The Consequences of Negative Assumptions

The Consequences of Negative Assumptions

Bint Munawwar Hussain Attariya

(Student of Daura Hadith at Jamia tul Madina Girls, Gulbahar, Sialkot)

What are negative assumptions?

To harbour a negative opinion is to believe something bad about another without any proof.[1]

Mufti NaꜤīm al-Dīn Murādābādī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes:

It is prohibited to think ill of a righteous believer. Likewise, hearing someone’s words and assuming an incorrect meaning, even though other, correct meanings which his state concords to are possible, is also a negative assumption.

Sayyidunā Sufyān al-Thawrī رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ states there are two types of assumptions:

*    That which enters the heart and is articulated on the tongue. If this is evil directed towards a Muslim, it is a sin.

*   That which enters the heart but is not articulated on the tongue. Even though this is not a sin, it is still necessary to purify your heart from this.[2]

Types of assumptions

Necessary: It is necessary to think good of Allah.

Recommended: Thinking positively about a righteous Muslim.

Forbidden: Thinking negatively about Allah and a righteous Muslim.

Permissible: Thinking about a flagrant transgressor in the way his actions dictate.[3]

Numerous hadith instruct us to refrain from evil presumptions:

1.   The one who thinks ill of his brother has thought ill of Allah. This is because the Quran states:

اِجۡتَنِبُوۡا کَثِیۡرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ ۫ 

Avoid much suspicions.”[4]

2.   Beware of suspicion ˹about others˺, as suspicion is the falsest speech.[5]

3.   The blood and wealth of a Muslim and thinking ill of him are forbidden.[6]

4.   Three things will remain in my nation: taking evil omens, jealousy, and evil assumptions. Someone asked, “Dear Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! How should a person reform himself if he possesses these three traits?” The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم answered, “When you are jealous, seek forgiveness from Allah. When you think bad of someone, do not dwell on it. When you eradicate bad-omen, continue and fulfil that work.”[7]

According to this powerful hadith, these three traits are spiritual maladies of the heart, and it is necessary to cure your heart of these illnesses. The method of refraining from evil assumptions is to not let those thoughts settle in your heart and not to act upon them. Affirmation of the heart means to embed those assumptions in the heart and not to deem them undesirable. The sign of this affirmation is the articulation of those evil assumptions by the tongue.[8]

The renowned spiritual guide and leader of Ahl al-Sunnah, Mawlana Ilyas Attar al-Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ states:

There is no harm in having good assumption, and there is no benefit in evil assumption.

The ruling of negative assumptions

It is mentioned on page 142 of Batini Bemarion ki Malomat, published by Makatabat al-Madinah:

A man will not be declared a sinner as soon as an evil assumption concerning another enters his heart, as deeming someone worthy of punishment merely for this would be to burden a man with something beyond his strength, and this would oppose Islamic law. It is stated in the Quran:

لَا یُکَلِّفُ اللّٰہُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَا ؕ

Allah does not place a burden upon any soul except to the extent of its strength.”[9]

How to avoid negative assumptions

To protect ourselves from the destructive harms of this evil, we must undertake practical steps:

*   Always focus on the positive aspects of fellow believers.

*   Adopt good company and avoid bad company.

*   Become pious and others will appear pious.

*   Fear the punishment of Allah.

*   Supplicate for ourselves if we fall prey to this action. 

We ask Allah Almighty to grant us the ability to think positively about others and to refrain from evil assumptions. May He also forgive us without accountability for the sake of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم


[1] Batini Bemarion Ki Malomat, p. 140

[2] Khazāˈin al-Irfān, p. 930

[3] Batini Bemarion Ki Malomat, p. 142

[4] Al-Quran, 49:12; Kanz al-Ummāl, juz 2, vol. 3, p. 199, hadith: 7,584

[5] aī al-Bukhārī: 5,143

[6] Shuab al-Īmān: 6,706

[7] Al-Mujam al-Kabīr: 3,227

[8] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 401, hadith: 3,465

[9] Al-Quran, 2:286, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān