Friday Focus | No gossip please

When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they divulge it. If only they had referred it to Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, proper investigation would have tested it. Were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah unto you, all but few of you would have followed Satan. (Surah Al-Nissa 5:83)

In times of public panic, thoughtless repetition of gossip needs to be restrained by effective state machinery. It remains the duty of state to investigate the matter through agencies under its command. Dissemination of news that is false may cause fright amongst  the timid, even the wise and the brave may develop misgivings. It may result in avoidable conflict amongst groups of people. Such a danger to public peace has to checked by the state. 

Gossip usually results from malicious intent by the enemies of peace, who thrive on conflict among people.  Such a breech in peace could only be avoided by an alert state machinery and cooperation of the people. Hence an individual or a group of people receiving any information that has the potential of disturbing public peace, may pass on the news to those in authority. It then falls on the authority to speedily investigate the news, and inform the public on the truth or untruth of it. Failure to do so could be construed as shirking the duty state needs to perform, speedily and vigorously.

The state armed with proper and precise information after investigation may then take all measures needed to checkmate the enemies of peace. Says Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his commentary on the verse, ''Not to do so, but to deal with the news either thoughtlessly or maliciously, is to fall directly into snares of evil''

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