[Friday Sermon] Verify Any News, Stop Spreading Lie To Ignite Enmity, Crisis And Wars In Society!
By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
Dear brothers and sisters, surely, today we live in difficult times, full of different trials and tribulations. And one of the ways that we are tried and tested by Allah Almighty is by testing us with rumours and how we react to them. Today, we are bombarded with all sorts of information every day, be it directly from a person, on television, on Newspaper, on social media or via email. And many good-hearted people may just accept them, assuming this piece of news as indisputable facts coming from trustworthy sources. However, as a Muslim, what is our role towards such sayings and claims? What does the Shari’ah say about such information? Allah Almighty says:
“Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things which you had no knowledge of; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of Allah.” [Surah Nur: 15]
So before we accept what anyone and everyone says, there are certain points to keep in mind, as we all have to stand in front of Allah Almighty one day.
We have to verify the information and ascertain, to the best of our ability, the truthfulness and authenticity of the news that reaches us. WHY? ……
Because Allah orders you and me to be JUST. Allah Almighty says:
“Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever AllHearer, AllSeer.” [Surah Nisa’i:58]
Please, think about what is being said, who is saying it and about whom is he saying it, before believing it. Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe! If a Fasiq (evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.” [Surah al-Hujurat 49:6]
And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Deliberation is from Allah and haste is from the Shaitan.” [Albani, in al-Silsilah al-Sahihah]
Sometimes something may appear or sound true on the surface but, you may not know the full circumstances behind the statement, news or the report may be taken out of context. Imam Al-Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) said:
“The believer reserves judgment until the matter is proven.”
Therefore anyone who claims a statement or levels an accusation against another person must provide proof. Allah Almighty says:
“Say (O Muhammad), Produce your proof if you are truthful.” [Surah al-Baqarah:111]
And if they fail to produce any solid proof for what they claim……
“Since they produce not witnesses, they are the liars in the sight of Allah.” [Surah al-Nur 24:13]
The people in charge can explain the facts of the matter and remove any confusion or doubts a person may have. Allah the Most High says:
“When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known (among the people); if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly). Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah upon you, you would have followed Shaitan (Satan), save a few of you.” [Surah al-Nisa’ :83]
Search for and stand up for the Truth, and do not accept any false statements from anyone, even if it is from someone you love or hold close to your heart. Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever WellAcquainted with what you do.” [Surah Nisa’:135]
The Shari’ah issues a stern warning against passing on all that one hears. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears.” [Muslim]
Imam Al-Nawawi said:
“Usually a person hears truth and lies, so if he speaks of everything that he hears, he is lying by telling of things that did not happen, and lying by speaking of something other than the way it happened….”
Many people just believe any news they hear and pass it on without even stopping to think that it may not be true. In that case it is a slander against the person that the news is about. And slander is a major sin. Allah the Most High says:
“Woe to every backbiter, slanderer.” [Surah Humazah: 1]
And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“No man accuses another of an immoral deed or kufr, but it will come back on him, if the person he accuses is not as he says then he is.’” [Bukhari]
And he (Peace be upon him) said:
“No (Muslim) man will desert a man who is a Muslim in a place where his respect may be violated and his honour aspersed without Allah deserting him in a place where he wishes help.” [Abu Dawud and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani]
And Allah Almighty says:
“Not a word is said except that there is a watcher by him ready to record it.” [Surah Qaf:18]
And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Indeed a servant may say a word from which Allah’s displeasure is gained and he does not realise it. Allah will put him in Jahannam (hellfire) due to it.” [Bukhari]
Allah the Most High says:
“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).” [Surah al-Tawbah 9:119]
And why did you not, when you heard it, say?
“It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to Allah, this is a most serious slander.” [Surah Nur:16]
Respected brothers and sisters, remember, Allah Almighty says:
“If a Fasiq (liar- evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.” [Qur’an, 49: 6]
And the respected Imam, Abu Al-Fida, Imadud-Din Isma’il Bin Umar Bin Kathir Al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi said concerning the above Qur’anic verse:
“Allah the Exalted ordered investigating the news that sinners and the wicked bring, to make sure of its authenticity. Otherwise, if the sinner’s word is taken for granted and a decision is based on it, regardless of whether the information is true or not, the authorities will be taking the lead of the sinners. Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured forbade taking the path of the corrupted and sinners. This is why groups of the scholars of Hadith refuse to accept narrations from narrators whose reliability is unknown, for they might be from among the wicked people, in reality.”
Dear brothers and sisters, whatever news we hear we must verify it before believing it. We must not circulate it further unless first we establish if the news is based on truth or not. It is Major Sin, to believe a story or news before verifying it, and to spread untrue stories and news in the society because the untrue stories can create enmity, crisis, wars, turmoil, confusion and injustice in society. For all Major Sins there is the punishment of burning by unending Hellfire. For many Major Sins the punishment starts from this world and continues in the Hereafter.
Lastly, I pray, May Allah Almighty guide us and enable us to stand up for the Truth, wherever it may be. Ameen.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul-Hijjah 19, 1444 AH (July 07, 2023).