Social Media and the Circulation of Ahādīth
With the invention of cell phones along with the technological advances in the past two decades, it has become a norm to see messages attributed to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ being circulated on the internet to thousands of users in a matter of minutes without any mention as to the authenticity of such ahādīth. Many people who circulate such ahādīth may be sincere; however, the science of ahādīth requires specialized skills. It is therefore not appropriate for non-`Ulamā’ to pick and choose ahādīth and circulate them.
It is narrated in the Sahīh of Imam Bukhārī that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:
مَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَيَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ
Whoever tells a lie against me, then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hellfire.
It is also narrated in the Sahīh of Imam Muslim that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:
كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ كَذِبًا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَ بِكُلِّ مَا سَمِعَ
It is enough of a lie for a man to narrate everything he hears.
The lesson we learn from such ahādīth is that one must be very careful when attributing a phrase or saying directly to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ without first confirming its authenticity. It is incumbent on us all that we consult reliable `Ulamā’ before circulating such messages between our online contacts, for how often do we speak without thinking about the consequence of our words?
The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ has warned us about such negligence with the following words:
إِنَّ العَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالكَلِمَةِ، مَا يَتَبَيَّنُ فِيهَا، يَزِلُّ بِهَا فِي النَّارِ أَبْعَدَ مِمَّا بَيْنَ المَشْرِقِ
A slave of Allah may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong, and due to it he may slip down in the fire as far away as the distance equal to that between the east.
While words of wisdom may flow from anyone’s mouth, it does not necessitate that such words are from the mouth of the most blessed of all creation.
Shaykh `Abdul Muhsin al-`Abbād states in his commentary of Sunan Abī Dāwūd
ليس كل كلام جميل يكون حديثاً؛ لأن الوضاعين يأتون بحكم ويركبون لها أسانيد، فليس كل كلام جميل أضيف إلى الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم يقال: هذا كلام الرسول، فكم من حكم جميلة يركب لها الوضاعون أسانيد، ويضيفونها إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
Every beautiful statement cannot be labeled as a hadīth because fabricators (of ahādīth) take words of wisdom and attach a (false) chain to them (in order to pass it off as a hadīth). Therefore, it is incorrect to say for every beautiful statement, “These are the words of the Messenger ﷺ.” How many beautiful words of wisdoms do we find where the fabricators have appended a chain of narration to them and attributed it to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ?
So let us take a lesson and utilize it in our online world and let the words of `Alī س ring in our ears before we press that “send” button:
إِذَا حَدَّثْتُكُمْ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَلَأَنْ أَخِرَّ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ أَنْ أَكْذِبَ عَلَيْهِ
When I relate the ahādīth of Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ to you, then it is more beloved in my eyes that I would rather fall from the sky than attribute something to him falsely.
Moulana Bilal Mohammad Student Darul Iftaa