The first hadeeth in the chapter of business in Bukhaari Shareef starts off with ‘al-halaalu bayyinun walharaamu bayyinun’. Halaal is clear and haraam is clear. Water is halaal and there is no doubt in it. Similarly, fish is halaal and you do not need to ask whether it is halaal. On the other hand, pork is haraam and this is clear. You will not ask whether you get halaal pork. However, between the both you get mushtabihaat, that which is unclear and doubtful. So what must you do in such cases? The hadeeth instructs us that we should refrain from doubtful areas. Had Allah Ta‘ala wished He could have made all things abundantly clear without anything being doubtful. However, this world is a place of test and thus in His wisdom Allah has allowed these doubtful areas to come about in order to test a person.
The hadeeth says that the one who guards himself against doubtful areas then he has secured and safeguarded his deen and his respect and dignity. For example, you see a girl stranded on the side of the road. From one dimension, you would like to help her as she is stranded and in need, but from another angle sharee‘ah has prohibited men from being in seclusion with strange women. Hence, there is the element of doubt in this. And by leaving this out you will guard your deen and dignity, and you will not allow people to have suspicions about you. There are plenty illustrations of this nature.