Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Concept of Polygamy and the Prophets Marriages

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Poligamy and the Marriages of the Prophet Muhammad


       Since 9/11, we have observed that certain groups have tried to capitalize on that tragedy by attacking Islam from all sides. Unfortunately, even some Christian TV channels have joined in this Islam-bashing and are trying to tarnish the image of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny).
      One of the most common themes in their attack against Islam is on the Prophet Muhammad’s many wives.
      We wish first to discuss the concept of polygamy in Islam followed by the marriages of the Prophet.


       Marriage in Islam is a sign of God’s power and glory. The Qur’ãn says:
“From His signs is that He has created for you spouses from yourselves so that you may get peace [and tranquility] through them; and He placed between you love and mercy. In these are signs for the people who reflect.” (Surah ar-Room, 30:21)

Monogamy & Polygyny

Generally speaking, there are two types of marriages in Islam:
• Monogamy: one man married to one woman;
• Limited polygyny1 (a kind of polygamy): one man married to two, three or at the most four wives.
In Islam, the ideal marriage is the monogamous form of marriage. Limited polygyny is a provision approved by Islam for exceptional circumstances only; and that also with many stringent conditions.2
Vast majority of Muslim men are monogamous in their marriage relationships; those who have more than one wife are very few, probably less than zero point one percent of the Muslim world.

Polygamy in History

       Islam did not invent the system of polygamy. It existed long before Islam came into the scene of world events. The Bible says that Lamech, the grandson of Adam, “took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.”3
So polygamy has existed from the earliest days of human history.
      Many holy personalities of the Bible had many wives or concubines at the same time. Abraham had Sarah and Hajar. Abraham was first blessed with a son through Hajar whom he named Ishmael, and then he was blessed with another son through Sarah whom he named Isaac.
      Look at the example of Jacob; he had four wives and concubines: Leah and Rachel (both were Jacob’s cousins), and he also had Bilhah and Zilpah (both were slave-girls gifted to Jacob by his wives). It is from these four ladies that Jacob had twelve sons who became ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
      David, known in Arabic as Prophet Dawūd, had at least eight wives whose names are known, he had many others whose names have not been recorded. The Second Book of Samuel (in the Bible) talks about “the wives” of David in Hebron and also in Jerusalem.4
Lamech, the grandson of Adam, had two wives.
Abraham had two wives: Sarah & Hajar.
Jacob had two wives & two concubines:
The Twelve of Tribes of Israel are from these four ladies.
David had many wives.

Islam & Polygyny

 And so let it be known that Islam did not initiate the system of polygamy; it existed from the early dawn of human history. When Islam came on world scene in the seventh century of the Common Era, it inherited the existing marriage system. Condoning of polygamy should not be seen as a piece of pure male chauvinism. In words of Karen Armstrong, “polygamy was not designed to improve the sex life of the boys — it was a piece of social legislation.”5
It is to the credit of Islam that it modified and reformed the system in existence at the time.
Firstly, of all, Islam put a limit to the numbers of wives that a person can have at one time — maximum of four wives at one time.
Secondly, Islam put stringent conditions on a person who wanted to marry a second wife. He must be able to provide and maintain the family, and also deal with both on basis of justice and fairness. In Chapter 4 (Surah an-Nisaa), verse 3, after allowing the Muslim men to marry two, three or four wives, the Qur’ãn immediately says:
“but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one…” (Surah an-Nisaa, 4:3)
Looking at the psychology of humans, only exceptional people have that quality of justice and fairness. The Qur’ãn itself, in the same Chapter 4, verse 129, says:
“And you do not have the ability to do justice between the wives, even though you may wish (to do so)…” (Surah an-Nisaa, 4:129)
Based on such verses, certain Muslim governments (like Iran and Egypt) regulate the provision of polygyny: the person who intends to marry a second wife has to seek approval from the family court and prove the need for a second wife and the ability of providing for both in an adequate manner.
Islam is a practical religion; its laws are in line with human nature. It does not deny the natural forces in humans, rather it confronts them and provides guidance to control them without disrupting the peace in society.
Almost all Western governments have forbidden polygamy; but adultery is most rampant in these very countries. In spite of all attempts to promote monogamous relationships, many married men have mistresses or are involved in extra-marital affairs resulting in higher divorce rates, broken families and children growing up without fathers. And such kind of behaviour has also touched the highest offices —religious as well as secular— of the United States of America.
If a man wants to fool around, Islam will hold him responsible and tie him down to duties towards that “second wife” and her children. Ira Lurvey, of the Family Law section of American Bar Association said, “We are going from monogamy to something called serial monogamy and we have no rules and guidelines; we’re groping in the dark for how to conduct our lives”. 6
Well, in Islam, you do not need to grope in the dark; Islam has given clear guidelines on all kinds of relationships: monogamy to polygamy.

