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 Allâh. Verily, Allâh is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Quran, Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12)
Suspicion is a natural human instinct but in this verse Allah (Subhana wa ta'ala) tells us to avoid it so we do not fall into other destructive areas. Suspicion and distrust can destroy brotherhood and sisterhood and hence we need to eliminate it.
Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) warned us of the dangers of suspicion by saying "Beware of suspicion, for verily it is the most deceptive form of speech" Reported by Aby Hurayrah and collected by Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawood
Suspicion can lead to backbiting, gossiping and slander when it is spoken about. Even if you have suspicious thoughts you should try your best not to act on it or speak about it since this can lead to those grave sins, so the best thing is to avoid suspicion all together.
The Prophet Sallalahu alaihi wa salam said "Allah overlooks the evil thoughts of the Muslim nation as long as they do not speak about it or act on it" Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Bukhari and Muslim
Caliph Umar radiallahu anhu is reported to have said "If your Muslim brother makes an ambiguous statement to you, you should only think the best and you will find a good explanation for it" Ibn Katheer and Imam Malik
Suspicion and curiosity about others can lead to spying. The invasion of privacy is opposed by Islam, and the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) advised us to stay out of other peoples business to the point where it is one of the qualities that complete a Muslim's Islam. He said "Among the things which complete a man's Islam is his avoiding things which do not concern him" Tirmidhi
and "Blessed is he who is so busy with his own faults that he becomes unaware of the faults of others" Reported by Anas, collected by al-Bazzar
Eavesdropping is haram, and severe punishments have been described.
The Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) said "One who eavesdrops on the conversation of others and hears what they would not like him to hear will have molten brass poured in his ears on the Day of Judgement" Collected by Tabarani and authenticated by al-Albani
On another occasion he (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) is reported to have said "The habitual eavesdropper will not enter Paradise." Reported by Hudhayfah, colected by Bukhari, Muslim and others.
Even if you suspect someone is doing something wrong in their home, it is not allowed to spy on them. Islamic law rejects any evidence obtained by spying and snooping. Ibn Mas'ood said "We have been forbidden from spying, but if any evidence appears in the open we will use it" Collected by Abu Dawood
Nowadays suspicion and backbiting have become so common that we don't realize that we are backbiting when we talk about others. We all need to stop it, there is absolutely no good in it.
The Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) was asked "O Messenger of Allah, what exactly is Gheebah (backbiting)?" He replied, "It is mentioning something about your brother which he dislikes." The man then asked, "What if what I said were true?" The Prophet answered, "If what you said were true, you have backbitten and if it was not, you have slandered." Reported by Abu Hurayrah in Bukhari and Muslim
The Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) chastised even his family "Once a woman visited Aishah (radiallahu anha) and when the woman got up to leave, Aisha made a sign with her hand indicating to the Prophet Aishah (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) that the woman was short of stature. The Prophet immediately chastised her, saying, 'You have backbitten!'" Reported by Hasan ibn al-Makhariq, collected by Ibn Jareer.
Backbiting is haram except in the protection of a muslim's welfare such as evidence in a court case, and when advice is sought for business dealings or marriage. For example, Fatima bint Qays came to the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) seeking marital advice after both Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan and Abu Jahm had proposed to her, the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) said "Mu'awiyah is stingy and tight fisted and Abu Jahm beats his women, so marry Usamah instead" Reported by Fatima bint Qays, collected by Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and others.
If someone has cheated you in business and another muslim is about to do business with the person, you should warn them by telling them your experience, but keep it to the point, don't embellish and add other irrelevant things.
We should not seek to show up the faults of others, there are great rewards for covering each others faults. The Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) said "In this life and the next Allah will cover the faults of one who covers a Muslim's faults" Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Tirmidhi
He (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) also said "On the Day of Ressurection, Allah will deflect fire from the face of one who defends his Muslim brother's honour in the latter's absense." Reported by Abu al-Darda , collected by Tirmidhi
Suspicion and slander can break apart friendships, families and destroy communities and business relationships. They and their related behaviours are very dangerous.
The Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) said "Do not envy each other, harbour ill-will towards each other or make false bids against each other (during sales in order to increase the prices of goods), nor boycott each other, or spy on each other; but instead, be true servants of Allah and brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim, he does not harm him, humiliate him or scorn him." He (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) then pointed to his chest and said "Fear of Allah dwells here, fear of Allah dwells here. It is very evil that a Muslim look down upon a brother Muslim. Everything of a Muslim is forbidden to another Muslim; his blood is sacred, so are his honour and his property" Reported by Abu Hurayrah, collected by Muslim
We should not only avoid suspicion and backbiting, we should try to prevent others from doing so. The Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wa salam) said "Whoever perceives an evil should prevent it with his hand, but if he is unable let him do so with his tongue and if he remains unable let him hate it in his heart for that is the lowest form of Eeman" Reported by Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri, collected by Muslim and Abu Dawood
Let us all make an effort to avoid being suspicious of each other and to avoid backbiting, and to stop others from backbiting in our presence. I remind myself before anyone else.