Once upon a time there was a boarding school where lived teenaged girls. Some of the girls were from well off families while others were from poor families and had joined the school by getting scholarships. There were among them two girls who were the best of friends. One was called Sarah while the other, Shelina. Sarah's father was a millionaire and Shelina's an ordinary clerk; yet for them difference in wealth did not matter.
Once Shelina, while talking to one of her friends, was saying "After all, people make friends for some purpose or the other, there is no friendship without any aim. For instance, I have made a strong friendship with Sarah because...." before she could finish, a third girl called Shahin standing at a hearing distance from them, went away. No one missed her as she was not very near.
Shahin thought for a while, "Well, who was to know that of all the people Shelina would be after something from Sarah?"
She met Sarah just round the corridor and stopped to talk to her. She told her what she had just overhead and in addition, she said, "She must be after your wealth as you are so rich and she has nothing to spare. So beware, Sarah, do not give her too much."
This report destroyed the well built friendship between Sarah and Shelina because Sarah could not bring herself to talk to Shelina. She came to believe that Shelina was a deceitful girl. But Shahin was worried. She had not meant to break the friendship. She just wanted to warn Sarah as Sarah was her friend too.
Shahin's self accusing soul constantly nagged her, and she felt guilty. She tried to shake off her guilty feelings by saying that she had not meant to do it and after all, she had said what she had heard and so it was the plain truth. But then something happened which increased Shahin's guilty feeling.
A girl came into her room. It was the same girl to whom Shelina was talking the other day. She told Shahin how quickly such a well founded friendship had broken. "It was so surprising." She said, "That just before the breakage of friendship, Shelina was telling me that she had made friendship with Sarah for no other purpose but her good moral values.
Shelina wanted to improve herself and that is why she had chosen Sarah as her friend. She said that no friendship is without a purpose and this was her purpose. Strangely enough the very next day it had all blown away. I wonder why?"
This talk made Shahin sit up. She had not heard the full conversation, but just jumped at conclusions. She had not only done gheebat (backbiting) but put a tohmat (false allegation) on someone, which was even worse than gheebat. She was worried all day long and could not decide what to do. In the evening she was reciting the Qur'an. She came across the 12th Verse of Sura-e-al-Hujurat which says:
"O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it;
and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful." (49:12) Shahin was deeply worried and felt that the only remedy was to ask for forgiveness from both Sarah and Shelina as Allah would not forgive her unless they did. At first she thought she would do it in the morning. By then she would pluck enough courage. "But," she thought, "What if I die tonight? A man's life is not in his hand and if I died tonight, I would never be forgiven."
She immediately went to find the two girls and bringing them together asked for their forgiveness. Both Sarah and Shelina became extremely happy to learn the truth which had restored their friendship, they also promised not to let anyone know what she, Shahin had done. Shahin felt very pleased to see her bad deed put right again.
The next morning she started reciting Sura Hujarat again and she came across the 10th Verse of Sura-e- Hujarat:
"The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you." (49:10)
Shahin felt a sense of relief and happiness that she had done a right thing. She made a promise to Allah, never to speak ill of others, be it a fact or a made up story.