Eating Halal Food
(from Luquman’s advices)
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Last Friday’s Khutbah discussed Luqman’s first advice with regards to the quality Salat. The second advice he gave was about food. He said that you should guard and watch your food intake. It is a two-part advice. One is that over eating should be avoided, because it is the root cause of ill health. Prophet (SAW) had advised us to divide stomach into three compartments; one for food, the second for water, and the third for air. If applied, this formula can ensure good health.
The second part of the advice means to be careful about the Halaal (pure and recommended) and the Haraam (forbidden) food, because the Holy Qur’an and traditions of Prophet (SAW) mandate Halaal food. Halaal food means that food must be procured and purchased through fair, legitimate, and honest means. According to a tradition quoted in Muslim: “Prophet (SAW) mentioned a person, who had dust on his clothes and hair due to a long journey, was making supplications saying “Yaa Rub, Yaa Rub”, but his food, drink and dress was Haraam. Though Allah (SWT) accepts supplications of a traveler, but his involvement in Haraam made his supplications unacceptable.
According to one of Prophet (SAW)’s tradition, supplications of three persons are accepted: the traveler, father’s supplication for his off spring, and supplication of the oppressed against the oppressor. According to yet another tradition, Allah (SAW) has appointed an angel, who day and night announces from Bait-ul-Maqdis that obligatory and supplementary prayers of a person, who eats Haraam, will not be accepted.
Anas (RA) asked Prophet (SAW) to pray for him so that he may become “Mustajab-ud-dawaat”. The term “Mustajab-ud-dawaat” means a person whose prayers and supplications are accepted. Prophet (SAW) replied: “Yaa Anas, earn an honest living and eat Halaal food, Allah (SWT) will make you “Mustajab-ud-dawaat”, and will grant you whatever you ask. Keep yourself away from Haraam, because even a morsel i.e. a small bite of Haraam food invalidates supplications for forty days.” (At-Targheeb)
There are many other spiritual and physical disadvantages of Haraam food. Hakim-ul-Ummah, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RehmA) has listed four disadvantages.
The essence is that Haraam creates a distance between man and Deen, ruins the Hereafter, the door of virtues is closed on him, and that of temptations and sin is flung wide open.
Yusuf ibn-e-Artaat (RehmA) is quoted in Kitaab-ul-Kabaa’ir that when Shaitaan finds a youth busy in prayers and submitting to the obedience of Allah (SWT), he asks his friends to find about his food and drink. If it turns out to be Haraam, then there is nothing to worry about as his prayers and obedience is futile and wouldn’t be of any good to him.
In today’s society Haraam is practiced in many ways, and majority is not even aware of it. Interest, bribery, cheating in commercial transactions, lying, disregards of duties of the self and rights of others, theft and larceny and many other Haraam acts are a common practice. Knowledge is not scarce, but it is action which is missing. And the main reason is that our earnings are not honest, and our food and drink is not fair and pure. As a result we cannot practice virtue and are devoid of righteousness.
According to a tradition of Prophet (SAW) there will be some people on the Day of Judgment whose virtues will match the size of the mount Tihama, meaning that they will have abundance of good deeds. But when they will stand before Allah (SWT), all their good deeds will be on no value, and they will be thrown into Hell Fire. Companions (RA Ajma’een) submitted, why will that happen Yaa Rasul Allah? Prophet (SAW) replied that they performed Salaat, observed fast, paid Zakah, and performed Hajj, but never saved themselves from Haraam, which ruined all their good deeds. (Kitaab-ul-Kabaa’ir)
Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 51 or Surah Al-Muminoon: “Messengers eat good things and do good deeds.”
The Aayah has used the word “Ta’iyye’baat” which means nice, pure and decent things. In the Islamic Shari’ah, things that are condemned as Haraam are neither pure, nor appealing to common sense, that is why “Ta’iyyebaat” means things which internally and externally are pure and appealing. The Aayah tells us that all the Prophets and Messengers were given two main instructions. One: Eat pure, and Halaal food, and Two: Perform good and righteous deeds. When Prophets and Messengers, who are Maa’soom min-al-Khata (incapable of committing mistakes), have been commanded as such, then we their followers should be very particular in taking all precautions possible to avoid Haraam and the forbidden.
Scholars say that the combination of these two commands Akl-e-Halaal & Amal-e-Sualeh, i.e the fairly earned wages and pure food and the righteous deeds are interdependent. There is a saying “Al-Halaal-u-Yanjilu al-al-Halaal, wo Al-Haraam-u-Yanjil-u-Al-al Haraam”. Halaal earnings and food make you do good and righteous deeds, and Haraam earnings and Haraam food prompts you to commit Haraam acts and deprives you of the ability to think or do good.
It was due to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and training of Prophet (SAW) that companions of the Prophet (SAW) were very cautious and conscious about food. Let me give you just one example here. Once Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique drank the milk brought by his servant. He later asked as to where he did bring the milk from? The servant replied that he had performed a “Kahaanat” for a certain tribe and was given milk in exchange as wages. “Kahaanat” is a Haraam act, a sort of chanting that was common in the pre-Islamic days. Hearing this Sayyidina Siddique immediately put his finger in his throat and threw out, and kept doing that for some time. People who saw the situation thought that perhaps Sayyidina Siddique will pass out due to pain. Sayyidina Siddique made repentance, prayed and submitted: “Ya Allah, I repent and apologize for the milk which has gone into my system. When Prophet (SAW) heard of the incident, he commented: “Don’t you know that nothing goes to the stomach of Siddique (RA), except what is “Ta’iyyeb” pure food?” (Bukhari)