Hadith an Nawawi : Hadith 6 by teacher Reda ( 17th May, 2013 )

In the name of Allah 


Abu "Abdullh An-Nu'rnan bin Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him) Narrated, I heard the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, 'Both the legal and illegal things are evident, but in between them there are doubtful things of which most people have no knowledge. So whoever saves himself from these doubtful things saves his religion and his honor, and whoever indulges in these doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware; in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart." (Recorded by Al-Bukhary and Muslim)
The first thing to note is that The Scholar Al-Bukhari recorded this hadith in the beginning of the Book of Trading. Why did The Scholar Al-Bukhari start the Book of Trading with this hadith? What does this imply? There are many implications. One of them is that these doubtful matters are related to the things that we buy and sell, that we trade in. It is also said that his father once mentioned to him that for forty years he never brought anything doubtful into their home.
 It can be observed that Imam al-Bukhari was influenced by his father's attitude, his father brought only lawful things into the house. Whatever the family ate, drank, wore or used was lawful. There were no doubts. This is the environment The Scholar Al-Bukhari was brought and raised up in. It is also said that whenever his father made invocations to Allah, Allah answered his invocations because of the fact that he never dealt with anything which was doubtful. This is reflected in the behavior and attitude of Al-Bukhari. Hence like in this hadith where he chose to record it at the beginning of the chapter the Book of Trading.
This hadith emphasizes the importance of glorifying Allah. If we want to glorify Allah, we have to glorify His injunctions, commandments, whether they are obligations (so we perform them), or whether they are prohibitions (so we don't perform them). It is narrated: "Don't look at how minor the sin is that you committed, but look at the glory of the One you disobeyed, i.e. Allah Exalted He" A sin, even if it is a minor one, means disobedience to Allah, hence defying the Glorification of Allah. And the glorification of Allah is actually one of the principles of monotheism.
If you read any hadith of the Prophet, (peace be upon him), it talks about a matter, whether it is something good that we should do, or something bad that we should not do. And then in the hadith the Prophet, (peace be upon him), will mention a principle. Usually, the principle, which is the main point of the hadith, is the last words or sentence. The hadith above mentions about the lawful and unlawful being evident, and then there is the doubtful matter. And then there is the last sentence of the hadith. This is the bottom-line of the hadith, the main thing, the main issue. If we want to get away from the unlawful things, and also from the doubtful matters, we have to care about our heart. We have to purify our heart and make sure it is sound and alive, and it is not lost from us. 
One wisdom we can learn from the hadith is from the way the Prophet, (peace be upon him)tells us about something: he will discuss a concept and then give us the principle. This principle helps us not only with the concept mentioned in the hadith, but it actually helps us, if we use it in the right way with the right understanding, in other similar matters and situations. If we care about our heart, not only will we be able to avoid the doubtful matters, we can apply the same principle to other similar concepts or issues, e.g. in avoiding bad manners for there are also doubtful matters in the concept of values.
Related to the above issue is the issue of food where there are many doubtful matters about what we eat. If we check the ingredients that are used in many manufactured food today, e.g. biscuits, canned food and preserved food, there are ingredients that might raise the question of doubtfulness of what we eat. For example, lecithin is used in the manufacture of foodstuff especially in the west and Muslim countries import a lot of food from the west. If it is not specified otherwise then there is a high probability that the lecithin is derived from pig because it is cheaper to produce. Otherwise, it should be mentioned whether it is derived from soya or plants or from lawful production.
The main key to the issue that the Prophet, (peace be upon him), gave us, again, is the heart. If we care about our heart, we will be more sensible. If the heart is sound, strong, full of faith, we will be more responsible, and we will care more about what we do and what we don't do. This becomes the measure to those matters which are doubtful.
Even though some interpreters gave some principles by which we can distinguish those doubtful matters, it can still be debated or questioned. But if the heart is good, strong and full of faith, the person will be able to distinguish between the doubtful matters and other clear evident matters, where he would also be able to refrain from the doubtful matters. Sometimes people may know something is illegal and not just doubtful, but yet they still get involved in it because of the weak status of their hearts.

