In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Verification is one of the most important affairs, if not the most important. Verifying what is transmitted from others is an important affair, because sometimes the transmitters harbour evil intentions, so they transmit – intentionally and deliberately – that which will tarnish the reputation of the one they transmit from. And sometimes they do not harbour an evil intention, but they understand something in a manner that is opposite to what is intended by it.
Therefore, it is obligatory to verify. So, when the proof [sound source] of the transmission is established, then the one from whom the statement was transmitted is engaged in a discussion [or his statement is examined] before a judgement is passed as to whether it is a mistake or not. That is because it may become clear to you – by way of discussion [or observation] – that the one from whom the statement was transmitted is correct. And if not, then what is known is that if a person were to immediately pass a judgement merely based on what he hears, he will transmit things [i.e. statements, views, opinions etc] from some of the scholars – those considered to be the beacons of [Sharee’ah] knowledge – that which the souls will dislike; but when one verifies, contemplates and establishes contact with this Shaikh, the affair will become clarified [or clear to him]. [Ref 1]
Narrated Anas Ibn Maalik [radiyallaahu-anhu] that the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said: Do you know what Al-Ad’hu is [i.e. calumny] ? They [i.e. the people] said: Allaah and His Messenger know best. He said: Transmitting speech from some people to another people in order to destroy their [mutual relationships].
Beneficial Reminder From This Hadeeth By Shaikh Zayd Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah]
The subject matter of this hadeeth is about the dangerous [consequences] of tale-carrying in this Dunyaa and in the Aaakhirah. Indeed, the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] called it Ad’hu, and the meaning of Ad’hu is to transmit speech from some people to another people in order to corrupt their [mutual] relationships. And in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood, it is explained to mean tale-carrying, and that is to transmit the statement of one person to another person, or from a group of people to another group, or from one country [or government] to another one, in order to cause corruption.
This [deed] is one of the major sins due to its evil [consequences] and the punishment [associated with it] in this life and the next. In this worldly life, it might lead to murder, chaos and other similar affairs – events that in opposition to rectification. And due to this, the scholars say that the tale carrier- the one who transmits speech from one person to another person, or from a group of people to another group, or from one country [or government] to another, in order to sow the seeds of corruption- causes more harm than a magician. This is because a magician might only harm one person, but as for the tale-carrier, he might harm many individuals and the trial that [emanates from this deed of his] will be prolonged.
Therefore, it is forbidden for a Muslim to transmit speech [for the purpose] of causing corruption between those upon [sound] brotherhood and those who aid one another upon piety. And even if nothing like this [i.e. fighting, chaos, killing etc] occurs [from tale-carrying], it is still not permissible to corrupt the relationship between the people by way of lies- sowing the seeds of enmity and hatred between them. The Messenger of Allaah [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] went past two graves and then said, “Both of them [i.e. the two people in these graves] are being punished, and they are not being punished due to [committing the greatest of the major sins], but indeed they are great sins. One of them used not to protect himself from being soiled with his urine, and the other one used to go about with tale-carrying”.
Therefore, what the opposite of this hadeeth [necessitates is that] it is obligatory to bring about reconciliation between the people due to the statement of Allaah[The Exalted]: [لَّا خَيۡرَ فِى ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّن نَّجۡوَٮٰهُمۡ إِلَّا مَنۡ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوۡ مَعۡرُوفٍ أَوۡ إِصۡلَـٰحِۭ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِۚ – There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah (charity in Allah’s Cause), or Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allah has ordained), or conciliation between mankind. [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayah 114]
However, there is an exception in this affair- [i.e. that is forbidden to transmit speech from one person to another person, or from one group of people to another group, or from one country [or government] to another]- when it is carried out for the purpose of giving some sincere advice whose benefit cannot be reached nor can harm be repelled except by way of such speech. For example, you hear a person saying that he is lying in wait against your Muslim brother and wishes to kill him, take his wealth or violate his honour, or the like thereof, [whose evil consequences] you have clarified [for this perpetrator in order to stop him], but he refuses to accept your advice. Therefore, you go to the person who is unaware [of the evil plan of this perpetrator whom you have advised to refrain] and informed him about it, so that he can take precautions. Therefore, [transmitting] speech based on this type of intention and goal is considered to be sincere advice and it is not tantamount to causing corruption, for indeed you are either going to repel harm or bring about a benefit which one cannot do without [except by way of this transmission]. And Allaah knows best. [Ref 2]
Ref 1: Excerpt from Sharh Hilyatil Taalibil Ilm Pages 75-76. By Shaikh Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah). Paraphrased, see Arabic text below]
Ref 2: At-ta’leeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilatil Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah’ pages 27-28. By Shaikh Zayd Bin Haadi (rahimahullaah). Slightly paraphrased]