What to do with negative information about others
By: Al Haadi
Source: Al Haadi
We are often given “news” and information about people. Based on such “news” and information, we might formulate opinions and perceptions in our minds about those people.
However, if the “news” is of a negative nature, it is compulsory to ignore it until it is verified and established to be true. To formulate negative opinions in our minds with regards to anybody upon hearing something which has not been verified is not permissible.
In many cases these bits of information just come “from the grapevine” and have no truth in them. At times, they are a mixture of half-truths and distorted facts. Often it is pure misunderstanding and/or misinterpretation. Nevertheless, neither must one act on these bits of information without first establishing their authenticity, nor must one harbor ill-feelings or suspicion for any person because of such information.
The negative perceptions which we formulate based on unverified information falls within the ambit of the words of Allah Most High: “Verily some thoughts are sin” (Surah Hujurat v12). Hence it is clear from this ayah that one will be questioned on the Day of Qiyamah (Judgment) for having harbored ill-thoughts about his fellow Muslim without any basis. On the other hand, if one had given the accused person the benefit of the doubt and ignored the unverified information given to one, no questions will be asked about this on the Day of Qiyamah.
To relate to anybody what one has merely heard but not verified is also a sin. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) is reported to have said: “It is sufficient for a person to be guilty of lying that he relates everything he hears (without verifying the authenticity)” (Saheeh Muslim #7). The severity of this practice is thus clearly understood.
Therefore, without investigating the matter one should totally ignore it. Also, if the matter does not concern one, do not even bother to investigate it. Simply ignore it as if nothing was ever said to you at all.
May Allah Most High make us of those who pay keen attention to what concerns them and turn away from what does not.