Showing posts with label Spreading Gossip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spreading Gossip. Show all posts

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Do Not spread gossip, for in the sight of Allah it is a serious matter

Gossip is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Unfortunately, we, especially women folk, indulge in spreading gossip without ascertaining the truth behind the gossip. Such unconfirmed utterance more often than not have serious repercussions, especially when these aim at character assignation of a pious and respected person.

The theme of the 15th verse of Surah 24. An Noor (The Women) hinges on the effects of gossip that can harm a respected, pious and reputed person. And once such a gossip took place involving the very personality of Aisha, the revered wife of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Divine response came strictly condemning such act. The purpose of sharing this verse is that spreading an unconfirmed report from person to another without critically investigating it, the outcome could be fatal. 

اِذۡ تَلَـقَّوۡنَهٗ بِاَ لۡسِنَتِكُمۡ وَتَقُوۡلُوۡنَ بِاَ فۡوَاهِكُمۡ مَّا لَـيۡسَ لَـكُمۡ بِهٖ عِلۡمٌ وَّتَحۡسَبُوۡنَهٗ هَيِّنًا ​ ۖ  وَّهُوَ عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ عَظِيۡمٌ‏ 
(24:15) (Just think, how wrong you were) when one tongue received it from another and you uttered with your mouth something you knew nothing about. You deemed it to be a trifle while in the sight of Allah it was a serious matter.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ of Allah has also forbidden to spread gossip in one of the hadiths attributed to him. Please read details from one of earlier posts: A Qattat will not enter paradise.

In this verse, God mentions the evil incident regarding the slander against Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad.  It contains a lesson for humankind; and all who took part in it will be punished accordingly, some will receive a severe punishment.  Nobody gave Aisha the benefit of the doubt and nobody produced witnesses.  Still many people passed on the gossip.  God asks why they did not hesitate to repeat a monstrous slander and warns the believers never to do this again.  This unthinking behaviour causes pain, doubt and worry.  And once again God leaves us to finish the sentence, if it were not for God’s Mercy and His favour, humankind might be severely punished.

As mentioned in the premise, this verse was revealed when a sever character assassination of Aisha, the revered wife of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ took place during a journey. It so happened that during a resting stay of the caravan, Aisha missed the caravan and when a believer brought her back to the main caravan, a lot of gossip was whispered. As a matter of fact, none of the accusers had actually witnessed the thing which they were uttering with their tongues. The only basis of their accusation was that Aishah had been left behind by the caravan and afterwards Safwan had brought her to the camp on his camel. From this nobody with a little common sense could conclude that Aishah’s being left behind was intentional. These are not the ways of those who do these things. It cannot happen that the wife of the army commander quietly stays back with a man, and then the same man makes her ride on his camel and makes haste to catch up with the army at the next halting place in the open daylight at noon. The situation itself warranted that they were innocent. There could, however, be some justification in the charge if the accusers had seen something with their own eyes, otherwise the circumstances on which the accusers had based their accusation did not contain any ground for doubt and suspicion.

Here nobody should have the misunderstanding that failure to bring witnesses is being regarded as the basis and argument to prove that the accusation was false, and that the Muslims are also being told to regard it as a manifest calumny only because the accusers did not bring four witnesses. This misunderstanding can arise if one does not keep in view the background of the actual incident.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:
(إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ When you were propagating it with your tongues,) Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "Some of you were relating it to others,'' where one says, `I heard this from so-and-so, and so-and-so said such and such, and some of them mentioned such and such.' Others recited the Ayah: (إِذْ تَلِقُونَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ) ("When you were inventing a lie with your tongues...'') In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded that `A'ishah recited it like that. According to her, the meaning refers to lies which a person persists in telling. The first recitation is preferred and more popular, and the majority recite it that way, but the second is reported from `A'ishah, the Mother of the believers.

(وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَهِكُمْ مَّا لَّيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge,) means, you were speaking about something which you knew nothing about. 

Then Allah says: (وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّناً وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.) means, `you said what you said about the Mother of the believers and you thought that it was a trifling and insignificant matter, but even if she was not the wife of the Prophet , it still would not be an insignificant matter -- so how about when she is the wife of the Unlettered Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets and Leader of the Messengers ' It is a very serious matter with Allah that such a thing should be said about the wife of His Messenger! For Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, feels great fury and anger over such matters, and He would never decree such a thing for the wife of any of His Prophets. 

If that is the case, then how about the best of the wives of any Prophet, the wife of the best of the sons of Adam in this world and the next Allah says: (وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّناً وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.) 

In the Two Sahihs it is reported that: (إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ مِنْ سَخَطِ اللهِ، لَا يَدْرِي مَا تَبْلُغُ، يَهْوِي بِهَا فِي النَّارِ أَبْعَدَ مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ A man may say a word that angers Allah without realizing how far it will go, and because of that he will be thrown into Hell a distance greater than that between heaven and earth.) 

According to another report: (لَا يُلْقِي لَهَا بَالًا (And he may not pay any attention to it.)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
God wanted this to be a very hard lesson for the fledgling Muslim community, but in His compassion, He did not inflict any punishment on them. The offence itself merited stiff punishment because of the pain it caused the Prophet, his wife, close friend and his other Companion of whom he knew nothing but good. It also merited a punishment equal to the evil that circulated within the Muslim community, violating all its sacred values, and equal to the hypocrites’ wickedness whose scheme aimed to undermine Islam by raising doubts about God, the Prophet and the Muslim community itself. This continued for a whole month, which was a time of doubt, worry and confusion. But God’s grace was forthcoming, and He bestowed His mercy on those who were in error after having learnt their bitter lesson.

The sūrah gives us a picture of the period, when standards and values were placed on the wrong footing, and the community lost sight of its principles: “You took it up with your tongues and uttered with your mouths something of which you have no knowledge, thinking it a light matter whereas in God’s sight it is grave indeed.” The picture painted here is one of recklessness and irresponsibility, showing little care for even the most serious of matters.

“You took it up with your tongues.” One tongue picks it up from another paying little heed to what is being said. There was an utter lack of proper examination of the report, as though people repeated it without ever thinking of its significance. You “uttered with your mouths something of which you have no knowledge.” It is just like that: a mouth utterance without thought or consideration. Mere idle talk uttered and circulated even before it is understood. They thought it a light matter, although it was an accusation against God’s Messenger’s personal honour, causing him, his wife and household great pain. It was an accusation against Abū Bakr’s family which suffered no similar trouble even in pre-Islamic days when moral values were of little importance. This false story also accused another Companion of the Prophet who laid his life down for the defence of Islam. It further had negative implications concerning the care God took of His Messenger. Yet, still they circulated the false rumour “thinking it a light matter whereas in God’s sight it is grave indeed.” Nothing could be described as grave in God’s sight unless it is so serious that it shakes firm mountains and disturbs the heavens and earth.

So, let us my brothers and sisters in Islam, reign in our tongue and do not spread gossips or share information for which we do not have credible evidence for its authenticity. More than men, it is for women for they are in the habit of sharing unconfirmed information with such juicy details that the listener is most likely to be misled and take it to be true, and then spread the same gossip to others. Remember such things are a serious matter in the sight of Allah.
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.

You may refer to our reference page: Important DOs and Don'ts from Qur'an to read more directives on the subject.

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

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