In the name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.
The most truthful of speech is the speech of Allah (exalted is He) and then after it the speech of our master Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He is the one who said:
“Oh you who believe! If a sinful person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become regretful for what you have done” (49:6).
“Oh you who believe! Believers, avoid making too many assumptions, some assumptions are sinful” (49:12).
Article 10 of the Human Rights Act states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by a public authority and regardless of frontiers.” Naturally defamation, slander, threats, insults, incitement to hatred, incitement to terrorism etc. are excluded from this right. Due to living in an online age of copy/paste and forwarding where information is widespread many of us fall into the trap of not verifying information before passing it on to others. Even worse is that people are quick to believe the information even if it contains allegations, defamation, or slander regarding the third party. The beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set the standard for the acceptance of information when the rights of others are involved when he said: “Proof is incumbent upon the claimant and an oath is incumbent upon the accused” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi al-Kubra 252/10, Muslim 1711) meaning that when an allegation is made reliable witnesses (not The Sun, The Daily Mail, Facebook, and Twitter) need to be brought forward, even if the accused is your own worst enemy. When I first accepted Islam there was a widespread rumour that the American astronaut Neil Armstrong heard the adhan on moon and accepted Islam on his return to earth, almost every Muslim I spoke to would accept it as fact without it being based on a single thread of evidence! Neil Armstrong repeatedly refuted the claims later on and it is now known as a popular hoax.
This is just one of many including Pepsi containing pig’s blood, a girl turning into fish, the Earth being flat, 9/11 being carried out by Jews and other things that go beyond the realm of rational thought and logic.
Another point of consideration is that confession is considered as a proof in the Shariah, Allah says:
“You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves” (4:135)
When the Boston bombings occurred, the mother of the bombers refused to believe that her innocent sons had committed any crime the younger son has confessed to doing it and Allah knows best if she has changed her mind. Al Qaeda and Bin Laden repeatedly confessed to 9/11 and praised the bombers labelling them martyrs. If someone has confessed to a crime then there is no need for us to go into detail and create elaborate conspiracy theories, this is opposed to the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) we have only been commanded to judge according to the apparent situation of affairs, as for hidden or obscure matters then proof needs to be brought forward otherwise we’re speculating in areas of doubt “But doubt can be of no value at all against the Truth” (10:36) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wasn’t a conspiracy theorist. We need to stop taking part in the spreading of lies and doubtful information.
On a final note the ulema of hadith have set standards for accepting the narrations. The great jurist and hadith master Al-Imam al-Nawawi said (May Allah have mercy upon him): “The sound narration is that which has a connected chain via transmission by an upright meticulous person from one like him and it is not abnormal or defective” (Irshad Tullab al-Haqa’iq) A quick moment’s reflection will lead you to the realisation that the majority of information we take from the internet and others fails to meet the above-mentioned criteria from many aspects. The sublime genius and jurist Al-Imam al-Shafi’i said:
“All sciences other than the Quran are a distraction
Except hadith and jurisprudence of the religion
Knowledge is what contains ‘He said: He narrated to us’
And everything else is the insinuations of devils”
(Diwan al-Imam al-Shafi’i)
Please pass this message on to 10 others lest you are struck by lightning, your house caves in on you causing you to lose all of your possessions, and the angels curse you until the end of time causing you to enter into the Hellfire (just kidding).
26 Rajab 1434