Islam: The war of propaganda by Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sudais

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah the Exalted and know that it is the fear of Allah that protects us from all afflictions.Brothers in faith! Ever since Allah created the universe there has been a fierce struggle between different forces for the control of people’s hearts and minds; just as there has been for the physical control of mankind.

Nowadays, humanity as a whole is facing a psychological war in a form that is far more dangerous than any conventional military war. The war in question is the propaganda war. Propaganda is one of the most lethal and destructive weapons of war. Its impact is great and it is not an overstatement to say that humanity as a whole is under siege from this.

Therefore effort must be exerted to study it with the view to uprooting it and eliminating its causes before it causes irreparable damage to the very essence of human life. Brothers in Islam! If one takes a studious look at the history of man, he will find that propaganda and rumour have been constant factors throughout the ages; in fact it has flourished with the advancement of all civilisations and has been a source of anxiety and distress for many a nation. We must know that no concrete effort was made to bring this demon under perpetual control until the advent of Islam. Islam, being a religion that is a source of mercy, justice and peace for mankind, took a decisive stance at this undesirable phenomenon and put it under strict control through divine injunctions from the Qur’an and Sunnah. It did this by prohibiting all utterances that could cause dissension among people. It prohibited backbiting, lying, gossip, calumny and tale- mongering and threatened those who carry tales with a severe torment in the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says that which translates as: ‘Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread (or publicised) among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter.; (An-Noor: 19).

The Qur’an also commands the verification of information; ‘O you who have believed! If there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.’ (Al-Hujuraat: 6). Allah the Exalted also calls to the attention of man the fact that he will be held responsible for each and every utterance that he makes. Allah says that which translates as: ‘He (i.e. man) does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared (to record). (Qaaf: 18).In actuality, propaganda and rumours are the basis of mankind thinking ill of the Muslims and this has been prohibited by Allah when He says that which translates as ‘O you who have believed! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins’ (Al-Hujuraat: 12). The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu’alaihi wa sallam also condemned tale-bearing when he said: ‘It is enough for a man to relay all that he hears for him to be among the liars’ In order to block the way of the rumour-mongers and detractors, he said, ‘Shall I not inform you of the wickedest among you’. His companions said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah!’; He said, “They are those who go about gossiping and causing enmity among those who have love for each other.”

Fellow Muslims! Rumour-mongering and propaganda have caused havoc to all kinds of people. It has destroyed so many homes; brought about the collapse of so many dynasties and caused tribulations and war. Its perpetrators are ill-natured, weak-minded and completely lacking in manliness. They have no respect for the truth; in fact lying and falsehood are to virtuous acts to them. Their aim is to cause mischief in the land and many have perished by their heinous acts. History is replete with accounts of propagandists and fabricators who spare no effort in blocking the truth from reaching the people. During the time of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam the pagans strove hard without success to terminate Islam and eliminate its Prophet. They falsely labelled him in order to prevent people from listening to his message. They also launched different forms psychological warfare against him and his companions but all of this was to no avail. One group of people who partake in propaganda campaigns are the Jews, who are well-known for their rebellion against the Creator and their killing of Allah’s Prophets who were sent to them. They levelled the most terrible allegations against Prophet ‘Eesa and his mother, peace be upon them both, and committed treacherous acts against the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam in Al-Madinah through their acts of misinformation in which they have no rival.

The Jews collaborated with the hypocrites to falsely and mischievously spread a great lie against the mother of the faithful
A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, in order to damage the reputation of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and thereby cause a setback to his message. It is in this regard that Allah strongly rebuked the Muslims who were innocently influenced by this propaganda when He said that which translates as: ‘And why, when you heard it, did you not say,’ It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, (O Allah): This is a great slander.’ Allah warns you against returning to the likes of this (conduct), ever, if you should be believers.’ (An-Noor: 16-17).

Brothers in Islam! The propaganda war is now in its golden age, due to modern technology and the sophisticated means of communication which are used by vicious people to terrorise mankind psychologically and intellectually and weaken their morale through their evil-breeding agencies.Propaganda and rumour-mongering are crimes against religion, society and noble values. It is truly saddening that many of these rumours are believed by the masses to be facts. Let those among the Muslims who indulge in these abominable acts remember that they may lose their religion and even their lives if they do not desist. Is it proper for us Muslims to forsake all of our principles and have ill-thoughts of our scholars just because of mere rumours that we hear about them? Let the scholars of the Muslim nation and their students rise up and fight this ugly phenomenon. Let them realise that they are the principal target of this war.

Let them hold fast to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam as their righteous predecessors have done during their times.Mosques, schools, homes and the Muslim mass media also have a vital role to play in waging war against propaganda. Let all efforts be made with sincerity in order that we may achieve victory. Brothers in Islam! Our religion has laid down guidelines to be followed in fighting rumours, foremost of which is the fear of Allah and verification of news before accepting it. It also enjoins objectivity in treating all.


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