Females unlawful for marriage

The females prohibited for marriage are the following. The Holy Quraan says: (4:23): “Forbidden to you are your

  1. mothers,
  2. and your daughters,
  3. and your sisters,
  4. and your paternal aunts,
  5. and your maternal aunts,
  6. and your brother’s daughters,
  7. and sister’s daughters,
  8. and your mothers that have suckled you,
  9. and sister’s daughters,
  10. and mothers of your wives,
  11. and your step daughters who are in your guardianship born of your wives to whom you have gone in, but if you have not gone into them, there is no blame on you,
  12. and the wives of your sons who are of your loins,
  13. and that you shall not have two sisters together except what has already passed,
  14. and all married women except those whom your right hand possess.”

Islam allowed a man or a girl to select his or her mate after sights and glances and not beyond that. This instruction is neglected in Muslim societies generally in India, following strict notion of Pardah. Guardians should arrange for a sight ceremony so that the bridal parties may not repent afterwards.

According to Imam-e-A’zam Abu Hanifa (alaihir rahmah), it is lawful to have a sight of the bride and bridegroom before marriage.

Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoso female gets herself married without permission of her guardian, her marriage is void, her marriage is void, her marriage is void. If he had intercourse with her, there is dowry for her on account of her private parts having been made lawful. If they dispute, then the King is the guardian for those who have got no guardian”. (Abu Da’ood)

In a contract of marriage, two witnesses at least are essential. Sayyiduna Ibn-e-Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Beloved Habeeb (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The fornicators are those who marry by themselves without witnesses”. (Tirmidi)

ISLAMIC VIEW ON TRADE & COMMERCE

There are no two opinions that the trade and commerce play a very crucial role in the acquisition of wealth. It is next to Jihad, but superior to industry, agriculture and service. Commerce is a harbinger of good news and prosperity and forms the backbone of acquisition of wealth.

The Holy Quraan says: “We have made the day a means of earning livelihood.” (78:11) The Holy Quraan also gives us encouragement to take up business by saying: There is no sin on you to seek wealth from your Lord.

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Take to trade, because there are nine portions in trade out of ten portions of provisions.” (Ihya-ul-Uloom by Imam Ghazzali – alaihir rahmah)

The Companions of the Glorious Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) carried on maritime and land trade throughout the then known world and thus Arab merchants carried the torch of new light to the darkest corners of the world.  Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself carried on trade as an agent of the famous Arab lady, Sayyidah Khadijah (radi Allahu anhu). The major Caliphs, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique (radi Allahu anhu) was a cloth merchant, while Sayyiduna Omar Farooq (radi Allahu anhu), the Second Caliph of the Islamic Commonwealth carried on corn trade. Sayyiduna Usman Ghani (radi Allahu anhu) had a business in textiles.

Islam laid much stress on honesty in almost all dealings especially in trade and commerce. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) classed an honest merchant with a Prophet on account of the merchant’s following the Sharee’ah rules in trade, classed him with the truthful on account of his being steadfast to truth, and classed him with a Martyr on account of his fighting with heavy odds in treading the path of virtue and honesty in his profession.

Sayyiduna Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There was a man amongst those who were before you. The Angel came to him to take his breath. He was questioned, “Have you done any good deed?” He replied, “I don’t know.” The Angel said, “Try to remember.”  He said, “I don’t know anything except that I used to carry on business with the people in the world, show kindness to them, give time to the solvent and remit the needy”. Then Allah admitted him in Paradise.” (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The truthful trustworthy merchant will be with the Prophets, Truthful and Martyrs”. (Tirmidi)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Oath is a means of bargain for the commodities but a cause of deterioration in blessing.” (Agreed)

Buy and Sale

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported from the Glorious Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) who said: “The two (seller and buyer) must not part away except by mutual consent.” (Abu Da’ood)

Sale is contracted by a declaration and acceptance expressed unequivocally in words or in expressions conveying the same meaning. The acceptance may be deferred until the breaking up of the meeting whether the declaration be made personally or by letter or message. An offer made by the purchaser cannot be restricted by the seller or to any particular parts of the goods. A little deviation from the offer or acceptance will not make the sale complete. A sale may be entered into either for ready money or for payment within a fixed time. Gains may be sold for other gains of different species.