The Prophet’s Marriages

 One of the examples of Islam-bashing that we see on the TV and the internet these days is the one liner statement like: “Muhammad was a womanizer; he had nine wives.” For Muslims who have studied the books of the Orientalists and the Crusade-minded missionaries, such statements are not new. It is the same old wine packaged with a new label!
Study the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) and you will see that the Prophet was a man of highest character even long before he started preaching Islam.
At the age of twenty-five, Prophet Muhammad married a famous and a highly respected lady of Mecca, by the name of Khadija bint Khuwaylid, who was older than him in age.
(According to the popular opinion, she was 15 years older than the Prophet, but based on further research into this matter, we can say that she was only two years older than the Prophet).7
The important thing is that he remained married to her for twenty-five years until she passed away in Mecca. Two years after her death, the Prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina where he founded the first Islamic society.
      So for the first 50 years of his life, the Prophet had only one wife, Lady Khadīja, whom he loved dearly and who was one of the strongest pillars of support in promoting his cause. During the last 13 years of his life, he married other wives.
Prophet Muhammad:
• From birth to age 25: single.
• From age 25 to age 50: married to one wife, Khadija.
• From age 50 to age 63: married ten wives.

The Other Wives

 During the last thirteen years of his life, the Prophet married ten wives. This has become an easy target for anti-Muslim writers and speakers who would like to tarnish the image of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and portray him as someone who was driven by lust and passion.
If Prophet Muhammad was a man of lust, then why did he not marry any other woman when he was young and wealthy and lived in a society that accepted unlimited polygamous relationships? Why did he not marry any other woman as long as Lady Khadija was alive even though it was the prime time of his youth?
And so the question comes, what was the rationale behind the other marriages of the Prophet during the last thirteen years of his life.
All the marriages of the Prophet, other than that with Lady Khadija, had a good political or religious rationale. We may divide these marriages into four categories, and some marriages had double purpose or reasons.

First: Providing Protection & Dignity to Widows So That Others May Follow That Example

 1. Lady Sawdah bint Zam‘ah: a Muslim lady whose husband had died in Abyssinia. When she returned to Mecca, she was a widow; and her father and brother were not only infidels but also enemies of Islam. She could not seek shelter with them; they were so much opposed to Islam that they could even torture her to death.
The Prophet, now a widower himself, married Sawdah in order to provide protection to her as well as to forge important link of kinship with his opponents.
2. Lady Zaynab bint Khuzaymah: a widow for the second time when her second husband ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh was martyred in the Battle of Uhud. She was known for her generosity, and was famous as “Ummul masãkīn, mother of the poor”. Now she herself faced hard times. The Prophet wanted to maintain her prestige, and so he married her in the 3rd year AH. She died less than a year after this marriage.
3. Lady Umm Salamah. She was first married to ‘Abdullah Abu Salamah. She migrated to Abyssinia with her husband. She was known for her piety and wisdom. When she became a widow and had orphan children, the Prophet married her in the 4th year A.H. She was also the sister of the chief of a powerful Meccan tribe of Makhzum. This marriage had the element of forging the link of kinship with his opponents in Mecca.

Second: To Set the Slaves Free

4. Lady Juwayriyyah bint al-Hãrith. After the Battle of Banu Mustaliq in the 5th year AH, the Muslims took two hundred families of that tribe in slavery. Juwayriyyah, the daughter of the chief of that tribe, had become a widow. The Prophet set her free and married her.
Why? The Muslims, who had made the two hundred families of Banu Mustaliq their slaves, realized that by Juwayriyyah’s marriage to the Prophet, all these two hundred families were now related to the Prophet by marriage. Out of courtesy to the Prophet, the Muslims set them free.  Impressed by this nobility, the whole tribe of Banu Mustaliq became Muslim. By this marriage, the Prophet was able to transform a hostile tribe into an ally.

