Wednesday, December 4, 2019

'Keep Away from Spreading Rumours'

'Ghibbat': Part VII

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, today I continue my series of sermons on the subject of “Ghibbat” (backbiting, palavers, etc.). And like I told you, I come now with Hadiths on the subject.

Understanding Hadith reports: The need for Caution 

We should know, even in the case of reporting Hadiths, that we should be very careful lest we do not report the words of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) in the right way. For example : Hazrat Abu Huraira (ra) narrated that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said that the worst people are those with two-mouths

That is to say, he comes here and say something and then he goes elsewhere and reports another thing [i.e. not the original wordings]. In other words, he is a great hypocrite and a circulator [of news… i.e. gossip-monger/ tale-teller]. The translator is him who is hypocrite and a tale-teller as he is the one circulating the news on that person and telling it in a twisted manner. He uses such wordings which has not been originally spoken. He puts it in the way that he has understood it, even if the wordings may resemble and mean the same thing. But we should be very careful when doing translations; first of all we should say the exact translation and then we can state that it means such and such things. [i.e. give the exact translation/ meaning of the original sayings, and then you explain what has been stated in the original saying].

'Two-Faced' Persons spread false stories to ruin relations

That is why when we cross-check this Hadith, we find that those are not the exact wordings of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) – i.e. his Hadith. When we look at it closely, we find that these are indeed not the words he used. The Hadith is in fact like this:- Abu Huraira reported: 'The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,Verily, among the worst of people is one with two faces, he who comes with one face to these and another to those" (Bukhari, Muslim). 

As for the conclusion we draw from this Hadith, despite the fact that the first choice of words used means nearly the same thing, i.e. double-face and two tongues, two mouths, but the exact wordings which have been used is: two faces

Likewise, out of the context of the Hadiths, when a circulator readies himself (or herself) to spread some news (on someone), he either add to it or remove some words from the original talk of someone, and thus he change the actual meaning of the saying/ talk.

When we now analyse the Hadith where Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has mentioned that the worst kinds of people are those with two faces, this is because the curse of being double-faced remains linked with betrayal (betraying someone) and it becomes an integral part of it.

When we look at the circulation of news and gossip and tell-tales in a global way, we will find that much disorder is created because of those hearsays. Sometimes, it enters the fold of close family circle and sometimes it reaches till a point that family ties are broken, in such a way that it becomes difficult to connect them again.

Maybe all of us have witnessed such situations. For as long as I can recall, from the incidents which have been presented to my attention, I see that these two things are linked. The fact that this [evil/ bad conduct] is much more common among the women, so I present my apologies to the women [I am not pinpointing anyone in particular], but I am only generally giving an example, despite the fact that among the men also there are many such occurrences.

Why do I say that this [bad habit] is found mostly in women? This is because whenever a woman discloses something about another woman, and when this news reach the subject of the gossip [i.e. the victim], the words have changed drastically, and when the victim hears this news about herself, she feels hurt, she is offended and even angry because of what has been said on her account – i.e. the words which actually reached her [even if it is not the original wordings]. So, the words, from the one who first uttered it, to the last one, i.e. the victim, the words have undergone so many changes, and became worst, much more bitter. It went around through the tongue of many people - who added to it - including the one who first heard of it, and who then shared it to others in her own words. Sometimes, it even happens that the same [original] words are shared around with many people till its reaches the victim [exactly like it had been disclosed], but the fact remains that those words such that [i.e. hurtful enough] to ruin the relations between those two people, i.e. the one who first said the news [as a secret to another one] and the targeted victim.

Betraying A Confidence

When the first person who hears the news [from the one who had propagated it], she makes the promise that: “I will not tell this to anyone.” So, first of all, it is her the one who has two faces, that is to say, she hears something and then without hesitation, she spreads it around. She attacks that woman [i.e. the victim]. She breaks the promise she made. So, she became also two-tongued, and the one who originally propagated this news, she also was two-tongued as she broke an Amaanat (a trust). This is so because when she was present during a meeting, and when she heard such things, then all those talks [contained in the meeting] were an Amaanat. She [or anyone else for that matter, ladies and men] should not have propagated the matter. Even if request [from the head of the meeting] have been issued to propagate the matter or not, you [i.e. generally speaking] should not do it. Normally, when someone says something on the account of somebody else, especially if that thing is bad, he pines his hopes on you that you would not go around to spread this news. He puts his trust in you that you will not go tell this matter to anyone else, for if he had to say this, he would have said it personally to the concerned party, for he is the one who originally said such and such things about another person.

