Characteristics of those Who Eat Haram
By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
A characteristic feature of earnings by Harām means the money and wealth so acquired. It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said, “The madness of (acquiring or constructing) buildings. Mud and water occupies the head of one who earns by unlawful means.” (Bihār al-Anwār)
It means that a person with unlawful earnings is constantly worried about his wealth and strives to convert it into fixed property so that it is not lost. The buildings of mud and water neither benefit the owner in the Hereafter nor do they provide peace in this world. Such a person spends every bit of his wealth for pieces of land. Finally, Allah (S.w.T.) orders the land to swallow all his wealth.
Unlawful gains are harmful both from the worldly point of view as there is no barakat in such gain and also from the spiritual point of view as these form obstacles in the acceptance of acts of worship.
The Holy Prophet (S) says: “When a single morsel of Harām enters the stomach of a person and becomes a part of his body, the angels of the sky and the earth curse him.” (Safinat’ul-Bihār)
The Messenger of Allah (S) has also said: “Acts of worship accompanied by the acquiring of Harām are like buildings that rest on (crumbling) sand.” (Safinat’ul-Bihār)
They lack a firm foundation and hence are of no use. Such buildings can never remain intact and are soon destroyed.
Invocations are not accepted
The noble Messenger of Allah (S) has remarked, “Prayers of the one who eats a single morsel of Harām are not accepted for forty nights nor are his invocations accepted for forty days. Every piece of flesh that grows by consuming Harām is most deserving of being burnt in hell-fire and even a single morsel consumed causes some growth of flesh.” (Safinat’ul-Bihār)
The Holy Prophet (S) has also stated, “One who wishes to have his invocations accepted must keep aloof from Harām food and unlawful earnings.” (al-Kāfi)
A man asked the Holy Prophet (S): “I wish for the acceptance of my deeds.” The Prophet (S) told him, “Keep your food purified from Harām and do not let any unlawful thing enter your stomach.” (al-Kāfi)
The Almighty Allah (S.w.T.) revealed to Janabe Isa Ibn Maryam (a.s.): “Inform the oppressors of Bani Israel that they must not call Me and invoke Me as long as they are involved in unlawful earnings. And if they call Me and invoke Me in this condition, I will curse them.” (al-Kāfi)
Hardening of the heart
Whatever man eats is like a seed sown in the earth. If the seed is good it will bear sweet fruits. If the seed is bitter and poisonous, so is the fruit that grows from it. If the food is good and lawful it has beneficial effects on the heart. It is purified from every blemish and impurity. The organs of this person perform good deeds, but if one consumes food obtained through unlawful means it causes the heart to harden. The symptoms are soon obvious. A hard hearted person is unaffected by any kind of preaching and remains absolutely impenitent. Such a man is not moved even when he sees clear injustice. No good can be expected from him. Not a trace of goodness is visible in his dark heart. He refuses to accept what is right and is immune to every kind of moral advice. The tragedy of Karbala is the perfect example of this phenomenon. These are the characteristics clearly pointed out by Imam Husain (a.s.) in his address to the troops of Ibn Sād: “You bellies are filled with unlawful (wealth). Now you will not accept the truth. Why don’t you deal with justice? Why don’t you listen to me?” (Nafasul Mahmūm)
In other words, when a person’s heart becomes hard and darkness occupies it.
During the rule of the Abbasid King Mahdi, there was a Qazi named Sharīk bin Abdullah. He was an honest and upright Judge, till the time he was summoned by the king. The Abbaside King forced him to choose one from three things :
(1) Either he should accept the post of the Royal Qazi
(2) He should become the teacher of the King’s son
(3) or he should dine with the king, at least once.
The Qazi thought that easiest of the Three was to eat with the king once, so he agreed to dine with King Mahdi. The ruler ordered the royal chef to prepare the best of the dishes. When the Qazi had eaten the food, the cook remarked to his companions, “Now, Qazi Sharīk will never achieve salvation.”
The prediction came to be true. The Harām food affected the Qazi to the extent that he also accepted the other two conditions. He became the special Qazi of the King and the tutor of his children. It is said that Qazi Sharīk used to be very strict and unflinching with the treasurers while obtaining his share from the royal treasury.
One day the treasurer protested, “You have not sold me grain that you act so ruthless in recovering its price.” Qazi Sharīk replied, “Yes, I have sold something more valuable! I have sold my religion.”
One day a tray filled with delicious dishes was sent by Harūn al-Rashīd for Bahlūl. Bahlūl did not accept it. The servants of the king said, “It is not possible to reject the present of the Caliph.” Bahlūl, the wise, pointed towards the stray dogs and said, “Give it to the dogs.”
The servants became angry and said, “You have insulted the royal gifts.” Bahlūl became silent then said, “Be quiet, if the dogs learn that this food is sent by the king, they will not touch it.”