Third: To Forge Friendly Relations for Sake of Islam

5. Lady ‘Ãisha bint Abi Bakr. Although the betrothal was done in Mecca, she came into the household of the Prophet after his migration to Medina. She was the youngest wife of the Prophet.8
This marriage sealed the alliance with Abu Bakr so that he would be on the side of Muslims during the confrontation against the idol-worshippers of Mecca.
6. Lady Hafsah bint ‘Umar ibn al-Khattãb. She became a widow after her husband was killed in the Battle of Badr. The Prophet married her in the 4th year AH. This marriage was also done to seal the Prophet’s alliance with ‘Umar.
7. Lady Umm Habibah, daughter of Abu Sufyan. She was married to ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh and had migrated to Abyssinia. He became a Christian; while she continued the Islamic faith and separated from him. Her father, Abu Sufyan, was a bitter enemy of Islam and planned battles after battles against Muslims. When she returned to Medina, the Prophet married her in order to provide protection for her and also to soften the heart of Abu Sufyan. However, that marriage did not have the desired effect on Abu Sufyan.
8. Lady Safiyyah bint Huyaiy ibn Akhtab. She was the daughter of the chief of Banu Nadhir, a Jewish tribe of Khaybar. She became a widow when her husband was killed in the Battle of Khaybar. She was taken as a captive by the Muslim forces. The Prophet married her in the 7th year AH to maintain her noble status and also to establish marriage ties with her Jewish tribe.

Fourth: The Desire to be Related to the Prophet

9. Lady Maymunah bint al-Hãrith al-Hilaliyyah. Her second husband died in 7 AH. She came to the Prophet and “gifted” herself to him if he would accept her. She only desired the honour of being called “the wife of the Prophet”. The Prophet (based on verse 33:50 of the Qur’ãn) accepted her as his wife.

Fifth: To Break a Taboo & Show an Example

10. Lady Zaynab bint Jahsh. She was a cousin of the Prophet; and she was a widow and a divorcee. The circumstance of her marriage to the Prophet was very unusual.
Islam had come to end all the material and social criterion of distinction. Every Muslim was equal to the other. While preaching this equality, the Prophet, as an example, gave his three female relatives in marriage to persons of so-called low birth or status. Among those three relatives was Zaynab bint Jahsh. She was given in marriage to Zayd son of Hãritha, an Arab slave whom the Prophet had freed and then adopted as a son. After that adoption, Zayd was being called, Zayd bin Muhammad – Zayd the son of Muhammad.
The marriage of Zaynab to Zayd soon turned sour. Zaynab could not overcome the fact she was of nobler descent than her husband. No matter how much the Prophet counseled them, Zaynab’s attitude did not change. So finally Zayd divorced her. At the same time, verses 4 and 5 of Chapter 33 (Surah al-Ahzaab) were revealed which declared that adoption was not recognized in Islam9.
After these verses, the people started calling Zayd by his real father’s name: Zayd bin Hãritha.
But in order to fully abolish the system of adoption, Almighty God ordered the Prophet to marry Zaynab, the divorcee of Zayd. In the pre-Islamic society of Arabia, an adopted son was considered to be like a real son: with the same rights and duties: for example, an adopted son’s wife was considered like a real daughter-in-law with whom marriage was forbidden forever. And so to break that taboo, the Prophet married Zaynab, the divorcee of his former adopted son.
 Both the marriages of Zaynab bint Jahsh served to enforce two important social principles of Islam: First, equality among Muslims irrespective of their ethnic or social distinctions; and second, it demonstrated the fact that a fostering or adoptive relationship was not a tie of blood and should not be a barrier in marriage.


