If the heart-wrenching news of the cold-blooded murder of Ziyaaad Janoo, a father of two lovely children, wasn’t shocking enough, what was more shocking was that everyone started to play detective over his death. Over 40 000 facebook posts, media links and tweets were recorded in just one day, all forwarding unfounded rumours without shame or verification. Many of these posts also had links to YouTube videos wherein Ziyaad is shown boasting about his wealth and power, in an attempt to paint him as a villain who died the way he lived. By far, the most common rumour was that he was killed outside a nightclub due to an awry drug deal.

Although this allegation has no basis whatsoever, Muslims went crazy in spreading it, giving vent to their punchaat-loving nature. They forgot that the honour and dignity of a Muslim, no matter what reputation he may have, is sacred. Our duty is to pray for the forgiveness of the deceased, because we too are full of weakness and sins. The height of hypocrisy would be slandering the deceased and then performing prayer over him shortly thereafter! Who are we trying to fool? How do we know that the deceased has been forgiven of his sins, whilst our sins will not be forgiven in the hereafter? Have we got any guarantee that we are better than the deceased?

Besides such rumours bringing immense grief to the family of the deceased and portraying our sense of pomp and pride, how will we ask the deceased for forgiveness for slandering him after his death? He will have a solid case against every person who slandered him on the Day of Judgment, so please repent before this juicy gossip-mongering backfires on you. Don’t cause your hard earned good deeds to be offloaded onto others due to such irresponsible behavior.

Did not the words of our noble Messenger of Allah (Sallallahhu Alaihi wa Sallam) reach you in this regard: "Do not abuse the dead, because they have attained that which they had forwarded (i.e., their deeds, good or bad)." [Al-Bukhari]. Our Noble Messenger of Allah (Sallallahhu Alaihi wa Sallam) also warned us thus: "During the Mi'raj (the Night of Ascension), I saw a group of people who were scratching their chests and faces with their copper nails. I asked, 'Who are these people, O Jibril?' Jibril replied: 'These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) and trampled people's honour." Even if the news is true, a true Muslim is not one who just forwards what he hears. Our beloved Prophet (Sallallahhu Alaihi wa Sallam) said in this regard: "It is enough for a man to prove himself a liar when he goes on narrating whatever he hears." [Muslim].

Our duty is to guard the honour and dignity of every person in this ummah. The Prophet (Sallallahhu Alaihi wa Sallam) said, "He who defends the honour of his brother, Allah will secure his face against the Fire on the Day of Resurrection." [At-Tirmidhi]. So, all those who received such rumours on their Facebook pages, or Twitter handles, or on WhatsApp groups, or any social media platform, please delete it immediately and send a message to the sender to never send you such useless posts. If you do not do so, you are part of this vicious gossip train. Let this be the last time you ever take pleasure of speaking ill of the living and the dead.

Lastly, let’s all sincerely lift our hands and resolve to repent from all forms of evil associated with the tongue, for verily the tongue is softer than butter, but sharper than a sword. May Allah Ta’laa grant us all death of on perfect imaan (faith) and may all those lying in their dark recesses of their graves be granted light and divine forgiveness – Ameen.