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Wednesday 10th of August 2022
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Divulging secrets is Khayanat

Abdullah Ibne Sinan says that he inquired from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), "Is it haraam for a believer to expose some things of another believer that deserve to be kept secret?"

"Yes," the Imam (a.s.) replied. 
The narrator further asked, "Do you mean by this the 'private parts'?"

Imam (a.s.) explained, "It is not what you think, (Though it is also haraam to view the private parts), what I meant were theconfidential matters." 
(Al Kafi)

Imam (a.s.) has also said: 
"One who washes a dead body of a believer and observes caution with regard to the trust is absolved of all his sins."

Someone asked, "How can one maintain secrecy with regard to the washing of a believer's corpse?"

The Imam (a.s.) answered, 
"He must not tell anyone of the deformities that he might see in the dead body." 
(Amaali)

From this discussion we can be certain that exposing a secret amounts to committing Khayanat. Under all circumstances a secret is a trust, whether the person concerned himself takes you in confidence or you come to know of the secrets by yourself, it is haraam to betray it. If the one whom the secret concerns does not wish his secret to be divulged, then it is haraam and a kind of Khayanat to expose it. Such types of trusts that involve secrets have various grades and are of different types. Certain types of Khayanat are termed as tale telling and others are called backbiting. Each of these shall be elaborated ahead.

Informing disbelievers about the military secrets of the Muslims

Khayanat can be with Allah (a.j.), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Muslims. One can also commit Khayanat with ones own self. When a person reveals the political secrets or the military stategies of the Muslims to the disbelieving opponents, he commits Khayanat which includes all the above. He is the cause of strengthening the enemy and responsible for the defeat of the Muslims. Perhaps it is this type of Khayanat that is alluded too in the following ayat: 
"O you who believe! Be not unfaithful to Allah and the Apostle, nor be unfaithful to your trusts while you know." 
(Surah Anfal 8:27)

In the Shaane Nuzool (circumstances of revelation) of this verse Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari says: One day Jibraeel (a.s.) informed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) of the fact that Abu Sufyan was camping at a particular place with an army of polytheists. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) made preparation to fight with him and kept this secret so that the enemies would be taken by surprise. However, one of the hypocrites wrote to Abu Sufyan and informed him of the Muslim plan. The explanation of the verse (8:27) mentions the Khayanat of Abu Lababa and his subsequent repenting.

Divine mercy upon those who maintain trusts

Maintaining a secret is however, a formidable task. Only those with a high sense of honour are unflinching, and succeed in strictly maintaining secrets. It is a morality with which very few good actions can compare and is deserving of high rewards and Divine blessings. The person is protected from fear on the Day of Qiyamat. On the day when all the people will be gathered for accounting, the trustworthy people shall be placed at the safest and the best place under the shade of Divine mercy.

Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) says, 
"Three types of people will be under the shade of Divine mercy when there will be no other shade: 
(One), the person who arranges the marriage of his believing brother. (Two), the person who procures a servant for his believing brother. (Three), the person who has maintained a secret of his believing brother."

Restrain from divulging your own secrets

According to the traditions we must not inform anyone of our own secrets. Even if those people are our closest relatives or friends. It is possible that their friendship may not last forever. They might become our enemies in the future. It is very scarcefor an enemy not to expose the secrets of his opponent.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has advised one of his followers: 
"Do not tell your secrets even to your friend. But only tell him those things that will not cause any harm even if your enemy comes to know of it. Because even a friend could become your enemy one day." 
(Behaarul Anwaar)

A reliable and pious person has related that when he intended to divorce his wife, he was asked about her defect; that had made him take such a decision. He replied, "An intelligent person never exposes his wife and never reveals her secrets."

Subsequently the divorce was completed and even the Iddah came to an end. Again some people asked him, "Now she is no more your wife. What was the actual defect in her, that you had to divorce?" He said, "I am not concerned with other women." It means that it is the right of a wife upon her husband that he maintains her secrets even after separation and divorce.

Revealing a secret is a kind of Khayanat and all types of people consider it to be evil. It is mentioned in the book Uqudul Farid that even a filthy man like Ziyad (May Allah's curse be upon him) had criticised Umar Ibne Saad (May Allah's curse be upon him too) for revealing the last wishes and the secret of Hazrat Muslim Ibne Aqeel. Ibne Ziyad (l.a.) had written to Umar Ibne Saad. "O Umar Ibne Saad! Because you yourself have revealed the secret of Husain's coming towards Kufa, you would have to go and fight against him."

The detail of this incident are from the book Nafasul Mahmoom and other books of Islamic history, and are as follows.

When Ibne Ziyad had Muslim Ibne Aqeel arrested, Muslim asked, "Would you murder me?"

"Yes," replied Ibne Ziyad. 
"Give me some time so that I can express my last wishes to a relative of mine."

