Not Fair Game: Producing And Sharing The Audio Leaks Shows We Are In A Deep Ethical Crisis

Not Fair Game: Producing And Sharing The Audio Leaks Shows We Are In A Deep Ethical Crisis
Imam Ghazali narrates an incident in his famous work Ihya Ulum-al-Din that we all ought to be sharing today in the light of the prevailing circumstances.

Caliph Umar (RA) is on a night patrol. He hears some strange sounds that sound like voice of a drunkard. The Caliph spies on the man through a chink on door and witnesses a Bedouin drinking wine. He breaks into his house and says: “Do you think you can do it and Umar will not find out?”

The Bedouin tells the Caliph that he committed just one sin by drinking wine, whereas the Caliph has committed four sins.

“God forbids spying. You spied on me! God says enter from the doors, but you broke into my house. God says, “Don’t enter anyone’s house without permission. You did it without my permission. God says when you enter somebody’s house, say Salam. You did not greet me with Salam.”

The Caliph was a great man. He apologised to the Bedouin. The latter repented the sin, sought God’s forgiveness and promised never to drink again.

What does it teach us? Don’t violate somebody’s privacy! Even God does not approve it. We call it “chaadar aur chaar deewari ka taqqadus” (sanctity of privacy). Besides Islam, other religions also believe in it. Sins committed privately are a matter between the sinner and the Creator. Allah has infinite virtues. One of them is that He is the most forgiving and He keeps our secrets. Backbiting is when you point out a personal weakness in someone. And Qazaf (false accusation) is when you talk about such personal weakness that is actually not to be found in someone.

Unfortunately, most of us – including myself – commit the sin of backbiting.

Here in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, most of us are listening to the alleged audio leaks of Imran Khan and Ayla Malik, and sharing them as if they were some sort of sadqa-e-jaria (a form of charity whose benefits will continue into eternity). I have received it so many times from my friends that I have lost track. I was disappointed when Naya Daur did a lengthy commentary on them – using not one or two, but four commentators.

I don’t need to remind us that anybody’s fake video can be created through artificial intelligence (AI) software that are in abundance on the internet. Voice-mimics can be hired. The great Sudhesh Bhosle recorded many film songs in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor and many others. Our Shafqat Ali once saved a life through Imran Khan’s mimicry: a fan of Khan was hellbent to commit suicide if he was not connected to him on phone. Police sought Shafqat’s help. He called the fan in Imran’s voice and he dropped the idea of committing suicide.

People here have chosen ‘to promote personal sins’ instead of keeping them secret. Their logic is: Khan is a hypocrite. They argue that while he preaches the Islamic concept of “Enjoining what is right, Forbidding what is wrong,” yet he practices what these alleged audio leaks indicate.

But then there is an important question. Are you sure the audios are genuine? Have you verified their authenticity?

If not, we all are committing the sin of qazaf, knowingly or unknowingly.

Mohammad Shehzad is based in Islamabad. He has been writing for national and foreign publications since 1992. He is the author of The State of Islamic Radicalism in Pakistan (Routledge Taylor & Francis) and Love and Fear: Poems Beyond Time ( He learns tabla and classical vocal music. He is a passionate cook and shares his recipes at Email: