“To dishonour a Muslim is tantamount to taking the highest form of usury.”
Numerous Ahaadeeth in various different wordings have been reported on this subject. Some of these have already been quoted on previous pages. It is a serious affair. But for us it seems like an easy matter. For a very minor thing or at times merely on suspicion, we have no qualms about defaming, deriding and dishonouring others. In the eyes of Allah this dishonouring and disrespectful abuse of a Muslim is such an evil deed that it has been compared with the worst form of usury. Just imagine! There is not only one Hadeeth stating this, but many. In one Hadeeth it is said: “The worst form of usury is to degrade a Muslim over another with abuse.” (Jami)
That means to deride the dignity of one so that the othcr may be enhanced.
Take a thoughtful look at the number of parties that have sprung up amongst us today. Look with fairness at these parties-political and non-political.
Then see how many of the rank and file members of these parties shower abuse upon the leaders of opposing parties – whether those leaders are Ulema or not. You will see them abusing and degrading those leaders simply with the object of destroying their reputation, dignity and standing with the public, so that the dignity and position of their own party be advanced.
The most amazing thing in this whole situation is that everyone involved consider this a bad thing and does not refrain from saying so. They even complain against the abuses thrown by the other side, but at the same time they do not search in their own midst and fail to see and hear the deeds and words of abuse from their own followers.
“They do not with honesty admit that this is a crime committed even in their own backyards.”
It reminds us of the Hadeeth of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
“Some among you notice the mote in the eye of his brother and sees not the beam in his own eyes.”
Listen to me and listen attentively! This is a serious matter! Degrading and abusing a Muslim is a matter most severe in the eyes of Allah. Great and grave warnings have been given against such things. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “To attack the honour of a Muslim without right is the worst form of usury.” (Jami)
“Without right” in this Hadeeth means that in the cases where the Shariat gave permission, it is permissible. And in cases where the Shariat did not give permission, it is considered to be “without right.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said: “The simplest form of usury is tantamount to committing incest with one‟s own mother and the worst form of usury is to attack the reputation and honour of a Muslim.” (Jami)
One Hadeeth states that there are seventy-two grades of usury. The lightest of these is similar in sin to having committed fornication with ones own mother, and the worst form of it is the dishonouring of a Muslim.
Another Hadeeth says that to degrade and abuse a Muslim is one of the great sins and to utter two abusive words after having been sworn at once, is also a major sin. (Jami)
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said: “When my Ummat shall begin to swear at each other (with abusive words) it will become lowered in the sight of Allah.” (Risalah-Tableegh)
So much was Rasulullah (Saliallahu Alayhi Wasallam)‟s concern in this respect that he even commanded that the (minor) slips and faults of the elders be overlooked. Hence he is reported to have said: “Overlook the lapses of the men of status, except in the case of hudood.”
Here we are commanded to overlook the genuine faults of such men. However as for the hudood, i.e. those cases where they are guilty of such crimes as fornication, adultery, theft, where some form of corporal punishment has to be meted out after proper investigation and proof, no one should receive any preferential treatment. On the other hand, it is not permissible, merely on the basis of suspicion and conjecture in the absence of any solid, legally acceptable proof, to accuse anyone. In Surah Noor, it is clearly stated that, in the case of adultery, if the accuser does not come forth with four eyewitnesses, then, according ó Islamic Canon Law of Evidence, the accusation is considered to be unfounied and thus false. That is the Quran. But let us look at ourselves. When we harbour within ourselves personal animosity against anyone, then according to our own liking we can get the dirtiest cartoon against him. Whatever evil we want to write about him we can search for. To call this “enemy” of ours an adulterer or a drunkard is nothing in our eye.
Look at what the the Shariat says: If one cannot bring forth four eye-witnesses of someone‟s having committed adultery, the accuser should be beaten eighty times as punishment. But as for us, we do not even bother about witnesses when we want to accuse. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Sometimc Shaytaan also appears in human form to spread lies. The congregation hears it and disperses to all corners spreading the same lie, telling each other “I have heard this story from a certain man. I do not know his name but will be able to recognise his face.” (Mishkat, Muslim)
Thus, one should be careful. It is a great injustice to believe the subject matter of any story after having heard it from an unknown person in some gathering. It is wrong to believe such things until such time that according to the Islamic law of evidence such a story (and the telling thereof) has been tested. It is a completely different matter to take the precautionary measure to avoid contact with such an accused. But to pass judgement on him (without verification) is wrong.
Please understand this well. To remain aloof from such an accused or to expel him from your circle is feasible as a precautionary measure, for the sake of proper administration and for political reasor1. But when it comes to an actual charge against him legal proof is required. We know that such supposed allegations are often invented individually by someone or collectively (and purposefully) by some party to degrade the accused. It is often done out of envy and jealousy because one does not want to see the other making any progress.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Malice and jealousy devour good deeds as fire devours fuel.” (Jami)