«لا تَحاسَدُوا وَ لا تَباغَضُوا وَ لا يَغْتَب بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضاً وَ كُونُوا عِبادَ اللهِ اِخْواناً»
may refer to thispoint.
2- In the most cases, slander causes provoking the fire of sedition and spread of enmity and spite among the individuals, because hidden faults of individuals may be correlated with others' rights, and or at least be a pretext for adventurers to venge and damage reputation of each other, and this results in enmity, or intensifies it.
3- Slander lowers individuals' personality and respect and thereby their fear and avoidance of sin is decreased, because most people do not perform inadmissible deeds for maintaining their honor and prestige, and or otherwise perform them privily. When their faults and sins are revealed through slander, there is no reason any more for caring and fearing of it, and in this way, slander will be an effective factor for decrease of "social considerations" and spread of corruption.
4- Slander will be also accompanied with irrecoverable losses in economical view for the society, because credit of individuals and confidence of people on each other is more effective than social financial capitals in improvement of the society, and lacking them, activity of common capitals will be significantly reduced, and will become stagnant or semi-stagnant.
However, in individual aspect, slander is an explicit injustice and transgression to the rights of others, and the same moral and humanistic faults created in an individual due to injustice to another person are realized through slander. Moreover, since slander originates from a series of ill favored moral motives, its repetition strengthens and supports those condemned attributes in man.
In this way, slander both lowers the individual in view of humanistic values, and also weakens and destroys social foundations. So the previous traditions and holy verses clearly represent these realities.
1- Types of slander
Although, at the beginning it seems that slander is the same mentioning hidden faults of others by tongue, but considering its main criterion, it is clarified that slander is an extensive and general concept in view of ethics, including expressing this sense by any means, such as saying, writing, referring and or imitation.
As it is narrated in a tradition: a woman came to Prophet S.A. When she went, Ayesheh referred to her little height by her hand. The Prophet S.A. said: You slandered about her.(82)
And it is mentioned in another tradition that Ayesheh imitated a woman, and the Prophet S.A. prohibited her.(83)
It is deduced hereby that when criticizing the thoughts of others in the writings, it should be discussed in such a way to avoid slander. When caviling and criticizing the speech of someone, there are often interpretations which are clear senses of slander, disapprobation, mockery, insultation and or humiliation, for example when it is told that phrase is "null by necessity" or "funny" or "childish" or "unwisely", unless its owner is not clear and or humiliating and slandering about him is permitted.
On the other hand, sometimes a man says a speech figuratively, but there are some evidences that the other party understands. This too is among the senses of slander. For example when it is said: Today I was in the meeting, and someone told so, while the listener knows in which meeting he has been.
2- Slanders mixed with another sin
Sometimes this indecent deed is mixed with other indecent deeds, and loses completely its shape, and or appears as a righteous deed.
For instance, sometimes for escaping slander, the people say "I fear to explain for being a slander" or even say "Regretfully, Divine Law has closed our tongue", or "Divine Law does not allow, otherwise I would say a lot of things"!
Such people not only implicitly commit slander, but also for leaving the matter ambiguously, provoke the addressee's suspicion on everything in respect to the other person, and in fact they show the matter greater and more significant than what it really is. In addition, they have committed hypocrisy too, and so have mixed dangerously two ill favored deeds.
Or when they utter as sympathy, "that poor person slipped and committed that sin, God may forgive him"!
In this case too, hypocrisy and slander are mixed together.
Or when the one making display of himself says: "Thanks to God, I have not affected to wine, drugs, like that person. Really, if God does not protect man, it will be very difficult. The trap is hard, unless God helps."
And thereby, he commits slander, hypocrisy and self admiration once and all together!
Or when he says: "I have told these to him too and or will say!"
And in this way, he closes the way of correction, and makes his slander more emphasized and severe with this suppositious argument.
3- Slander has a "Right of People" aspect
If slander is interpreted as we referred at the beginning, its "Right of People" aspect will be obviously clear, because:
First: it lowers respect, personality and reputation of the said person, and surely these are not less valuable than properties in view of intellect and religion.
Second: it is inferred from similitude of slander to eating a faithful brother's flesh in the Chambers sura that slander is a sense of "injustice".
Third: it is referred to in several traditions like the one already mentioned in respect to "annihilation of good deeds and transfer of evils", and the well known tradition:
«اِنَّ صاحِبَ الْغِيبَةِ لا يُغْفَرُ لَهُ حَتّى يَغْفِرَ لَهُ صاحِبُهُ».
The slanderer is not forgiven unless the slandered person forgives him.(84)
And the Prophetic tradition:
«كَفّارَةُ مَنِ اغْتَبْتَهُ اَنْ تَسْتَغْفِرَ لَهُ».
The atonement of slander is asking pardon of God for the slandered person.(85)
And there are traditions, which assume stopping slander as a believer's rights.
Anyway, slander is a clear sense of injustice and without consent of the other party, the slanderer will not be forgiven. And we conclude herein that undoubtedly atonement of slander is not merely asking pardon of God and repentance.
