Conjecturing Conjecture

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعـد

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Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

“O you who believe! Avoid suspicion (as) much (as possible), for suspicion in some cases is a sin…” [Al-Hujuraat: 12]

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Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

إيَّاكُمْ والظَّنِّ، فإنَّ الظَّنَّ أكْذَبُ الحَدِيثِ

“Beware of conjecture, for conjecture is the most lying of speech…” [Agreed upon]

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1. Suspicion comes from conjecture. How many a problems and mistrust take place between the hearts of Muslims due to errors and (mis)information that come through conjecture or suspicion? The attribute of the believer is that they verify suspect information that comes to them, while maintaining Husn ad-Dhan. Therefore, the believer does not accept anything without checking and does not take a position or build an opinion on weak and fluid news.

2, And from this is the Muslim leaving that which does not concern him; and thus not insisting upon asking questions out of curiosity or for reasons of entertainment to fill a void, as Allaah Says when speaking about the believers:

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ

“And those who turn away from Al-Laghw.” [Al-Mu’minoon: 3]

3. ‘Al-Laghw’ denotes vain, false, obscene and evil talk. In ‘Lisan al-Arab’ it provides a number of meanings for Laghw including ‘idle talk’ or loose talk – something that is said without care and attention, usually leading to the very things that Allaah and His Messenger have told us avoid and beware of.

In Surat al-Baqarah, 226 we read: – لَّا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ – (“Allaah will not call you to account for that which is unintentional in your oaths…”) Here ‘Laghw’ has been used to describe something that is said unintentionally; usually reflecting the carelessness of a person in his speech.

4. Al-Baghawi writes in his tafseer:

إذا سمعوا الكلام القبيح أكرموا أنفسهم عن الدخول فيه

“If they were to hear themselves talk, it would offend their honour (i.e. their own speech would seem repulsive to them) and thus they would not enter (into vain talk).”

5. Ibn Baaz رحمه الله تعالى beautifully commented on ‘Laghw’ and explained:

فسر العلماء اللغو، بأمور ثلاثة: أحدها: الشرك؛ لأنه باطل، وذلك يجب إطراحه والحذر منه. الثاني: المعاصي؛ لأنها باطلة أيضاً يجب الحذر منها. الثالث: كل شيء لا فائدة فيه، ولا مصلحة فيه، فهو من اللغو، والمؤمن يجتنبه، وهكذا المؤمنة وكل التفاسير صحيحة، فإن المؤمنين يجتنبون الشرك كله بأنواعه ويجتنبون المعاصي ويحذرونها ويجتنبون أيضاً كل شيء لا فائدة فيه ولا مصلحة؛ لأنه يشغلهم عما هو أهم، فهكذا ينبغي للمؤمن أن يكون حذراً من أنواع الشرك كلها، ومن سائر ما حرم الله من المعاصي وحذر أيضاً مما يشغله عما هو أهم، من الأشياء التي لا فائدة فيها من قول، أو عمل

“Scholars of language explain ‘Laghw’ to mean three things:

First: Shirk, and it is therefore batil (invalid speech) and we must be mindful and cautious of it.

Second: Sin, and it is therefore also batil and we must be wary of them.

Third: Everything that is of no benefit, there is no interest to be gained from it and is of idle (speech) and so the believer leaves it.

Hence the believer (finds) all of these interpretations to be correct. The believers are those who avoid all types of shirk and they avoid sin and they avoid everything that has no benefit or interest (taken from it); because (indulging in laghw) will distract them from what is really important. This is how the believer should always be careful of all types of shirk – and this is what Allaah has forbidden of all other sins and warned against being occupied with anything except what is important. Thus (to stay away) from things from which benefit can not be taken from, in words and deeds.”

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6. On the matter of ‘qeela wa qaala’, The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

كفى بالمرء إثما أن يحدث بكل ما سمع

“It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears.”
[Imam Muslim in his ‘Muqaddimah’, 6 and Abu Da’wud, 4992 – graded as saheeh (see ‘Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4482 and ‘Silsilah al-Saheehah’, 2025)]

Imam an-Nawawi رحمه الله تعالى commented in his sharh of Saheeh Muslim that: “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; and he does not have to do that deliberately (in order to be regarded as telling lies).”

7. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said as part of a beautiful hadeeth: “…And He (i.e. Allaah) dislikes gossip for you…” [Saheeh al-Bukhari, 2231]

Al-Hafidh ibn Hajar رحمه الله تعالى said: “With regard to the words ‘and He dislikes gossip [qeela wa qaala (lit. “it was said and he said”)] for you’, al-Muhibb al-Tabari said, there are three points of view as to the meaning of this hadeeth:

i – That it indicates that it is makrooh to speak too much, because it leads to mistakes.

ii – That it refers to wanting to pass on what people say and looking for that in order to tell others of it, so that one can say, “So and so said such and such, and Such and such was said…” The prohibition on this is either a rebuke for doing too much of it or it refers to a particular type of talk, which the person spoken of dislikes to have mentioned.

iii – That it refers to narrating differences of opinion concerning religious matters, such as saying, “This one said such and such and that one said such and such.” – The reason why this is disliked is that speaking of such matters may lead to mistakes. This applies especially to those who transmit such views without verifying them, merely imitating those whom they hear from without exercising any caution. I say: this is supported by the saheeh hadeeth, “It is enough sin for a man to speak of everything that he hears.”

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8. It was narrated that Abu Qalaabah said: Abu Mas’ood said to Abu ‘Abd-Allah, or Abu ‘Abd-Allah said to Abu Mas’ood: What did you hear the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم say about saying “they say…?” He said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم say:

بئس مطية الرجل زعموا

‘How evil (it is) for a man to claim (say), ‘They say…'” [Abu Da’wud, 4972 – graded as saheeh by Ibn Hajar, An-Nawawi, Ajluni, Ahmad Shakir, Al-Albani, Al-Wadi’ (Muqil) and others – (see Silsilah as-Saheehah, 866)]

7. Al-‘Azeemabadi رحمه الله تعالى said: “This means, it is a bad way to reach one’s objective, by saying, ‘they say…’ – Saying ‘they say…’ is akin to conjecture, i.e. the worst habit of a man is to use the phrase ‘they say’ to serve his purposes, therefore he tells of something, merely repeating what others have said without verifying it, and thus he transmits lies … this was the view of al-Manawi… Al-Khatabi said:

المراد التهمة ومحل التحذير، والنهي إنما هو عن التهمة التي لا سبب لها يوجبها، كمن اتهم بالفاحشة ولم يظهر عليه ما يقتضي ذلك

8. And from the rest of the original hadeeth (above), the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم continued with mighty words of guidance:

“…Do not spy or pry. Do not be rivals nor envy one another. Do not cut one another off nor show enmity to one another. Do not hate one another nor envy one another. Be slaves of Allaah, brothers. Be slaves of Allaah, brothers, as you have been commanded to be. The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not wrong him nor disappoint him nor despise him. Taqwah is here” and he pointed to his chest. “It is enough evil for a man that he should despise his Muslim brother. The blood, honour and property of every Muslim is sacred to another Muslim. Allaah does not look at your bodies nor your forms, but He looks at your hearts and your actions.”

9. Being ever-mindful of time, we should therefore be competing with each other towards virtue and goodness as Allaah has Commanded of us; and helping each other in birr and taqwah and not in sin and transgression. Unnecessarily inflicting trials and penalties of conjecture upon each other will continually weaken faith, increase Shaytan’s influence over us and attachment to this world and make one negligent of the Hereafter.

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And Allaah alone is the source of guidance.

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