By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan Rimlawi
Allah says in His Glorious Book “Neither obey thou each feeble oath-monger. Detractor, spreader broad of slanders.Hinderer of the good, transgressor, malefactor.” (68:10-12)
He also says: “whoso intervenes in a good cause will have the reward thereof, and whoso intervenes in an evil cause will bear the consequence thereof. Allah oversees all things”. (4:85).
In these two Ayas, Allah (s.w.t) wishes to warn us against certain types of people whose company might result in troubles in the life of the individual as well as the community. Do not obey the oath-monger, the man who always swears by God, which implies that he does not respect Allah, since respecting your Creator means that you ought to glorify Him and distance Him from your daily marginal affairs. You should not swear by God except when absolutely necessary, or in situations of imminent danger, that is if you are asked to swear to save yourself. Imam Zien Al-Abideen (a.s.) was asked to swear when a woman claimed to a judge that he owes her 200 golden Dinars. He refused to swear and asked his son, Imam Al-Baqir(a.s), to pay the money.
Imam Al-Baqir(a.s), was surprised and asked his father “Are not you saying the truth, father?”
The Imam answered: “Yes, but Allah is far more glorious to swear by Him, even if it were truthful.”
The Imam, thus, would not swear by God, even when he is saying the truth, and we now see that those who sell their goods are prepared to swear readily, although they know that they are not truthful.
Those who do so are mean; they are slanderers who create differences among people, and spread hatred in the community. Allah, orders us not to obey such people: when you meet somebody who swears a lot, who does not mind talking about the defects of others and even insults them, you should not trust or befriend him.
The second verse tells us that people are responsible for their acts. If you try to reconcile between two people or intercede in a good cause then you will be rewarded, but if you intercede in a bad cause you would be punished for the sin you have committed.
In this meeting, we are going to take some examples, the most dangerous of which is when you tell an oppressive and unjust ruler what you know about a fellow believer, which might lead to his execution, imprisonment or paying a fine. This is usually the job of intelligence agencies whether those of the arrogant powers like the CIA and the Mossad or those of the oppressive regimes; such as attitude is called informing.
The Messenger (p.) says:“The worst of men is the triangular, the one who informs against his brother to the ruler -the unjust ruler whether a state or an individual- for he would be destroying himself- as a result of his sin, destroying his brothers and destroying the ruler” because he would be preparing the circumstances for him to sin.
Someone came to Imam Ali (a.s.) to inform against a fellow believer, The Imam (a.s.) told him: “If you are honest we will hate you, because we do not encourage such an act, and if you are lying we will punish you…” He also said “the worst kind of truthfulness is slander”. It might be true, but you should not say everything that is truthful if it hurts a believer. Imam As-Sadiq (a.s) says: “Do not slander for it plants hatred in the hearts of men”.
Imam Ali warns against hasting to believe an informer, even if he pretends to have your best interests in heart. The Messenger (p.) says: “A slanderer does not enter heaven: for slandering spoils all his other good deeds and acts of worship”.
He also said: “Slander and hatred do not meet in the heart of a Muslim”.
We understand from these sayings that Allah wants the Muslim community to be one whose members love, help and protect one another. Anyone who slanders will be undermining the lives of his brothers, and he is responsible for all the consequences of his deed.
In this respect, it is said that on the Day of Judgment a bottle of blood will be brought to the slanderer, and he will be told: this is your portion of the blood of the person you slandered about, for although he did not kill him his information against him to the unjust ruler, brought death upon him. Thus, the slanderer became a partner in the crime.
Therefore, we have to be pious, and fear Allah in what we say, for our words might create hatred and lead to unjust killing. It might even destabilize the whole community.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.