Backbiting

Among the many major sins that are prohibited in Islam ‘backbiting’ (gheebat) is one of them. Allah and his messenger strictly prohibit against such an awful act. Backbiting is forbidden because it causes enmity, hatred and discord among the people. It raises hostilities between family, friends and relatives. Backbiting and slandering are means of decreasing good deeds and increasing evil ones that lead to discredit and humiliation. Allah warns against the acts of suspicions, backbiting and spying.

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it, [so similarly, avoid backbiting]. And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Qur’an [49:12]

Backbiting occurs naturally mostly when we are chatting. We are so consumed in our talks that we begin to talk about somebody else. We think it’s just for the sake of fun and actually mean no harm to them. But this comes right under backbiting. Allah’s Messenger (saws) said: ‘Do you know what is backbiting?’ They (the Companions) said: ‘Allah and His Messenger (saws) know best. Thereupon he (the Prophet (saws)) said: ‘Backbiting implies you’re talking about your brother (behind his back) in a manner which he does not like.’ It was said to him: ‘what is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of?’ He (saws) said: ‘If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbitten him, and if that is not in him it is a slander!’

It is compulsory to guard our tongues in order to avoid committing the sin of backbiting. Talk only when it is necessary and beneficial. We are accountable for everything we say. Mu`adh ibn Jabal said, “Are we even going to be held accountable for what we say?!” The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “May your mother be bereaved of you! Is there anything which drags people into the Fire on their faces other than the harvest of their tongues?!” [Tirmidhi (hasan sahih)]. Therefore, guard your tongue, fellow Muslims, from this shameful sin, for whoever guards his tongue from sins and uses his limbs in acts of obedience to Allah has prospered.

 

Anas narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “When I was ascended to heaven, I passed by a people who had copper nails with which they scratched their faces and chests, and I said, ‘O Jibreel, who are these?’ He said, ‘These are those who used to eat other people’s flesh and attack their honour.’” (Aboo Dawood). Therefore do not treat the issue of backbiting with indifference because it is a great sin.

Allah says, “You considered it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.” (An-Noor 24: 15)

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