حَدِيثٌ : ” كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ كَذِبًا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَ بِكُلِّ مَا سَمِعَ ” ، مسلم في مقدمة صحيحه من حديث شعبة عن خُبيب بن عبد الرحمن عن حفص بن عاصم عن أبي هريرة به مرفوعا
Abū Hurayrah (May Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said, “It is enough of a lie against a man that he should narrate whatever he hears. ” [Muslim]
This article is not about the life, personality, status and achievements of Junaid Jamshed. Those matters can easily be found elsewhere, and those who read my blog would recognise that I prefer dealing with topics which are less mentioned or not at mentioned at all, e.g. the Satanic entity that rules Makkah and al-Madīnah.
Jamshed’s accomplishments are well known and his reward lies with Allāh. What I wish to address are certain observations of Muslim behaviour which came to the fore when he died.
We first verify and we do not narrate everything
I had only read the headline that a PIA aircraft had crashed, when a brother announced that he had received a Whatsapp message from his wife, announcing the death of Junaid Jamshed. I respectfully asked him to withhold spreading such news until it had been verified, on the possibility that the news may not be correct. He agreed, but within a few minutes, again repeatedly announced is news to others. “Fortunately” for him the misfortune proved to be tragically true. I say “fortunately” in that at least he was saved from the sin of spreading false news.
This habit is unfortunately a very common one amongst people who are otherwise religious. The habit of immediately jumping and spreading every item of news is a characteristic of hypocrites, but has infected the believers as well.
وَإِذَا جَاءهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَوْلاَ فَضْلُ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لاَتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلاَّ قَلِيل
And if any news, whether of safety or fear, come unto [the hypocrites], they broadcast it, whereas if they had referred it to the Messenger and such of them as are in authority, those among them who are able to think out the matter would have known it. If it had not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy you would have followed Satan, except a few (of you).[an-Nisā: 83]
A believer refers delicate news to the relevant authority. Consider:
- What if the news had been false, as is with so many broadcasts on social media?
- The emotional trauma upon the close ones of Junaid Jamshed hearing the news from strangers on social media, whereas Islām prescribes delicacy in the way news of death must be conveyed to the family of the deceased. Refer to Amongst the Etiquettes of Islām by Shaykh Abdul Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah. We have become uncouth and unthinking people in our slavery to push buttons without reflection of the consequences.
- The lust to speak without thinking is a spiritual disease which harms oneself and society. Even if the news is true, what is the harm in obeying the below command of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ and letting someone receive the news a bit later?
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه ، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر ، فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت ، ومن كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر ، فليكرم جاره ، ومن كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر ، فليكرم ضيفه رواه البخاري ومسلم
Abū Hurayrah (May Allāh be pleased with him narrated that Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said, “He who believes in Allāh and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent…” [Al-Bukhārī & Muslim]
- A believer guards his tongue or his smartphone and computer button as the case may be in this age. Even true news should not be broadcast simply for the sake of broadcasting. Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said, “It is enough of a lie against a man that he should narrate whatever he hears. ”
A scholar who occupies a responsible position in a well-known Islāmic institute was a student during the time that it was announced that Usāmah bin Lādin had been slain. I did use Twitter at the time, despite him trying to convince me. He then argued that amongst the virtues of Twitter is that a Pakistani witness had been tweeting what he had been seeing even before institutionalised media had broadcast the news. So to him, accepting the news of some unknown man who did not even understand what he was seeing and spreading it without verification, is a virtue. Truly the world has gone insane when the learned regard contravention of Ḥadīth principles as virtue.
Love of Name and Fame
Why do we engage in hasty reporting when such behaviour is clearly contrary to the commands of Allāh and His Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ? Each person’s outlook is different and there may be several motivating factors, but I contend that Riyā and Ḥubbul Jāh (ostentation and love of fame and status) are major motivating factors. Decades ago it was said that everyone will have “15 minutes of fame” as a consequence of the forms of the then new media and technology. So much has social media proliferated, that people now crave their mere 15 seconds of fame. There is just so much information overload and so many platforms, who gets an entire 15 minutes? People are unwilling to pause or even remain silent on a news item which they think that their circle may be unaware of. The anxious desire to spread news and be famous for being the one who did it first, is a sad hankering after the world, and for many, may well be within the ambit of the warning of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :
يقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: ( ما ذئبان جائعان أرسلا في غنم, بأفسد لها من حرص المرء على المال والشرف لدينه )رواه أحمد
“Two hungry wolves set loose amongst goats are not as detrimental to the flock as what a man’s greed for wealth and status [fame] is to his religion.” [Aḥmad]
Another indication of the love of fleeting fame is the amount of people, who during a sad time immediately following the tragedy, took to social media to post photographs (remember that word?) of themselves posing with Junaid Jamshed. That this included scholars amongst their ranks, is a tragedy in itself. I doubt if these people can give a conscious reply as to their motivation, for those who use social media irresponsibly do not think, they just press the button. Subconsciously however, what motivation can there be other than the craving to glean off the fame of Junaid Jamshed. Juristic arguments against unneeded depiction of the human form are simply out-dated cobwebbed thinking to the one who in effect says, “Hey! See who I was buddies with, I too am famous.”
What possible valid reason can there be if ostensibly you are expressing grief? You are so grief stricken that you have time to search, link and post your pic? Are you proving your love? That must be a real flimsy love if you now need pictorial evidence. To who is the message? Junaid? Is he reading your tweets? To his family? Is our social fabric so ruined that mourning families spend their time playing with social media instead of praying for the deceased? If you are indeed so close, surely a more personal avenue exists to communicate with the family. No, the message is to the world, that you too are famous.
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, you will turn back on your heels? He who turns back does no harm to Allah. Soon Allāh will reward the grateful ones. [Āl Imrān: 144]
Upon the demise Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , even such a great personality like Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) was too overwhelmed with grief to think clearly. It took one greater than him, Abū Bakr (may Allāh be pleased with him) to put matters in perspective, by reciting the above Verse.
The good deeds of Junaid Jamshed is a matter of public record and we hope that he receives an excellent reward from the Most Generous. However, the rude silence of Muslim social media, and also formal media, in regards the more than forty other Muslims who had perished in the same incident, is indicative of yet another psychosis many Muslims suffer from – the personality cult. Why is only the famous Muslim deserving of your prayers and comment? I’d rather not say anything further about such people, except that the example is given to us, that we have to learn to contextualise the status of a personality, whilst bearing in mind the facts and what is expected of us. I too have become embroiled in the personality obsession of Muslims. In this week I came across a reposting of an article of mine on another website’s forum. The forum discussion then ensued as to whether I have any standing since my opinion is different from other scholars (none of whom they actually named or referenced). Disagreement is part of Islām. What however disgusted me, was they did not once debate the points I had made. To them, facts of religion are of less significance than personal views and personalities. These are features of a cult, not Islām!
In summary, the social media activity following the PIA crash, brought to light some of the many dimensions of a tool which often irresponsibly used. A Muslim guards his every word or remains silent.