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The Prohibition of Disclosing Unreliable and Uninvestigated News Print E-mail

Allah said,

﴿وَإِذَا جَآءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الاٌّمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِ﴾

(When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known (among the people);) chastising those who indulge in things before being sure of their truth, disclosing them, making them known and spreading their news, even though such news might not be true at all. In the introduction to his Sahih, Imam Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

«كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ كَذِبًا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَ بِكُلِّ مَا سَمِع»

(Narrating everything one hears is sufficient to make a person a liar.) This is the same narration collected by Abu Dawud in the section of Adab (manners) in his Sunan. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah said that the Messenger of Allah prohibited, "It was said,'' and, "So-and-so said.'' This Hadith refers to those who often convey the speech that people utter without investigating the reliability and truth of what he is disclosing. The Sahih also records,

«مَنْ حَدَّثَ بِحَدِيثٍ وَهُوَ يُرَى أَنَّهُ كَذِبٌ، فَهُوَ أَحَدُ الْكَاذِبَيْن»

(Whoever narrates a Hadith while knowing it is false, then he is one of the two liars (who invents and who spreads the lie).) We should mention here the Hadith of `Umar bin Al-Khattab collected in the Two Sahihs. When `Umar was informed that the Messenger of Allah divorced his wives, he came from his house, entered the Masjid and found the people talking about this news. He could not wait and went to the Prophet to ask him about what had truly happened, asking him, "Have you divorced your wives'' The Prophet said, "No.'' `Umar said, "I said, Allahu Akbar...'' and mentioned the rest of the Hadith. In the narration that Muslim collected, `Umar said, "I asked, `Have you divorced them' He said, `No.' So, I stood by the door of the Masjid and shouted with the loudest voice, `The Messenger of Allah did not divorce his wives.' Then, this Ayah was revealed,

﴿وَإِذَا جَآءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الاٌّمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوْلِى الاٌّمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنْبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ﴾

(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).) So I properly investigated that matter.'' This Ayah refers to proper investigation, or extraction of matters from their proper resources. Allah's statement,

﴿لاَتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَـنَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً﴾

(you would have followed Shaytan except a few of you. ) refers to the believers, as `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas.

﴿فَقَاتِلْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لاَ تُكَلَّفُ إِلاَّ نَفْسَكَ وَحَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَاللَّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْساً وَأَشَدُّ تَنكِيلاً - مَّن يَشْفَعْ شَفَـعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُنْ لَّهُ نَصِيبٌ مِّنْهَا وَمَن يَشْفَعْ شَفَـعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُنْ لَّهُ كِفْلٌ مَّنْهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ مُّقِيتاً - وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّواْ بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَآ أَوْ رُدُّوهَآ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ حَسِيباً - اللَّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَـمَةِ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَدِيثاً ﴾

(84. Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (to fight along with you), it may be that Allah will restrain the evil might of the disbelievers. And Allah is Stronger in might and Stronger in punishing.) (85. Whosoever intercedes for a good cause, will have the reward thereof; and whosoever intercedes for an evil cause, will have a share in its burden. And Allah is Ever All-Able to do everything.) (86. When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things.) (87. Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He. Surely, He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt. And who is truer in statement than Allah)

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