On scrupulousness and abandoning things that are doubtful

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

68. Chapter: On scrupulousness and abandoning things that are doubtful

Allah Almighty says, "You considered it to be a trivial matter, but, in Allah's sight, it is immense," (24:15)

and the Almighty says, "Your Lord is always lying in wait" (89:14)

588. An-Nu'man ibn Bashir said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'The halal is clear and the haram is clear. But between the two there are doubtful things about which most people have no knowledge. Whoever exercises caution with regard to what is doubtful, shows prudence in respect of his deen and his honour. Whoever gets involved in the doubtful things is like a herdsman who grazes his animals near a private preserve (hima). He is bound to enter it. Every king has a private preserve and the private preserve of Allah on His earth are the things that He has made forbidden. There is lump of flesh in the body, the nature of which is that when it is sound, the entire body is sound, and when it is corrupt, the entire body is corrupt - it is the heart.'" [Agreed upon]

It is related from different paths with various phrases.

589. Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a date on the road and said, 'If it had not been that I feared it was part of the sadaqa, I would have eaten it.'" []Agreed upon

590. An-Nawwas ibn Sam'an reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Piety is good character. Wrong action is what is hatched up yourself and you do not want other people to know about." [Muslim]

591. Wabisa ibn Ma'bad said, "I came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, 'Have you come to ask about piety?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Consult your heart. Piety is that with which the self is at rest and the heart is at rest and wrong action is what is hatched up in your self and echoes to and fro in your breast, even if people give an opinion in your favour and ask for your opinion.'" [Ahmad ibn Hanbal and ad-Darimi]

592. Abu Sirwa'a 'Uqba ibn al-Harith married a daughter of Abu Ihab ibn 'Aziz. Later a woman came to him and said, "I nursed both 'Uqba and the one he married." 'Uqba said to her, "I did not know that you nursed me and you did not tell me." So he travelled to the Messenger of Allah in Madina and asked him and the Messenger of Allah said, "How can you keep her when that has been said?" So 'Uqba separated from her and she married another man. [al-Bukhari]

593. Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali said, "I memorised from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'Leave what gives you doubt for what gives you no doubt.'" [at-Tirmidhi]

594. 'A'isha said, "Abu Bakr as-Siddiq had a slave who used to pay him a levy and Abu Bakr used to eat from the levy. One day he brought something and Abu Bakr ate some of it. The slave said to him, 'Do you know what this is?' He said, 'What is it?' He said, 'In the Jahiliyya I used to be a soothsayer for a man. I did not do soothsaying well. I only deceived him. He met me and gave me that from which you ate.' So Abu Bakr inserted his hand into his mouth and vomited all that he had in his stomach." [al-Bukhari]

595. Nafi' said, "'Umar ibn al-Khattab used to allot four thousand for the first Muhajirun, but he only allotted three thousand four hundred for my father. Someone said to him, 'He is one of the Muhajirun, so why do you give him less?' He said, 'His father took him with him when he emigrated.'" He said, "So he was not like those who emigrated on their own account." [al-Bukhari]

596. 'Atiyya ibn 'Urwa as-Sa'di, the Companion, said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The slave will not achieve the status of being one of the Godfearing until he leaves what does not concern him out of consideration for what does concern him." [at-Tirmidhi]