Imam Nawawi(r) on Talebearing

Imam Nawawi says:

Having summarily mentioned that talebearing (namima) is unlawful, with the evidence for this and a description of its nature, we now want to add a fuller explanation of it. Imam Abu Hamid Ghazali says, “Talebearing is a term that is usually applied only to someone who conveys to a person what another has said about him, such as by saying, ‘So-and-so says such and such about you.’ In fact, talebearing is not limited to that, but rather consists of revealing anything whose disclosure is resented, whether resented by the person who originally said it, the person to whom it is disclosed, or by a third party. It makes no difference whether the disclosure is in word, writing, a sign, nodding, or other; whether it concerns word or deed; or whether it concerns something bad or otherwise. The reality of talebearing lies in divulging a secret, in revealing something confidential whose disclosure is resented. A person should not speak of anything he notices about people besides that which benefits a Muslim to relate or prevents disobedience. Anyone approached with a story, who is told, ‘So-and-so says such and such about you,’ must do six things:

(1) disbelieve it, for talebearers are corrupt, and their information is unacceptable,

(2) tell the talebearer to stop, admonish him about it, and condemn the shamefulness of what he has done;

(3) hate him for the sake of Allah Most High, for he is detestable in Allah’s sight, and hating for the sake of Allah Most High is obligatory;

(4) not think badly of the person whom the words are supposedly from, for Allah Most High says, ‘Shun much of surmise’ (Koran 49:12);

(5) not let what has been said prompt him to spy or investigate whether it is true, for Allah Most High says ‘Do not spy’ (Koran 49:12);

(6) and not to do himself what he has forbidden the talebearer to do, by relating it to others.”

(ibid 471-72)

[Taken from “The Reliance of the Traveler]

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One thought on “Imam Nawawi(r) on Talebearing

  1. My husband is suffering from mouth cancer and twice got operated.I didn’t knew about this treatment before .Insha Allah I will follow this hereafter.

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