Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: 'Verily Halaal is clear, and verily Haraam is clear. And between them there are certain doubtful matters many people are unaware of, therefore, who stays away from doubtful matters, he has protected his Dien and honour. And who gets involved in doubtful matters, he would fall into Haraam.' - Bukhari/Muslim
This Hadith clearly places matters relating to us, into three specific classes:
Halaal : The lawful
Haraam : The unlawful or prohibited
Mushtabihaat : The doubtful
That which is Halaal offers safety; that which is Haraam signals danger; and the doubtful indicates to caution and abstinence.
All of us, who have the experience of driving, understand that the green traffic light gives us permission to drive – the green light indicates that it is safe to continue driving; the amber or yellow traffic light signals that we be cautious and that we slow down; and the red traffic light, denies us permission to continue driving – it warns us of danger if we do.
We understand that these are the rules and regulations of the road. If we do not stop at the red light, we will be fined, or may meet up with an accident and cause damage to our vehicle. We may even injure and harm ourselves – and we could also harm pedestrians who may be crossing the road. Many a time, there is loss of life. As such, we abide by the rules.
Allah Ta’ala has given us the green lights of Halaal enjoyments, the amber or yellow lights of caution, and the red lights of prohibitions.
The red lights of prohibitions are bright and clear. There is no doubt in them. They have been established in the Qur`aan Sharief, wherein there can be no difference of opinion and wherein there is no uncertainty. Zina (adultery), Ribaa (Usury / Interest), gambling, intoxicants, and so forth are clearly established as Muharramaat (prohibitions) in the Qur`aan Sharief.
Whilst Allah Ta’ala has given us these “red lights” of prohibitions and restrictions, He has also given us all the capacity and ability to put a “brake” on our nafs and to stop ourselves from sins. No person can say that he cannot abstain from sins or that it is impossible to give up sins. He can restrain himself and he can give up all sins, if he sincerely wants to please Allah Ta’ala. We all have courage. We only need to employ it in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala.
If we give unrestrained freedom to the nafs, and speed through these red lights in Dien – dangerously indulging in Haraam, then we will not only damage the physical body, we will also cause great harm to the soul. It is a fact that many have caused great harm to themselves spiritually, in violating the laws of Allah Ta’ala and indulgence in major sins, or have even destroyed their Imaan and destroyed their Aakhirah. (May Allah Ta’ala protect us all).
The “yellow lights” which Allah Ta’ala tests us with is that which is doubtful – and we are advised that it is best to be cautious and abstinent. This is beautifully contained in the Hadith: "Leave that which causes you doubt, for that which does not cause you doubt." …This would be piety, and this is what offers protection to our Dien.
Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta’ala has given us the green lights of Halaal: There are so many types of foods and drinks to enjoy, different forms of recreation as is found in the Sunnah – which offer Halaal pleasure; celebrations such as Eid, Nikah, Walima; the comforts and happiness of marriage and children, etc. – that is, within the parameters of Dien and Shariah. …So Allah Ta’ala has granted plentiful.
Additionally, we have been promised much, much more in the Hereafter, in Jannah - if we abide by the rules and regulations in this worldly life. Allah Ta’ala has said: ‘I have prepared for My pious servants which the eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, and no human heart has ever perceived (such bounties).’
Despite the freedom which the green light offers, caution still has to be exercised.
…When I started driving, I would drive through the green light, speedily – because it was my right of way. My Marhum father (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) cautioned me about this, saying that I should be careful and take precaution, even at the intersections, and even when it is my right of way, and the traffic light is green. And he explained that the driver from the other side may be negligent, and may not heed the red light and he could hit into the car I was driving. Naturally, I would then suffer the consequences as well.
Today, we find that certain Scholars and organisations give a “green light” where there should be caution or abstinence adopted. We find that photography is given the green light, with even some Ulama actively participating on television, YouTube, etc. – all of which has opened the door to much Fitnah.
We find that certain organisations give a “green light” to different types of foods, which they certify as Halaal, but which are sometimes not Halaal. This results in great spiritual harm and damage, because the Muslim believes he is traveling through a green light – so to speak, whereas the other party is driving through the red light, certifying some products as Halaal, without proper investigation or due to negligence.
…In South Africa, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, the Muslim communities have been left shaken at times, at the sheer carelessness in Halaal certification - of various items which have traces of pork, beef burgers which have horse meat, chickens which have not been slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law, and impure and Haraam ingredients introduced into other foods, which are certified Halaal. Even the non-Muslims are reeling in shock at the kind of ingredients that are brought into the meat they are consuming. It is now common knowledge to all, that many, many meat products and other foods on the market have incorrect labels - which leaves the Muslim especially, victim to both, ill-health and spiritual degeneration.
So, nowadays, a Muslim must be extremely careful and cautious even at the green light.
We also have the experience where the traffic light is on the blink. It continues blinking green or red or yellow – and drivers have to then take extra precaution and manoeuvre themselves safely through such intersections – because the traffic lights or robots are not working, and there are vehicles driving across.
Similarly, we have Ulama-e-Soo, or other groups, parties, sects whose teachings or belief systems are on the “blink” – so to speak. They are corrupt and present a different version of Islam, which is contaminated with Bid’aat and Haraam – which is not Islam, in its true and pristine form.
The Muslim has to thus be all the more cautious and manoeuvre himself safely through these evils and Fitan as well. Shiaism, Qadianism and other distorted belief systems have been established throughout the world, working towards ensnaring the unwary and unsuspecting Muslims.
Of course, we have the traffic department repairing those traffic lights on the blink or those not working, and they then work properly. So, if those who misrepresent and falsify Islamic teachings or have a corrupt agenda, whereby they use Islam to further their ends, sincerely repent, correct their Aqeedah, etc., then that is to their own benefit and advantage – in both worlds. ...Sincere Taubah gives the green light signal for salvation in the Aakhirah, and the green light for entrance into Jannah, Insha-Allah.
Whilst traffic lights establish control and smooth flow of traffic, Islam establishes harmony in a person’s life – with the fulfilment of the rights of Allah Ta’ala as well as the rights of creation. When we follow through with practising on Dien, we will enjoy peace, Sukoon and happiness.
May Allah Ta’ala protect us all, give us a good understanding, true appreciation, and the courage to restrain from Haraam.
 Sahih Muslim