So, at the start itself, there is the display of two-facedness. When a second person hears this from the original speaker and then tell this to a third person, the latter then goes to say this to the subject of the conversation [i.e. the victim]. And when the victim comes forward to fight, in this case also it is a situation where there has been much display of double-tongueness. And the matter will be stretched more and more, where each person [who participated in the rumour mill] will say: “The one who has said this to you has lied. This is in fact what I have said…” And from there, there appears a third series of lies. And in lots of cases, even if he/ she has said such words, but when other people come to question him, he gives another signification to what he has said and he denies and belies the one who has said that it is him who has said such talks [i.e. he contradicts the reporter]. And then, the reporter will come and curse the propagator of the news and say: “This is what indeed you have said.” The propagator will say: “No, I have not said this!”

So, one mouth becomes two mouths, and this shall continue in this way, and become worse and worse that it shall become difficult to make it become one mouth again [i.e. so many people will get to be involved in the rumour mill and the propagator of the news shall remain anonymous. It can also mean that it then becomes difficult to repair the issue. And in this havoc, great difficulty lies on the shoulders of the one who has to take a decision on the matter for all reports/testimonials have been reduced to pieces. And even if the reporter of the news will accept a part of what he has said, but he will insist that it was not what he meant when he said such and such things. “When I told this, this is not what I meant but this is what I really meant…”

This is also what today’s politicians do. Upon each of their declaration they also portrait two faces, those poor chaps! So, the matter of double-facedness which Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has guard us against is really profound. Along with this [warning of our beloved prophet], many other ills of society is opened clearly before us, and which thus help us to find solutions for them. And the solution is that you should stay far away from listening to gossip or any other talks and reporting them to others, especially if those talks are reported in a deformed way.

Firstly, whenever you see some flaw in a brother or sister, then you should tell him yourself. It is then that the matter shall be that of only one mouth. And if when he [i.e. the subject with whom you shall talk to about his flaw] hears this, he gets anger, then it is possible that you have said this in a bad way. But generally if you want to convey the news to him in a sympathetic/ friendly way, then there shall be no havoc.

And if ever there is a problem also, it is the one who heard [the words and propagated it] who is responsible. Or it can be the one who first told about the matter who is responsible. In appearance, it seems that you have said it with good intention but in fact in the heart you wanted to harm that person [i.e. the victim]. When the matter is stretched, it becomes important to analyse it. There are such kinds of people who comes to you to tell you that you have such and such flaw, and they tell you: “I am telling you this as I am someone who always speaks the truth, and I am telling you the truth”, but there is a convenient way to speak matters of truth!

Holy Prophet (sa) on the Types of 'Amaanat'

And Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has shown us all the ways. There is not any aspect of our life about which he has not disclosed it to us openly and clearly. If there is a truth [on someone[ which is bitter [and hurtful], then Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has warned against spreading such talks. Now if it concerns a false information, it becomes a false accusation, a blame. 

But the subject of palavers has a connection with truthful information, and it can even happen that in truthful statements falsehood enters which then falsifies it. But this is another subject. In fact, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) is saying that if someone is talking with another person about a truthful matter – a flaw – on a third person, the one who has said this information is true [in his assertions] and the second one who then goes about spreading that news is also true in his claim, BUT, the action of spreading/ propagating this information is VERY BAD and UGLY. It is such a repulsive deed that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has referred to this matter in the following parable. It is as if someone had targeted and launched an arrow on someone’s stomach, but the arrow missed its target and fell down near the feet of the targeted victim. But the reporter/ informer/ gossip-monger is like the one who picks up the fallen arrow and throw it in the stomach of that person. He tells the victim that the arrow was destined to pierce him. What right did he have to pick up the arrow and pierce that person? So, he is the greatest criminal. The first person who did this [i.e. the one who originally threw the arrow] may have done it in a moment of anger. He may have done it without realising what he was doing, whether it is licit for him to do so or not. His anger blinded him. But the talebearer is him who has done the crime coldly, intentionally, without any reason. He thinks that as the words has already been said about that person, then: “It is my duty to report it to him.”

So, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has explained this very clearly and openly. He said that being true and honest is a very good thing but you should know how to use it. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said that the things that he said and which have a connection with the community are good and are a trust (Amaanat) for the community. It then becomes your duty to propagate it to others. This is an aspect of an Amaanat which has connection with the good things that you hear and you spread the word around. But there is also another aspect to it, which is if you have heard someone in a meeting, you don’t have the right to go and divulge it to others without the permission of the one who has said such things. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has also classified this as an Amaanat. He said that the subject-matters/ talks which have been said in a meeting becomes an Amaanat. Even if you have been informed or not about whether that talk was an Amaanat or not, it remains an Amaanat anyway. The Hadith to which I am referring is found in Tirmidhi, Kitab-ul-Birr.

Jabir bin Abdullah (ra) narrated that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has said: When a man narrates a narration, then he looks around, then it is a trust. Which means to say that when someone is saying something and then his attention is interrupted or attracted by something else and did not finish what he was saying, and he did not the opportunity to tell you all that he had to say, to confirm whether it is something which you have the right to relate to others or not, then this half-talk is also an Amaanat. And if it is an Amaanat, then you should keep it and not divulge it to anyone without his permission.

So, this is a general principle, but concerning that which I am saying, it is for your own good that I am saying this. Then, all that I have said [officially & publicly] becomes an Amaanat for all the nation. Thus, all those who hears it [i.e. the official talk, declaration, matters which should be shared] have the duty to report it [in the right way] to those who were absent. So, in both cases, the same word has been used: Amaanat. But the meaning is different.

The subject-matters/ talks in everyday meetings remains an Amaanat, and you don’t have the right to divulge it without permission. Sometimes [more specifically in the past] I have witnessed that all the small talks which we used to say, without any formality at the time of having food, went out because of some people who were present at that time. And they deformed those talks, and these words went on and went [kept on changing from mouth to mouth]. I was personally surprised by all this, and thought over: “When did I ever said such things?” Then, I came to know that at the time of having food, I have said a thing – which was confidential: not appropriate to be known to the public – because in that which I said, people not connected with our Jamaat was involved. Thus, it would be inappropriate for me – without their permission – to make this known to others [in an official way] lest they may be hurt by all this. And what has been said was not wrong at all. It was not such words which was backbiting them. No! But it was nevertheless an Amaanat with me but other people heard it and propagated it to others. And when they propagated this, they propagated it in a deformed way. This showed how evil was the intention of such people and it showed the pleasure they took in propagating such talks, which was falsified, and those acts of theirs spoke volumes about their character. They were people who were naturally double-faced and double-tongued. They sought to attract attention on them by inventing such kinds of talks so that people may listen to them. Thus, they add lots of falsehood to it to exaggerate the matter. They stoop very low and what is more astonishing is that other people prefer to listen to their falsehoods. They take pleasure in listening to those [evil-minded] misinformers and believe in their falsehoods. As for the words of truth, they do the deaf and say that those truths are false. Thus truth becomes falsehood in their sight and they take falsehood as truth.

See the level to which the Jamaat Ahmadiyya of Mauritius has fallen in this era [today] when an ex-so-called Amir sent a report in the year 2000 ; such a report which was filled with lies. Some members of the Majlis-e-Amila of the Mauritius branch supported those falsehoods and enable these lies to reach the late fourth Caliph (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad). Those who were around him – among them there was a Mauritian who took himself as the caliph, and there was also the Additional Wakilut-Tabshir – lend a support to all those big lies and gave way to hatred, and thus a Khalifa whom Allah had given two ears to listen to both parties, but there and then he did not listened to us, but rather ousted us from the Jamaat [Nizam-e-Jamaat]. Now see where lies, double-facedness, two tongues have led the Jamaat Ahmadiyya; see the consequences of all those who lent a helping hand to those lies! So, beware not to become like these people. 

Next week, Insha-Allah, I shall continue on the same subject of this [today’s] Friday Sermon.

---Extracts from the Friday Sermon of  29 November 2019 ~ 02 Rabi'ul Aakhir 1441 AH delivered by Hadhrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.