Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “ What is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear, but between them are certain doubtful things which many people do not know. So he who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and his honour blameless. But he who falls into doubtful things falls into that which is unlawful, just as a shepherd who grazes his cattle in the vicinity of a pasture declared prohibited (by the king), he is likely to stray into the pasture. Mind you, every king has a protected pasture and Allah’s limits is that which He has declared unlawful.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
There are thus three primary classes of goods and activities.
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, e.g. if there exists the possibility of the goods being stolen.
The protection of one’s Deen is highly important so that he strives to the ultimate to save himself from Jahannam while recognising that the loss of his Deen will imbue a person with evil attributes of the Kuffaar. The protection of one’s honour will be the means for people to trust him and 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. [Abu Da’ud, Hadith 3316]
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 dishonour.