[And] scorner, going about with malicious gossip [nameem] -
[Qur'aan 68:11 - Translation of Sahih International]
It is reported from Hudhaifa that news reached him (the Holy Prophet) that a certain man carried tales. Upon this Hudhaifa remarked: I heard Allah's Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying: The tale-bearer [al-nammaam] shall not enter Paradise.
[Sahih Muslim - The Book of Faith - Chapter:Clarifying the emphatic prohibition of Al-Nameemah - Hadith No. 105]
Al-Nameemah refers to the act of conveying the information of a conversation with one person to another with the intent that mischief, hatred, and enmity is caused between the two. It is a rampant disease in our society.
Dangers of al-Nameemah
A person listens to what one person has to say and then tells another person so that both these persons become enemies to one another. This tactic is used to break up friendships. As a matter of fact, it is used to create division among members of a family. Brothers are turned against one another. Husband and wife are turned agaisnt one another by means of al-Nameemah. At times the matter gets to the point that divorce results.
Scope of al-Nameemah
al-Nameemah is not just limited to the above. Whenever a person comes to know of information from a person which the person does not want propagated, but the one who came to know of the information propagates it, he has indulged in al-Nameemah. Thus, if you come to know of something regarding someone and that someone does not want you to ever make that information public or tell others, it is best you remain quiet. You are not to make the information public or convey it to others either by means of speaking, writing, or signs.
What is not al-Nameemah
Having to bear witness in court or to use the information to help the person from sinning are exceptions. In such cases, making the information public or conveying it to the proper authorities would not constitute al-Nameemah. Just like if you knew of a plan that someone was devising to kill someone, then it would be obligatory upon you to convey the information to the concerned authorities.
The magnitude of al-Nameemah
ابن حجر الهيتمي في كتابه الزواجر: قال الحافظ المنذري أجمعت الأمة على تحريم النميمة، وأنها من أعظم الذنوب عند الله
Ibn Hajar al-Haythami said: al-Munziri said: The Ummah has agreed that al-Nameemah is haraam [impermissible] and it is from among the biggest sins in front of Allaah.
What are you to do if someone comes with gossip to you
A person who indulges in the reprehensible act of al-Nameemah is known as al-Nammaam. If a Nammaam comes to you, you need to
- Refuse to believe what he says
- Forbid him from doing what he is doing
- Hate him for the sake of Allaah for Allaah hates a nammaam
- Do not believe the information he has conveyed to you regarding another Muslim brother of yours as you are to have good conjecture
Remember, if a nammaam can bring defaming information to you regarding someone, he can provide others defaming information against you as well. He is no ones friend.