The world is a sea of wonders and secrets. God the Almighty gives access to people on multiple levels. Humans get to unveil such wonders and secrets through natural inclination, senses, intellect and revelation. Everyone has the means to explore the world in its wonders and secrets using the first three means mentioned above, but revelation is only through whomever God (SW) chooses.

Most of us think of prophets and messengers whenever we hear the word revelation. But in the Quran we read that the term Wahii or revelation was used in reference to angels, bees, and even regular people like the mother of Musa. In the Sunnah, the prophet (SAAW) spoke about people God speaks to! “If any were to be among my Ummah, it would be Omar.”[1]

As much as the universe is open for exploring its secrets, it was God’s wisdom to exclude human consciousness and inner thoughts from being exposed to other humans. God protected each one’s privacy and kept it between Him directly and His servants. {He knows the secrets and that which is more hidden} 20:7. But in our own reality, we choose to expose our personal secrets and private moments to people around us we trust like family, friends, counselors, lawyers, and Imams. We expect these people to honor such trust and keep it safe without fear of breach or betrayal.

Anyone entrusted with people’s private matters who betrays such a trust has indeed committed a major sin and will be liable for that in front of God on the Day of Judgment. The prophet (SAAW) mentioned four sins which identifies someone as a hypocrite, and the first of those four was: “If entrusted he betrays.”[2]

Only people, with the Heavenly Mercy of God engraved in them, will be safe from the effects of handling such confidentialities. The great scholar Ibn Ataa’ said: “Whoever sees the secrets of the servants and does not try to imitate divine mercy, his seeing such is a trial for him and a reason for misfortune to befall him.”[3]

The idea of one acquiring the Heavenly Mercy of God reminds him of his own need for God’s mercy, because everyone sins. And having that Mercy in you will make you look with mercy to others during their moments of weakness when they entrust you with their private issues or seek advice from you. A person, not acting on the Mercy of God, will look down on others as he sees their vulnerabilities exposed, he may change his opinion about them, think he is better or above such vulnerabilities, and abuse delicate confidential information in the future. This is a reminder to all of us who are entrusted with confidential information about others to act in mercy and offer help and support rather than be full of ourselves, degrade others, and cause scandals that people may never recover from.

It was narrated in the Tafseer of the verse: {And so too did We show Abraham [the celestial majesty and divine authority in] the vast kingdom of the heavens and earth} 6:75) that Abraham saw a few sinners and then said: my Lord, they are enjoying the life You granted them, the provisions You offered them and the earth You created them on, why not punish them!” God replied: “Be easy on My servants, O Abraham, I have always seen them disobeying Me before, they might quit or repent.”[4] And the prophet (SAAW) said: “Do not humiliate your brother for he might be purified, and you are the one to be tested.”[5]

If this was the case of people exposed to other people’s privacy when it is volunteered to them, I can’t imagine people who make it their daily business and enjoyment watching others, recording them and trying to collect information on them! There is an Arabic proverb that says: “One who watches people shall die in worries.” What a true statement for such a lifestyle will only bring stress and anxiety and make one unable to trust anyone around them even their own family members.

No one can change the sins and weaknesses or be responsible for the sins and weaknesses of another. We are responsible for ourselves, and we should always strive to make positive changes within ourselves. The purity of the soul comes from focusing on self-purification. Those who focus on others will indeed corrupt their soul. May Allah always guide us toward purifying our own souls, help us to be beacons of mercy to others, and protect us from falling into the pits of hypocrisy and corruption. Ameen.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha


[1] Bukhari

[2] Bukhari

[3] Wisdom # 158

[4] Ibn Katheer

[5] Tirmizi