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Showing posts with label Page. Show all posts

Thursday 9 February 2023

Believers!! Carefully ascertain the truth of news brought by iniquitous person

We live in an era where most of us rely on social media to remain abreast with the latest news and happenings around the world. But in most cases, the news is either fake or over exaggerated, suppressing the truth and misleading the masses. Remember, how even CIA of USA was misled about presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq due to fake or over exaggerated news that resulted in invasion of Iraq. And this is not a new phenomenon.

Since time immemorial, fake news or lies have resulted in initiation of rivalries and resulting innumerous death and destruction of lands and property. Therefore, we must ascertain the truth about a piece of news so received and must not take any actions in haste for haste results in inappropriate and incorrect decisions. We share today the 6th verse from Surah Al Hujuraat, the 49th Surah/Chapter of Quran, as part of our series of posts that teach mannerism to believers.  The theme is the same which even existed more than 1400 years ago as it is today.

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ جَآءَكُمۡ فَاسِقٌ ۢ بِنَبَاٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوۡۤا اَنۡ تُصِيۡبُوۡا قَوۡمًا ۢ بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصۡبِحُوۡا عَلٰى مَا فَعَلۡتُمۡ نٰدِمِيۡنَ‏  
(49:6) Believers, when an iniquitous person brings to you a piece of news, carefully ascertain its truth, lest you should hurt a people unwittingly and thereafter repent at what you did.
The background under which the aforesaid vere was revealed as a caution not to take every news as correct and take hurried actions:
Most of the commentators have expressed the view that this verse was sent down concerning Walid bin 'Uqbah bin Abi Mu'ait. Its background is this: When the tribe of the Bani al-Mustaliq embraced Islam, the Holy Prophet sent Walid bin `Uqbah to collect the zakat from them. When he arrived in their territory, he became scared due to some reason and without visiting the people of the tribe returned to Madinah and complained to the Holy Prophet that they had refused to pay the zakat and had even wanted to kill him. On hearing this the Holy Prophet became very angry and he made up his mind to dispatch a contingent to punish those people. According to some traditions he had dispatched the contingent, and according to others, he was about to dispatch it. In any case all agree that in the meantime the chief of the Bani al-Mustaliq, Harith bin Dirar (father of Juwairiyah, wife of the Holy Prophet), arrived at the head of a deputation, and submitted: "By God, we did not at all see Walid; therefore, there could be no question of refusing to pay the zakat and wanting to kill him. We are steadfast to the Faith and have no intention to withhold the zakat. " At this, this verse was sent down. With a little variation in wording this incident has been related by Imam Ahmad, Abi Hatim, Tabarani, and Ibn Jarir, on the authority of Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas, Harith bin Dirar, Mujahid, Qatadah, 'Abdur Rehman bin Abi Laila, Yazid bin Ruman, Dahhak and Muqatil bin Hayyan. In the tradition reported by Hadrat Umm Salamah this whole story has been related likewise but there is no reference to the name of Walid.
On this critical occasion when on account of believing in a baseless report a grave blunder was about to be committed, Allah gave the Muslims this guiding principle to be followed on receipt of news: 'Whenever you receive important news bearing upon a vital matter, you should not accept it immediately but should first examine the man who has brought it. If he is an evil man whose report, they not be authentic normally, you should inquire into it carefully to ascertain the truth instead of accepting it and acting on it immediately." 