 When Prophet Muhammad was young and wealthy, he had only one wife. But in the last thirteen years of his life when he was over fifty, he married different wives––with the exception of one, all were widows and old.
It is a fact that even when Prophet Muhammad had these other wives, his love for his first wife, Lady Khadija, never diminished. Al-Bukhãri, quotes the youngest of his wives, Lady ‘Ã’isha, as follows:
“I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadījah…because the Prophet used to (remember and) mention her very often. And whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would send (the choicest parts) to Khadījah’s friends. When I sometimes said to him, ‘It appears that Khadījah was the only woman in the world,’ the Prophet would say, ‘Khadījah was such-and-such, and from her I had children.’”10
In another narration, according to al-Bukhãri, Lady ‘Ã’isha says: “Once Hãlah, the sister of Khadījah, asked permission to enter the house.” Upon hearing Hãlah’s voice, which sounded very similar to that of Khadīja, the Prophet remembered her beloved wife. ‘Ã’isha says, “I became jealous and said, ‘What makes you remember an old woman amongst the old women of Quraysh, an old toothless woman who died long ago, while God has given you somebody better than her?’”11
The Prophet became visibly upset, and he said: “By Allãh, I do not have anyone better than Khadījah. She believed in me when others were steeped into infidelity. She testified to my truth when other rejected my claim. She helped me with her wealth when others deprived me. And Allãh gave me children by her.”12
     These sentiments of the Prophet, expressed to the youngest of his wives, clearly show that for him, Lady Khadījah was still the First Lady of Islam. All the other marriages had some social, political or religious reasons behind them. These marriages were not based on lust and passion, as many enemies of Islam would like to say.
      I hope that this discourse has helped you in understanding the Islamic view on polygamy as well as the reasons for the Prophet’s marriages. Islam is a religion in tune with human nature and has rules and guidelines for the burning social issues of our time.
  • 1. The term “polygyny” is preferred because polygamy means multiple spouse (one husband and multiple wives or one wife and multiple husbands) whereas polygyny only refers to marriage of one man to multiple women.
  • 2. For more on this subject, see Murtaza Mutahhari, The Rights of Women in Islam published by WOFIS, Tehran. This book is available online at
  • 3. The Book of Genesis 4:19.
  • 4. 2 Samuel 3:2-5, 13-16; 5:13-16.
  • 5. Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, p. 190.
  • 6. USA Today, June 6, 1997.
  • 7. Ibn Kathīr in al-Bidãyah wa an-Nihãyah, vol. 2 (Beirut: Dar Ihyã’ Turathi ’l-‘Arabi, 1408) p. 360 as well as in his as-Sīrah an-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1 (Beirut: Dar al-Ma‘rifa, 1396) p. 265 states that Khadījah was twenty five years old at the time of her marriage to the Prophet of Islam, while ‘Ali bin ‘Isa al-Irbilī in Kashfu ’l-Ghumma, vol. 2 (Beirut: Dar al-Adwã’, 1985) p. 133 and Ibn al-‘Imãd al-Hanbali in Shadharãtu ’dh-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 14 (Egyptian edition) say that she was twenty-eight years old at that time. Ahmad al-Bulãdhurī and Abu ’l-Qãsim al-Kufī in their books as well as Sayyid al-Murtada in ash-Shãfī and Abu Ja‘far in at-Talkhīs say that at the time of her marriage to the Prophet, Khadījah was a virgin; this is further collaborated by the report in al-Anwãr wa al-Bida‘ that Ruqayya and Zaynab were the daughters of Hãlah, the sister of Khadījah. See Manãqib Ãl-I Abi Tãlib, vol. 1, p. 159. Those interested in studying more on the question whether Ruqayya, Zaynab, and Umm Kulthûm were real daughters or adopted daughters of the Prophet, see Sayyid Ja‘far Murtaza al-‘Ãmili, “Banãtu ’n-Nabí am Rabã’ibuhu?” in the quarterly Turãthunã (Qum: Mu’assasatu Ãli ’Bayt, 1413) nos. 30-31.
  • 8. The popular version of ‘Ãisha’s youth age has been exploited by the anti-Islamic groups to attack the Prophet “for marrying a child”. The fact of the matter is that Lady ‘Ãisha was not a child when she was married in 2 AH to the Prophet. At-Tabari, the famous Muslim historian, writes that Abu Bakr’s first two wives and their children were all born in the pre-Islamic era. (Ta’rīkh at-Tabari, vol. 2 [Beirut: al-A‘lami, n.d.] p. 616.) Based on this, even if she was born a year before the commencement of Islam, ‘Ãisha would be 15 or 16 years old at the time of her marriage to the Prophet – an age in which marriage is common in most cultures. Ibn Kathīr, in his al-Bidãyah wa ’n-Nihãyah (vol. 8, p. 381) states that Asmã’ bint Abu Bakr, the sister of ‘Ãisha, was ten years older than ‘Ãisha. He also reports that Asmã’ died in the year 73 AH at the age of 100. Based on this calculation, ‘Ãisha was 18 or 19 years old at the time of her marriage.
  • 9. For more details on the Islamic perspective, see my article, “Adoption in Islam,” which is available on-line at (Section: Resources/ Resident Alim) and at
  • 10. Al-Bukhãri, Sahīh, vol. 5 (Arabic with English) p. 104.
  • 11. Ibid.
  • 12. It seems that al-Bukhãri avoided from quoting the response of the Prophet fully; however, other sources have provided the Prophet’s response as quoted. See Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol. 6, p. 117-118, 150; Sahih of Tirmidhi, and Ibn Kathir.

