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Fatwas on Spying, Defamation and Disclosing Secrets

Q1379: I have received reports regarding the embezzlement of public assets of Muslims by a particular person. Upon investigation, some of these allegations proved to be true. However, when he was questioned, he denied all the charges. Is it permissible for me to send the reports to the court, noting that it may prove embarrassing to him? On the assumption that it is not permissible to approach the court, what is the position of the people who know about this matter?
A: If the person entrusted with safeguarding and preserving public assets of Muslims came to know about the embezzlement of it by any official or others, they are religiously and legally bound, in order to get to the truth, to report the culprit to the competent authorities. Saving the face of the accused is not a lawful justification to hold back from upholding truth and preserving public assets of Muslims. Other people also should present their certified reports to the concerned officials who will take the needed steps after investigating and when the case is proved.

Q1380: We notice that some newspapers are full of reports about arresting thieves, cheats, and groups of bribe-takers within government departments. Similar news of people carrying out vile deeds, corruption, and running indecent nightclubs abounds. Does the publication of such news contribute to spreading indecency?
A: The mere publication of incidents and events in the newspapers does not amount to spreading vile deeds.

Q1381: Is it permissible for the students in an education centre to report to the officials concerned what they see as corrupt practices with a view to preventing them taking hold?
A: There is no harm in it provided that the reports deal with overt matters and that they are not considered acts of spying or backbiting. Indeed, it might be obligatory as it could be a preliminary step to upholding the obligation of ‘forbidding evil’.

Q1382: Is it permissible to reveal the wrong doings or treacheries of some officials to the people?
A: After investigation and assuring the truth, there is no objection to report it to the authorities concerned so that they would pursue the matter. Indeed, this becomes obligatory when it is among the preliminaries of the obligation of forbidding evil. As for revealing it to the public, it is not justified. Indeed, if it leads to sedition, trouble, and undermining the Islamic state, it becomes ḥarām.

Q1383: Is it permissible to snoop on the believers’ properties and pass information on them to oppressive governments, especially when such action inflicts losses on them or offend them?
A: This type of action is ḥarām. If the inflicted loss resulted from presenting information about the believers before the unjust rule, the informer should compensate for the losses.

Q1384: Is it permissible to talk, in the presence of other people, about one’s secrets or private life?
A: It is not permissible to disclose personal matters in front of other people if there are other parties involved or the revelation could lead to a bad consequence.

Q1385: Psychiatrists often ask their patients about personal and family matters with a view to reaching a diagnosis and prescribing a treatment. Is it permissible for the patient to answer such questions?
A: There is no harm in it provided that it does not lead to bad effects, backbiting, or insulting a third party.

Q1386: Some people talk about certain negative aspects and weakness within the Islamic Republic. What is the view on listening to such conversations?
A: Clearly, embarking on any action that may tarnish the image of the Islamic Republic, which is standing against infidelity and world arrogance, is not in the interest of Islam and Muslims. Accordingly, if such conversations lead to weakening of the Islamic Republic system, it is impermissible.

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