The Triple Filter Test

A few hundred years ago, there was a very learned scholar in Baghdad, who was also famous for his great character.

One day an acquaintance met the great scholar and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

 “Hold on a minute,” the scholar replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

 “Triple filter?”

 “That’s right,” the scholar continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. 

That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

 The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

 “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and..”

 “All right,” said the scholar. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.

 Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

 “No, on the contrary…”

 “So,” the scholar continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of usefulness.

 Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

 “No, not really.”

 “Well,” concluded the scholar, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Dear Reader, how many times do we come across these kind of situations. Share your experiences on how to avoid such kind of evil talks like backbiting & gossip.

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39 Responses to The Triple Filter Test

  1. GOPAKUMAR May 8, 2014 at 3:52 PM #

    He can include a fourth test :
    It is not true
    Not good about him
    Nor useful to the scholar
    then finally : Is it at least useful to the person who is telling it?

  2. muhammadakbarmy April 14, 2014 at 6:04 PM #

    Nice and good story

  3. Rosetty October 24, 2013 at 12:03 AM #

    What if the acquaintant was just trying to joke him? >.<

  4. Roderick September 17, 2013 at 12:45 AM #

    The world should be very quiet if all words must past the triple filter test!

  5. Rania August 29, 2013 at 11:50 AM #

    One of the great benefits of these stories is it stays in the uncouniois mind by time by repetetion we do learn it because we do believe it is rihgt an as said one filter is enough.

    Even if it is true, we do not have to disbrtue according to our great Islam

  6. mamoona naz July 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM #

    yes no doubt back biting spreading evils are the worst sins.

  7. MYTHILI May 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM #

    Very good moral for each one of us. Every day we should remember before anybody comments on our friends.

  8. Ramakrishnan. R April 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM #

    Nice one and for many of your readers, seems to be a first time story. Actually the conversation had taken place between Socrates and one of his disciple. Please keep posting such interesting stories.

  9. Anu March 4, 2013 at 8:26 PM #


  10. Syed A K January 22, 2013 at 7:31 AM #

    many scholars said, talk only Good and useful things, otherwise its much better to keep quite… Yaa Allaah, save us all from all sins.. Aameen

  11. Sabrina January 21, 2013 at 9:35 PM #

    When I was child , my father always repeated this proverb for us (you have to turn your tongue seven times before talking) . Thank you Sara fo your filtred stories.

    • Ali - Admin January 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM #

      Welcome Sabrina, share with us if you have any good ones.

  12. Mudassir January 10, 2013 at 3:16 PM #

    War against Backbitting to be continued

  13. Tariq Khan January 9, 2013 at 6:40 PM #

    Lovely story and moral for us. We recite ‘Alhamdolillah’ which means “All the praises be to Allah”. So if all the praises are for Allah then what about all the backbiting? What is that for? We have to be very careful when we are saying bad words about anyone because if you are saying bad about the creation it means you are saying bad about the Creator. We need to ponder about. May Allah forgive all of us, Aameen

  14. rafik moroccan January 9, 2013 at 1:21 PM #

    truly an amazing story

  15. sharif123 January 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM #

    Beautiful moral. Even single filter application will avert the bad relationship among the friends

  16. Wasim October 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM #

    talking something bad about others in his/her absence is a BIG sin in Islam (even the things are true as well)

    Average people talk about people, good people talk about ideas while great people act upon the ideas.

    • Ali - Admin October 3, 2012 at 4:58 PM #

      Well said Wasim.

  17. Adonis Argus November 3, 2011 at 1:49 PM #

    this one is related to socrates … when a person came to him to tell that his wife and student plato are in love n betraying him …

  18. Goldypearl August 15, 2011 at 8:36 PM #

    great and I encourage myself and others to go through this test…

  19. Stephen August 15, 2011 at 9:50 AM #

    Excellent. This is precisely the reason for people (including me), though we being educated, we fall prey to our enemies by listening to them (most of the enemies are in the house itself, who bring unwanted news at home to spoil the peace) & outsiders take advantage & have a hearty laugh on our expense. This is a real fitting reply & will put to shame all those who have done it in the past & now will never thnink of doing in the future, specially breaking families. may God forgive them & as mentioned if the words are good & helpful, you will rcve blessings from teh Almighty above. Stephen

  20. HAIDER ALI786 August 15, 2011 at 8:24 AM #


    • sharif123 January 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM #


  21. Ftweit August 14, 2011 at 8:04 PM #

     This Triple Filter Test must be common for all our communications , negotiations and relations

  22. Junedayz August 14, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

    very nice! most of the time i dont believe what people say because they would in the end mess up or understand wrong, just like the telephone game!! mashallah thanks for sharing this and inshallah i wil use this too!!!

  23. YusefQasemQufaanAl-Yemeni August 14, 2011 at 7:32 PM #

    great scholar! we should keep things to ourselves unless it is usefull to the Ummah..if not then dnt speak..
    Subhan Allah, just heard a lecture about this after Dhur prayer and the Shaykh said the the Companians RAA never said anyhting before they asked themselves if they will be punished for it or not… 🙂
    Thanks for this great story!!!

  24. Humayundaud August 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM #

    Wonderful, very nice 🙂
    Thanks for sharing 🙂 …

  25. Saraabdullah75 August 14, 2011 at 2:49 PM #

    Very good advise.

  26. Anonymous August 14, 2011 at 2:24 PM #

    I have been in situatuions like this many times, and I really don’t believe things that “people are saying”
    But I’m gonna use this one the next time I’m in a situation like that, I’ll use this filter Inshaa Allah 🙂

    • YusefQasemQufaanAl-Yemeni August 14, 2011 at 7:35 PM #

      We all must have been in a society like todays world lol
      But the problem is that we tend to listen and sometimes enjoy these situations where we backbite, laugh at, and sometimes make up stories of ppl :L

      • Anonymous August 14, 2011 at 11:16 PM #

        Yeah, and sometimes we don’t even just enjoy these situations, we also believe what is said in these situations….
        And that’s what we have Sara for 😛 To tell us that these things are wrong 😀

        • YusefQasemQufaanAl-Yemeni August 16, 2011 at 6:03 AM #

          yeah so true and lol Sara is doin her job and we all thank her for that 🙂
          both of u and everyone else on here should keep it up cuz ur doin a great job lol 😛

    • sharif123 January 9, 2013 at 12:27 PM #


  27. Säjið Säðique August 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM #

    pretty good indeed!! why not try it on with the others??

  28. mustafa August 14, 2011 at 10:48 AM #

    sure the filter is quite good

    i should try it

    • sharif123 January 9, 2013 at 12:26 PM #

      Good luck Mustafa

  29. DOLLY August 14, 2011 at 9:44 AM #


  30. Mutavalli August 14, 2011 at 7:33 AM #


  31. Ibnasifullah August 14, 2011 at 7:32 AM #

    If this scholar is a muslim. Then i think he had been a scholar of hadeeth or a scholar on Jarh and Ta’deel. Wallahu A’lam. Can i get the name of this scholar.? Please…