avoids these doubtful matters certainly clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour. But he who falls into the doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing there in….” (Bukhari)

 The above Hadith tells us that the completely permissible (halal) is clear. There is no confusion in it. Similarly, the completely prohibited (haram) is clear. However, between these two matters are matters about which it is difficult for many people to distinguish between the permissible and the prohibited. As for those who are firmly grounded in knowledge, there is no confusion for them and they can easily distinguish between the two. 

 Examples of the completely permissible are eating wholesome crops, fruits, and meat, drinking wholesome drinks, and wearing what one needs from cotton, linen, wool, or fur. Also included are marriage and other things obtained by a valid contract such as a sale, inheritance and gift. 

Examples of the completely prohibited are eating animals, which were dead before slaughtered, their blood, or pork. Also prohibited is drinking alcohol, marriage between prohibited relations, wearing silk for men, earning what is unlawful such as riba (usury), gambling, and the price of what is not permissible to be sold, as well as taking wealth which was stolen or taken unjustly.

Ambiguous matters, however, include eating some things about which scholars differed with regard to their permissibility or prohibition. Examples are eating things such as horses, mules, and donkeys, or lizards; drinking the juice of pressed grapes which causes intoxication in large quantities about which the ulama differed are considered ambiguous matters. 

Differing among the ulama occurred on issues which were clarified on a smaller scale, such as what was well known among one particular group of ulama who arrived at a consensus regarding their permissibility or prohibition, but might be unknown to others. 

The ambiguous matters, which are not clear as to whether they are permissible or prohibited for many people are as the Prophet (s.a.w.) related. It could be clear to some people that it is permissible or prohibited due to his greater knowledge. There are some people who know the rulings of these ambiguous matters, while many do not.

 A practicing Muslim, who avoids these ambiguities because they were unknown to him, clears himself for his religion and honour. He seeks to be free from deficiency and dishonour in his religion and his reputation. A person, who commits a doubtful matter while it is ambiguous to him, has fallen into that which is unlawful. However, if he fears that people will defame him because of it, in this case, to clear one’s honour, by leaving it would be better and saver. Wallahu a’lam.

 (Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)


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