“Messengers! Partake of the things that are clean, and act righteously. I know well all what you do. This community of yours is one community, and I am your Lord; so hold Me alone in fear.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 23:51-52)
The directive to eat clean things strikes at monasticism and epicureanism and brings into relief the moderate and balanced approach which characterises Islam. A Muslim should neither deny himself lawful things, nor should he hanker after everything of the world without distinguishing between that which is lawful and that which is not.
It is also significant that the directive to partake of clean things precedes the directive to act righteously. This suggests that righteous behaviour becomes absolutely meaningless if it is not accompanied with the lawfulness of what one eats and the lawfulness of the earning that enables that eating.
The very first condition of being righteous is that man should subsist on what is lawful. According to a hadith, the Messenger ﷺ said that God is pure and likes pure things. He followed this statement by reciting the above verse, adding: ‘A person undertakes a long journey, his clothes are ridden with dirt and his hair is dishevelled, while the food he eats is unlawful, the drink he drinks is unlawful, the dress he wears is unlawful, and his body has been nourished on what is unlawful, and then he raises his hands to the sky and prays: “O my Lord! O my Lord!” Whence can his Prayer be answered?’