There are four kinds of sale:

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DRESS

Islam has laid stress on proper dressing. Sayyiduna Ibn-e-Abbas (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Eat whatever you wish and wear whatever you desire unless there is extravagance or false pride.” (Bukhari)

Sayyiduna Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) liked to wrap himself in Hibrah which was a stripped shawl manufactured in Yemen. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Sayyiduna Jaabir Bin Samrah (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) wrapping in red-striped shawl in a moonlit night. I looked the face of the Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and then at the moon and I found the Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) prettier than the moon”.  (Tirmidi)

Sayyiduna Abu Burdah (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “I visited Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) who took out for us a small blanket full of patches and a coarse lower garment and swore in the Name of Allah  that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was wearing these clothes when he breathed his last”. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Allah will not grant him His sight of Mercy who wears a wrapper so low that it touches the ground.” (Bukhari) Same reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The portion of the wrapper, which is lower than the ankle, is in Fire.” (Bukhari)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Beloved Habeeb (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) cursed the man who wears the ladies dress and cursed the woman who wears the gent’s dress. (Abu Da’ood) We can use the silk in bed-sheets and pillows. Tassar is also a kind of coarse silk and is as unlawful as the fine silk, Kashi silk and China silk. The cloth made of jute which appears to be like silk can be used but the theologians say that religious leaders should keep away from wearing these as people would think that they are wearing silk. We can use buttons of gold and silver but these buttons should not have the chain of the same metal.

BEARD

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Glorious Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Five things are from the traditions of the Prophets of the old: circumcision, removing the hair below the navel, trimming the moustaches, cutting the nails and removing the hair from armpit”. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Trim your moustaches and grow your beard and follow not the fire-worshippers”. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Sayyiduna Zaid Bin Arqam (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Beloved Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “He who does not trim his moustaches is not of us”. (Tirmidi, Nisai)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “He who does not shave off the hair from the abdomen and does not cut his nails and does not trim his moustaches, is not of us”. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the maximum exemption for shaving off the hair from the abdomen and armpit and for cutting nails and for trimming the moustaches is forty days. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Don’t pluck white hair, as it is the light of a Muslim. He who grows grey as a Muslim, Allah will write for him virtue and rub off his sins and raise him in status.” (Abu Da’ood)

Sayyiduna Ka’b Bin Murrah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Glorious Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “He who grows old in Islam, the old age will serve him as a light on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidi, Nisaai)

Sayyiduna Omar (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has forbidden shaving off the hair from the neck. (Tabraani)

Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Habeeb of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has forbidden women from shaving off the head. (Nisaai)

Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) says it is better to start cutting nails from the little finger of the right hand, then the middle finger, followed by the thumb, then the ring finger, and lastly, the pointer. In the left hand start from the thumb, then the middle finger, and then the little finger, then the pointer, and lastly, the ring finger.

The above is a complicated way and a difficult one for the common men to remember. There is another easy method of cutting the nails, also reported from Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). That is to start cutting the nails from the pointer of the right hand and finish with the little finger. Then start cutting the nails of the left hand beginning from the little finger and finish with the thumb and finally cut the nails of the right thumb. (Durr-e-Mukhtar)

Eating one’s nails is highly abominable and may cause leprosy. (Alamgiri)

SHOES

He advised mankind to wear shoes and socks, as they are protectors of feet. He advised women to wear shoes different from those of the males.