The accursed Ibne Ziyad permitted him to do so. Muslim searched among the people present in the court and saw Umar Ibne Saad. He told Umar Ibne Saad, "O Umar! We are related to each other. I wish something from you. It is obligatory for you to fulfill it and it is a secret that I cannot reveal to everyone."

Umar Ibne Saad tried to shirk the responsibility but Ibne Ziyad told him, "Do not try to avoid this. Listen to what your cousin wishes." So Umar Ibne Saad and Muslim Ibne Aqeel went into a corner.

Muslim said, "There is debt upon my neck. When I had reached Kufa, I had borrowed seven hundred Dirhams. Please sell my armour and repay the loan. When I am killed take my last remains from Ibne Ziyad and perform a proper funeral and bury me. You must also send someone to Imam Husain (a.s.) so that he can stop him from coming to Kufa. I had myself invited him to Kufa and written that the people of Kufa are on his side. So he must have started his journey towards Kufa. Inform him of my arrest and execution so that he may turn back."

Umar Ibne Saad immediately told Ibne Ziyad all the three things (the debt of Muslim, the burying of his corpse and the warning for Imam Husain (a.s.). Ibne Ziyad (l.a.) said to Muslim Ibne Aqeel, "A trustworthy person can never betray you but the thing is that you have considered a betrayer to be your confidant."

An exemplary confidant

It is appropriate to mention an exemplary trustworthiness at this point. When Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) reached a spot called, 'Haajiz' he wrote a letter to Muslim Ibne Aqeel and the Shias of Kufa. He wrote: 
"From Husain Ibne Ali (a.s.) to his Muslim and momin brothers. Peace be upon you all. Praise be to Allah besides Him there is no deity. I have received Muslim's letter. He has informed me of the glad news that you all are united to support me and prepared to fight for my right. I pray to Allah for your favourable consequences. May He reward you for this stand of yours. I have left Mecca on Tuesday the eighth of Zilhajj and started moving towards you. When my messenger reaches you, you must become serious and concerned in your mission. I shall come to you within a few days, InshaAllah. Peace be upon you and the Divine Mercy."

Imam Husain (a.s.) gave this letter to Qays Ibne Musher Saidawi who set out immediately and soon reached the outskirts of Kufa. An officer of Ibne Ziyad, by the name of Haseen Ibne Tamim tried to arrest him there. He at once tore up the letter of Imam Husain (a.s.). He was then taken to Ibne Ziyad. When Ibne Ziyad told him to surrender the letter he said, "I have torn it into pieces."

"Why?" asked Ibne Ziyad. 
"So that you may not come to know what was written in it."

"To whom was it addressed?" 
"To some people I am not familiar with."

Ibne Ziyad ordered, "If you do not reveal the name, you shall have to mount the pulpit and invoke curse upon the liars." [Ibne Ziyad was actually referring to Imam Husain (a.s.).]

Qays Ibne Musher went to the pulpit and announced, "O people! Husain Ibne Ali is the best creature of Allah, and the son of Fatemah (s.a.) the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). I am his messenger. I have left him at a place called 'Haajiz'. I have come to you so that you may respond to his call and support him wholeheartedly."

Then Qays invoked curse upon Ibne Ziyad and his father. He then showered praises upon Amirul Momineen Hazrat Ali (a.s.).

Ibne Ziyad ordered that Qays be taken to the wall of the palace and then thrown down. When Qays was thrown from such a height, his bones shattered but he was alive when Abdul Malik Ibne Amir beheaded him.

When Imam Husain (a.s.) learnt of Qays' murder, his eyes were filled with tears. He recited the following ayat of the Quran: 
"Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah: so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least." 
(Surah Ahzaab 33:23)

An interesting incident of trustworthiness is also recorded in the book, Riyazul Hikayaat:
A man had one thousand Tumans in a bag. He was going to the public bath, early in the morning. On the way he met a friend who was also heading towards the public bath. When they came to a junction this person separated without informing his companion. Perchance a robber was pursuing them with the intention of stealing the moneybag. When this man reached the bath the robber followed suit. The man deposited the moneybag with the bath keeper and went inside to take a bath. The bath-keeper himself thought of taking a bath. He thought that the robber who had followed the man was the latter's friend. So he handed him the money bag and said, 
"Keep this in your custody till I return after taking a bath."

The thief remained sitting till the bath-keeper returned. Then he gave back the moneybag to him. When the bath-keeper learnt that he was not a friend of the first person he asked, "Then who are you?"

He replied, "I am a thief." 
"Then why did you not steal the money bag?"

The thief answered, "I may be a thief, but betraying trust is against manliness. While safeguarding this trust I have also remained aloof from robbery."

This nobility impressed the owner of the moneybag, and he opened the bag and gave some money to the robber as a reward.

However, stealing is also haraam and it shall be discussed in the forthcoming chapter. An object may be expensive or worthless, but stealing it is absolutely haraam. 


source : GREATER SINS by Ayatullah-ul-Uzma Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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