Yes, should there is not any way for asking consent and forgiveness, and or no damage is practically made to the prestige and reputation of slandered person, asking pardon of God may be sufficient.
The jurists and ethics scholars agree that there are some cases in which slander is permitted, but they have some dissidence in specifying those cases. This dissidence is sometimes in mentioning the examples and senses, without any difference in the basis of matter, but sometimes it has a spiritual and real aspect.
However, it is concluded from different proofs and documents that slander is permitted in two cases:
a- When there is a more important interest, in which slander, while observing the subject – is permitted and there are various senses for it:
1- In case of consultation, for example when someone wants to transact or participate or marry with the other, and is questioning us. Obviously, it is permitted to reveal hidden faults of the other party as far as they are concerned with the said affair, and relieve the one who seeks consult from the possible risks.
2- In case of forbid of wrong
3- In case of averting innovation of an innovator
4- In case of warning a Moslem about the risk and loss which is awaiting him (though without any consultation)
5- Petition and removal of injustice and restoring right
And in general all cases in which the interest of revealing one's hidden fault is more than its vice in view of religion.
The reason for exception of these subjects is clear, because it relies on a clear intellectual reason that is the "principle of important and more important". Moreover, some points are referred to in the verses and traditions in this respect (including petition, removal of injustice, and averting innovation of an innovator).
But the remarkable point in view of ethics is being careful that most often deviations and errors are caused through exceptions and misuse or mistake and negligence in determination of their limits and boundaries. Because no one agrees to violate regulations and commit sins explicitly and clearly, but most people achieve their purposes through pretence to using notes and exceptions, even in most cases, man deceives his conscience in this way, and for getting rid of punishment of conscience, and not hurting his inward and natural character, seeks refuge from these notes and exceptions.
And this is one of the contradictory cases of unaware and aware conscience and conquest of the former over the latter.
So, the advantage of slander should be carefully assessed in these cases while taking into account all features and aspects, and free from any love and hatred and other spites, and then one can deduce its excellence over vice of explicit slander, and do not stain himself to the dangerous slanders under the pretext of available permit.
b- The cases in which slander is permitted without any special advantage, and it is solely restricted to those notorious for debauchery, but although some have included petition in this part, as it was referred, it is one of the cases of existence of more important legal advantage, that is restoring right and preventing injustice of cruel person and supporting right of the oppressed.
In addition to the reason of intellect, there are several traditions narrated by Shiite and Sunnite as the reason for exception of this issue, like:
«عَنْ جَعْفَر عَنْ اَبِيهِ قالَ: ثَلاثَةٌ لَيْسَتْ لَهُمْ حُرْمَةٌ: صاحِبُ هَوىً مُبتَدِعٌ، وَ الاِْمامُ الْجائِرُ، وَ الْفاسِقُ الْمُعْلِنُ الْفِسْقَ».
There are three persons who do not have any respect: one who has innovatory desires, unjust governor, and one who commits sin publicly.(86)
And the same is mentioned in some narrations as follows:
«ثَلاثَةٌ لا غِيبَةَ لَهُمْ: صاحِبُ الْهَوى وَ الْفاسِقُ الْمُعْلِنُ بِفِسْقِهِ، وَ الاِْمامُ الْجائِرُ»
2- And also it is narrated from Prophet S.A. in a tradition:(87)
«لَيْسَ لِفاسِق غِيبَةٌ».
There is no slander for the sinner.(88)
3- And also it is narrated from Prophet S.A. in another tradition:
«مَنْ اَلْقى جِلْبابَ الْحَياءِ عَنْ وَجْهِهِ فَلا غِيْبَةَ لَهُ»
One who lays aside the veil of modesty, there is no slander for him.(89)
4- There are several traditions in respect to Justice in Vassaelo Shiite. For example, it is narrated from Imam Sadegh A.S.:
«مَنْ عامَلَ النّاسَ فَلَمْ يَظْلِمْهُمْ وَ حَدَّثَهُمْ فَلَمْ يَكْذِبْهُمْ وَ واعَدَهُمْ فَلَمْ يُخْلِفْهُمْ كانَ مِمَّنْ حَرُمَتْ غِيْبَتُهُ وَ كَمُلَتْ مُرُوَّتُهُ وَ ظَهَرَ عَدْلُهُ وَ وَجَبَتْ اُخُوَّتُهُ».
Whosoever is not unjust in transaction with people, and do not lie them in speech, and do not violate them in promise, is among those whose slander is forbidden, his personality is perfect, and his justice is manifest, and brotherhood with him is obligatory.(90)
There are several subjects here, which should be explained:
a- Is exception of a notorious person a topical exclusion (that is one who affects a vice, naturally is not disturbed for mentioning it in his absence. Moreover, it is not a hidden and privacy affair being regarded as slander) or slandering about a notorious person is one of the slander types, and has been excluded as so called "appropriation"?
b- Is permit for slandering about notorious one restricted to the sins which he performs publicly, or it is permitted in all cases?
c- If someone is notorious in one place, and non-notorious and private in somewhere else, is slandering about him permitted in the second place too or not?
d- Is in the permit for slandering about notorious person, existence of conditions for bid to good and forbid of wrong necessary?
