“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” ― Socrates
One night, a sister whom I know, called me sounding very distressed. It seems that someone had started a rumour about her that affected the perception of her friends towards her. She tried to dispel the rumours and explained the truth but her friends didn't want to hear it. She asked me what she should do.
I'm sure that some of us had been victims of vicious gossip that turned into a rumour. It's never nice to hear nasty things spoken about us especially if it's untrue. Some rumours can be downright malicious.
I have read about cases whereby the victim of the rumours committed suicide because they could not take the pressure of being ridiculed, scorned at or ostracized.
Now, that's how dangerous a simple gossip or backbitting can be. A gossip can turn into a rumour and a rumour can be very lethal.
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has forbidden you to disobey your mothers, to bury your daughters alive, to not pay the rights of others and to beg from others. And He dislikes gossip for you, asking too many questions, and wasting money.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2231.
Sometimes, we might think what we spoke about was harmless but truthfully, it will harm us more than the person whom we spoke about.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6477) and Sahîh Muslim (2988)]
This would also apply to the sharing of news or information on Facebook, WhatsApps or other social media. We must be careful not to slander anyone.
The question is, how can we stop others from creating rumours about us? Honestly, we can't. While we can control our own tongue, we can't control others. There is a Malay saying, "Mulut tempayan boleh ditutup tetapi bagaimana dengan mulut manusia". Which basically means you can put a lid on a crock but not on people's mouth.
So, what do you do? Simple....just ignore it. Don't lose sleep over it. The mantra 'ignorance is a bliss' would be very handy here. Truth is, people would still talk regardless. Just think of it as a blessing instead. I know you must be shaking your head at me....How can a nasty rumour be a blessing? Well....let me tell you how it works... on judgment day, the person who started the rumours and slandered you will end up giving his or her rewards to you and if there's no more rewards to be transferred then that person will take over all your sins.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The one who is bankrupt from among my followers is he who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity, and fasting to his credit. However, he had insulted this person, struck that person, and seized the wealth of another, on account of which his good deeds will be taken from him. Then, if his good deeds are exhausted, the sins of those whom he wronged will be taken from them and foisted upon him and then he will be cast into the Fire.”
[Sahîh Muslim (2581)]
I'm no saint and I have made mistakes in the past but the idea of giving away precious brownie points that I had painstakingly collected, does not sit very well with me. So, let this be a constant reminder to you and me, not be among the 'bankrupt'.
So in the end, I told the sister to just relax and do nothing about the rumour mongers. After all, they are giving away their rewards to her and if she's really lucky, they might even carry her sins!