Fruits for the Week

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Seeking the halal

Allah planted several desires in us, and each of them could lead us to what Allah loves or hates. Many fall for the mirage of the haram being exiting and satisfying while the halal being dull and pleasureless. 

But Allah did not prohibit something unless there were ampler and more gratifying halal choices. Satan tries to convince us otherwise. In another hadith that may be referring to the same incident:” The Messenger (saw) saw a woman and liked her. And so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning leather and satisfied his need with her and said:” Indeed, a woman advances and retires in the shape of Satan, so when one sees a woman he likes, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what is in himself.” (Muslim)  

This hadith is not affirming that women are devils. What is saying is that Satan beautifies women in the eyes of men so they would commit unlawful acts with them, and when women call to sin with their appearance and speech, they become partners of Satan in misguidance and evil. Satan does his best to glamorize immorality and make the lawful appear boring and listless. But this is all part of his deception.

The Prophet (saw) teaches us that the desires we have can be fully satisfied with what Allah permitted, and there is nothing special or extra about the haram except the beautification of Satan. This is why the Prophet (saw) said that partaking of the halal will repel the attraction we have for the unlawful and satisfy our needs. The halal is the best antidote to the haram.

In his deception, Satan covers up the extreme harm of the prohibited acts he is pushing and makes them seem as a pure joy with no bad consequences. Consider, for instance, how he and his helpers glamorize alcohol and drinking, how much money they spend on advertisement to convince people that they should be part of the drinking culture. They fail to mention, however, all the health and social harms of drinking. They fail to mention its role in causing multiple types of cancer, breaking up families, alcoholism, rape, and domestic abuse. This is not a pretty picture or a fun and harmless drink to have! Beside, so many other halal and delicious drinks can bring us joy without all the drawbacks of alcohol.

When it comes to the opposite sex, we have to believe that the path of halal is superior, more satisfying, more lasting, more peaceful, and cleaner. Haram will eventually wreck our lives. The rush that comes from the haram is the trap of Satan, and once we are trapped, he will abandon us and turn our joy to agony, misery, and sorrow.

Halal and the heart

When a desire creeps into our hearts, it can lead us to two opposing directions. We can move with this desire to the lawful and get closer to Allah, or move with it to the haram and get closer to Satan. These two options are not equal and their consequences starkly different.

When the desire for women fell into the heart of the Prophet (saw), he rushed to take care of it. In the hadith, Zainab, was in the middle of tanning leather when the Prophet (saw) came to her. There is a valuable lesson for us here. If this desire is left unsatisfied through lawful means, it will produce great harm with time. This unmet desire will start assaulting the mind, and the wish for the haram and its possibility will grow. Delay allows Satan greater opportunity to whisper and attack our resolve, for him to convince us that the haram we saw is much better than halal we have. If we don’t seek the halal soon, we may collapse under the weight of these whispers and our yearnings. This helps us better understand the following hadith from the Prophet (saw):” If a man calls his wife to come to his bed but she refuses, and he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until the morning.” (Bukhari)

This is so because of the great harm that the denial of the halal leads to: haram grows as an option. And with repeated denials, it becomes the only option.

The Prophet (saw) described the halal acts as one of the best worship we can do. Allah rewards for the halal when we do it, recognizant that it is a favour from Allah and a mean to escape the haram. Nothing meets our needs and satisfies them like the halal, all without the residue of guilt or the gloominess of sin. Sin brings darkness with it, a dissatisfaction that descends with it, tightness in the chest in its aftermath. While haram breeds resentment and conflict between peoples, halal builds deep love. Allah blesses the halal with peace and contentment in the heart.

(Ends)

by Dr. Ali Albarghouthi