The Danger of Rumors and Falsifying Awareness

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Believers, be mindful of Allah, speak in a direct fashion and to good purpose, and He will put your deeds right for you and forgive you your sins. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will truly achieve a great triumph.” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

The conflict between truth and falsehood is as old as the history of humanity, and it will continue until the Day of Judgment. One of the most prominent means of the people of falsehood in their struggle against the people of truth is starting rumors and spreading them among people.

It goes without saying that one’s word, whether written or spoken, is a great responsibility. Rumors are just some words fueled by an ill-hearted person, body or organization from among the evil forces that operate secretly, and then some people transmit them without verification or evidence. These rumors negatively affect minds and souls, spread destructive ideas and corrupt beliefs, make the society experiencing chaos and suspicion, Moreover, people loses trust and the community starts to accuse each other with treachery. This is why the Prophet (PBUH) said, “It is enough falsehood for a man to relate everything he hears.” Thus, if it is a sin to relate every thing you hear, as this incurs punishment in the Hereafter, then what would be the case of a person who relates something he never heard?

Islam has adopted a firm stand against rumors and their makers, considering this action as a bad behavior that goes against the the noble values endorsed by the Islamic law. Islam did so by ordering its followers to stop talking about any matter that may spread sedition or provoke disturbances in society. Islam also orders its followers to be truthful and to ascearrtin the authneticity of any news they hear, lest they may distort the honor of people or cause corruption in the society. The Almighty Allah said, “O you who beleive! Fear Allah and be among the Truthful” He, the Most High, also said, “One does not utter a single word without an ever-present watcher,” and said, “Do not follow blindly what you do not know to be true: ears, eyes, and heart, you will be questioned about all these.”  In the Hadith reported by Mu’adh, after te Prophet (PBUH) showed to Mu’adh the pillars of Islam, he said, “Shall I not inform you of the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak?” I said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He (PBUH) said, “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihad.” Then he (PBUH) said, “Shall I not tell you of the foundation of all of that?” I said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” So he took hold of his tongue and said, “Restrain this.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah, will we be taken to account for what we say with it?” He (PBUH) said, “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Muadh! Is there anything that throws people into the Hellfire upon their faces — or: on their noses — except the harvests of their tongues?”

Spreading rumors is the behavior of hypocrites to reach their goals and objectives in destabilizing security, weaking the unity of the country, destroying its economy, and instilling frustration, despair and pessimism in the hearts of citizens in general and youth in particular. The Holy Quran has criticized such persons as the Almighty Allah said, “If the hypocrites, the sick at heart, and those who spread lies in the city do not desist, We shall rouse you [Prophet] against them, and then they will only be your neighbours in this city for a short while.”

A Rumor was one of the means of war used against the Prophet (PBUH)  by the Polytheists who used to spread rumors to attack his mission and defame his image. Sometimes they said that the Prophet was a sorcerer as the Qur’an reported, “They say, ‘He is just a lying sorcerer’.” Another time they falsely claimed that he was a mad person, as the Qur’an reported, “And said, ‘Are we to forsake our gods for a mad poet?” And sometimes they said he was a soothsayer. So, the Qur’an refuted their claims saying, “This [Quran] is the speech of an honoured Messenger, not the words of a poet- how little you believe!- nor the words of a soothsayer- how little you reflect! This [Quran] is a message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds.”

In the Battle of Uhud, the polytheists claimed that the Prophet was killed, in order to divide Muslims and weaken them. As a result, Muslims were shaken and troubled, and some of them fled while some others left their weapons, though some of them stood beside the Prophet (PBUH).

Also, in the Battle of Hamra Al-Asad, the polytheists spread a rumor that Quraysh had prepared a large army to attack Medina to fight the Prophet (PBUH). Muslims, on the contrary, stood firm against these rumor, So the Almighty Allah praised them saying, “Those whose faith only increased when people said, ‘Fear your enemy: they have amassed a great army against you,’ and who replied, ‘Allah is enough for us: He is the best Protector,’ They returned with grace and bounty from Allah; no harm befell them. They pursued Allah’s good pleasure. Allah’s favour is great indeed.”

Also, in the Battle of Hunayn, when the disbelievers spread a rumor that the Prophet (PBUH) was killed, he himself refuted this by proclaiming “I am the Prophet (PBUH) undoubtedly; I am the son of `Abdul Muttalib.”

No doubt that spreading rumors is very dangerous as it may lead to killing people and causing disorders. A good example here to quote is the story of the killoing of Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan.  The criminals surrounded his house because of the rumors spread by the Jewish Abdullah Ibn Sabaa. They even prevented him from drinking water from a well that he had bought himself.  Naela, Othman’s wife, said: on the day before Othman’s killed, he was fasting. When it was the time of breaking fasting, he asked them for fresh water but they refused to give it to him, so he did not break his fasting. When it was the time of Suhur, some neighbors brought us water, and I gave it to him, but he said he would fast the next day. He added, “I saw the Prophet (PBUH) with fresh water, so they gave me a cup of water, and said, “Drink”, so I drank till I quenched my thirsty. Then the Prophet said, “People will outnumber you. If you fight them, you will win. And if you stopped fighting, you would have your breakfast with us.” Then, the criminals entered on that day and killed him).

In our time, conditions have changed. This malicious conduct has taken different forms and multiple forms due to the world’s rapid development in the means of communication and technology. Spreading rumors became easier, more widespread and more influential. Rumors even became a means of wars which are no longer of one dimension, i.e. it is no longer a pure military, security, or even intelligence encounter in the traditional concept of the old intelligence systems. Methods of warfare have evolved in terms of the method of using the weapon of rumors and falsifying awareness. These matter are now a subject of training by some evil parties. They employ electronic groups, use the means of political, economic and psychological pressure, attempt to provoke peoples against their rulers, distort the images of symbols and national gains, and underestimate all achievements. Terrorist groups ally with each other to penetrate institutions, and provoke divisions with a deliberate and unprecedented mechanism, along with the deliberate recruitment of information and the recruitment of some modern means of communication. They employ the tone of people’s needs and immediate interests that some people may not be able to live without. Moreover, they work to undermine people’s will, defame rulers, and shed doubts on national scholars, intellectuals and thinkers, support enemies, and send threatening messages for those who adhere to their principles loyalty to their nation.

There is no doubt that standing firm in the face of all these attempts requires a solid faith and patriotism, and unlimited confidence in Allah. Many people may underestimate the seriousness of sharing some news, statistics, or stories without verifying their authenticity. By doing so, a person may be participating in spreading seditions. An untrue word may be the cause of punishment on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.”  (Recorded by Al-Bukhari). 

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you

 All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be him, his family and companions.

Muslim brothers,

Islam has stated a wise approach to protect society from rumors. The most important features of this approach are:

* The necessity to ascertain the authenticity of any news. Allah said, “Believers, if a troublemaker brings you news, check it first, in case you wrong others unwittingly and later regret what you have done.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Deliberation comes from Allah and Haste comes from Satan.” In another Hadith he (PBUH) said, “Deliberation should be in everything except in the actions of the next world.”

 * The avoidance of narrating rumors via any means of audio, video or text communication, as this leads to spreading them. Allah said, “That you took it up with your tongues, and say with your mouths things you did not know [to be true], thinking it was trivial, but to God, it was very serious.” and The Prophet said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent.”  

 * Strengthening cohesion between the citizens of one nation and the necessity to think well of people, and to avoid accusing others. The Almighty Allah says, “When you heard the lie, why did believing men and women not think well of their own people and declare, ‘This is obviously a lie’?”  A Muslim is commanded to think well of other people and to understand their actions as good actions. Thinking bad of others is a deadly disease that leads to the disruption of life, spreading hate. This is why the Prophet (PBUH) warned against it. He (PBUH) said, “Beware of suspicion, for it is the worst of false tales and don’t look for the other’s faults and don’t spy and don’t hate each other, and don’t desert (cut your relations with) one another O Allah’s slaves, be brothers!”

* Seeking the help of specialists to identify facts, and avoiding rush judgments. The Almighty Allah said describing hypocrites, “Whenever news of any matter comes to them, whether concerning peace or war, they spread it about; if they referred it to the Messenger and those in authority among them, those seeking its meaning would have found it out from them. If it were not for Allah’s bounty and mercy towards you, you would almost all have followed Satan.” That is they work secretly to undermine the security and stability of Medina. If they heard any news about the security of Muslims, they used to spread them with the intention of spreading panic, anxiety and confusion.

So, let every believer who is loyal to his country encounter these rumors, and refute them. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who defends the honour of his (Muslim) brother, Allah will secure his face against the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.” We should know that one’s word is a responsibility that he will be held accountable for on the Day of Resurrection. .

Let us all realize that our enemies have taken the wars of the fourth and fifth generation, the war of rumors and the distorting national achievements and symbols, as a way to defeat our counties, weaken them, or divide them, to achieve their purposes and objectives. We have to realize that we are facing a fierce war that take rumors as a fuel. So, we have to ascertain the authenticity of any news we hear. We have to trust ourselves, our armed forces and police. We should not listen to the enemies of our nation, or those who work to harm us, undermine our morale, or think to frustrate us and instill a spirit of despair among us. This requires us to immune our youth and our society with true awareness and understand the magnitude of the challenges facing us. In addition, we have to contribute to solving these challenges.  

We Ask Allah to our perfect our morals and save Egypt, and guide us to whatever He Loves and accepts.

O Allah, save Egypt and its people from every evil and bad matter!