Diplomacy in speech

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

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In the hadeeth of Jibreel عليه السلام when he came and sat in front of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and said:

يا محمد أخبرني عن الإسلام

“O Muhammad, inform me about Islam”

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A question arises; why did Jibreel address the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم in this manner? Does this not entail disrespect and was it not from the way of the Bedouin to speak like this?

In his valuable شرح حديث جبريل عليه السلام – Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen رحمه الله تعالى explained that a likely reason for this was to make the Sahabah believe he was indeed a Bedouin (as per the lengthy hadeeth) who had come to “learn” about the Deen. Thus, he did not refer to the Messenger as “Ya Rasoolullaah”, which was the habit and custom of those around the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم

Ibn Uthaymeen also derived from this incident, the permissibility of تورية if a situation demands it – (i.e. [equivocal] speech in which a phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways (i.e. double entendre), to achieve a particular purpose or goal [so long as it was permissible]).

This is exemplified in Ibraheem’s عليه السلام statement to the tyrant king. As the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“…He had come, accompanied by (his wife) Sarah, to a land ruled by a tyrant. She was pleasant (and attractive) from among people, so he said to her: ‘This man is indeed a tyrant. If he comes to know that you are my wife, he will he will take you away from me by force. So, if he asks you, tell him that you are my sister, for indeed you are my sister in Islam, and indeed I know of no other Muslims on Earth except for you and I’.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari, 2217 and Muslim, 2371]

This was not a lie at all, but a mere allusion and ambiguous statement.

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May Allaah grant us wisdom and insight.

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