The Most Excellent Fast

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Fasting in general is a unique work that has no equivalent. When the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about the best deed, he said:
«عَلَيْكَ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ عِدْلَ لَهُ »
(Interpretation of the meaning):
"Take to fasting, for there is nothing equal to it."
Fasting is a protection from Hellfire. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
«مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ بَاعَدَ اللَّهُ بِذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَجْهَهُ عَنِ النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا »
(Interpretation of the meaning):
"Every servant of Allah who observes fast for a day in the way of Allah, Allah would remove, because of this day, his face farther from the Fire (of Hell) to the extent of seventy years' distance."
And the most excellent fasting after Ramadan is fasting in the Month of al-Muharam. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
«أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ شَهْرُ اللَّهِ الْمُحَرَّمُ وَأَفْضَلُ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الْفَرِيضَةِ صَلاَةُ اللَّيْلِ»
(Interpretation of the meaning):
"The most excellent fast after Ramadan is the Month of Allah, al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night."
Muslims should exploit this great opportunity and fast as much as they can in the month of al-Muharam, especially fasting Mondays and Thursdays, as well as the 13th, 14th and 15th of the month because the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast these days each month. The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also guided us to fast the 9th and 10th days of Muharam because the 10th day is when Allah, may He be Glorified, saved Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) from Pharaoh.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Fasting the Day of 'Ashura'

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Ashura' commemorates the day that Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh.
Fasting on Muharram 10, known as the Day of 'Ashura', expiates for the sins of the past year. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah in 622 CE, he found that the Jews there fasted on Muharram 10 and asked them the reason for their fasting on this day. They said," This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet Musa [Moses] fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah."
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"We are closer to Musa than you are."
He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari) The following year, Allah commanded the Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan, and the fasting of 'Ashura' became optional. It is also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) intended to fast on the ninth and tenth. Ibn 'Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of 'Ashura' and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, "O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honor." The Prophet said, "When the following year comes, Allah willing, we shall fast on the ninth." The death of the Prophet came before the following year. (Muslim and Abu Dawud) For more on 'Ashura' and Muharram, please read: The Significance of Fasting the Day of 'Ashura'  Virtues of the Month of Muharram & Fasting during It
Thus, according to scholars, you may choose to fast 'Ashura' on three days (ninth, tenth, and eleventh); two days (ninth and tenth); or one day only (the tenth). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Fasting the day of 'Ashura' (is of great merits), I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year." (Muslim) But this expiation of minor sins comes only if you avoid major sins. It is a big mistake to rely on fasting a single day to "wipe your slate clean." If you neglect your daily Prayers or the fast of Ramadan, or if you backbite, lie, commit adultery or other major sins, fasting on 'Ashura' alone will not atone for your sins.
The great scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (b. 691 AH/1292 CE) wrote: This misguided person does not know that fasting in Ramadan and praying five times a day are much more important than fasting on the Day of Arafah and the Day of 'Ashura', and that they expiate for the sins between one Ramadan and the next, or between one Friday and the next, so long as one avoids major sins. But they cannot expiate for minor sins unless one also avoids major sins; when the two things are put together, they have the strength to expiate for minor sins. Among those deceived people may be one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins, because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or check on his sins, but if he does a good deed he remembers it and relies on it.
This is like the one who seeks Allah's forgiveness with his tongue (that is, by words only), and glorifies Allah by saying "subhan Allah" one hundred times a day, then he backbites about the Muslims and slanders their honor, and speaks all day long about things that are not pleasing to Allah. This person is always thinking about the virtues of his saying "subhan Allah" and saying "la ilaha illa Allah" but he pays no attention to what has been reported concerning those who backbite, tell lies, and slander others, or commit other sins of the tongue. They are completely deceived. (Al-Mawsu'ah Al-Fiqhiyyah, part 31, Ghuroor) You may hear of some customs associated with 'Ashura' such as cooking and eating certain foods on that day, wearing kohl or henna, or even merrymaking. Others consider this a day of mourning and wailing in honor of the Prophet's grandson Al-Husayn, who was killed in battle on that day. The scholar Ibn Taymiyah (b. 661 AH/1263 CE) stated that all of these are bid'ahs (reprehensible innovations) that should be avoided. Take advantage of this opportunity to bring yourself closer to Allah on 'Ashura' by fasting and praying for forgiveness.
AElfwine Mischler is a writer who frequently writes on historical Islamic topics.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Doubtful Things between Halal and Haram