From this Divine Command An important legal principle is deduced, the sphere of application of which is very vast. According to it, it is not permissible for a Muslim government to take any action against a person or a group or a nation on the basis of the reports provided by the secret agents whose character might be doubtful. On the basis of this very principle the traditionists introduced the art of critical appraisal in the science of Hadith in order to determine the value and worth of the people through whom traditions of the Holy Prophet reached the later generations, and the jurists established this principle in the law of evidence that in a matter from which a Shari'ah value can be deduced, or a duty imposed on a person; the evidence of an evil man would be unacceptable. However, all scholars agree that as far as the common worldly matters are concerned it is not necessary to ascertain the truth of every news and the reliability of every informer. For the word used in the verse is naba'. which does not apply to every news but only to the news of consequence. That is why the jurists say that this principle does not apply in the case of ordinary matters. For example, if a person goes to visit somebody and seeks permission to enter the house, and a person comes out and conveys the permission, he can enter the house accordingly no matter whether the one conveying the permission from the master of the house was good or bad. Likewise, the scholars also agreed that the evidence, as well as the report, of the people whose evil does not relate to lying and immorality, but they are regarded as unrighteous only on account of false beliefs, will also be acceptable. Only the falsehood of their creed cannot be a hindrance to accepting their evidence or reports. 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: Investigating the Reliability of the News conveyed by Wicked People
Allah the Exalted ordered investigating the news that sinners and the wicked bring, to make sure of its authenticity. Otherwise, if the sinner's word is taken for granted and a decision is based on it, regardless of whether the information is true or not, the authorities will be taking the lead of the sinners. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored forbade taking the path of the corrupted and sinners. This is why groups of the scholars of Hadith refuse to accept narrations from narrators whose reliability is unknown, for they might be from among the wicked people, in reality. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., verify the truth before giving credence to any such report or rumour. The tale-bearer is characterized as "iniquitous" because the very act of spreading unsubstantiated rumours affecting the reputation of other people constitutes a spiritual offence.

Thus, after laying stress in the preceding verses on the reverence due to God's message-bearer - and, by implication, to every righteous leader of the community - the discourse turns to the moral imperative of safeguarding the honour and reputation of every member of the community, man and woman alike. This principle is taken up, more explicitly, in verse {12}.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
All titles or reports, especially if emanating from persons you do not know-are to be tested, and the truth ascertained. If they were believed and passed on, much harm may be done, of which you may have cause afterwards to repent heartily. Scandal or slander of all kinds is here condemned.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Believers! If there is any wrongdoer: This refers to people who are indifferent to the bounds and limits of religion and morality.

[from among these who call out to you] comes to you with important news: Ie., he brings news that has far-reaching consequences. Earlier, the attitude of the leaders of the Bedouin tribes has been discussed. At times, they brought wrong information to the Companions about their adversaries in order to settle scores with them and tried to convince the Companions in favour of their own view. This probably refers to such news.

Fully investigate it: Ie., the news as well as the person who breaks it. It is evident from this that if the person who brings the news is unknown and it is not known whether he is trustworthy or not, then this matter should necessarily be investigated. It is on this principle that our scholars of Ḥadīth have investigated the narrators who have reported information from the Prophet (sws). If they were unable to investigate a narrator, they regarded him to be unknown and rejected him. In a similar way, our jurists and mujtahids have enunciated principles that evaluate the content of a piece of information called darāyat. Deliberation shows that the verse primarily stresses this second aspect because the untrustworthy nature of the narrator is already known.

Lest overwhelmed by emotions: The actual word is: جَهَالة. It is used in the meaning of emotional frenzy and rage. In the Arabic language, just as it means “ignorance,” it also has this meaning.

You attack a nation; then later you feel ashamed of what you did: Ie., by being misled by the statements of these people they launch an onslaught. If such a step had been taken specially against some Muslims, it would not only have been plain injustice which has no room in faith and morality, it would also have been against collective welfare abiding by which was all the more necessary in those precarious circumstances.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The first address in the Arab defines the leadership and the source from which to receive orders. The second establishes the standards of manners and respect to be maintained in dealing with this leadership. Both serve as the basis for all legislations and directives that follow in the surah. It is imperative for the source and the leadership to be well defined so that directives and instructions be given their true value and so that they are properly obeyed. Hence, the third address explains to the believers how to receive news and reports and the need to verify their reliability. "Believers! If any evildoer comes to you with a piece of news, make sure of it first, lest you should wrong others unwittingly and then regret your action." (Verse 6)

The verse specifically mentions the evildoer because he is more likely to lie. It is important that suspicion should not be widely spread in the Muslim community. If every report is doubted, the system of gathering intelligence and information becomes paralyzed. In a Muslim community, individuals are normally treated as trustworthy, and the information they bring is considered reliable. An evildoer is treated differently: his information is not accepted until it is verified. Thus, the community steers a middle way between accepting and rejecting the information relayed to it. The community does not rush into action on the basis of a report given by someone whose behaviour leaves much to be desired. Such rash action might lead to committing a wrong against other people, and subsequent regret. Furthermore, such rash action may incur God's displeasure and put the community in a position of committing an injustice.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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