Slander is one of the ugly methods used by some dishonest and immoral people whose interests have been damaged, and thus are angry, and full of ill-feeling toward the people with whom they are in competition or whom they desire to hurt. There are many forms of slander, from organized and systematic schemes to a few words squeezed in between the lines. In societies that are far removed from religious morality and so do not live by Allah's will, slander is frequently used to put others in a bad light. Most of the people who will read this book have probably been slandered to one degree or another or have witnessed others being slandered.
However, this book is not concerned with the little slanders that individuals hurl at each other. Rather, it deals with an altogether different type of slander: that used by those who do not believe in religion to harm believers, whether physically or spiritually.
In the Qur’an Allah reveals that all of His messengers and other devout people who called their societies to abide by the Qur’an’s morality stood accused of avarice, madness, arrogance, theft, and fornication. The Prophet Joseph’s (as) life was full of such examples of slander, as were those of the Prophets Moses (as), Solomon (as), and even the Prophet Muhammad (saas). Likewise Mary (as), the mother of the Prophet Jesus (as); A’isha, the wife of our Prophet (saas); and his Companions were all exposed to slander. These people always displayed exemplary patience and reliance upon Allah when confronted with slander, disregarded the unbelievers’ such efforts, and continued to live by the morality ordained by Allah and invite people to the righteous path.
No doubt, such determination is exemplary. Allah reveals: “Or did you suppose that you would enter the Garden without facing the same as those who came before you?” (Surat al-Baqara, 214). In other words, it is one of Allah’s laws that all Muslims, regardless of when and where they live, will be slandered and pressured to abandon the Qur’an’s morality. In another verse, Allah reveals that all believers will hear hurtful words from the unbelievers and will be tested in their possessions and in themselves:
You will be tested in your wealth and in yourselves, and you will hear many abusive words from those given the Book before you and from those who associate [others with Me]. But if you are steadfast and guard against evil, that is the most resolute course to take. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 186)
Every righteous and devout believer who encounters such a situation desires to display the same patience, trust in Allah, sincerity, and determination as those earlier believers. Therefore, they are not shocked or saddened, nor do they give way to despair, when the tests mentioned in the Qur’an are sent to them. Instead, to the surprise of the slanderers, they show even greater zeal and joy.
Likewise, when another believer is slandered, his or her fellow believers receive it with patience and zeal, and they rely upon Allah. They believe that, provided that he or she shows patience, their slandered brother or sister will earn Allah’s mercy and bounty in this world, as well as our Lord’s good pleasure and Paradise in the Hereafter.
There is a great benefit in revealing another aspect of slander: Unlike other slanders, the logic of “If you throw enough dirt, some of it will stick” does not work on believers. Regardless of its apparent severity, in the end it will be known that these devout people have a pure and good character. Both Mary (as) and the Prophet Joseph (as) are known to history as symbols of chastity. The Prophet Joseph's (as) brothers also accused him of various things, but within his lifetime he was recognized as a very trustworthy person and thus was appointed over the stores of Egypt.
All of this shows us a very important reality: It is Allah's will that every plan aimed against believers is destined to be stillborn, and that every piece of slander will come to nothing. Every hurtful word will return to its speaker. In other words, every speech, deed, and cruelty directed against believers will cause the slanderer to feel deep regret in both this world and in the Hereafter, unless he repents and puts his actions right. Allah reveals the fate awaiting those who slander His messengers and devout servants:
As for those who abuse Allah and His messenger, Allah’s curse is on them in this world and in the Hereafter. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them. And those who abuse believing men and women, when they have not merited it, bear the weight of slander and clear wrongdoing. (Surat al-Ahzab, 57-58)