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Refraining from Doubtful Elements

Refraining from Doubtful Elements


Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Verily Halaal is clear and verily Haraam is clear. Between these two (classes) there are doubtful affairs and I will give you an example of that. Allah has protected a certain area and the protected area of Allah is His prohibitions. Whoever pastures near this ’himaa’ (protected area) will be close to violating it and whoever mixes with doubtful elements will be close to lose.” [Refer to Abu Da’ud -chapter no.3 relating to refraining from ’Shubuhaat’, hadith no.33132]

There are thus three primary classes of goods and activities.
1.    Permitted
2.    Prohibited
3.    Doubtful

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) warns us against the third class. If it is indeed prohibited then the person who abstains from it, saves himself from Haraam. If it is truly Halaal, then he will obtain a reward since he did not venture into it because of doubt and also because Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) encouraged us to abstain from the doubtful aspects which could be prohibited.

This principle can also apply in those things, the permissibility of which the jurists differ upon.

Once recognition is obtained through learning, ignorance is not excuse for perpetrating the prohibited.

Those who are led by their courage to enter doubtful transactions will eventually become accustomed to it and often expose themselves to danger through risks. Their daringness thus makes them deserve the resultant losses, harms and punishments.

Muslims should therefore not only refrain from selling the’ Haraam – prohibited’ commodities like idols, pornography, liquor etc, but also abstain from doubtful aspects. We should not purchase from people whose wares are from doubtful origin, eg. if there exists the possibility of the goods being stolen.

The above Hadith is authentic as it is narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Nasaa’e and ibn Majah.

The Hadith is narrated by Nu’man bin Bashir in two different ways. The
second narration is followed by the wording “Between the two (classes) are “mushtabahaat” – doubtful elements which are not recognised by many people. So the person who abstains from “shubuhaat” protects his “Deen -religion” and the person who engages in “shubuhaat” will enter into the Haraam.

The protection of one’s Deen is highly important so that he strives to the ultimate to save himself from “Jahannam” -hell while recognising that the loss of his “Deen” will imbue a person with evil attributes of the “Kuffaar” -disbelievers. The protection of one’s honour will be the means for people to trust him and to be willing to deal with him. Destroying one’s honour can thus also lead to material loss due to people’s unwillingness to deal with him.

Once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) refused to carry on eating the food that he tasted after being inspired that it was not obtained in a suitable way. It happened that he was invited with some of his Sahabah to a lady’s place. She obtained a sheep from a woman who gave it to her without the permission of her husband who owned it. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) requested that the food be given to the prisoners instead. [Refer to Abu Da’ud Hadith 3316, chapter no 3 relating to abstention from Shubuhaat”].

This is a lesson that one should also abstain from taking any item without the consent of the actual owner since his refusal can cause a problem not only socially, but also if the item taken is already utilised and is irreplaceable. One cannot also be certain whether the owner of an article has contracted to sell or agreed to lend the article to any other person.

Therefore, even a home should not be occupied without a prior rental agreement with the actual owner.

Living within the rules of Allah will protect us from all forms of shame.

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