Our beloved Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states as follows in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Human beings cannot free themselves from the following three things: ‘Sû‑i zan’, ‘Tayara’ and ‘Hasad’. When a person has a bad opinion about someone else (Sû-i zan), he should not act according to his bad opinion. Do the things that you think may be ominous by placing your trust (tawakkul) to Allâhu ta’âlâ, and, if you are jealous of a person, never hurt him.” “Hasad” means to be jealous. “Tayara” means believing in ill‑omen. “Sû‑i zan” means one’s thinking a particular person as an evil person.
To presume that one’s sins will not be forgiven means to commit sû-i-zan against Allâhu ta’âlâ. And to presume that all Believers are sinners, means to commit sû-i-zan against Believers (Mu’mins). “Sû-i zan” is a forbidden (harâm) act. A dislike taken against someone upon seeing him committing a prohibited action or learning that he has committed prohibited actions would not be “sû-i zan”; instead, it is a dislike taken for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ (bughd al-fillâh); it generates thawâb (rewards in the Hereafter). When a Muslim sees another Muslim (brother) doing something wrong, he should try to interpret it in a good manner (husn al-zan) and should try to save him from doing that action again. A negative thought that comes to the heart but does not stay there for long would not be a “sû-i zan”. Developing a strong thought in the heart in a negative way would be “sû-i zan”.
The twelfth âyat of Sûra “Hujurât” in the Qur’ân al-kerîm purports: “O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible); for suspicion in some cases is a sin: …” Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allahu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Do not have ‘sû-i zan’. ‘Sû-i zan’ causes incorrect decisions. Do not pry into others’ private affairs. Overlook others’ faults. Do not argue with others. Do not be jealous of others. Do not have animosity against one another. Do not backbite one another. Love one another like brothers. A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. Therefore, a Muslim will not despotize another Muslim; he will help him. He will not look down on him.” It is forbidden (harâm) for one Muslim to kill another Muslim. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “A Muslim does not attack another Muslim’s self, property or honor. Allâhu ta’âlâ does not look at strength or beauty of your bodies. He does not look at your deeds, either. But He looks at your hearts.” Allâhu ta’âlâ looks at the sincerity and fear of Allah in the hearts. In order for deeds and worships to be accepted, i.e., rewards (thawâbs) to be given, they have to be done with close attention to their necessary conditions and a proper intention, i.e., for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ (ikhlâs).
Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Have good opinion ‘husn al‑zan’ toward Allâhu ta’âlâ.” Fifty‑third âyat of Sûra of Zumar of the Qur’ân al-kerîm purports: “Oh My slaves with many sins! Do not give up hope of getting mercy of Allah. Allah forgives all sins. He is a Being with infinite forgiveness and endless mercy.” Allâhu ta’âlâ will certainly forgive every kind of disbelief and sin when the repentance is done in accordance with its conditions. If He wills, He will also forgive all kinds of sin other than disbelief without repentance. In a hadîth al‑Qudsî, Allâhu ta’âlâ declares: “I will treat My slave the way My slave thinks of Me.” Allâhu ta’âlâ will forgive those who do repentance with the hope that He will forgive.
Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in the following hadîth-i-sherîfs: “It is an act of worship to have a good opinion (husn-i-zan) about Allâhu ta’âlâ.” and “I swear in the Name of Allâhu ta’âlâ, who is the only One Ilâh without any partner that He will accept any prayer done (with a heart) bearing a good opinion about Him.” and “On the Day of Reckoning ‘Qiyâmat’ Allâhu ta’âlâ will order someone to be thrown into Hell. While being taken toward Hell, the person will turn around and tell Allâhu ta’âlâ, ‘Oh my Lord! While I was on earth, I always had a good opinion about You!’. Allâhu ta’âlâ will say, ‘Do not take him to Hell. I shall treat him the way he thought of Me’.”
If it is not known whether a certain Believer is sâlih (pious) or fâsiq (sinful, wicked), we should have a good opinion about him. When the possibility of a person’s being pious or wicked balances out, this state of uncertainty is termed shakk (doubt, scepticism). An imbalance of possibility in either direction is a state of zan (supposition, opinion, surmise), while the less likely possibility is called wahm (delusion, mistrust).
We should have a good opinion about people who give us advice, as well as about all Muslims. We should interpret their words and advice with optimism. Believing in the goodness and piousness of a Muslim is an act which brings rewards. Mistrust based on a pessimistic predisposition that a certain Muslim should not be believed is in fact a reflection of loose morals on the part of the owner of the mistrust. We should try to understand what is said and if we are not able to understand it then we should inquire about it. We should not forthwith have a bad opinion about a person who tells us something. Among the evil suggestions brought into the heart by the devil, having a bad opinion (sû-i zan) about others is the one wherein the devil is most successful. Sû-i-zan is forbidden (harâm). In case a certain utterance sounds too clearly malignant to interpret with optimism, a possible mistake or slip of the tongue or lapse of memory (on the part of the person who has made the utterance) should be taken into consideration.
Ref: This paragraphes are quoted from the book “Ethics of Islam” page 129, which is the translation of the book Berîka written by Abû Sa’îd Muhammad bin MustafâHâdimî ‘rahima hullâhu ta’âlâ’, who passed away in 1176 Hijrî, 1762 A.D. in Konya / Turkey and the book Akhlâq-i-Alâî written in Turkish by Alî bin Amrullah ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ,’ who passed away in 979 Hijrî, 1572 A.D. in Edirne / Turkey. You can find the whole book and the other valuable books in the web site www.hakikatkitabevi.com.tr and download in PDF format for Adobe Acrobat Reader, EPUB format for iPhone-iPad-Mac devices and MOBI format for Amazon Kindle device.