Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Riyad as-Salihin - On what is permitted in talking about people Hadith

Chapter: On what is permitted in
talking about people


Know that talking about people is permitted for a sound legal
reason which can only be realised by doing that. There are six reasons for
which it is allowed:

1. Being a victim of injustice. The person who has been wronged is
permitted to complain about that to the ruler or qadi or others in authority
or those who have the power to rectify the injustice. He says, "So-and-so has
wronged me."

2. Seeking help to alter something objectionable or to return someone who
disobeys Allah to the correct path. He says to the one he hopes will remove
what is objectionable (munkar), "So-and-so is doing such-and-such, so
restrain him from it. That is allowed if his aim is to remove that
objectionable. Otherwise it is forbidden.

3. Asking for a fatwa. He says to the mufti, "My father (brother, spouse or
so-and-so) has wronged me by such-and-such. Can he do that? How can I be saved
from it and obtain my right and remove the injustice?" This is permitted as it
is legal argument, but it is better to be more circumspect and say, "What do
you say about a man, person or spouse who does such-and-such?" Then he will
obtain what he desires without mentioning him specifically, although it is
nonetheless permitted to mention him specifically.

4. Warning the Muslims about evil and advising them. There are various
forms of that. Part of that is invalidating the testimony of witnesses and
transmitters. That is permitted by consensus. Indeed, it is mandatory because
of need. Another instance is consultation about someone as a potential in-law,
partner, keeper of a deposit or employee, or the like, or neighbour. Then the
one consulted must not conceal his state and must mention his bad qualities
with the aim of giving good advice. Another case is when someone sees someone
learning fiqh frequenting an innovator or impious person to study with them
and he fears that the student of fiqh will be harmed by that. Then he must
give him good advice by explaining the person's situation, always provided
that his intention is to give advice. This is something in which it is
possible to err and the speaker may be moved by envy to do that and Shaytan
confuses the matter for him so that he imagines that it is good advice.
Another case is when someone has guardianship which he does not administer
properly, either because he does not deal properly with it, or is impious or
neglectful or the like. Then it is obliged to mention that to the one with
general authority so that he can remove it and appoint someone who will look
after it properly, or in order that he knows that about him so that he can
deal with him appropriately and not be deceived by him.

5. When someone is open about his impiety or innovation, like someone who
drinks wine openly, oppresses people, imposes tolls on people and taxes
property unjustly and engages in false matters. What he does openly is
mentioned, but it is forbidden to mention other faults he has unless it is for
another justifiable cause.

6. Recognition. When a person is known by a nickname, like al-A'mash (the
blear-eyed), al-A'raj (the lame), al-Asamm (the deaf), and the like, it is
permitted that they be known as that but it is forbidden to use it to
deprecate them. It is better if there is another way of identifying the

These are six reasons which scholars mentioned and there is agreement on
most of them. The evidence for that in sound hadiths is well-known.

1531. 'A'isha reported that a man asked permission to visit the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, 'Give him permission. He is an
evil brother of the tribe.'" [Agreed upon]

Al-Bukhari used it as a proof for the permissibility of speaking ill of the
people of corruption and people of doubt.

1532. 'A'isha reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, said, "I do not think that so-and-so and so-and-so know
anything about our deen." [al-Bukhari]

Al-Layth ibn Sa'd, one of the transmitters of this hadith, said, "These two
men were among the hypocrites."

1533. Fatima bint Qays said, "I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, and said, 'Abu'l-Jahm and Mu'awiya have both proposed marriage
to me.' The Messenger of Allah said, 'Mu'awiya is poor and without property.
Abu'l-Jahm does not put down the staff from his shoulder.'" [Agreed upon]

In a version of Muslim, "As for Abu'l-Jahm, he beats women," which explains
the transmission, "He does not put down the staff from his shoulder." It is also
said to mean he travels a lot.

1534. Zayd ibn Arqam said, "We went out with the Messenger of Allah, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, on a journey during which the people
suffered considerable hardship. 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy said, 'Do not spend on those
who are with the Messenger of Allah so that they become disunited.' He said,
'When we return to Madina, the mightier will drive out the humbler from it.' I
went to the Messenger of Allah and told him that and he sent for 'Abdullah ibn
Ubayy who took a strong oath swearing that he had not said it. They said, 'Zayd
has lied to the Messenger of Allah," and I felt great distress inside me because
of what they had said until Allah Almighty sent down a confirmation (of what I
had said): 'When the hypocrites come to you...' (63). Then the Messenger
of Allah , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, invited them in order to ask
forgiveness for them but they arrogantly turned their heads away." [Agreed upon]

1535. 'A'isha said, "Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, asked the Prophet, 'Abu
Sufyan is miserly and does not give me enough for me and my children unless I
take it from him without his knowledge.' He said, 'Take what is reasonably
enough for you and your children.'" [Agreed upon]

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