In the days of Hazrat Omar Farooq RAA a preacher used to give sermons in Masjid-e-Nabvi. Hazrat Aisha’s house was adjacent to Masjid-e-Nabvi. Even though there was no loud speaker in those days but that person used to deliver sermons in a very loud voice which disturbed Hazrat Aisha RAA when she did her Zikr, recitation of the Quran, or was busy in her other household chores. Hazrat Aisha RAA requested Hazrat Omar Farooq RAA to ask this preacher not to give sermons with such a loud voice so close to her house. Hazrat Omar RAA advised that person not to give his sermons at that particular place as it disturbed Hazrat Aisha RAA. The preacher stopped, but as he was very fond of giving sermons he restarted after a few days. When Hazrat Omar RAA heard about this, he called that preacher and said, “I am forbidding you for the last time. If I hear again that you have given a sermon at this spot I will break my cane on your back.”
In a Hadith, it has been narrated that the Holy Prophet ﷺ was asked about a woman who fasted whole day, prayed whole night, but caused a lot of distress and suffering to her neighbours. The Holy Prophet ﷺ said that she will go to Hell. While explaining this Hadith، Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi RE used to say that this Hadith strictly forbids causing harm and distress to other people, and clarifies that not causing harm to other people takes precedence over Ibadah (acts of worship).
CAUSING DISTRESS TO ONE’S FAMILY MEMBERS
These days we have become very careless about the rights and feelings of our close family members. Even those people who are polite to their acquaintances, take their close family members for granted and think that if any of my behaviours is causing distress to my wife, or my child, or my brother or sister, then so what. Because they are my close family members, therefore, I somehow have a right to hurt their feelings or cause them distress. This is a great misperception and mistake. The Holy Prophet ﷺused to be so careful about it that at the time of Tahajjud he did everything very quietly so as not to wake up Hazrat Aisha RAA. Please remember that just like it is a major sin to cause distress to or harm strangers, similarly, it is a major sin to cause distress to or harm one’s close family members.
CAUSING MENTAL DISTRESS TO OTHERS
Hazrat Thanvi RE used to say that in this Hadith causing harm through bodily actions of hand and tongue has been mentioned. However, if one does something through one’s hand or tongue which causes psychological or mental distress to someone, then that is included within the meaning of this Hadith. For example, a person takes a loan from someone and promises that I will return this loan to you at this time or within this duration. If he is then unable to repay the loan within this duration then he should let the lender know clearly that he will be unable to repay the loan within the promised timeframe, and give the lender a clear idea of when he would be able to return it. It is not permissible to keep making vague promises, or to not let him know that you are unable to return it. The poor lender keeps waiting that he will get his money back today or tomorrow, and the borrower neither returns his loan, nor lets him know when he will return it. This way the borrower is causing the lender mental anguish as he cannot make any plans about using that money because he has no idea when, or even if, he will get his money back. Such behaviour is as Haraam as causing physical harm to someone.