Is It Compulsory to Provide References When Conveying Information?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


When conveying information to another person, whether Islamic information or general information, is it obligatory to reference the source (such as a website, a book, another person, or any other means of obtaining that information) from which I obtained it?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.

The extent to which one must provide substantiation for one’s information depends directly on the context. In a formal context such as a discourse on Sacred Law, one must provide substantiation. In most contexts, however, the primary Islamic obligation for conveying information is to verify the information and be honest and accurate in one’s speech, which Allah knows best.

Provide Substantiation for Information regarding Formal and Serious Contexts

Allah says: “Or (ask them,) ‘Who originates the creation then resurrects it and gives you provisions from the heavens and the earth? Is it another god besides Allah?’ Say, (O Prophet,) ‘Show (me) your proof if what you say is true.’” [Quran, 27:64]

Verify Information

Allah says: “O believers, if a sinner brings you any news (the Sunna teaches that all humans make mistakes), verify (it), so you do not harm people unknowingly, becoming regretful for what you have done.” [Quran, 49:6]

Be Truthful and Accurate in Speech

Allah says: “O  believers! Be mindful of Allah, and say what is right. He will bless your deeds for you and forgive your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has truly achieved a great triumph.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

I pray that this benefits and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.