Sayyiduna Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Make a general practice of wearing sandals, for a man is riding as it were when he wears sandals.” (Muslim) The meaning is that wearing of sandals makes movements easier and protects the feet from roughness or thorns on the road. So it is compared to the riding on an animal.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: When one of you puts on sandals, he should first put in the right foot, and when he takes off he should take off the left one first, or he should put them on together or take them off together.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Don’t walk in one sandal; wear either both or take off the two”. (Bukhari, Muslim) The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has prohibited wearing the shoes in standing position except the shoes, which have no laces. (Tirmidi)

Unlawful Food

“The great principle for knowing what is lawful and unlawful food is that what the Holy Quraan and Hadith prohibited is unlawful and what is besides that is lawful”. There are certain things, which have not been expressly permitted or prohibited.  These are doubtful things. These are considered as Mubah or simply lawful. There are two things introduced by jurists between lawful and unlawful things: One is Mubah, near the lawful things and the other is Makrooh, near the unlawful things, but nevertheless lawful. The abominable things being near the unlawful things should be avoided as far as possible by pious Muslims, as none should even go to the neighbourhood of the places of destruction or epidemics. In that case, there is but little space to fall into illegality. The pious Muslims should not go even to the borderline of illegality. The Mubah things are lawful and can be taken if constitution and climate permit.

The effect of food and drink upon the body and temperaments is wonderful. The medical men therefore prescribe special diets for patients, so that indiscriminate diet may not injure the body. Different things have got different properties for different uses according to the requirements of men, and they have naturally got different effect on body. As soundness of mind depends on soundness of body, therefore food and drink may be said to be one of the principal causes, which lead a man to vice, and virtue. The control of food and drink is the control of the vices and promotion of virtues.

Almighty Allah and His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) therefore prescribed such food for men as are conducive to them from a temporal and religious point of view. This is also the reason why lawful food, unlawfully acquired, has been made unlawful as it greatly affects the moral tendency of a man.

The Holy Quraan and Hadith have expressly prohibited the following foods and things:

  1. Food on which Allah’s Name is not taken or meat of a lawful animal or bird which is not slaughtered in the Name of Allah. The Holy Quraan says: And don’t eat of that on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned. That is surely a transgression. (6:122)
  2. Everything which is offered to idols.
  3. All animals, which die of themselves without slaughter in the Name of Allah. These include also animals strangled to death, or beaten to death, or killed by a fall, or attacked by horns and killed, or torn to death by beasts.
  4. All bloods flowing.
  5. All beasts and birds of prey; all quadrupeds that seize prey with teeth, and all birds which seize it with talons, viz., foxes, hyenas, elephants, weasels, kites, crows, raven, crocodiles, insects, domestic asses, mules, swines, and men.
  6. All unclean things repugnant to health and morality, viz., dogs, cats, mules, horses, asses, lizards, swines, etc.

In support of these, the following Quraanic verses are quoted: Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other than Allah has been invoked, and the strangled animal, and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall, and that killed by being smitten with horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten except what you slaughter. (5: 3)

There is a reservation in case of extreme necessity, such as possibilities of death for want of food. In that circumstance, a small quantity of unlawful things, which can barely save life, becomes lawful. The Holy Quraan says: “But whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him.” (2: 173)

It so happens sometimes that the food is being served and suddenly some stranger or guest enters. The master of the house invites the newcomer to join. If the master does not invite the stranger, it is considered a very bad manner. Invitation to a Muslim brother to food is a virtuous thing, but this invitation should not be for the name’s sake. This is also a custom these days that the stranger who is invited to join the food says: “No thanks!” or say “Bismillah”. The scholars have prevented us not to say that. Anybody who is invited to join food should say, “May Allah bless you with abundance in food.”

If a man is too hungry to go out and ask the people to help him, in that case it is abiding on those persons who know his condition to provide him with food. If the man dies of hunger, the persons who knew his condition but did not give him food, would be answerable to Almighty Allah.

Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) asked Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) what were the things, which we cannot refuse to others. He said: “Water, salt and fire.” She said: “O Allah’s Apostle (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)! Why can’t we refuse salt and fire to others?” He said: One who gives others a share in his fire, it is as if he has given in Sadaqa the entire stuff cooked on that fire, and he who gives others a share in his salt, it is as if he has given in Sadaqa the complete dish processed with that salt; and he who quenches the thirst of a Muslim at a place where water is not available, it is as if he resurrects a dead. (Ibn-e-Majah)

Sayyiduna Abu Waqed Laithi (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) came to Madina and they had liking for humps of camels and for cutting the tails of sheep. He said: “What is taken off from animals while they are alive is a dead thing. It shall not be taken” (Tirmidi, Abu Da’ood)

AMASSING OF WEALTH

The Holy Quraan says: Those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful punishment. A day will certainly come when these shall be heated up in the fire of hell and their foreheads, sides and backs shall be branded with them. They will be told: This is what you have stored up for yourselves; taste, then, what you have hoarded. (9:34-36) It is abominable to hoard up wealth on the part of a true God-fearing man, because hoarding implies a little want of faith in Almighty Allah  as the Great Giver of Sustenance. The Holy Quraan says: Will you distribute the mercy of your Lord? We distribute among them their livelihood in the life of this world. (43: 32)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) used to store up nothing for tomorrow. (Tirmidi)

Sayyiduna Ammar Bin Yassar (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Food, bread and meat were sent down from Heaven, and they were ordered neither to waste; but they wasted and stored up for tomorrow. So they were metamorphosed into apes and swines. (Tirmidi)

There is nothing wrong from the Islamic point of view in being rich, provided that one makes the right use of one’s riches. Furthermore, to be rich is not synonymous with the hoarding of money, whether it is for the modern currency type or silver and gold. The two are different. What does, then, constitute hoarding? According to eminent scholars and commentators of the Holy Quraan, the payment of Zakaah makes all the difference. If one pays the Zakaah of his wealth on time, this payment serves as purification of the money and ensures that he is not included among those mentioned in the verse.

Imam Bukhari (alaihir rahmah) relates on the authority of Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) that this warning was applicable before legislation of Zakaah. When Zakaah was made a duty, Allah made it serve as purification of money. Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) is further reported to have said: The wealth from which Zakaah is paid is not hoarded, even if it is stored under seven layers of earth. What is in a person’s hands is hoarded if he does not pay Zakaah for it.

SNEEZING AND YAWNING

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Allah(Azzawajal) likes sneezing and dislikes yawning: so if anyone of you sneezes and then praises Allah , every Muslim who hears him (praising Allah ) has to say,May Allah bestow His Mercy on you. But as regards yawning, it is from Shaytaan, so if one of you yawns, he should try his best to stop it, for when anyone of you yawns, Shaytaan laughs at him. (Bukhari)

If the one who sneezes is a Christian, Jew or any non-Muslim, respond by saying:“Yahdikumullah-o-wa-Yusleh Balakum” (May Allah give you guidance and make your children pious).

It is mentioned in the Hadith that any person who says “Alhamd-o-Lillahi Ala-Kull-e-Haalin” at the time of sneezing, he will never experience an earache or a toothache. It is unlawful to consider the sound of sneeze as a sign of bad omen.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: The yawning is from the Shaytaan. So when one of you yawns, he should try to restrain it as far as it lies in his power. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported: At the time of sneezing, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) used to cover his mouth either with his hand or with a cloth and lowered his sound. (Tirmidi)

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Khudri (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Keep your hand over your mouth while yawning as the Shaitaan enters an open mouth. (Muslim)

BACKBITING

The Holy Quraan says: And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful. (49:12)

Almighty Allah says: Woe to every slanderer and backbiter. (104:1) Backbiting is certainly one of the actions Islam forbids. Its effect on individuals and communities is all there to see. It creates ill feelings and mistrust. Moreover, it betrays a cowardly attitude, as the backbiter takes the opportunity of the absence of another person in order to speak ill of him, giving other people a bad picture of him. Had he been speaking the truth, he would not have chosen to speak of him in such terms when he is away. He actually acknowledges that he does not have the courage to face him with similar statements. The evils of backbiting and its effects on the society are well-known to everyone.

