Undoubtedly at times of tribulation there is a lot of propaganda and excitement, hence the role of rumours.
It is well known that verifying news is required according to sharee’ah, because Allah SWT says in the 6th ayat of Sura Al-Hujaraat:
“O you who believe! If a Faasiq (liar — evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done”
The Prophet SAWS issued a stern warning against passing on all that one hears. The imam referenced a hadith in relation to this in which the Messenger of Allah SAWS said:
“It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears.”
Dear brothers and sisters, rumours have serious consequences on all parts of our society, and we have all come across many problems and disagreements based on rumours that doesn’t have any truth in them.
So what is the correct manners when it comes to dealing with news?
There are two points in relation to this. The first one being that we ought to ponder and deliberate over the news that we have been given.
The Prophet SAWS was reported to have said:
“Deliberation is from Allah and haste is from the Shaytan.”
This is becoming more and more of a challenge in the times in which we live. Most of us have access to social media, whether it be WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. And often we are part of multiple groups in which news is spread quickly.
Often is the case, this is spread without thought. After all, it’s quite easy to share content and it gives us satisfaction to pass on the news to others.
We need to be mindful that this is also a potential trial for us all and that nothing good comes from spreading news that later turns out to be just rumours. Therefore, we ought to think before we pass it on, whether the action is one that may count against us.
The second point we need to implement is that so-called facts or news ought to be verified before we pass it on. As the earlier ayat teaches us, we may be passing on the news with the best of intentions but if the news turns out to be false then we are guilty of adding to the spread of that falsehood and are accountable for it.
Dear brothers and sisters, alongside those who spread unverified news are those people who deliberately spread false news. Even though this practice has always existed, it is magnified in the times in which we live and therefore we need to be more vigilant than ever against becoming part of making false news like these viral.
The consequences of rumours started and spreading can be dire. For example, in the battle of Uhud that there was a rumour started that the Prophet SAWS had been martyred and thus caused great issues amongst the Muslims and could have led to others being martyred as a result.
Equally so, we need to appreciate that rumours have consequences in today’s day and age. Rumours such as the Chinese being directly responsible for the recent outbreak of Coronavirus has led to hate crimes being committed against innocent people all over the world just for looking Chinese. People have been assaulted and hospitalized because of these rumours.
Dear brothers and sisters, even our online communication isn’t without reckoning. Allah SWT reminds us in the 18th ayat of Sura Qaf which translates to:
Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].
And so brothers and sisters, please take care to avoid becoming the tool to spread rumours. Remember, most do not start them, but most are guilty of spreading them on and encouraging the rumour to grow. By remembering the consequences of this in this world and next, we can be mindful that we do not fall into this trap.