On the authority of Abu 'Abdullah, Al-Nu'man Ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with them both) ,who said : 'I heard Allah's Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) say: "The Halal (lawful) is clear and the Haram (prohibited) is clear, and in between them there are some things that are doubtful ,which most people do not know - if they are Halal or Haram - Thus ,whoever avoids the doubtful, safeguards his religion and honor, but one who engages in the doubtful, falls in the Haram."
The example of this is like the shepherd who grazes his animals near Al-Hima (i.e. the ground reserved for animals belonging to the king ) ;it is thus quite likely that some of his animals will stray into it (Al-Hima).Every king has a Hima and the Hima of Allah is what He has forbidden. Truly! There is a lump of flesh in the human body; when it is healthy, the whole body is healthy, and when it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Certainly it (this lump) is the heart." (Bukhari and Muslim)
The word Halal has entered English dictionaries. It literally means lawful. In technical terms, it means the name given to the legal category of things which are permissible in Islam. Halal is that which has been made lawful through the Holy Qur'an or through the Sunnah of the Beloved Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
According to Islam, 'the first principle established by Islam is that the things which Allah has created and the benefits derived from them are essentially for man's use, and hence are permissible. Nothing is Haram except what is prohibited by a sound and explicit Nass (Qur'anic verse or clear, authentic and explicit Hadith) from the Law-Giver.'
This leads us to understand that the sphere of forbidden things is very small, while the sphere of permissible things is extremely vast.
Haram or Non-Halal:
Haram literally means the prohibited or unlawful. In technical language it means 'that which the Law-Giver has absolutely prohibited, the Holy Qur'an or in the sound clear Sunnah; anyone who engages in it is liable to incur the punishment in this world.'
As a matter of fact, 'there is only small number of sound and explicit texts (in The Qur'an and Sunnah) concerning prohibitions.'
In the eye Shari'a, there are different degrees of Haram. It may be major, minor and disliked.
By the way, the right to make lawful and to prohibit is the Right of Allah alone.
According to " A Dictionary of Islam ", Hima literally means "guarded ,forbidden", a portion of land reserved by the ruler of a country as a grazing ground; a private pasture. Truly, every prince has a hima, which is forbidden to the people, and the hima is the thing forbidden by him to men. In other words, the grounds reserved for animals belonging to the king which are out of bounds for others' animals. So if the others' animals extend beyond these bounds and graze in the king's hima, owners will be punished.
This is a beautiful simile to show us that those who violate Allah's Hima [prohibitions] will be punished.
Guidance and Moralities 