The reply to all of these questions depends on understanding the main point and reason for exclusion of this issue from slander's forbiddance.
It is inferred from above traditions that a notorious individual basically does not have any respect (the respect which is the hindrance for slander's permit).
In other words, such people (and cruel and innovator people) are not respectable in view of social personality, and their desecration is not forbidden, and therefore, giving up slander and preserving their reputation is not necessary.
If we deduce so from
above traditions,– as the phrase
«لاغِيبَةَ لَهُ و لا حُرْمَةَ لَهُ», and such like prove, the reply to above questions is clarified, and it does not need more explanation, because based on rational and traditional proof, slander does not include such persons.
But it should be noted that apparently the notorious is one who has completely laid aside the veil of modesty, and is rude and fearless against all sins, and it does not include all of those who perform a sin publicly for any reason. Thus, it is possible to slander about such persons only in respect to the case for which they are notorious.
* Immunity from mistrust is the requisite of a safe community
* Sources of suspicion and pessimism
* Social losses of mistrust
* Individual losses of suspicion
* Ways of countering with suspicion
* Methods of treating suspicion
For making a safe community, first of all security is required, because without security, freedom is not possible, and in this case, mental, corporeal, material and spiritual capitals are not activated, as capitals always take refuge to secure points and escape unsafe environments!
However, the limits of security are not restricted to life and property, and more important than them is security in view of reputation and protection of individuals' social personality.
On the other hand, another security is needed for completion of above triple securities that unfortunately, material rules are not able to provide it, that is, "mental security" as the most important one in some aspects!
Mental security has two parts:
1- Security of everybody in his own mind setting, and in other words "mental tranquility": that is to say in mental and spiritual view, a man is in a position that disturbing forces do not press upon him from each side, and he is not supposed to rush of various disturbing thoughts and serious mental storms. Rather, he may have a tranquil spirit free from any anxiety, discomfort and confusion.
2- Security in view of judgements of others: that is to say others do not lay rush of their thoughts as well as bad and inappropriate judgements on a man in their own mind's setting, and one's respect and reputation is preserved even in the setting of others' mind. Of course, discussion about each of these securities needs long talks. Herein, we only want to discuss about the latter type that is security in view of judgements of others.
It goes without saying that what is possible to provide in view of rules and materialist governments, with connivance of their other faults, is security in life, financial and somehow social reputation respects (of course as far as it is possible to assess the effects of its damage in view of materialistic and legal rules).
But, mental security in both parts, specially being safe from bad judgements of others is only possible through divine doctrines and heavenly religions, as we know the areas of heart and mind are out of access of such rules and executive forces generally having a material aspect, and lacking the least impression on these parts. Only religious beliefs and ethical principles, particularly in Islam, containing extensive and considerable instructions for achieving this objective, as one of its great privileges, can penetrate into these areas and make it safe. Quran explicitly instructs the believers:
(يا اَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيراً مِنَ الظَّنِّ اِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ اِثْمٌ).
O believers, eschew much suspicion, some suspicion is a sin.(91)
The phrase "much suspicion" may indicate that a major part or most of the suspicions of people about each other are "evil ones", and thereby Quran warns people about the great risk threatening their security in the minds of others, and has introduced it as a "general affection site".
However, the phrase "some suspicion is a sin", considering its previous phrase, may indicate that suspicions of people about each other may be partly based on the reality, but surely a part of them is against reality, as a sin and disobedience. Thus, intellect orders to avoid all types of suspicion for not being affected to this part.
In the Islamic traditions too, it is so emphasized on avoidance from suspicion on the believers that we read in a tradition from Prophet S.A.:
«اِنَّ اللهَ حَرَّمَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِ دَمَهُ وَ مالَهُ وَ عِرْضَهُ وَ اَنْ يُظَنَّ بِهِ ظَنَّ السُّوءِ».
God has forbidden blood, wealth, reputation and suspicion about a Moslem.(92)
This tradition is particularly noteworthy since it has placed security in four aspects (financial, life, reputation, and mental) besides each other, and has forbidden all of them in a single phrase.
Suspicion and pessimism in mental view may appear sometimes lightly and sometimes acutely and severely, that is as a mental disease - and anyway it could be the effect of various causes, including:
1- It often happens that source of suspicion is the sense of revenge and malice and envy, and since a man can not take vengeance practically on the other person, and or express it by his tongue, so he retreats to the areas of mind and heart, and causes a sedition there, trumps up him, and judges and rebukes and blames him, and thereby seeks relief of his mind. That is to say whatsoever he could not find outwardly, he seeks in his mind and imaginations, and on this account, and he feels a sort of false enjoyment and tranquility from his action.