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يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ٱجْتَنِبُواْ كَثِيراً مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلاَ تَجَسَّسُواْ وَلاَ يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضاً أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتاً فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
-Al-Hujurât ( الحجرات )

Tafsir al-Tustari

…Shun much suspicion…He said:That is, ‘Do not discredit anyone [by holding] a bad opinion (sūʾ al-ẓann) about them without [knowing] the truth (ḥaqīqa) [of the matter].’ Indeed the Prophet said: ‘The most untruthful of reports is that of opinion (ẓann).’ Then Sahl said:Bad opinion comes from ignorance and pertains to the natural self (nafs al-ṭabʿ). The most ignorant person is the one who estranges his heart [from God] without being aware of it. Indeed, God, Exalted is He, has said: And that suspicion of yours which you held about your Lord has ruined you, so you have become among the losers. [41:23] Certainly, the servant is deprived of blessed provision and prayer at night because of bad opinion.One night a man, one of [God’s] servants, slept through [and missed] his customary rite (wird) and felt regret over it. [He] was asked: ‘Do you feel regret about [missing] that which you are wont to perform?’ He replied, ‘I do not feel regret because of that, but rather because of the sin through which I became deprived of that good [deed].’Sahl was asked, ‘What is the meaning of the Prophet’s words : “Be on your guard with people, [by holding a] bad opinion (sūʾ al-ẓann).”’ He replied:The meaning of this is [that protection from people] is [gained by holding a] bad opinion of yourself, not of other people. In other words, accuse your own self for not treating them fairly in your dealings with them. His words:
…and do not spy…He said:That is, ‘Do not search out the faults that God has covered for His servants, for you may well be afflicted by that [fault].It was related of Jesus that he used to say, ‘Do not speak too much other than in remembranceof God, Mighty and Majestic is He, for your hearts will be hardened, and the heart that is hard is far from God. Do not regard the faults of people as if you were their masters, but look at your own works as if they were your slaves. Know that people are either afflicted (mubtalā) or preserved (muʿāfā), so show mercy to those who are afflicted and ask God for preservation.’His words:
…or backbite one another…He said:Whoever wants to be safe from backbiting must bar the door to [ill] assumptions (ẓunūn) in himself, for whoever is safe from making ill assumptions, is safe from backbiting (ghayba), and whoever is safe from backbiting, is safe from calumny (zūr), and whoever is safe from calumny, is safe from slander (buhtān).He said:And Ibn ʿAbbās y said, ‘The hypocrite (munāfiq) is guilty of backbiting, but the wicked (fāsiq) are not guilty of backbiting. This is because the hypocrites keep silent about their hypocrisy, whereas the wicked openly take pride in their wickedness.’He said:He [Ibn ʿAbbās] intended by this the sins (maʿāṣī) that they commit openly, whereas the sins which are kept a secret are a form of backbiting (ghayba). His words:

Tafsīr al-Tustarī, trans. Annabel Keeler and Ali Keeler
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