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Advising against another person

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shariah say regarding an individual who is asked about another person’s character. In this case, the individual being asked has had previous dealings with the person in question and has found him to be untrustworthy. Despite this, the individual does not disclose information about him. What is the ruling in withholding such information, especially if there is a risk of people being cheated out of money?

Answer:

All perfect praise is for Allah ﷻ, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah ﷻ, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger.

It is a duty upon us all to be concerned about the welfare of our fellow Muslims, especially when asked for advice. Giving advice is a momentous trust and should not be taken lightly. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The Religion is sincere advice.” The companions asked: “To whom?” He ﷺ said, “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim)

When a person is asked regarding another about whom he has full knowledge (of his lies and deceptions), if there is no harm to another individual then there is no need to talk about him. However, if the individual becomes aware that he is dealing financially etc. with another person and there is a clear risk of harm, then he will be sinful if he does not make the relevant people aware.

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

This fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari