Ayah 19 of Suratun-Nur mean: [Those who love to spread slander about the believers shall expect a severe torture in this life and the next. Verily, Allah knows and you know not].
In his Book, Al-Mustadrak, Al-Hakim narrated through a Sahih chain of narrators, that the Prophet, peace be upon him said: << The one who conceals the faults of others shall receive a reward similar to that of the one who saves a new born baby girl from being buried alive>>.
In this honourable Hadith, we learn that the one who witnesses a fault of another Muslim and instead of exposing it to others, one conceals it, he shall receive a reward similar to the reward one receives for saving a new born baby girl buried alive.
Some of the Arabs during the Era of Ignorance used to practice this ugly habit of burying their new born baby girls alive, because they feared that they may commit a scandalous act as they grow older. Some of the Companions of the Prophet also did such an act before they embraced Islam.
A man who was known for his generosity and patience experienced an event that drew him to start this ugly habit of burying his new born baby girls alive. The man’s tribe was raided by another Arab tribe and his daughter was taken captive. Later on, the two tribes reconciled. During her time as captive, his daughter had fallen in love with one of the men who had taken her captive and he too had fallen in love with her. When the tribes reconciled, she was given the choice to either return to her father or remain with the man she loved. She chose the man over her father, even though her father was higher in rank amongst his people and known for his generosity, open mindedness, patience and good reputation.
The father became very angry with his daughter and made a promise that if he were to be granted a female child again, he would bury her alive. As a result, he buried alive every female child born to him. By the time he embraced Islam he had already buried eight of his daughters alive. He was deeply regretful of what he had done and so he approached the Prophet, may Allah raise his rank, and said: “I have buried eight of my new born daughters alive during the Era of Ignorance”. The Prophet peace be upon him replied: <<Free one slave for each>>. The man said: “I have camels”. The Prophet said: <<Give in charity one camel for each one>>. The man donated almost one hundred camels. Allah subhanahu wa ta^ala dispraised in the Holy Qur’an this abhorrent act of burying new born baby girls alive.
The Prophet peace be upon him drew an analogy between the reward of the one who observes a defect from a Muslim and conceals it and the one who saves a new born baby girl from being buried alive. This means that the one who observes a defect from a Muslim and conceals it will be rewarded with a reward similar to that of the one who saves a baby girl buried alive from choking with the soil in the grave.
Dear brothers, be very wary of disclosing the defects of your Muslim brother or sister by exposing a wrong doing that had come to your attention and which Allah had concealed from others. Be careful not to be like those who have the habit of indulging in tarnishing the reputation of their Muslim brother without a valid religious reason. Their sin is like that of worst Riba. The Prophet peace be upon him said what means: <<To unrightfully indulge in defaming your Muslim brother, is as sinful as committing the worst type of Riba>>.
In many cases such acts lead to the severing of ties between Muslim brothers. The one who has been wronged or oppressed should not speak beyond his religious rights, and should not react in a manner that is not accepted by Allah. Rather, one should always be mindful of the religious limits that Allah has ordained upon us and not cross them. The Muslim should adhere to the Book of Allah, conceal the faults of his Muslim brother and display kindness to those who have wronged him.
On the other hand it is an Islamic obligation to warn people of a person who is cheating others in any transaction including while doing business, teaching in the name of Islam, providing medical services, in manufacturing or the like. Disclosing the acts of a person who is deceiving others is a must and falls under the obligation of giving necessary warning/advice.
Dear brothers, the Prophet peace be upon him has urged us to cover the faults of our Muslim brother through numerous hadiths. He, peace be upon him, said: << The Muslim who conceals the faults of another Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults on the Day of Judgement>>.
And Allah knows best