“Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi, 2318)
In a nutshell, this particular hadith showcases the stance Islam has on the matter of being too inquisitive about the affairs of others. People generally tend to overstep their boundaries and do not adhere to certain social etiquettes that are pertinent for each and every Muslim to practice in their everyday life. All of us have heard someone or the other cornering a person with a myriad of questions like when are you getting married, when are you having children or how did you get divorced? Being overly inquisitive and concerning yourself with other people’s private affairs is highly discouraged and looked down upon in Islam.
A good Muslim does not interfere in matters that he/she has nothing to do with – it is a breach of privacy and makes the other person very uncomfortable. Our words fall under the category of our deeds and hold great weightage in Islam, hence, we must be conscious of the nature of the talk we engage in. A person’s tongue can be used to incur Allah’s pleasure and His wrath alike, such is the power of our words. If you do not possess words that may contribute positively, it is better to not say anything at all. According to a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, the Holy Prophet said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep silent." (Sahih Bukhari, 6136)
The Holy Prophet encouraged his Ummah to integrate noble manners and values associated with respect, compassion, and modesty into their character. A Muslim should only take part in matters that directly affect him/her – nothing more. Only those deeds should be carried out which lead to something beneficial and constructive and refrain from those deeds which are irrelevant and may cause harm to another person.
Each and every one of us has our own set of faults and secrets that we do not wish the world to know – we want these secrets to be only between us and Allah. Hence, if Allahis the concealer of our shortcomings and mistakes, why should we impose on others by prying into their private lives that have nothing to do with us. Prying usually leads to idle talk and jumping to conclusions, which may be completely false in reality. In the Holy Quran, Allah warns man against these petty behaviours:
“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (Quran, 49: 12)
Idle talk may also lead to the accumulation of envy and jealousy, which may end up harming both the individual who envies and the person who is being envied. Jealousy and envy are toxic states of being that lead to unhappiness and ungratefulness. We, as Muslims, must be good to one another and be a source of comfort for one another – not a source of pain or harm. Time and again, our Holy Prophet instructed us to unite as one Ummah and work towards building bonds of brotherhood and companionship amongst ourselves. As narrated by Abu Hurayrah:
Allah's Messenger said, "Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales. and do not look for the others' faults, and do not do spying on one another, and do not practice Najsh, and do not be jealous of one another and do not hate one another, and do not desert (stop talking to) one another. And O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers!" (Bukhari 6066)
However, helping a fellow brother or looking out for his/her welfare is not the same as being overly inquisitive about his/her affairs. Islam does not discourage the act of aiding another, in fact, it endorses the notion at its very core. You may even offer advice to your fellow brothers or sisters as well if they require it, but be sure not to overstep certain boundaries of privacy.
At the end of the day, what matters is the intention behind the act – that is the crux of the matter. So one must refrain from being too nosy about things that are of no concern to him/her and instead, focus his/her energy on working towards earning rewards from Allah in this world and the Hereafter.