“When a glass is broken, the sound of breaking disappears in seconds almost immediately whereas the glass pieces are scattered all over the ground hurting whoever walks over it. Additionally, once a glass is broken, there is no possibility of putting those pieces together- putting back the glass in its original form is impossible. No matter how hard you try, the marks of breakage would always remain”.
Its been a common trend amongst us as Muslims to backbite each other, to believe and spread rumours, we do not even think twice before forwarding any image, message or video without verifying its authenticity. It’s extremely important to authenticate any piece of information with due diligence, lest it turns out to be misinformation, a lie, rumour or a false accusation. Because once we forward anything without verification or even believe it to be true, we are becoming a part of that chain of creating misinformation, a tool in the hands of a Fasiq- the one who creates Fisaad as per the very explicit teachings of the Quran.
Al-Quran – Surah 49 – Al-Hujuraat – Ayah 6- 49:06 O you who have believed, if there comes to you a Fasiq with information, investigate, in case you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
We need to keep in mind that all our faculties will be questioned on the day of Judgment. Therefore, we need to be mindful of how we use them. We can not pursue anything if we do not have knowledge, that includes, hearing, seeing or even believing anything without knowledge, as the use of all our faculties would be questioned on the day of Judgement.
17:36 Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge, indeed the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these shall be held accountable.
The Quran outlines clear prohibitions against and places immense importance on spreading rumours without knowledge clearly warning this act as having grave consequences. Because speaking something, saying what you hear without due investigation/verification is not of trivial importance, but it has grave consequence in the eyes of Allah.
24:15 When you speak of what you have heard and of which you have no knowledge, you think that it is a trivial matter. But it might have grave consequences in the eyes of Allah
Backbiting by definition means talking something negative about someone behind someone’s back. If it’s positive or if it’s not behind anyone’s back, it will not be classified as backbiting. When you say anything negative about anyone behind their backs even when it’s TRUE is back-biting and not allowed. If you have to say anything negative whether true or false, should say it in front of that person so that that person has the right to defend, accept or deny it. Even if it’s the truth it might be true in your eyes and your verification/authentication might be incomplete.
Al-Quran – Surah 49 – Al-Hujuraat – Ayah 12- 49:12- O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.
“When a glass is broken, the sound of breaking disappears in seconds almost immediately whereas the glass pieces are scattered all over the ground hurting whoever walks over it. Additionally, once a glass is broken, there is no possibility of putting those pieces together- putting back the glass in its original form is not possible. No matter how hard you try, the marks of breakage would remain”
Similarly, when you say something that hurts people’s emotions and feelings, the voice disappears immediately but the heart remains in pain for a long time. Words once spoken and someone’s reputation once damaged can not be reversed. After knowing the truth later on, no matter how hard you try, you can not put someone’s reputation back in its original form- no matter how hard you try to compensate, the scars would always remain.
Therefore, whenever you receive any information, any rumour, please investigate. Even if you do not pass it forward but simply believe the said piece of information without due verification and investigation at your end, you are going against the direct orders of the Quran. Similarly, Quran is against concealing the truth in any manner whatsoever for instance staying quiet when you know the truth in the face of false accusations against someone is concealing the truth.
Don’t believe anything without due verification, don’t say anything except good, do not pass on any information without investigation, do not conceal the truth in any manner whatsoever and do not forward any whatsapp message or a facebook post, etc. without verifying its authenticity. Always remember the direct orders and the prohibitions that God Almighty gives us in Quran.
This article was first published in Worldwide Quran Thinkers.