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Halal is Clear and Haram is Clear - Roadmap for Pure Heart

An-Nu`man ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say:

“The halal (lawful) is clear and the haram (prohibited) is clear, and between them are unclear matters 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 (prohibited).

It is like a shepherd who herds his sheep too close to a preserved sanctuary, and they will eventually graze in it.

Every king has a sanctuary, and sanctuary of Allah is what He has made haram (prohibited).

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 and Muslim)

This Hadith stresses that what is permissible and what is impermissible in Islam are clear. It is such an important concept but it is so basic. Allah Almighty has sent to us the Qur’an and clearly stated in it what we are allowed to do and what we are prohibited to do.

Sticking to acts that are permissible and avoiding those that are impermissible gives you the pleasure of Allah, a goal that every Muslims should strive for.

This hadith highlights one aspect of Allah’s mercy and kindness; it is absolutely a mercy from Allah that He has sent to us such clear guidelines to live by. It is out of His mercy that He blessed us with the best teacher in the world, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) whose mission was described by the Qur’an in the following verse:

{And We have not sent you [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107)
So, Allah has sent Prophet Muhammad as a mercy to all mankind; not just to the people of Makkah; not just to the people of Arabian Peninsula and not just to Muslims but to all people for all time. What a mercy it is to know how to live our life; to know what is pleasing to our Lord and what is displeasing Him so that we may stay clear of the prohibitions and drive ourselves constantly towards what is permissible!


Let’s think about how important this concept is. Imagine you are a student; you are walking into the classroom and the teacher is just glaring at you. You are sitting at your desk; you are waiting for her to start talking yet she is just glaring at you. You have no idea what to do; she is frustrated and indicates that you should know what she wants. But you don’t know what you are required to do: should you open page five or page ten or should you start writing a journal?

On the contrary, when a teacher starts a class saying, ‘Open page fifty four, we are going to start with the math lesson’, then you know what you need to do and thus you are focused on accomplishing your tasks.

So, Alhamdulillah, Allah sent to us Prophet Muhammad as the best teacher. He exemplified the guidelines of Islam, as his wife `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) described him as a “walking Qur’an”, so we can emulate him in every way and know how to lead a guided life.

What a mercy it is that we do not have to search for how to live our life; rather our struggle is to be focused on how to overcome our own weaknesses to accomplish that lofty way of life clearly set for us by Allah.

Another point to learn from this hadith is to avoid doubtful matters:

Whoever is wary of these unclear matters, has absolved his religion and honor. And whoever indulges in them, has indulged in the haram (prohibited).
Avoiding doubtful matters keeps your heart pure and that leads us to the next part of the hadith:

There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound.


Well, think of walking into a home that needs a lot of repair. How can you know what needs to be fixed if you don’t know what is broken? I think the first thing to do, and Allah knows best, is to first take account of your heart: what are the problems you struggle with in your life? Are you a jealous person? Are you missing your Prayers? Are you an angry person?

When you take account of yourself and look inwards with honesty, then you can begin to know how to fix yourself and do tazkiyah which is purifying one’s self.

One easy way for keeping your heart pure is to think about three things: people, places and things. If you surround yourself with good people: people who would remind you to pray, people who constantly take you to good places, to lectures and mosques and where you can be able to remember Allah, then they will be your best support group.

On the contrary, if you are the only person in a group who has to get up to pray, the only one who is not comfortable with the group’s bad practices, then you will be going through a constant struggle. So, to keep yourself pure, you need to surround yourself with pure people.

The same thing with places: go to pure places. For example, many scholars have mentioned that smoking cigarettes, hookah, etc. is at minimum makruh, i.e., reprehensible, if not completely haram and prohibited. Now, many hookah places appeared in the US, unfortunately, and became places to hang out.


For some people who don’t want to smoke, they just want to go there perhaps to buy some sandwich. Don’t go to buy a sandwich from a bad place because that is not a place that is going to remind you of Allah Almighty.
Perhaps you are going to miss your Prayers, or delve in a conversation you would not normally delve into had you been with the same group of friends elsewhere. So again, always be on pure places.

And finally, let’s surround our hearts with pure things. Let’s care for what we intake with our eyes, with our mouth and with our ears, for example, TV and movies. Alhamdulillah, there is a wealth of halal entertainment that we can really expose ourselves and our children to.

Remember that Television and movies with inappropriate content are not good for our souls. We slowly desensitize our souls to inappropriate words and inappropriate content.

Often times we think: well, I am not going to let my kids watch it; I will watch it for myself. But remember that what is not good for kids, it is not good for the adults either.

Sometimes there is a fine line, of course, but overall we want to finally intake the good through our eyes and through our ears.

Hopefully when we stick to these or begin with these three things: people, places and things and keep these three pure, we can begin to really cleanse our hearts and these would affect our whole body in a pure way inshaa’ Allah.


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