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May 4, 2004
The Evil Within

by Faisal Akhtar

(inspired by a lecture by Abu Yousaf Riyadh-al-Haq)

This past week, I witnessed something rather unfortunate happen to one of my friends. A few of us were sitting at a pizza hut and we had just ordered when this friend of mine received a phone call. After he was done talking, he told us that one his best friends, who is also his roommate, was beaten severely, had all his ribs broken and was in the hospital right now. We all got worried his friend but the worse was yet to come. My friend made a few phone calls and during the course of these phone calls to various people, he also learned that not only did his friend have his ribs broken but he also got hit in the head with a baseball bat. The first person I thought of when I heard this was Nabeel Siddiqi, the Pakistani guy who was hit in the head with baseball bat and died due to his wounds. Another friend present at the gathering exclaimed that such a trauma to the head can be potentially fatal.

My friend was worried about his roommate and as we drove over to his apartment, he frantically made phone calls to people in order to find out where his roommate might be and what kind of condition he was in right now. In the course of these conversation, he found out that his friend did not have his ribs broken, he was not hit in the head with a baseball bat but he simply had had his arm broken. When I heard this, the first thing I said was Alhamdulillah, but then I realized that his roommate had just had his arm broken which was nothing to be happy about but he shared my sentiments. He said “Alhamdulillah, only his arm is broken”. It turns out that first few people who informed him of this, were either playing a joke on him or they simply stretched the truth too far. Whatever the case maybe, my friend became furious at those people who had done this. Whether they intentionally did it or it was hear say, did not matter. What mattered was that those people had put my friend through hell for a few minutes and he was angry. I could hear the fury in his voice. He just wanted to go back to his apartment and give those people who did this a piece of his mind. Just by simple gossip and rumor mongering, my friends peace of heart and security of the mind were destroyed. This gossiping and spreading rumors is, according to Riyad-ul-Haq, the evil within us and our communities.

Peace and security are not just about physical peace. We tend to think that peace is just this that we do not violate the sanctity of Muslims blood and his property. In truth, peace encompasses far more than just physical peace. A Muslims right over another Muslim is not only that we do not shed his blood or steal his wealth but also we speak good of him and think good of him and we say nothing that might hurt or discomfort him. Simple gossiping and spreading rumors can have unimaginable consequences. Take the example of the mother of the believers Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her). I am sure all of you are familiar with the event when the munafiqin accused Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) of adultery. The rumor spread like wildfire throughout Madinah. Many well-intentioned people became guilty of spreading and repeating this disgusting rumor and this horrendous accusation. It took verse of the Quran to be revealed for our mother’s name to be cleared of this charge but by simple rumor mongering, the people of Madinah destroyed the peace of mind of none other than the household of the Messenger of Allah.

In the old days when Islam was still at the initial stages and the Messenger was still alive, this gossip caused a lot of fitnah among the Muslimin. On different occasion, people would hear something and they would start repeating the rumor without first verifying the facts with the Messenger of Allah whether it was good news or bad. If they heard that a Muslim military expedition had scored a victory, they would happily repeat this and find out later to their own dejection and dismay that the it was only a rumor and they were happy for no reason. Sometimes news of a threat reached them and they narrated it to other people causing distress in the whole population only to find out later that no threat exists and they were jumping up and down for no reason.

We become guilty sometimes of spreading such lies and gossip. When was the last time we heard something and we narrated it to another friend of ours with a little bit of “spice” added to it, just to make thing more interesting? By no means am I saying that we tend to stretch the truth too far but what about just a little bit? Maybe you heard somewhere that five people got into a fight but you told your friend it was six. Doesn’t hurt, I mean what is one more person right? This example is just to illustrate because we tend to stretch the truth in far more subtle ways than this. Now that friend tells another friend that not only was it a fight, it was a fist fight and then that friends adds a little of something else and the cycle continues until a rumor is going around that someone died in a gun fight involving a 10 people and all of them have been arrested and charged and the trial date is set.

Such gossiping can destroy the peace and security of an entire community. The brother I mentioned above is a perfect example of someone whose peace was destroyed by such lying. We need to be very careful brothers and sister and not even add an Iota of substance to anything we hear and repeat it to others unless we verify first that it is true from authentic sources. May Allah guide us all to the correct path. Ameen


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Nadia said

Subhanallah! The point is very vaild. Us girls are especially prone to spicy tete-a-tete. We should always remember the hadith that we should only say what is good, and keep silent at all other times. May Allah(swt) help us in gaining control over our tongues, Ameen.

on May 4, 2004 8:39 AM
Wilkin Santana said

I just wanted to tell you that I just read your article entitled "I am a Muslim Woman" (Nasihah, April, 2004) and I feel that I've learned a great deal in terms of the perspective we as Americans hold against Arabs. Your article was excellent, and beautifully written. It carefully touched a lot of great points. I'd recommend you to summit it to the Daily Targum or to the local papers for its re-publication, as I found it to serve the needs of many Americans untouched with the culture of their brothers and sisters who practive your religion and your culture as well. Keep up the great work. In unity,

Wilkin Santana
Class of 2004
LC
Rutgers

on May 4, 2004 6:30 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

Just to clear something up, the wonderful article in Nasihah was not mine, it was written by the author of the column on Hidaya "A Friend at the End of the Pen", Sister Nadia Khan.

on May 4, 2004 7:02 PM
Nadia said

Wilkin, thank you so much for your feedback. I am glad that my article helped in giving an idea especially to outsiders about what a Muslim woman stands for. Such positive responses as yours motivate us all the more in dispelling some of the myths that have come to surround Islam and Muslim today. Your support is really appreciated :)
-Nadia

on May 4, 2004 8:36 PM
Saima said

Masha'Allah, great article. we also need to make sure that if rumors start, that we make all attempts to stop that rumor in its tracks.

on May 4, 2004 11:10 PM
Abu Mushkil said

yea yea, no more gossip guys. AHEM!!

on May 7, 2004 8:56 PM
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