In the Name of Allah

Al-Nameema (Sowing Discord)

Allah Most High said:

{Wailun li kulli humazatin lumazatin}
{Woe to all those who injure with their speech those who are present and those who injure with their speech those who are absent.} 

The Prophet (sas) said:

"Man adhmana liy haa wa haa, adhmanu lahu al-jannah." (au kamaa qaala)
"Whoever can guarantee me this and this, I can guarantee for him paradise."  (Or, as he said (sas)).

When saying this, the Prophet (sas) pointed to his tongue and to his between his legs (sas).  This shows clearly, that these are the two biggest issues with which a Muslim is tested.  Allah equated gheeba (speaking about another in their absence in any way which they would not like for you to do - even if 100% true) with eating the flesh of that person after they have died.  In spite of the seriousness of this sin and if we look at its precise definition found in the Sunnah, we will quickly realize that to find a Muslim who does not engage in it - and engage in it on a regular basis - is rare indeed.  Thus in addition to making every effort to avoid falling into it, we must also make tauba from the times we have done it.  As Allah said after reminding us about dressing properly and lowering the gaze - on aspect of the other great test mentioned in the prior hadith:

{...Wa tuboo ilaa Allahi jamee'an la'allakum tuflihoon.}
{...And repent to Allah all of you that perchance you may be successful.} 

Recall that gheeba is of two types:  speaking that which is true and speaking that which is untrue.  Both are gheeba, both are haram and both are what Allah equated to eating a Muslim's dead flesh.  The criterion is that anything we say about someone who is absent should be something that he would not be displeased to know it was being said.  If speaking untruth (lying) is added to this, there is an additional sin in that.  It is called buhtaan or slander.  Allah said:

{Wa alladhina yu'dhoona al-mu'minoona wa al-mu'minaati bi ghairi maa iktasaboo faqad ihtamala buhtaanan wa ithman mubeenan.}
{And those who injure the believing men or the believing women with something which they do not deserve have committed a falsehood and a clear sin.} 

This meaning includes all types of adhaa (harm, injury, irritation, etc) which is inflicted upon another Muslim whether by word, deed or omission. Allah said bi ghairi maa iktasaboo which means "with something which they have not earned" or "deserved".  In other words, they have not done word or deed to justify what was said about them.

So far, we have mentioned mainly gheeba.  Today's subject is something even more subtle than gheeba, a much greater sin and a much greater danger to Islamic society and Islamic brotherhood.  It is called nameema.  The meaning of nameemah is to take statements and information from one place to another or one person to another for the purpose of destroying relationships, dividing Muslims and causing strife, difference of opinion and even violence.  It may or may not involve lying and it may or may not even involve gheeba.  What defines it is the intention of the heart to cause difference and division or to keep Muslims away from each other, not cohesion and brotherhood. In addition to the original perpetrator of such evil, there are inevitably many others who pass it on without sufficient caution and verification.  To have it explained to you as justified for this or that reason - even from someone more knowledgeable than yourself - does NOT release you from responsibility.  The nafs and 'irdh of every Muslim is HARAAM like the hurma of the Kaaba and Makka.  Woe to those who have to face the REGRETS which come after such irresponsible (even if well-intentioned) transmission of evil. Allah said:

{Yaa ayyuhaa alladhina aamanoo in jaa'akum faasiqun bi naba'in fa tabayyanoo an tuseeboo qauman bi jahaalatin fa tusbihoo 'alaa maa fa'altum naadimeen. (6) Wa a'lamoo anna feekum rasoolu Allahi lau yutee'ukum fiy katheerin min al-amri la 'anittum wa laakinna Allaha habbaba ilaikum al-imaana wa zayyanahu fiy quloobikum wa karraha ilaikum al-kufra wa al-fusooqa wa al-'isyaan wa ulaa'ika hum ar-raashidoon. (7)}
{O you who believe, if a person of doubtful character brings you some information make sure about it lest you inflict harm upon some people and then become regretful of what you have done. (6) And know that among you is Allah's Messenger.  If he were to obey you in many affairs you would suffer.  Rather, Allah has caused you to love belief and made it a beautiful thing in your hearts and He has caused you to hate disbelief, bad character and disobedience.  These then are the guided ones.}

Here, Allah warns of the dangers of "he said, she said" and speaking in unlawful ways and listening to same.  The first verse indicates that it can even lead to warfare and death.  The second verse directs us to the remedy and the state of the hearts which do not fall prey to this disease.  They are the hearts to which Allah has made iman something beloved and beautiful and disbelief, transgression and disobedience something hated and shunned.