Lessons Deduced
Creedal Lessons:
'Both legal and illegal things are evident, so whoever denies an established mailer in the religion has apostatized from Islam for example, anyone who regards wine or adultery as lawful cm who forbids anything that has been declared lawful by the consensus of the scholars or permitted through their consensus.
Behavioral Lessons:
- So whoever saves himself from these doubtful things..." Faith continues to elevate a believer, taking him up to lofty degrees, until he avoids doing some of the lawful deeds in order not to slip into committing the illegal ones, Al-Hassan Al-Basry said, We have seen people who were avoiding almost seventy lawful matters through their fear of committing that which is illegal.' The pious veracious Abu-Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) once vomited food of which he was not certain about its legality.
- The correctness of deeds and sayings depend upon the correctness of the body, which depends upon the correctness of the heart. If this is spoiled, the whole body becomes spoiled. This spoiling begins with the smallest of sins.
Ibrahim bin Adham said, ‘The heart of a believer is as pure as a mirror; when Satan whispers to him concerning anything, he can see it. And when he commits one sin, Allah puts a black spot in his heart. If Allah forgives him, He will erase this spot, but if lie returns to the sin and does not repent, the number of black spots will be increased until his becomes completely black.

 All that time, no advice will be useful for such hearts, as Allah says, which means, "Nay, But on their hearts is the covering of sins and evil deeds) that they used to earn.(Al-Mutaffifin„ 83: '14) How similar hearts are to the land! That is why the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) mentions the head and its conditions after the pastures, in order to give us a clear image of a good heart, which is like good fertile land. Allah says which means, ‘The vegetation of a good land comes forth (easily) by the Permission of its Lord, and that which is bad brings forth nothing but a little with difficulty.
Juristic Lessons:
The parable given by the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to illustrate the one who falls into suspicious matters is, "like a shepherd who grazes this animals near his private pasture of someone else,' This reminds us of the judgment that Allah revealed to (Solomon, peace be upon him), as the Exalted says, which means, 'And remember (David) and (Solomon, peace be upon both of them), when they gave a judgment in the case of the field in which the sheep of certain people had pastured at night and We were witness to their judgment, And We made Solomon to understand the case, and to each of them We gave (right judgment of the affairs and Prophet hood) and knowledge." (Al-Anbiy2rr, 21; 78-79)
Masruq said, 'The land in which the sheep had pastured was a vineyard and they are everything, not leaving even a leaf or a bunch of grapes. When the owners came to complain to David, he judged that the sheep should be given to the owners of the vineyard. But Solomon said, 'No, the sheep are to be given to the owners of the vineyard who may benefit from them, while the owners of the sheep are to take the vineyard, and restore and repair it until it returns to the condition it was in on the night before the sheep ate in it. Then, the sheep owners are to be given back their sheep and the vineyard owners are to be given back their vineyard.

Legal Principles Lessons:
'Both the legal and the illegal matters are evident.' The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) have disagreed on the definition of the legal and the illegal. Abu- Hanifah said, 'The legal is what is lawful by evidence. Ashafi’y said, the illegal is what is unlawful by evidence.' I prefer the latter view because the scholars gave a rule that the basis of everything is that it is legal, while the illegal is the exception. Perhaps, this is evidenced in the hadith when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) mentioned the legal matters first.
'But in between them there are doubtful things.' Distinguishing between the legal and the illegal is considered a fundamental aspect when taking the responsibility of conveying and explaining the Qur'an, which was the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Exalted says, which means, 'And We have Sent down to you the book as an exposition of everything.' (An-Nahl, 16: 89)
Mujahid said, "Everything' means every matter that they were either ordered to do or were forbidden from doing. Allah also said to the Prophet, which means, 'And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the reminder and the advice that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them' (An-Nahl, 16: 44)
And just before the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) Allah revealed, which means, 'This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion."Al-Ma'idah, (5: 31)
Thus, legal matters are clear and obvious and illegal matters are not any less clear. Similarities or contradictions do not appear in the text, but maybe some of the rulings are similar, but they are not renowned among the scholars of Islamic law.
Social Lessons
We have previously mentioned that the honor of man is what is affected by praise or criticism. This may be in what is related to himself, his predecessors, or his family. In this hadith, having a pure honor is connected with having a pure religion, which shows the great position of man's honor in Islam and the importance of preserving it from being impaired in any way. Islam saws it from backbiters, talebearers, slanderers (or those who call one another by hateful names. In Islam, it is forbidden to put oneself in a situation of doubt and suspicion that might arouse people's indulgence in idle talk, gossip, and to speak ill about him. Some of the pious predecessors said, 'Whoever exposes himself to suspicion is not to blame those who may be suspicious of him.' Safiyyah, the prophet’s wife (may Allah be pleased with her) went to visit the Prophet. (peace he upon him) in the mosque while he was observing seclusion in the mosque for worship, during the last ten days of the month of Rarmadan. She talked with him for a while then she got up to return home and the Prophet (peace be upon him) accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the mosque, two men from Al-Ansar (The Supporters) passed them by. He said to them, do not run away! She is my wife Safiyyah bint Huyay.' Both of them said, ‘Glorified be Allah!’,O Messenger of Allah, we cannot think of you in any way except that which is good.' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to them, ‘Satan reaches everywhere in the human body as the blood does run everywhere in one's body. I was afraid that Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds." Once Anas went to perform Friday prayer, but he discovered that the people had finished the prayer and returned. So he felt ashamed of himself and disappeared into a place where they would not be able to see him. Then he said, "Whoever is not shy in front of people is not shy in front of Allah. Furthermore, some scholars said, if any scholar knows that something is lawful, but this is unknown to others, he will be putting himself in a bad position if he does it, as he will be risking that others will think ill about him. So he must not do this lawful matter, unless he has explained its lawfulness to them, in order to help them understand that he has only done this deed because he wanted to clarify to them that the deed was lawful.'
Psychological Lessons:
The human soul is by nature a composition of several conflicting psychological faculties. Thus if a believer adheres to that which is lawful only, all his faculties will be calm and tranquil, but if he commits illegal deeds he will never feel peace in his soul except in its baser level. Thus, his conscience will be pricking him, which is mainly the punishment of the good that cannot be content with the unlawful. In actual fact, keeping away from the doubtful matters is the most psychologically relieving factor, as it relieves the self from being reproached by its conscience. I wonder if the one who works hard spends his night in the same manner as a cheating thief. Does a murderer, for example, sleep like a pious person who fears Allah? Do liars feel the same tranquility as truthful people?