Sayyiduna Hudayfa (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: A Qattat will not enter Paradise. (Bukhari) A Qattat is a person who conveys information from one person to another with the intention of causing harm and enmity between them.

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Backbiting is worse than adultery”. The companions of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) wished to know how backbiting is worse than adultery. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: A man commits adultery and then submits his repentance to Allah who accepts it. But the backbiter will not attain salvation unless the person against whom he has committed the crime of backbiting forgives him. (Bay’haqi)

Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman Bin Ghenam (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyidah Asma Bint Yazid (radi Allahu anha) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Those are the virtuous servants of Allah seeing whom one remembers Allah, and those are the bad servants of Allah who indulge in backbiting and cause a separation between friends and attempt to involve an innocent man into hardships. (Bay’haqi)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Do you know what is backbiting? The companions said: Allah and His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) know better. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Backbiting is when you speak of your brother with an attribute, which he may dislike. A companion asked: If my brother possesses that demerit? The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: If he has got the demerit, which you mention in his absence, it will be treated as backbiting. If he does not possess that what you mention about him, it will be treated as allegation. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: The compensation for backbiting is that the backbiter should invoke Allah for the forgiveness of the person against whom he has spoken ill. (Bay’haqi)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that when Sayyiduna Ma’ez Aslami (radi Allahu anhu) was stoned to death after confessing the crime of adultery, a man said to the other: See him, Allah had kept his sin secret but his conscience did not leave him, and hence, he is stoned to death like a dog. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) heard their conversation and kept silent. When they advanced a few steps, they found a dead donkey with stretched limbs. The Beloved Habeeb (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said to those persons: Go and eat the flesh of that donkey. They said: How can we eat it, O Apostle of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)? The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: The crime that you have committed by speaking ill of your brother is worse than eating the carrion. By Him in Who holds my life, Ma’ez (radi Allahu anhu) is diving into the Rivers of Paradise. (Abu Da’ood)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: A believer is the mirror of another believer and his brother. He should protect his belongings from destruction and save him against backbiting. (Tirmidi)

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibne-Abbas (radi Allahu anhuma) reported once Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) went through the grave yards of Madina and heard the voices of two humans who were being tortured in their graves. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: They are being punished, but they are not being punished because of a major sin, yet their sins are great: One of them used not to save himself from being soiled with the urine, and the other used to go about with calumnies. Then, the merciful Prophet of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) asked for a green palm tree leaf and split it into two pieces and placed one piece on each grave, saying:  I hope that their punishment may be abated as long as these pieces of the leaf are not dried. (Bukhari)

However, there are cases when pointing out the faults of another person is permissible. Suppose that people come to you to ask for information about a man you know intimately. They tell you that he has proposed to marry their daughter, or to go into business partnership with them. In such a case, you have to give them all the information, which is likely to influence their decision one way or the other. You must point out the faults you know of that person in order to make an honest testimony. For example, if you know him to be stingy or hot-tempered or negligent of his family duties, you must tell them of all that because these are qualities which influence a decision on accepting a proposal of marriage. If you know from your long association with that person, that, for example, he had entered into a business partnership with others and the business collapsed and there was some suspicion about his honesty, or his handling of the affairs of the business, or that he did not have a sound business sense, you must tell that to the inquirers. In such cases, you are not indulging in backbiting; you are simply acting as a witness who must give an honest testimony.

There are, however, certain things to take into account when you are called upon to give such information. The first is that you give it only to the people who need it. You must not publicize it. The second is that you give only the information, which is necessary. Thirdly, you must be very objective. You must not allow your own prejudice to either exaggerate or make little of what you know. Fourthly, you should give the information in the least offensive way. You should use the words that give a clear idea of the man and his standing and that are not too personal. That is not backbiting by any measure.

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