By Mahmoud Andrade Ibrahim
One of the major ills of the American Muslim Community in its use of all of the tools of social technology is the spreading of malicious gossip about other Muslims with the intent to assassinate their character using the ‘ruse’ of providing information as to ‘help’ and ‘safeguard’ the Community of Believers. Allah, Who knows the true intention of every one of His Creation, says that ‘When a report comes to you, look into it carefully lest you harm a people in ignorance and then be sorry for what you have done.’ (49:6).
بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا
A few ayats later, He says and ‘do not let some of you (those with diseased hearts) backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?’ (49-12)
أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا
Social media is both a ‘blessing and a curse’. The blessing, as it concerns the Community of Believers, is that information can be easily deployed to thousands if not millions of people in a matter of a few seconds. The curse is that disinformation, slander, alt facts and malicious lies can also travel along those same pathways at the same rate of speed.
Recently, someone forwarded to me both a Youtube video as well as a written document about a Muslim activist (name not important) that seemed to be intended to disparage the character of this individual in question. Now to be fair, the video was just a panel discussion in which this person did hold controversial views, however, the document that accompanied it was very direct in its name calling and in its repeating hurtful, character damaging accusations, that, to be truthful according to Islam, would require the senders of this information to have either witnessed the acts along with 3 other Muslims, or have participated in these acts themselves with this person in order for this charge to be considered true.
This Muslim activist and author, about whom these accusations were made, in one of his books states very clearly that when he resigned from a particular Muslim global Islamist organization, he became the victim of an enormous smear campaign that included members of his family who had been recruited by him and they subsequently felt betrayed by his departure. We should remember that the brother of Malcolm X , Philbert , went on nation wide television and said and that before and immediately after leaving the Nation of Islam and the teaching of Elijah Muhammad that Malcolm X himself was suffering from mental illness.
The point being made here is that with regard to information about members of our community, prominent or not, the prescription given to us by Allah (may He always be Glorified) is to look carefully into these matters before going ahead and adding to the ‘fitnah’ which only serves the enemies of Allah and His Deen. Using Instagrams or Youtube or Snapchat or even e-mails that are forwarded to others that you personally cannot prove only helps to assassinate a Muslim's character and this is called, not by me but by Allah, flesh-eating !
Just some notes :
- I personally don't believe any of the accusations contained in the e-mails sent to me
- This was exactly what happened during the Cointel Program when false information was spread about individuals and organizations and those activists involved, who received that information did not verify or validate the information or its sources and as a result, lives were lost and the ability for our social and political organizations to function effectively was inhibited or outright decimated.
- It is part of our belief as Ah'lus- Sunnah, to be clear, that just because a Muslim commits sin, even habitually, that does not take him out of the pale of Islam. But the extremists, the various strains of Khawaraj, will tell you that if you don't practice in a certain way, or have a specific religious / political / or kilaafah orientation, or observe a particular sunnah, that this puts a person outside of the pale of Islam. That is all garbage ! However these attitudes are a part of what makes them Khawaraj.
Hey, don't hate the messenger !