The Prophet ﷺ said, “All of a Muslim is prohibited for another Muslim.”
Allah ﷻ has made the Muslim sacred. And the meaning of “All of a Muslim” is referring to “His blood, his wealth and his honour” so the latter part of the sentence explains the initial part.
His statement, “His blood..” [Meaning] Allah has prohibited the killing of the believer. Allah ﷻ said,
۞ وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide in therein, and the Wrath of and Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” (Q 4:93)
And the Prophet ﷺ said, “It is not permissible to spill the blood of a Muslim except in three [instances] the married person who commits adultery, a life for a life, and the one who forsakes his religion and separates from the community..” In these three occasions, it is permissible to spill his blood.1 And the Islamic punishment is applied upon him, and the punishment of fornication is applied upon him, and if he is an apostate from his religion then he is killed. However if none of these three are found in him, then his blood is impermissible to spill.
His statement , “His wealth..” likewise the wealth of a Muslim is sacred.
Allah ﷻ said,
۞ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنكُمْ
“O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent.” (Q 4:29)
So the wealth of a Muslim is his blood, it is sacred and it is not allowed to be taken except by his mutual consent, as it has been reported in the ḥadīth “The wealth of a Muslim is not permissible except by his consent.” [Meaning] with his consent and not by forcefully taking or stealing, so do not betray him in [business] interactions or cheat him by taking his wealth unlawfully.
His wealth is forbidden to take except via correct interaction, such as doing an approved transaction. Similarly, he is not forced to buy or sell unrightfully. However, if he has some debt and he refuses to settle it, then the sultan2 settles it by taking his wealth, or he sells his assets and repays the debt because [this is taken] justly. Nonetheless, if it is through other than this, then it is not permissible. Forcing him to buy or sell [is not permissible] except by his consent. Allah said, “by mutual consent.” (Q 4:29)
The Prophet’s ﷺ statement, “His honour..” [Meaning] the honour is everything that receives praise or slander. So a Muslim does not speak about the honour of his brother with slander or tale carrying. Nor does he curse or belittle him, since he is sacred. Rather, he defends him and rebukes slander that is made against him, this is an obligation upon all. It is impermissible for a person to talk about the honour of his brother in gatherings and to spread things about him, even if he has erred or has fallen into sins. So do not spread things about him in gatherings, but rather advise him in that which is between you and him, this is his right that he has upon you. But for you to talk about him in sittings and gatherings and mention the sins he has fallen into, this is not permissible, this is backbiting. Allah ﷻ said in the Qurʿān:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ
۞ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“O’ you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Q 49:12)
And the Prophet ﷺ said, “Do you know what back-biting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “To make mention of your brother with that which he dislikes.” They said, “How about if my brother actually has what I have said about him?” He said, “If he has what you have said about him, then you have back-bitten..” Because it is not permissible for you to speak about the people, “..and if not, then you have committed slander.” Meaning you have lied about your brother. For certainly if you were to speak about your brother in a sitting from the various gatherings then you will inevitably either:
- Become a liar by lying about your brother.
- Become a slanderer by speaking about him. This is not permissible because a Muslim is sacred. It is obligatory to advise him secretly without spreading it or spreading rumours.3
۞ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَن تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.” (Q 24:19)
The remedy for evil isn’t to spread, talk about it or create rumours. Rather its remedy is advising, enjoining the good and prohibiting the evil in accordance to the guidance of the Islamic legislation, as Ibn Taymīyyah has mentioned in his ʿAqīdah al-Waṣiṭīyah
1 [TN] The Islamic punishment is only implemented under an Islamic ruler or Sultan. Cases are presented to a judge in an Islamic court. It is not permissible for the general public to take these affairs into their own hands.
2 [TN] An example of footnote
3 [TN] As for the innovator and the people of innovation, then there is no backbiting with regards to them. Imām al-Nawawī said in Riyādh al-Ṣālihīn in – Chapter: What is lawful in backbiting No. 5 – It is permissible to call into question the narrators of ḥadīth, and witnesses in the court when the need arises. It is also permissible to mention the bad qualities of somebody for marriage purposes in case an advice is sought. Also, if one has noticed that a “seeker of knowledge” frequently goes into the gatherings of an innovator in religion and one fears that this “seeker of knowledge” may be affected by this so-called scholar, then he must in this case give counsel to the “seeker of knowledge” by telling him about the “innovator” etc.