The Dangers of Rumors

The Dangers of Rumors

By Sheikh Saleh bin Fowzan al Fowzan

Question:

Rumors are indeed dangerous, and there are individuals who persistently pursue them and publically spread them by way of social forums, in public gatherings, and on the internet; while having no concern for their actions. Please inform us about the dangers of rumors in light of the Islamic legislation.

Answer:

In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Bestower of His Mercy. All praise belongs to Allah the Lord of the worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family members and companions.

For that which proceeds

Indeed, it is incumbent that a Muslim preserves his tongue from speech that has no benefit within it, and likewise speech that is harmful for the individual or others. From this type of speech is an evil rumor; whether these rumors are related to individuals, or the Muslim ummah. It is indeed upon the Muslim to seek clarification and to only speak if it is necessary. Allah the Sublime and High stated:

يَآأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَآءكُمۡ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوۡمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصۡبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلۡتُمۡ نَادِمِينَ

{Oh you who believe! If a fasiq (sinner) comes to you with information, then verify it, lest you harm others out of ignorance and as a result of what you have done, you will regret.} Surah al Hujraat: 6

Thus, it is upon a Muslim who hears something sinful about his brother to conceal it and not reveal it, even if it were true. If what has reached the individual (about his brother) is true, and it contains harm upon his brother, it is upon him to conceal his faults and advise him in private. The person should not spread evil about his brother even if he actually performed what was mentioned. This is because doing so is classified as a form of backbiting. Allah the Most High mentioned:

وَلَا يَغۡتَب بَّعۡضُكُم بَعۡضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمۡ أَن يَأۡكُلَ لَحۡمَ أَخِيهِ مَيۡتًا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

{Do not backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when he is dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah, indeed Allah is accepting of the repentance and merciful.} Surah Hujurat: 12

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم explained the meaning of backbiting as a person speaking about his brother that which he dislikes. (Upon hearing this) the companions asked: What if what we are saying is true? The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم replied: If what you are saying is true, then you have backbite him, and if it is not, you have slandered him. Meaning: you have lied upon him.

Hence, the person as (actually) sinned in every instance. Whether the information is true, or it is a lie, the action is either considered backbiting or lying, and both actions are major crimes.

That which has proceeded is related to the rights of and individual. It is also mandatory to observe the same as it relates to the Muslim society and its safety. That which harms the society should also be avoided. It is upon a Muslim to avoid spreading calamities and rumors and he should not create fear amongst the people by spreading this amongst the people. This action is the way of the Munafikoon (hypocrites). They are the ones who pursue rumors and spread them in order to bring about fear amongst the Muslims and make them weak. Allah the Most High mentioned (concerning them):

لَوۡ خَرَجُوا۟ فِيكُم مَّا زَادُوكُمۡ إِلاَّ خَبَالاً ولأَوۡضَعُوا۟ خِلاَلَكُمۡ يَبۡغُونَكُمُ الۡفِتۡنَةَ وَفِيكُمۡ سَمَّاعُونَ لَهُمۡ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ

{Had they gone forth with you, they would not have increased you except in confusion, and they would have been diligent among you seeking to cause you fitnah (chaos and dissention). And among you are avid listeners to them. Indeed Allah is All Knowing of the wrongdoers.} Surah at Tawbah: 49

Allah The Most High (also) said:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَن تَشِيعَ الفاحشة في الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ في الدُّنۡيَا وَالۡآخِرَةِ

{Indeed those who like that immorality is spread about the believers, they will have a painful punishment in this life and the hereafter.} Surah al Nur: 19

This is a tremendous warning, and thus, the Muslim should not be an individual who spread rumors and indecent news that bring about fear to the Muslims. If this information and occurrence is something that poses a danger upon the Muslims, and it needs to be rectified, this will not take place by spreading it amongst the people who do not possess the ability to rectify the matter. These types of matters should be referred back to the rulers and those in authority. They are those who rectify the matters and prevent its harm. Allah the Most High stated:

وَإِذَا جَآءهُمۡ أَمۡرٌ مِّنَ الأَمۡنِ أَوِ الۡخَوۡفِ أَذَاعُوا۟ بِهِ وَلَوۡ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوۡلِى الأَمۡرِ مِنۡهُمۡ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسۡتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنۡهُمۡ وَلَوۡ لاَ فَضۡلُ اللّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَرَحۡمَتُهُ لاَتَّبَعۡتُمُ الشَّيۡطَانَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

{And when it comes to them an affair of (public) security or fear, they spread it. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, and then the ones who draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if it were not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed the Shaytan, except for a few.} Surah al Nisaa: 83

Thus, it is mandatory upon a Muslim to protect his tongue and not to speak about and spread rumors and private matters. Instead, one should observe silence and conceal the faults of others. One should also supplicate for the rectification of Islam and the Muslims. This is that which is befitting for the Muslim.

 

Source: http://alfawzan.af.org.sa/

Mustafa George DeBerry

Riyadh, K.S.A

26 Safar 1435 | Dec. 29, 2013

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Posted on January 7, 2014, in The Akhlaaq/Manners Etiquettes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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