Quran, Noble Quran

Quran: [17:36] "You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them."

Quran: [49:12] "O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful."

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The Talebearer Who Stirs up Enmity between People

Here, the reference is to a person who passes on to others what he hears from someone in such a manner that will cause dissension among people. It is unanimously unlawful according to the opinions of the Muslim scholars. There are many proofs that maintain the prohibition of that abhorred action. The following are some of them:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"He who stirs up enmity among people by quoting their words to each other will not enter paradise. Reported by AI-Bukari and Muslim.

Once the Messengers of Allah (pbuh) passed by two graves and said,

"The two are being tormented, and not for anything excessive: one of them did not free himself of traces of urine, while the other was a talebearer. Reported by AI-Bukari and Muslim.

On the authority of Abu Hurairh (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah said,

"You find that among the worst people is someone who is two-faced, showing one face to some and another face to the others. Reported by AI-Bukari and Muslim.

He (pbuh) also said,

"Who he stirs up enmity among people by quoting their words in this world, Allah will severely torment him in the Hereafter; Reported by Ibn Hibban and Abu Dawud. Imam Abu Hamid AI-Ghazali highlighted the fact that this heinous sin is not confined to transforming the speech of others only but it includes unveiling what one does not like to be unveiled even if it is done through speech, writing, gestures etc. One should, however, keep silent concerning what he discovers of the affairs of others except incase when publicizing it would benefit the Muslims or prevent them from committing a sin. Moreover, the one to whom talebearer told news of others, should abide by the following:

a) Disbelieving what this person told him for such a man is of no piety,

b) Advising the talebearer to abstain from this heinous sin,

c) Detesting the sinner for the sake of Allah,

d) A voiding suspicion as the Glorious Qur'an instructs, {O ye who believe! A void suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin.} (AI-Hurjurat: 12)

e) Avoiding spying and searching out the other people's faults as the Glorious Qur'an commands, {And spy not on each other.} (AI-Hujurat: 12)

f) Abhorring this sin: A man came to 'Umar Ibn 'Abd AI-'Aziz and told him something about another person which the latter would have disliked being mentioned. Thereupon 'Umar said to him, "Let us examine your case: If you are lying, you are one of those who mentioned in the verse, ~If a sinner comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth. t (AI-Hujurat: 6), and if you are telling the truth, you are one of those mentioned in the verse, {A slanderer; going about with calumnies.} (Al-Qalam: 1) But if you wish we mayforgive you." The man replied, please forgive me, O Commander of the Believers. I shall never do it again.

A man wrote a letter to As-Sahib Ibn 'Abad (may Allah bestow mercy on him) calling him to unlawfully consume a property of an orphan. When As-Sahib Ibn 'Abad, replied to his letter he said, "Slander is abhorred, the dead is in Allah's mercy, the orphan is in Allah's support, the property is Allah's gift and the one who intercedes to consume unlawfully the property of others is cursed by Allah."

AI-Hasan AI-Basri, said, "Assuredly, the one who tells you about the speech of others would also tell others about your speech."

Referring to the verse, {Violent (and cruel) with all that of a doubtful birth.} (AI-Qalam: 13), Ibn AIMubark said, the illegitimate child does not keep in secret the speech of people."

Once a righteous man visited one of his friends who told him something about another person that the latter would have disliked being mentioned. Thereupon, the righteous man said, 'O brother! You have committed backbiting and caused me to commit three crimes:

a) The abhorrence of that brother,

b) Anxiety in my heart,

c) Suspicion about your truthfulness.

A man came to 'Ali Ibn AI-Husain (may Allah be pleased with him) saying, "So and so of people insulted you." Thereupon, 'Ali Ibn AI-Husain said, "Let's go to such man." Having reached the latter man, 'Ali Ibn AI-Husain said, "If what you have said is true, I ask Allah then to forgive me. While if it is untrue, I ask Allah to forgive you."

In commenting on the verse, "His wife shall carry the (crackling) wood as fuel. (Al-Masad: 4), some scholars state that "She was a talebearer. This heinous sin is likened with carrying the wood the similarity between carrying the news and carrying the wood is that in the former it causes fierce enmity while in the latter it causes fierce fire.