When a wicked man brings you a report [49:6]

Qur’an:

“O you who believe, if a wicked man brings you a report, make sure (of it), lest you wrong other people in ignorance and afterwards repent of what you have done.” [Al-Hujurat 49:6]

يا أيها الذين آمنوا إن جاءكم فاسق بنبإ فتبينوا أن تصيبوا قوما بجهالة فتصبحوا على ما فعلتم نادمين

Sunnah:

Abu Al-Hasan Al-Qummi writes: “It was sent down because of Mary, the Copt and mother of Ibrahim (a.), and the reason was that A’ishah said to the Messenger (s.): “Ibrahim is not your biological son. He is the son of Juraih the Copt, for he used to come in to her every day.” Therefore, the Messenger (s.) became angry and he said to the Commander of the Believers (a.): “Take the sword and come to me with the head of Juraih!” Thereupon the Commander of the Believers (a.) took the sword and said: “My father and mother be sacrificed to you, O Messenger of God, if you send me concerning this matter, then I will strive in it with the utmost eagerness. What, then, do you command me? Shall I bring confirmation of it or bring about a suffering?” The Messenger (s.) said to him: “Rather you shall bring confirmation.” When the Commander of the Believers (a.) reached the mother of Ibrahim (a.) and Juraih saw him, the latter fled from him and climbed a palm tree. The Commander of the Believers (a.) called him and said: “Climb down!”He said to him: “O Ali, fear God! What is this? Here is a group of people. I am a eunuch!” Then he uncovered himself and when certainty was established that he was a eunuch, he came with him to the Messenger (s.) and he said: “What is the matter with you, O Juraih?” He said: “O Messenger of God, the Copts emasculate their servants and those who enter their relatives and the Copts do not allow anyone to approach them except the Copts. Therefore, their father sent me to come in and serve her and approach her.” For this reason God sent down: “O you who believe, if a wicked man brings you a report, make sure (of it), lest you wrong other people in ignorance and afterwards repent of what you have done” (49:6) [Tafsir Al-Qummi, Volume 2 page 318 – 319]

قال أبو الحسن القمي: فإنها نزلت في مارية القبطية أم إبراهيم عليه السلام وكان سبب ذلك ان عايشة قالت لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله ان إبراهيم ليس هو منك وإنما هو من جريح القبطي فإنه يدخل إليها في كل يوم، فغضب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وقال لأمير المؤمنين عليه السلام: خذ السيف واتني برأس جريح فأخذ أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام السيف ثم قال: بأبي أنت وأمي يا رسول الله انك إذا بعثتني في أمر أكون فيه كالسفود المحماة في الوبر فكيف تأمرني أثبت فيه أو امض على ذلك؟ فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: بل تثبت، فجاء أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام إلى مشربة أم إبراهيم فتسلق عليها فلما نظر إليه جريح هرب منه وصعد النخلة فدنا منه أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وقال له انزل، فقال له يا علي! اتق الله ما ها هنا أناس، اني مجبوب ثم كشف عن عورته، فإذا هو مجبوب، فاتي به إلى رسول صلى الله عليه وآله فقال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: ما شأنك يا جريح! فقال: يا رسول الله ان القبط يجبون حشمهم ومن يدخل إلى أهليهم والقبطيون لا يأنسون إلا بالقبطيين فبعثني أبوها لادخل إليها وأخدمها وأؤنسها فأنزل الله عز وجل يا أيها الذين آمنوا ان جاءكم فاسق بنبأ الآية

Abdullah ibn Bukair reported that he asked Imam As-Sadiq (a.): “My life be sacrificed to you, did the Messenger (s.) order the killing of the Copt knowing that A’ishah had lied to him or did he not know? Did God protect the Copt with the assurance of Ali (a.)?” He said: “Yes, he did and God knows best. Had the Messenger (s.) actually decided to kill him, then Ali (a.) would not have returned until he killed him, but the Messenger (s.) did that so that she would repent of her sinfulness, but she did not repent and she did not care that a Muslim person would be put to death by her lie.” [Tafsir Al-Qummi, Vol. 2 page 319]

وفي رواية عبد الله (عبيد الله ط) بن موسى عن أحمد بن رشيد (راشد ط) عن مروان بن مسلم عن عبد الله بن بكير قال قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام: جعلت فداك كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله امر بقتل القبطي وقد علم أنها قد كذبت عليه، أو لم يعلم وإنما دفع الله عن القبطي القتل بتثبت علي عليه السلام؟ فقال بلى قد كان والله أعلم ولو كانت عزيمة من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله القتل ما رجع علي عليه السلام حتى يقتله، ولكن إنما فعل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله لترجع عن ذنبها، فما رجعت ولا اشتد عليها قتل رجل مسلم بكذبها

Bogus argument:

Is the verse an indication that one should evaluate narrators and reject or accept their reports depending on the evaluation?

Response:

The Qur’an says: “If a wicked person brings you a report.” God Himself has already evaluated the person as a wicked person. The Prophet (s.) did not reject the report because the messenger is a false person, but rather he examined its truthfulness. So the report was rejected because of its content and not because of the messenger. Therefore, the Qur’an states: “So make sure (of it).” And not: “So reject it, for it is from a wicked!” Interestingly, according to the followers of Umar, the wrongdoer is a companion.

Muhammad Ibn Jarir At-Tabari writes: “Prophet Muhammad (s) sent a man of his companions to a group who acknowledged him and thereupon the man came to them. In the time of ignorance, both were enemies and when they came to him to greet him, acknowledge the donation and give them what is right, he returned to the Prophet (s.) and said: “O Messenger of God, the sons of that one have refused the donation and have fallen away from Islam.” So the Messenger (s.) became angry and sent someone to them, so they came to him and he said: “You have refused the donation and thrown out my messenger?” They said: “By God, we did not refuse it and we know that you are the Messenger of God and there is no way around it for us and we did not refuse the right of God towards our property.” But Prophet Muhammad (s.) did not give them any faith and so God sent down this sign so that they were excused.” [Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. 26 page 162]

قال محمد بن جرير الطبري: بعث رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلا من أصحابه إلى قوم يصدقهم، فأتاهم الرجل، وكان بينه وبينهم إحنة في الجاهلية فلما أتاهم رحبوا به، وأقروا بالزكاة، وأعطوا ما عليهم من الحق، فرجع الرجل إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسول الله، منع بنو فلان الصدقة، ورجعوا عن الاسلام، فغضب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وبعث إليهم فأتوه فقال: أمنعتم الزكاة، وطردتم رسولي؟ فقالوا: والله ما فعلنا، وإنا لنعلم أنك رسول الله، ولا بد لنا، ولا منعنا حق الله في أموالنا، فلم يصدقهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأنزل الله هذه الآية، فعذرهم

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