This Hadith addresses the believer's conscience, which is the overseer whose duty is to take charge of work and see that it is properly done. In simpler words, it is the criterion that shows the Muslim's adherence to the Halal, avoiding the Haram and keeping away from committing doubtful actions.
This Hadith urges Muslims to avoid doubtful actions since committing them could lure one to dare the prohibited actions themselves.
This great Hadith leads us to mention a number of rules concerning the Muslim's behavior and conduct individually and in society. Among them are:
1. The Halal is very clear in Islam. Examples: All wholesome things, including lawful foods and drinks, clothes, good adornments, marriage, etc. since the basic principle refers the permissibility of things as long as there is no a text [from the Qur'an or Sunnah] that forbids.
2. The Haram is also clear and limited. Examples: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, wine intoxicants, killing others, perjury, ingratitude, theft, bribery, adultery, fornication, usury, interest, swearwords, insult, cheating, envy, hatred, lying and other similar things that good people avoid.
3. Whatever is conductive to the Haram is itself Haram.
4. Good intentions do not make the Haram acceptable.
5. The Haram is prohibited to everyone alike.
6. The prohibition of things is due to their impurity and harmfulness.
7. Necessity dictates exceptions.
However, this Hadith adds that 'there is a grey area between the clearly Halal and the clearly Haram. This is the area of what is doubtful. Some people may not be able to decide whether a particular matter is permissible or forbidden, such confusion may be due to either to doubtful evidence or because of doubt concerning the applicability of the text to the particular circumstances or matter in question.
'In relation to such matters, Islam considers it an act of piety for the Muslim to avoid doing what is doubtful in order to stay clear of doing something Haram. This is similar to what was discussed earlier concerning the blocking of the avenues, which lead to what is Haram.'
By the by, a Muslim is allowed to deal with one most of whose property is Halal, even eating from his food, unless the Muslim recognizes something Haram, which we are requested to avoid since eating Haram darkens the heart and spoils one's actions.
This Hadith states that doing what is Halal, keeping away from what is Haram and avoiding doubtful things constitute an indication of a sound heart, which represents the center of one's leadership and source of good and evil.
The Beloved Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "He who gives for Allah's sake, prevents for Allah's sake, loves for His sake, hates for His sake, has achieved a complete faith."
Finally, if we direct our tendencies and activities toward good and for Allah's sake, our Iman will be perfect, inward and outward.

True belief

Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Islam, through its instructions and legislations, was keen to organize people’s relation with their Lord the Almighty, in order for them to attain happiness in both this life and the Hereafter. At the same time, Islam legislates what governs people’s relations amongst each other, in order for love and harmony to prevail in the Muslim community. This can be achieved only when each individual is keen to protect and guard the welfare of others just as he would his own, and only then will the Muslim community become strongly bonded and well-established.
For this great objective to be fulfilled, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) guided his nation to accomplish the principle of solidarity saying: "No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself", clarifying that for faith to become deeply rooted in the heart one must love good for others just as he likes to attain it himself, whether it is to be blessed with bounty or relieved from an agony; this is the path towards a perfect level of belief in ones heart.
If we ponder the above narration, we find that accomplishing such a state of belief requires the soul to possess a high degree of excellence and good manners when dealing with others. In this state a person overlooks mistakes, perseveres regardless of the harm others may afflict on him and forgives ill treatment. Additionally, he shares the joy and sadness of his fellow Muslims; he visits the sick, comforts the needy, sponsors the orphan, provides for the widow and offers help to others and cheers them with a smile.
Just as he likes people to be happy, he also wishes that they prosper in the Hereafter, and thus he always strives to guide them to the right path, whilst remembering the saying of Allah (what means): “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, `Indeed, I am of the Muslims`” [Quran 41: 33]
The narration also goes beyond the boundaries of the Muslims to cover wanting good to reach disbelievers. He likes that Allah blesses them with the bounty of belief and that Allah rescues them from the darkness of associating with Allah and disobedience. This meaning is substantiated with the narration in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Being a true Muslim is achieved by loving for people what you love for yourself". [At-Tirmithi]
Indeed, we have the best example in our Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Once Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )advised Abu Thar, may Allah be pleased with him: “O Abu Thar! I see that you are a weak person, and I love for you what I love for myself, so never be in charge of (even as little as) two people, or be responsible for an orphan’s wealth". [Muslim]
Our Salaf (righteous predecessors)  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them took upon themselves the implication of this Prophetic advice, and were very sincere in its implementation in the best manner. Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I pass by a verse in the Book of Allah, and wish that all people would have the knowledge I have about it.
Another such example is that once Wasi’ Ibn Muhammad  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him wanted to sell his donkey and the man who was buying it from him said to him: “Do you think it is good for me”. He  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him replied: “Had I not thought so, I would not have attempted to sell to you in the first place.
These two examples and many more reflect the loftiness in faith these people reached which yielded such results.
One of the implications of the narration we are addressing is that a Muslim should not want for others what he hates to happen to himself. This forces the person to shun many bad qualities, like envy, spite, selfishness, stinginess and other dispraised qualities which he would hate people to use when dealing with him.
Finally, one of the fruits of practically applying this great narration is that a virtuous community would be established for the Muslims when its members enjoy common love and a strong bond between them, so that they resemble one strong body that can not easily be defeated. Thus, the Muslim nation would achieve the sought after prosperity.