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Hastiness in Spreading News

  al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Nāṣir al-Saʿdī

Accurately describes the disease of spreading news hastily without proper verification.

bismallah

  

  This is a disciplinary chastisement from Allāh to his servants whose action is unbefitting, and it is improper for them that when an affair comes to them from the important affairs that contain benefits for the common-folk, that which is connected to the safety and security of the believers, or a matter of fear that involves a calamity about to befall them; they must confirm it and not to hastily spread the news.
 

Allāh the Exalted said:

And when there comes to them a matter concerning public safety or fear, they make it known amongst the people.  If they had only referred it back to the Messenger, or to those who have authority over them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them directly.  And had it not been for the excellence and mercy of Allāh over you, you would have followed Shayṭān, except a few of you.
[Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:83] 
 


Al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Nāṣir al-Saʿdī (d.1376H) – raḥimahullāh – said in explanation of this āyah:

“This is a disciplinary chastisement from Allāh to his servants whose action is unbefitting, and it is improper for them that when an affair comes to them from the important affairs that contain benefits for the common-folk, that which is connected to the safety and security of the Believers, or a matter of fear that involves a calamity about to befall them; they must confirm it and not to hastily spread the news.  Rather, they must return it to the Messenger and to the ruler from amongst them, the people of thought, knowledge, sincerity, intellect, and self-restraint, those who know the affairs and who know the benefits and their opposites.  So if they see a benefit in reporting that and spreading it, and they see in it happiness for the Believers and a safeguard against their enemies, then they must do that.  However, if they do not see a benefit in it, or if they see that there is more harm in it than benefit, they must not spread it.  So due to this, Allāh said, “the proper investigators would have understood it from them directly.”  That is to say, that they extract it with their correct judgement and view and rightly guided knowledge.  So in this is a proof for the fundamental principle of civility, and it states that if an affair reaches you from the affairs that are in need of being returned to those who can handle it, and not to put oneself in front of them.  So this is closer to the correct path and more adequate for security from error.

So in this is a prohibition from hastiness and speed in spreading the affairs so that they may become generally accepted.  Rather, the matter must be reflected upon before speaking about it.  It must be looked into and it must be asked whether there is benefit in it, if so, then it must be presented to the people, and if not, then it must be refrained from.  Then Allāh the Exalted says, “And had it not been for the excellence and mercy of Allāh over you.”  That refers to your success and manners and learning that which you did not know.

You would have followed Shayṭān, except a few of you,” because mankind follows the oppressor out of ignorance, so he does not command himself, except with evil.  However, when he comes to his Lord and holds firmly to Him and strives hard in that, his Lord soothes him and grants him all goodness, and He safeguards him from the rejected Shayṭān.” [1]

Endnotes:

[1] Tayseerul-Kareemir-Raḥmān fī Tafsīril-Mannaan (2/54-55)

Translated by Maaz Qureshi 

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