Alhamduli’Allahi Rabbil-‘Aalameen wa-Salaatu wa-Salaamu ‘alaa Ashrafil-Anbiyaa-e-wal-Mursaleen, wa ba’d.
Assalaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
The Farmer, the Imam and Chicken Feathers
This is a story about Abdul, a farmer who once unthinkingly spread tales slandering his friend. But later found the rumours to be false and hoped to make amends for the smut he had smeared on his friend’s reputation.
He sought the counsel of an Imam, a religious man, esteemed and wise, who heard the farmer’s story through and felt he must advise.
The kind Imam said: “If you would have a mind again at peace, I have a plan whereby you may from trouble find release. Go fill a bag with chicken down (feathers) and to each dooryard go and lay one fluffy feather where the streams of gossip flow.
Abdul did as he was told and to the Imam returned. Elated that his penance was a thing so quickly earned.
“Not yet,” the old Imam said sternly, “Take up your bag once more and gather up the feathers that you placed at every door.”
Abdul, eager to atone, went hastening to obey, no feathers met his sight, the wind had blown them all away!!!
In her article “Smearing the Smut,” Michelle Al-Nasr wrote the following: – quote:
“Let us be realistic, everyone has gossiped to some extent. Not many can claim perfection in this department. But some of us, more than others – and you know who you are – make it a career to smear smut about everyone and to everyone.
There is a difference between idle talk and gossiping; and a big difference between gossiping and spreading smut. So first, let us sort out the who’s who in the group of the gap.
Different people, of course, fall into different categories. There are The Babblers: who like only to hear themselves talk, and never let you get a word in edgewise. I tend to be one of these types, Allah help me! Then, there are The What-ifs: people who like to contemplate what could have been. Next, there are The Reminiscers: people who like to talk about stuff that already happened over and over. You also have The Optimists and The Pessimists: their names are pretty self-explanatory. Finally, you have the last two categories, namely and by far the worst of the bunch: The Gossipmongers and The Smutsmearers.
In order to understand where people are coming from, even when looking to our own actions, we have to begin by asking the question of: why?
Why do people, or do I, hurt others by spreading gossip and slander?
To answer that question, we need to bring about some understanding. It is important to understand that The Gossipmongers gossip to fulfill a need.
Their need covers two reasons:
a) Their need for attention, or,
b) Their need for interest in their lives
That is it, these are the main reasons why people gossip, just something to talk about. Most of all, it makes someone feel important to spread gossip and stories because they are the newsmakers. This all seems harmless enough, that is, if it does not hurt others right? Well, not always and not exactly. Because, by passing on tales of others, you slowly lose your standards and sometimes just slip. Have you ever left a conversation in regret, wishing you had not told some confidential information confided to you?
Many of us have, regrettably so because it is too easy to get wrapped up in the moment. So, if you ever find yourself with The Gossipmongers – whether you are being one or listening to one – what should you do?
We know that the Prophet, Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam taught us that, “Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim). Say something, change the subject, and alter the focus-put the art of interruption into practice. If, for any reason, you can not say something then get up and walk away. You will feel better for it.
Now, let us move on to the last category, The Smutsmearers, These are the worst of the worst. The Smutsmearers make up stories, spread nasty rumors and do not care if they hurt anyone in the process-their ultimate goal is to hurt someone’s feelings.
The Smutsmearers do what they do for one reason only: they hate themselves and lash out at others to make up for their own shortcomings. There is no other reason; it comes from hurt they want to share with others. This way, in their pain, they will not be alone; and they will do anything to take the attention away from themselves so no one will notice their flaws. Take a close look at a certified Smutsmearer and you will not find a happy person, I guarantee it.
If you ever find yourself in this category, you need to take a cold hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you would want to hurt others and spread lies, and also asks why you do not like yourself. Then you need to find a way to make some changes for the better, or it will get worse. So, how do you deal with a Smutsmearer? The answer is simple: you do not.
You do not deal with them at all. You make certain that they are not a part of your circle of friends. Why? Because, if your circle of friends contains one Smutsmearer, you too will one day enter the realm of telling fiendish fables that will inevitably do someone great emotional damage. So, which category of conversation will it be? It all starts and ends with you.” – unquote. (Source: Al Jumu’ah Vol. 14 Issue 12)
An excerpt from the Al-Bayaan magazine, issue #152, p. 138, the author, Badr al-Suhayl wrote the following: – quote: “Many Muslims show a great deal of piety by refraining from eating imported meats, especially tinned meat; they are very cautious about this matter for fear that it may have been slaughtered in a manner that goes against shari’ah. This is a commendable effort, but there are other kinds of meat which are so subtle that even the pious do not detect them and the cautious do not spot them. The reason for that is that the meat which they want to avoid is visible and tangible, nothing is hidden from those who keep watch because the one who eats it will be seen doing so, whilst this is not the case with regard to the other, but both of them are described as eating. Allah says in Surah al-Hujurat 49:12 (interpretation of the meaning):
“Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” (referring to human flesh, i.e., gossip).
Yes, this is what Allah calls it: “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” There is a great deal of evidence to show that it is haraam, to point out how dangerous it is and to demonstrate the abhorrence of being caught indulging in this sin. It was narrated that Ibn Mas’ood said: “We were with the Prophet Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam when a man got up and left. Immediately another man spoke disparagingly of him. The Prophet Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam said to him: ‘Clean between your teeth.’ He asked, ‘Why do I need to clean between my teeth? I have not eaten any meat.’ The Prophet Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘You have eaten your brother’s flesh.’” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani).-unquote.
Al-Hasan Al-Basree (rahimahullaah) said, “Whoever does not guard the slips of their tongue has not understood their Deen.” So, if you find yourself unable to do three things, then you do three (other) things: if you cannot do good, then stop doing evil; if you cannot benefit people, then do not harm them; if you cannot fast, then do not eat the flesh of the people.
If there is one thing that you remember after reading this, let it be the following commandment of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, memorise it and teach it to at least one other person: (the translation of the meaning)
“Not a word does he utter, except there is a sentinel (angel) by him, ready (to record it).” (Surah Qaf 50:18)