Ignorance is impetus to calamities and knowledge is the elixir.
With the advent of the powerful social media tools there has been a surge in rumor-mongering. Rumor-mongering has become a serious business. Irresponsible and crass media have added fuel to the fire in spreading the rumors.
Communal riots of Muzzafarnagar in India in the year-2013 which displaced 40,000 Muslims as refugees was blamed on a Whatsapp video which enticed majority community to carry out the riots.
Recently, some of the middle-East based media channels were making deliberate attempts in creating chaotic atmosphere through rumor-mongering against Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince.
Ambiguous and chaotic news pertaining to buying of the costliest Da-Vinci painting, to the secret alliance with Israel was carried out, which have no relation to truth and authenticity.
Continuous efforts are carried out to create chaos in the Muslim lands. The flames of false-news and vile-propaganda has engulfed clean and unbiased minds.
Even a sane individual finds it challenging to distinguish between the truth and the falsehood. In fact, Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, foretold the sequel of trials and Fitnahs that will befall after his departure.
Rumor-mongers did exist in his time. Islamic texts and the lessons from the life of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him speak volumes in tackling the rumors.
Knowledge or Ilm: Knowledge of authentic Islamic texts protects an individual from all sorts of chaos, be it in his personal life or societal life.
In fact, Allah praised those who possess knowledge:
“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allâh.” [Quran 35:28]
“Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.” [Quran 58:11]
“Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ It is only men of understanding who will remember.”[al-Zumar 39:9]
A scholar gauges a calamity before it commences and an ignoramus person realizes it later.
For instance, if a demagogue exploits the situation and incites the public to rebel against the Government, it is indeed the divine knowledge that shall calm down the situation.
If the Muslims bear in mind the Hadith of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, where he ordered, “If a person notices in his ruler what he dislikes, he should show patience.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Ignorance is impetus to calamities and knowledge is the elixir.
Verify the news that reaches you and return it to the experts:
Among our worst wonts is to forward every news that reaches us. Most of us hardly verify it or even give least preference to authenticate it.
If we were to follow the following Quranic injunction, a lot of troubles would be ceased.
“And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.” [Quran 4:83].
It is as clear as a day from the Quran that every rumor or news that reaches us should be referred back to authorities, and the experts who draw proper conclusions, in order to protect yourself from slipping into the rumor-mongering.
When the rumor of Prophet divorcing all his wives was spread like wild fire in Madinah. His own companions assembled in Masjid-Nabawi worried and talking about the drastic step. Omar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) laid a great example for us to follow, by directly referring back the news to Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, clarifying the issue and publicly refuting the rumors.
People have caused a great mayhem due to their slipshod attitude of spreading every news that reaches them.
Beware of being overtly enthusiastic. Act judiciously and patiently:
Thousands of youth fell prey to radical organizations and their ideologies due to their overtly enthusiastic attitude. Which eventually made them join the terror-organizations.
Had they taken care with wisdom, patience and Hilm (forbearance) , they would have remained a great asset to the community.
‘Better to be safe than sorry’ comes vivid in reacting calmly to rumors.
Sahih Muslim mentions an incident of a Bahraini delegation that visited the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him. Moved by their over-enthusiasm all the visitors jumped off their horses to meet the Prophet.
Prophet observed their leader Ashaj, who acted calmly by tying up all the camels and arranging their luggage. Later, he took shower, changed his clothes, wore perfume, came to the Masjid, prayed Tahiyatul-Masjid and eventually met the Prophet.
Prophet peace be upon him told him, ‘Oh Ashaj, you have two qualities which Allah loves and His Messenger loves. The Hilm (forbearance) and Anaat (patience).’ Upon which, the companion praised Allah.
Being judicious and patient are the traits loved by Allah and He bestows them upon whom He wishes.
The lack of patience and overtly zealous nature have caused us react to every single piece of news and rumor.
Staying in touch with moderate Scholars:
The scholars who teach the Islamic texts, narrate to you the traditions and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him and interpret the religion as interpreted by the companions are upon moderation. Those who speak out their own personal opinions and provoke youth and spread radical views are not to be followed.
Righteous Scholars (Ulema) are like stars. The way stars guide the travelers to the correct destination, so do the Scholars. The way stars beautify the sky, so do the existence of Scholars. The way shooting stars strike the devils, Scholars strike the devils who spread corruption, promote anarchy and terrorism.
It’s often seen, Kings and Princes visit Scholars to seek their consultation; and for this very reason they stay blessed.
Their company keeps an individual connected with divine knowledge which helps him gauge and scrutinize every news and rumor that reaches him.
In conclusion, I say, as a Muslim we have to equip ourselves with divine knowledge, rightful behavior, truth and moderation, patience and forbearance; and to nurture the nature of verification, authentication and analyzation. Rather being susceptible to fall prey to any kind of propaganda, rumor-mongering and chaos.
With this we can set up a just, moderate and balanced society where rumor-mongers find no space to breath.
[The article was first published in Saudi Gazette]
Zahack Tanvir is a regular blogger and holds diploma in Journalism from London School of Journalism. He tweets under @zahacktanvir.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect The Milli Chronicle’s point-of-view.