We are often given “news” and information about people. On the basis of such “news” and information, we formulate opinions and perceptions in our minds about the people concerned. However, if the “news” is of a negative nature, it is compulsory to ignore it until it is verified and established to be true. To formulate negative opinions in our minds with regards to anybody upon hearing something which has not been verified is not permissible. In many cases these bits of information just come “from the grapevine” and have no truth in them. At times they are a mixture of half truths and distorted facts. Often it is pure misunderstanding and/or misinterpretation. Nevertheless, neither must one act on these bits of information without first establishing their authenticity, nor must one harbour ill-feelings or suspicion for any person on the basis of such information.

The negative perceptions which we formulate on the basis of unverified information falls within the ambit of the words of Allah Ta‘ala: “Verily some thoughts are sin” (Surah Hujuraat v12). Hence it is clear from this aayah that one will be questioned on the Day of Qiyaamah for having harboured ill-thoughts about his fellow Muslim without any basis. On the other hand if one had given the accused person the benefit of the doubt and ignored the unverified information given to one, no questions will be asked about this on the Day of Qiyaamah.

To relate to anybody what one has merely heard but not verified is also a sin. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “It is sufficient for a person to be guilty of lying that he relates everything he hears (without verifying the authenticity)” (Saheeh Muslim #7). The severity of this practice is thus clearly understood.

Therefore, without investigating the matter one should totally ignore it. Also, if the matter does not concern one, do not even bother to investigate it. Simply ignore it as if nothing was ever said to you.