Monday, December 4, 2023
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Fake news

A Quranic verse from which we can draw a close parallel in our social media invaded life is:

Believers, if a troublemaker brings you news, check it first, in case you wrong others unwittingly and later regret what you have done, and be aware that it is God’s Messenger who is among you: in many matters you would certainly suffer if he were to follow your wishes. God has endeared faith to you and made it beautiful to your hearts; He has made disbelief, mischief, and disobedience hateful to you. It is people like this who are rightly guided through God’s favor and blessing: God is all knowing and all wise. (Quran 49:6-8)

This verse advises us to verify any news before we take action. Today it is more important than ever to follow this advice. Viruses developed to infect computers can damage hardware and infrastructure. Fake news, alternative facts or just plain lies also act like viruses that can damage the human mind and can corrupt our societies in a far more diabolical way.

In a detailed explanation of the quoted verse above Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in The Meaning of the Quran notes the following:

Most of the commentators have expressed the view that this verse was sent down concerning Walid bin ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait. Its background is this: When the tribe of the Bani al-Mustaliq embraced Islam, the Holy Prophet sent Walid bin `Uqbah to collect the zakat from them. When he arrived in their territory, he became scared due to some reason and without visiting the people of the tribe returned to Madinah and complained to the Holy Prophet that they had refused to pay the zakat and had even wanted to kill him.

On hearing this the Holy Prophet became very angry and he made up his mind to dispatch a contingent to take action against those people. According to some traditions he had dispatched the contingent, and according to others, he was about to dispatch it. In any case all agree that in the meantime the chief of the Bani al-Mustaliq, Harith bin Dirar (father of Juwairiyah, wife of the Holy Prophet), arrived at the head of a deputation, and submitted: “By God, we did not at all see Walid; therefore, there could be no question of refusing to pay the zakat or wanting to kill him. We are steadfast to the Faith and have no intention to withhold the zakat. ” At this, this verse was sent down.


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