Political Lessons;
Prohibiting and permitting acts are from among the missions that are done exclusively by the Lord, the Exalted and Ever-majestic, Who is the Only One "Who is All-Aware of the nature of human soul, what benefits it, and what harms it However nowadays we find some who give themselves the right to legislate, forbid, analyze, and even delete some of the Islamic legal ruling distort them, or give false interpretations to them. By doing so, they are appointing themselves as gods, without declaring so of course. They may forbid whatever is unsuitable to their aims and interests and allow whatever pleases their lusts and pleasures. These descendants are following the slaying of their predecessor, the tyrant Pharaoh.
This means, I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only to the path of right policy.
As a result of the heavy oppressiveness of political tyranny and international pride, the so called Islamic nations fear the power of their rulers, emirs, and leaders more than they fear violating the limits set by Allah and His Sanctities. This fear has made Muslims forget the dignity that made Bilal, Ammar, and others not utter anything other than the words of monotheism while being whipped.
The mentioning of the heart and its importance after the mentioning of the king implies that the goodness in a society is according to the goodness of its ruler, and the goodness in the body is according to the goodness of the heart and vice versa.
Medical Lessons:
The correctness of the whole body both physically and mentally depends upon that of the heart. From the biological point of view, as long as the heart beats regularly and does not stop pumping blood to all the cells of the body, the whole body will be in good health. But if there is a sudden stoppage in e heart or a disorder in its beats, the life of the human can be threatened, and the doctors know the great dangers of heart disease and the necessity of its treatment.

Hadith in Practice

1-    Nowadays, there are some among those who call themselves Muslims who believe that what is legal is that which power legalizes, and the illegal is that which power prohibits. So they collect money from all the different types of usury like the usurious interests from the banks, exchanging currency using excess usury (i.e. not exchanging the same quantity of two items of the same type) with a delay in payment, and giving loans with interest. Such people do not recognize any limits for the lawful and the unlawful. We seek refuge with Allah from such people.
2-    Some of the sophists have nothing to do except arguing over the doubtful matters without possessing the required knowledge. About those people Allah says, which means, it is He, Who has sent down to you (Muhammad) the Book (this Qur’an), in it are verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear, seeking polytheism and tria1s, etc.}, and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, "We believe in it; the whole of it (the clear and unclear Verses) all are from our Lord. And none receive admonition except men of understanding.(interpretation from Tafsfir AE-Tabary), (Al-Imran, 3: 7)

3-    There are many people who are supposedly Muslims, but they commit sins and indulge in prohibited acts in public. They are even proud of violating the limit of Allah such as by abandoning the prayer, drinking intoxicants, taking drugs, not fasting during the month of Ramadan and so on. Another group do not like people to mention what Allah prohibited and what He permitted and become furious if this happens. Such group even cooperates with the enemies of Islam to suppress any voices, and dismiss and imprison anyone who is courageous enough to disagree with them. After that, they go to perform Friday Prayers at the end of every week. Glorified be Allah Whom there is neither might nor power except with Him!


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