It is narrated that once an old man seated outside the Jame’ Musjid in Delhi was repeatedly saying: “You are not my Allah and I am not your slave.” As people passed by and heard his statements, the comments began to fly. Some called him a kaafir while others passed various other insulting remarks. Eventually one person stopped and asked: “Can you tell me what you mean by this statement.” The old man sighed and exclaimed: “At last one intelligent person has come along.” He then said: “My nafs (base inner-self) was urging me to commit sin. I was thus addressing my nafs that neither is my nafs my Allah that it has the right to command me, nor am I it's slave that I should obey it.”



Among the striking lessons to be learnt from the above incident are:

*Never jump to conclusions.

* Until there is no solid evidence to the contrary, give the person the benefit of the doubt and do not harbour evil thoughts about him.

If these lessons are taken to heart and adhered to, the number of conflicts and disputes that take place time and again will be greatly reduced.


Baseless suspicions and harbouring ill-thoughts about others have led to many a marriage breaking up, many bosom friends becoming arch enemies and many families disintegrating. Yet, if the Qur'anic injunction and the guidance of the Sunnah in this regard had been adhered to, these problems would have been avoided. Allah Ta’ala declares: “O You who Believe! Avoid much suspicions. Indeed some suspicions are sins (S49:V12).”“Verily a (baseless) suspicion is the greatest lie (Sahih Muslim).” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said:


Soo-uz-zann (harbouring suspicions or ill-thoughts) is a serious malady that leads to various other destructive sins. Suspicions and ill-thoughts, after having settled in the heart and mind, yearn to be expressed. Eventually these thoughts will be expressed to others. If the thoughts were unfounded, one becomes guilty of buhtaan (slander). If there was some truth in it, it will be gheebat (backbiting). Gheebat, which is the lesser of these two crimes, has been declared in the Hadith as “worse than zina (adultery).”


If one does not have concrete evidence about any person having done any wrong action, it is haraam to harbour any suspicion or ill-feeling about him. Thus to formulate any opinion about somebody on the basis of hearsay or just because so-and-so mentioned it, is not permissible. Many people become totally convinced that a certain person is evil simply because that person was accused of having practiced jadoo (black-magic, etc) by some “jinn” or “by somebody in a trance” . This is also totally unfounded, hence haraam.

Likewise, to pass judgement against any person due to a dream or because some “ta’weez” brought up his name, is baseless. This also falls under the aspect of soo-uz-zann.


We also often jump to conclusions and harbour suspicions and ill-thoughts about others on the basis of some totally unfounded aspect. For example, two people are engaged in conversation. While they are talking Zaid suddenly passed by. Upon seeing Zaid they hush their tones or stop talking. Shaitaan immediately whispers the suspicion in Zaid’s heart that these people were backbiting about him. As possible as this might be, this suspicion is baseless and thus haraam. Similarly, somebody simply slipped up and did not invite someone to an occasion where the entire town was invited. He had absolutely no intention of excluding that person, but the immediate thoughts that shaitaan instils are: “He left me out because we did not accept his son’s proposal,” or “He has a grudge against me because I refused to lend him money.” Again these suspicions are baseless and thus haraam.

In the same vein, we sometimes become convinced about an individual’s or group’s wrongdoing simply because we overheard it in some gossip at some function or gathering. The questions to ask ourselves at such a time are:“Have I verified the truth of what I have heard?”; “Have I enquired from the source?”; “Is there no exaggeration in this news?” If one has not established the truth with firm evidence, to harbour ill-thoughts about the person spoken about will also be soo-uz-zann.


The universal rule to bear in mind when one intends to say something or when one formulates an opinion about somebody is the following aayat: “And pursue not that which you have no knowledge of. Verily every act of hearing, seeing and the aspects of the heart will be questioned about (on the Day of Judgement) (S17:V36).”


In order to refrain from soo-uz-zann, always reflect on the following: If one gives somebody the benefit of the doubt, or gives a positive meaning and intent about any person’s action or statement, he is not answerable for this in the court of Allah even if he was wrong in his judgement. However, if he harbours suspicions or ill-thoughts and he was wrong, he will be taken to task for it. Hence, why take the risk?

Soo-uz-zann is one of the very serious social maladies and a grave sin. Refraining from it will save us from much misery and from many other sins.

May Allah Ta’ala save us from it, Ameen.


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