Know that among you is Allah's Messenger.  The believers must take their issues back to the Messenger of Allah (during his lifetime) and to the scholars and the most knowledgeable of the deen among them after that. When anything is the least bit doubtful, then extreme CAUTION with the 'irdh of your fellow Muslim is obligatory. We know this because Allah commanded us to obey Allah, the Messenger and the "possessors of the affair among you" (the scholars or religious rulers/authorities).  Also because the Prophet (sas) informed us that the scholars are the waratha (heirs) of the messengers. This is a reference to the scholars as a whole.  It does not mean that they are protected from error or that we can take the word of one or a few of them without quesiton.  If this system is disrupted and people simply do what they think, what they believe or what they feel either individually (anarchism) or collectively (democracy), then the system is destroyed and suffering will ensue.  That is why Allah said next:

If he were to obey you in many affairs you would suffer.  The opposite of this situation, where Muslims default to respect to one another and defer to the people of knowledge among them is the way of those who are guided and it is described in the remainder of the verse:  Rather, Allah has caused you to love belief and made it a beautiful thing in your hearts and He has caused you to hate disbelief, bad character and disobedience. 

The opposite of this is the condition of the munaafiqeen.  In Sura An-Nisaa, after several verse which discuss the munaafiqeen and their acts and attributes, Allah said:

{Wa idhaa jaa'ahum amrun min al-amni au al-khaufi adhaa'oo bihi.  Wa lau ruddoohu ilaa ar-rasooli wa ilaa uliy al-amri minhum l'alimahu alladhina yastambitoonahu minhum. Wa lau laa fadhlu 'alaikum wa rahmatuhu la ittab'tum ash-shaitaana illaa qaleelan.}
{And when some issue of security or fear comes to them they broadcast it around.  If only they had taken it to the Messenger and to the possessors of this affair among them those with the ability to know its true meaning would have recognized it.  If it were not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy you would have followed the Shaitaan except for very few.} 

Those who spread words here and there and do not defer to the knowledgeable among them and do not know when to speak and when to keep quiet are a dangerous element, an element which completely destroys Muslim society and one which we have been warned about repeatedly in the Qur'an.  Allah said:

{Wa laa tuti' kulla hallaafin maheenin.  Hammaazin mash-shaa'in bi nameem.}
{And do not obey every lowly one given to swearing oaths.  One who always injures those present with his tongue and strives walking here and there with nameema.} 

This is also the meaning of what Allah said about Abu Lahab's wife:

{Wa imra'atuhu hammaalata al-hatab.}
{And his wife, the carrier of firewood.} 

Beware of nameema and remember that it may not be a lie and it may not be gheeba.  Therefore, being conscious of these two is not enough.  Rather, you must always be conscious of other issues:

The Prophet (sas) said:

"Laa yadkhula al-jannata nammaam."
"A person of nameema will not enter Paradise."  Muslim & Bukhari

The nammam wants to be heard.  If Muslims recognize it as nameema, most of them - insha Allah - will refuse to listen to it. Therefore, it must be falsely represented as a "good deed", something the listener needs to hear.  As Shaitaan said to Adam and Hawaa in order to lead him astray:  

وَقَاسَمَهُمَا إِنِّي لَكُمَا لَمِنَ النَّاصِحِينَ (21)

{And he swore to the two of them: I am to you (two) a sincere advisor.} Al-A'raaf

And, the nammam is a coward. He doesn't face his victim, he runs around behind him carrying his evil here and there. When he is with this one, he is all smiles and the other one is "bad". But, when he is with that other one, it is exactly the same. Whoever he is with at the time is the "good" one.  This puts him in the category of the WORST of the Muslims - the one with two faces.

"Hal tadroona man shiraarukum?"  Qaaloo:  Allahu wa rasooluhu a'lam.  Qaala:  "Shiraarukum dhu al-wajhain:  alladhiy ya'tiy haa'ulaa'i bi wajhin wa haa'ulaa'i bi wajhin."
"Do you know who are the worst of you?"  They said:  Allahu and His Messenger know best.  He (sas) said:  "The worst of you is the one with two faces:  he comes to these people with [one] face and comes to those people with [another] face."  Muslim & Bukhari

Imam Ali (ra) said:  "Ya'malu an-nammaamu min saa'atin fitnata ash-hurin."  "The nammaam can create in a single hour months of fitnah (strife)."

Al-Hassan Al-Basri said:  "Man naqala ilaika hadeethan fa'lam annahu yanqulu ilaa ghairika hadeethaka."  "Whoever brings to you someone's discourses, know that he also takes your discourses to others."

اللهم طهّر ألسنتنا من الكذب والغيبة والنميمة ، وقلوبنا من النفاق والغل والغش ، والحسد والكبر والعجب ، وأعمالنا من الرياء والسمعة ، وبطوننا من الحرام والشبهة ، وأعيننا من الخيانة ، فإنك تعلم خائنة الأعين وما تخفي الصدور .