Resorting to talebearing to ward off harm
Fatwa No: 335776

  • Fatwa Date:28-12-2016 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 29, 1438
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I have a question regarding something that my husband and I were talking about. My husband's youngest uncle has a child aged four. The uncle and his wife work very much, so the uncle's mom takes care of the child. I am often around at this family's house (my husband lives in other country), and I always see the uncle's mother hitting this child, a lot, for no reason at all. The child is very calm and does not disturb anybody. At one point, the child had hurt his foot in the daycare and could not walk well for some weeks, but that did not stop the uncle's mom from violently dragging the child down the stairs. After seeing the child go through this and other beatings every time I am there, I decided to say this to the uncle. Praise be to Allaah, this caused him to take care more about his child when he is free from work instead of going out. My question is the following: my husband says that it is haram for me to tell the uncle. He says that I should just keep quiet because it is haram to make problems between two people, in this case the uncle and his mom, but my intention was to pursue what is best for the child because the uncle and his wife were not aware of this; and also because I feel that the child was treated unfairly. Besides that, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that we should wish for our brother what we wish for ourself, and I would never want my own child to be treated in a bad way. So what is your answer, Shaykh? Please answer privately so that I can show your answer to my husband.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

If what you did, telling this man and his wife of the harm inflicted on the child by this woman, was to ward off the harm from the child and achieve benefit, then this is not prohibited; rather, you shall be rewarded for it, Allah willing, because this is a form of giving sincere advice. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

"After the battle of Hunayn, the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, favored some people in the distribution of the spoils of war (as a consolation). He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, gave Al-Aqra‘ ibn Haabis and ‘Uyaynah a hundred camels each and also favored some noblemen among the Arabs. A man remarked, 'By Allah, this division is not based on justice, and it was not intended to win the Pleasure of Allah by it!" I said to myself, 'By Allah! I will inform the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, of this.' So I went to him and informed him..." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn Mas‘ood informed the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in order to eliminate a potential evil, and this is why the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not disapprove of it. Ibn ‘Allaan  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "His statement, 'I will inform the Messenger of Allah of this,' so that he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would be cautious of that man and what he was hiding in his heart. It was not intended as talebearing and disclosure of the secrets of the gathering, which are a trust that should be guarded. On the contrary, his intention was to convey sincere advice for Allah; His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; and the believers." [Daleel Al-Faaliheen]

Ibn Daqeeq Al-‘Eed  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "Talebearing may be allowable if refraining from it causes harm to other people or if doing it brings forth benefits without which others would be harmed ... If someone heard a person say something that entails harming another person, then it is obligatory to convey what he heard to him so that he would take precautions to avoid the harm." [Ihkaam Al-Ahkaam]

Allah knows best.

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