Spreading Rumors and its Consequences
Dr. Maher Hathout, October 1, 2007
Hadith al-ifk is a kind of disinformation campaign to ruin the image of Prophet (Pbuh) and his household to stab him at the honor of his family. They propagated a rumor against his wife Ayesha (Ra), daughter of Abu Bakr (Ra) and it was very big problem for the community and for the Prophet and definitely for Ayesha at that time until the Quran settled the issue and set the record straight.
Spreading rumors is a common phenomenon that we find in our community also and after sometimes the rumors become more solid than the reality itself.
Behold, ye received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things of which ye had no knowledge; and ye thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of Allah. (Qur'an 24: 15)
We usually receive news with our ear and the ear sends it to the brain and then we talk about them with our tongue but there is short-circuit here. Quran is telling that this rumor (that is received with tongue) is spread with no thinking whatsoever; with no awareness whatsoever; with no role for the human brain whatsoever; the rumor comes and lands on one’s mouth to be expelled again to somebody else. This subtlety in expression is something that we should really ponder and think about. How many a time we received things with our tongues NOT with our ears? How many a times we relayed information to somebody else without doing any due diligence?
Quran says that in the eyes of God, it is a humongous thing to receive and expel information without verifying them.
And why did ye not, when ye heard it, say? - "It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to Allah. this is a most serious slander!" . (Qur'an 24: 16)
When you heard it (rumor) you should have said, Subhanallah, this must be a lie. We should not talk ever about these things; we heard it, we thought about it and knew that is not befitting to the community and one should kill the rumor in its infancy.
The interesting thing here is that one of the persons who was spreading the rumors was the one who was making his living based on Abu Bakr’s donations. Abu Bakr, of course was very upset and decided to stop the money that he was giving, nonetheless Quran did not accept this logic.
Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah.s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an 24:22)
Quran says, “Those who have should give to those who have not, regardless of the behavior even if they have hurt you personally.” Then comes the amazing lesson, “One should forgive and forget.” i.e. “O you Abu Bakr, forgive and forget.” In spite of this great hurt the Quran puts this rhetorical question, “Wouldn’t you love that Allah will forgive you.” And it is said that when this verse was revealed, Abu Bakr cried in tears and said, “Yes, I love that Allah will forgive me,” and of course resumed his donation to that particular person.
I think this whole scenario is pertinent to us and what we do everyday.