On keeping secrets

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

85. Chapter: On keeping secrets

Allah Almighty says, "Fulfil your contracts. Contracts will be asked about." (17:34)

685. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The worst of people in the sight of Allah on the Day of Rising is a man who goes to his wife or his wife goes to him and then he discloses her secret." [Muslim]

686. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reported that when 'Umar's daughter Hafsa became a widow, 'Umar said, "I met 'Uthman ibn 'Affan and offered him Hafsa. I said, 'Would you like to marry Hafsa bint 'Umar?' He said, 'I will think about it.' I waited some days and then he met me and said, 'I do not think that I should marry at this time. Then I met Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and said, 'Would you like to marry Hafsa bint 'Umar?' Abu Bakr was silent and did not reply to me at all! I felt that more than what had happened to me with 'Uthman. I remained some days and then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked to marry her and so I married her to him. Abu Bakr met me and said, 'Perhaps you were upset at me when you proposed Hafsa to me and I did not answer you at all?' I said, 'Yes I was.' He said, 'All that prevented me from answering you regarding what you proposed to me was that I knew that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had mentioned her and I would not divulge the secret of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. If the Prophet had relinquished her, I would have accepted her.'" [al-Bukhari]

687. 'A'isha said, "The wives of the Prophet were with him when Fatima arrived on foot. Her gait was exactly like the gait of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. When he saw her, he welcomed her and said, 'Welcome, my daughter.' Then he sat her down on his right or his left. Then he whispered to her and she wept bitterly. When he saw her grief, he whispered to her a second time and she smiled. I said to her, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, singled you out before his wives and spoke to you secretly and then you wept.' When the Messenger of Allah got up, I asked her, 'What did the Messenger of Allah say to you?' She said, 'I would not disclose the Messenger of Allah's secret.' When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, I said, 'I adjure you by the right I have over you, tell me what the Messenger of Allah said to you.' She said, 'Now I will. When he whispered to me the first time, he told me that Jibril had recited the Qur'an to him once or twice every year and that now he had made him recite it twice. (He said), "I think that my term is near, so be fearful of Allah and be steadfast. I am the best forerunner for you." So I wept as you saw. When he saw my grief, he whispered to me a second time and said, "Fatima, are you not pleased to be the leader of the women of the believers or the leader of the women of this community?" So I smiled as you saw.'" [Agreed upon. This is the variant in Muslim]

688. Thabit mentioned that Anas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came up to me while I was playing with the other boys and greeted us. He sent me on an errand and I was late coming back to my mother. When I came, she said, 'What kept you?' I said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent me on an errand.' She said, 'What errand?' I said, 'It is a secret.' She said, 'Do not tell anyone the secret of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.'" Anas said, "By Allah, if I were to tell it to anyone, I would tell it to you, Thabit." [Muslim]