1606. * If a person observing fast wishes to quote something about which he has no authority or he does not know whether it is true or false, he should, as an obligatory precaution, give a reference of the person who reported it, or of the book in which it is written.(Fasting Rules/Fiqh, Duas.org)
Surat Al-Hujurat [verse 6] - O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
This story is going around Facebook:
Imam Yahya Davis transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member mosque that he was to be introduced as the head Imam at that morning. He walked around his soon to be mosque for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for jummah....only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food....NO ONE in the mosque gave him change. He went into the musallah to sit down in the front of the mosque and was asked if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the mosque, he listened to the mosque announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new Imam of the mosque to the congregation........"We would like to introduce to you Imam Yahya Davis"....The jammat looked around filled with joy and anticipation.....The homeless man sitting in the back stood up.....and started walking down.....the happiness stopped with ALL eyes on him....he walked up the memba and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment....then he recited
"Verily, Allah will say to his slave when He will be taking account of him on the Day of Judgement, 'O' son of Adam, I was hungry and you did not feed me.' He will answer: 'How could I feed you? You are the Lord of the worlds!' He will say: 'Did you not know that my slave so and so who is the son of so and so felt hunger, and you'did not feed him. Alas, had you fed him you would have found that (i.e. reward) with Me.' 'O' son of Adam, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink.' He will reply: 'How could I give You drink? You are the Lord of the worlds!' He will say: 'Did you not know that my slave so and so, the son of so and so felt thirsty and you did not give him drink. Alas, if you had given him, you would have found that (i.e. reward) with me.' 'O' son of Adam, I became sick and you did not visit Me.' He will answer: 'How can I visit You? You are the Lord of the worlds!' He will say: 'Did you not know that my slave so and so, the son of so and so became sick and you did not visit him. Alas, had you visited him, you would have found Me with him."
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning...many began to cry.... he then said....Today I see a gathering of people......not a community of Allah. The world has enough people, but not enough true Muslims...when will YOU decide to become Muslims? He then asked the Muadhan to call the iqamaat for salat...
But this story is completely made up. I also saw two nearly identical posts this week, but they weren't about Imam Yahya Davis, but rather Pastor Jeremiah Steepak. From the blog Patrick's Place:
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve surely seen a widely circulated photo of a homeless man with a scraggly gray beard billed as a pastor who went “undercover” in his own church. But despite evidence the homeless pastor photo is a fake, no one seems interested in fact-checking.
Spreading rumors on the Internet is a common tactic of those seeking to demonize or guilt others. In 2010 I wrote the following article for an online magazine:
So does it matter if what we share on the Internet is true or not? Even if it gives a good message? I think so. One person's "good message" is another person's insult or worse. We may unintentionally harm, even with a "good" lie. If you have a good cause, you do not serve it well by using deceit to promote it. The truth is pure and will stand up to scrutiny, while a lie, even an "innocent" or "well-intentioned" one, can ruin your reputation as well as your work for your cause. The month of Ramadan is a time to be especially vigilant of our words and deeds, not only because they affect our fasts, but because we are supposed to be working on becoming better people, reformed characters, reaching the next level(s) particularly in this month.