Prayer Time

  |      |      |   The Message of Islam:

All thanks are due and belong to Allah. It is of a Muslim to get concentrated on himself and not to poke his nose into the affairs of others. This would generally grant such a person high morals devoid of petty mistakes because he would have no more time to think of others let alone nursing evil thoughts. 

The prophet (peace be upon him) has prohibited spying into the life of others and their defects. This is to make a Muslim indulge in only what will benefit him positively. He said:

[يَا مَعْشَرَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِلِسَانِهِ وَلَمْ يَدْخُلِ الإِيمَانُ قَلْبَهُ لاَ تَغْتَابُوا الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُوا عَوْرَاتِهِمْ فَإِنَّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ عَوْرَاتِهِمْ يَتَّبِعِ اللَّهُ عَوْرَتَهُ وَمَنْ يَتَّبِعِ اللَّهُ عَوْرَتَهُ يَفْضَحْهُ فِي بَيْتِهِ].

[O community of people, who believed by their tongue, and belief did not enter their hearts, do not back-bite Muslims, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, He disgraces him in his house] (Sunan Abi Dawud 4880, and classed as Hasan Sahih  by Al-Albani).

The fact is that it is only after a person must have seen himself of being pious and then looking at others as being sinful or less than him in piety that he starts nursing ill thoughts about them. This can even get worse to the extent of thinking evil about his wife, children and brothers. Allah says:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ} (الحجرات:12).

{O you who believed! Avoid much (negative) assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And thus, fear Allah. Indeed Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful} (Qur'an 49: 12).

If such ill thought comes to the mind of a Muslim and he accepts it as being true without an explicit proof for it, then he has committed sin and would be punished for it by Allah. But if he fights his thoughts against it and refuses to accept it as true, then he has no sin over it.

Imam Nawawi said: "Note that entertaining evil thoughts about people is a sin, just as saying evil about people is a sin. So is saying it to yourself too. Allah has said:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ} (الحجرات:12).

{O you who believe! Avoid much (negative) assumption} (Qur'an 49:12).

In Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, it is reported in the hadith of Abu Hurairah that the prophet (PBUH) said:

[إياكم والظن، فإن الظن أكذب الحديث].

[Beware of (negative) assumption! Indeed, (negative) assumption is the worst of lies] (Sahih Al-Bukhari5143, and Sahih Muslim 2563).

So many ahadith of the prophet (PBUH) support this statement. The meaning referred to herein is when the mind is made up and convinced on such an issue. But if mere thoughts upon which the mind is not made yet or the person does not continue with, such is forgiven as agreed by all the recognized scholars.

This is what is referred to in the authentic hadith that says:

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَجَاوَزَ عَنْ أُمَّتِي مَا حَدَّثَتْ بِهِ أَنْفُسَهَا، مَا لَمْ تَعْمَلْ أَوْ تَتَكَلَّمْ].

[Verily, Allah has forgiven my nation such thoughts that occur to them which they did not act upon or speak out] (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 5269).

The scholars said that such are the thoughts that are not stable in the minds no matter what they may be. Even if it is a thought of disbelief which the person discarded and never acted upon it, such is not a disbeliever and has no sin on him. The reason for the forgiveness is the impossibility of avoiding it. But the avoidable making up of the mind upon it and its continuity is what has been forbidden." (Al-Athkar, p.344-346).

Nonetheless, when clear and explicit evidence are available for the evil deeds of a Muslim and the general benefit entails that the public be warned against such a person, then there is no harm in warning the people, although every situation should be treated accordingly.

Ibn Uthaymeen said:"It is not all (negative) thoughts that is sin. Such thoughts that are built upon proofs are not sin, but those built upon mere assumption are not allowed. If, for instance, a man is seen with a strange woman, and this man is known for his uprightness, then it is not enough to think evil of this man. But in a case where Islamically allowed links are available, then there is no harm in such thoughts. The scholars have said that "it is forbidden to have ill thoughts about an upright Muslim" (Islamic Fatwas, 4/537).

However, we hereby caution our brothers and sisters from allowing this door of permissible links to make way for Shaytan into them. One is expected to fight against all such negative thoughts as much as possible. Here are some guidelines to cure this ailment of negative assumption:

1- One should get focused on his/her own defect and on correcting them. When one knows his defects, he gets humbled before Allah and mankind. Thus he sees defect in himself and not in others.  

2- Recalling the verses of the Qur'an and ahadith of the prophet (peace be upon him) that reflect on the danger of this matter and the grave punishment for it.

3- One should always look at the good aspects in others instead of the bad sides. This is because everyone has both good and bad aspects. It is worthwhile that we base our judgment on justice as Allah called for. There is no one without both good and evil aspects in him even with the good aspect sometimes outweighing the evil.

Imam Ghazzali said: "Whenever evil assumption comes to your mind, it is from Shaytan. You have to disregard it because Shaytan is the worst of evil-doers. Allah said:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ} (الحجرات:6).

{O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate it, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful} (Quran 49:6).

It is impermissible to concord to Iblis (Satan). Even if there be links to an evil, consider the opposite and do not take to ill thought.

Some manifestations of ill thoughts is to find your mind changed with the thought from what it used to be towards such a person, you get pissed up with him and even refuse to consider him or give him benefit of doubt. Satan can get to one from where he least expected. He can come to him and make it look as if: this is out of your intelligence and quick knowledge of what he really is; you are a believer and believers see with the light of Allah and so on.

These are nothing but the dark evil plans of Satan in implementation. Even if the one informing you of such is known to be upright, do not take to his words and do not deny his words either. This will keep you from falling into the evil of both ends. Whenever an evil thought comes to your mind about a Muslim, try to struggle against it and increase your regards and respect for him. This hurts Satan so badly that he will not continue coming to you with such thought again. Even if you have explicit proof for the misconduct and evil side of a Muslim, go advise him in secret and do not expose him. Never you allow yourself to be beguiled by Satan into backbiting him. If you succeed in rendering him some advice, do not see yourself better than him and envisage some kind of respect from him for having knowledge of his defects. Instead, you should feel sad for him as you hope he gets out of sin just as if you were the one in his shoes, wishing sincerely that his leaving such a sin without your advice would be better than he doing it after your advice".(Al-Athkar by Imam Nawawi, p.345).

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