Text messages and e-mails which say: “Forward this or else you will be sinning and such and such will happen to you”

18 Rabi`ul-Awwal 1430

Recently it has become wide spread to receive an e-mail or a text message that includes a du’a or an advice. It reads: “I ask you by Allah to forward it”, or they might say: “if you forward it you will receive good news”. What is the ruling on such messages? Will I be sinful if I do not forward it?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Using modern means of communication such as mobile phones and e-mail to spread advice, exhortations, reminders and guidance is a good deed, because it is possible to reach hundreds of people with one click of the button. It is well known that the one who guides others to do good is like the one who does it, and that the one who calls others to guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow him, as Muslim (2674) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.”

And Muslim (1893) narrated from Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The one who tells another about something good is like the one who does it.”

If a Muslims writes some advice about the adhkaar for morning and evening, for example, and sends it to a hundred people, and many of them follow his advice, then he will have a great reward for that.

Hence we should make use of these means of communication and raise the level of the messages that are transmitted through them, so that they will be most effective and beneficial.

But sadly some people mix this good deed with a bad deed, which is a kind of lying and falsehood, such as saying, If you forward this, you will hear some good news”! This is a kind of fortune-telling. There is no shar’i evidence that the one who receives advice and passes it on to another will hear good news, rather he may hear bad news, or good news, or he may not hear anything at all.

The same applies to the one who says, “I am entrusting you with this to forward it and spread it, or else you will be sinning if you do not do that,” or “Such and such will happen to the one who does not forward it.” All of this is false and there is no basis for it. The one to whom it is sent does not have to do anything and there is nothing to oblige him to forward it, and he is not sinning if he does not do that. There is no basis for stating that someone is sinning without any proof from sharee’ah, and there is no basis for speaking of the unseen future which no one knows except Allaah.

Stating that reward or punishment will come as the result of actions done is something that must be referred to Allaah. Whatever He has permitted is what is halaal, and whatever He has forbidden is what is haraam, and reward and punishment are in His hand. Whoever says anything about that without proof is lying. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم):(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al‑Fawaahish (great evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge’”

[al-A’raaf 7:33]

These people think that they are making people spread good by encouraging and warning them, but they are mistaken and they are overstepping the mark. They should limit themselves to that which is mentioned in sharee’ah, which is sufficient, praise be to Allaah, such as saying: “Whoever spreads this good, there is the hope that he will have a reward like that of all those who act upon it.” That should be sufficient to encourage people to spread it.

This explains the importance of knowledge, because most of those who do this only do it because of ignorance, like those who fabricated ahaadeeth and attributed them to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the basis of spreading good and encouraging people to do good, but they ended up telling lies of a type for which the one who tells them is given a stern warning, but he thought that he was earning reward!

Our aim is to point out the falseness of this method and to warn people against it. Hence we say:

The one who receives any of these false messages should advise the one who sent it and explain to him that he should stop using these false incentives, and he should not believe what it says in the message, that if he forwards it such and such will happen to him and if he does not forward it such and such will happen to him, because this is a kind of lie, as stated above.

May Allaah help us all to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.

And Allaah knows best.

From IslamQA

Do not send hoax chain letters about Islam!

Assalamu Alaykum,

Two weeks ago my younger sister received an email that left her puzzled. She looked at me and asked: ”Is this true?”’ When I heard her question, I had a feeling she was asking about some kind of chain-mail, and I was indeed correct.

Praise be to Allah, I do not receive that many chain letters but  I have come across a few over the years.  I was always quite baffled as to why people felt the need to use scare tactics to spread islam, and in addition to that spread falsehood and claim that it is Islamic. The email my sister received  claimed that the person who did not forward it to others would die in 3 days (Not that muslims need proof, but here I am!). It also went as far as saying that the person who does not send it is a disbeliever or something along those lines! Sub7an Allah, no wonder my sister wanted to know what was up with this email!

Needless to say, I reassured my sister that what was said is not true and she understood. She was keen however, to spread the word and clarify this email to other people in her list… so she asked me to do some research.

A quick google search linked me up with a page by Sheikh Yusuf Estes. The particular email my sister received was called ‘Sheikh Ahmed’s Dream’ and It seems as though we were not the only ones unhappy about it.

Here is what Sheikh Yusuf had to say

Thankyou for asking about these types of emails and this one (Dream of
Shaykh Ahmad) and for putting such confidence in our ability to be able
to provide answers.

Actually,we have written on this subject a number of times. It is not
permissable according to Islam, to forward these types of emails
without first verifying and confirming the content, especially when
there is mention of “the prophet, peace be upon him, said . . “, nor to mention them, nor to forward emails about them.

This is not the proper way to handle the situation. In fact, this is exactly what the enemies of Islam want us to do. In many cases they pretend to be Muslims or friends of Islam who are supposedly “helping Islam and
the Muslims.”

To those who are not familiar with some of the basics of dawah in Islam,
these may not seem like a big problem. However, it is never acceptable
in Islam to try to accomplish some good by doing something haram
(forbidden). It is never, ever possible to spread Islam by lying or
using deceptive practices.

Why would anyone do such a thing?

Good question.

Because of Muslims promoting the wrong message. Think about this: Muslims continually send out messages like the one that you just sent and then they tell everyone to do the same thing. Right?

Remember that the devil only has ONE GOAL – to put as many of the sons of Adam
in the HellFire as he can. That is it. He does not really care how they
get there.And it works – for the enemy. Shaytan (the devil) knows that most Muslims are ignorant of their religion and think that they know enough that they don’t need to ask anyone about
what they are doing. Or else, he counts on the fact that they will consider that it looks like something that will “help” the ummah (Muslim community) to do good deeds, even if it is a “little white lie.”

But keep in mind that by lying about what our prophet, peace be upon him, says (whether in a hadeeth or a dream by some mystic shaykh, supposedly in Madinah), it is still a lie and could cause the one who sends it on to others to go to HELL, FOREVER.

And it is working!

We must discourage this practice of just “forwarding this to everyone on
your list.” You see many Muslims today do not really know a lot about
Islam and they are easily confused by these people who know how to make
up things to fool us or mistranslate or misrepresent the verses of the
Quran and the hadeeth of the prophet, peace be upon him. As a result I
have a number of emails coming to me from different countries wherein
the youth are asking me about things that have really messed them up,
all of it stemming from these teachings.


So it is quite clear that one must verify the accuracy of such emails before spreading them to others. Insha Allah my sister will be sending this to her mail list to advise others and so should you..