It has become a common trend nowadays for people to pass on information with the following disclaimer:
‘Retweets are not necessarily endorsements’
‘The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily that of the editor.’
Whilst this may be a legal shield in this world, in no way does it absolve one in the court of Allah!
We are indeed responsible for whatever we say, write, pass on or share. One who is sharing information actually assumes the position of a muballigh (preacher). Every preacher is duty bound to verify the information he shares and to ensure he isn’t a carter of falsehood.
My Honourable Teacher; Al-‘Allamatul Muhaddith, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah) writes:
..الأصل في عزو الأقوال: توثيقها، لا البراءة من عهدتها ومسؤوليتها العلمية
The actual purpose of citing a quote is its acceptability, and not to absolve one of its academic responsibility.
(Footnotes on Tadribur Rawi, vol.4 pg.213)
The gem of the last century, Shaykh ‘Abdul Hay Laknawi (rahimahullah) writes:
‘If the view is baseless, it is not permissible to quote it, but for the motive of pointing out its flaw…
…it is not permissible to remain silent whilst quoting it, which gives the impression of it being correct.’
(Tadhkiratur Rashid, pg.74)
Let’s ask ourselves the following questions:
• If we do not endorse what we are propagating, then why are we spreading it?!
• Why do we want for others what we do not want for ourselves?!
• What is the purpose of publicising such information?
Whatever the answer to the above, we are still responsible in Allah’s court. Many of us seem to be unaware of this.
Some of us have the habit of adding the following disclaimer at the end of text messages:
This may be a legitimate form of precaution, but one should still weigh up the information before passing it on.
If it seems legitimate, but one is not completely sure, then one may add this note when sharing it.
All of the ‘disclaimers’ discussed in this article are a result of the ill habit of passing/sharing whatever we receive or discover, without verification.
One who passes everything he receives, without verification is considered a liar in the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam).
كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع