Islam on Backbiting, Bitching and Gossip

Islam on Backbiting, Bitching and Gossip

And why did you not, when you heard it, say? “It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to God, this is a most serious slander” (Quran 24:16)

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear God, verily, God is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (49: 12)

Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things which you had no knowledge; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of God (24: 15)

Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best, for Satan does sow dissensions among them, for Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (17:53)

Prophet Muhammad  said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of God  said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.” (Muslim)

 = Peace and Blessings of God be upon him.

Prophet Muhammad  said : “Who protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and his private parts from illegal sexual intercourse, I shall guarantee him entrance into Paradise.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

“I asked the Messenger of God : Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of God replied, “He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.” (Muslim)

“When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear God as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked.’” (At-Tirmidhee)

Among the destructive major sins are backbiting and slandering. These two sins are forbidden by Allah because they sow enmity, evils and discord among people and lead to destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbors and relatives. They can decrease in good deeds and increase in evil ones and lead to dishonor and ignominy.

Backbiting and slandering are shame and disgrace. Their perpetrator is detested and he shall not have a noble death. Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Qur’an:

“Backbiting and Gossiping are from the most vilest and despicable of things, yet the most widely spread amongst mankind, such that no one is free from it except for a few people.”

Backbiting (gheebah) means mentioning something about a person (in his absence), that he hates (to have mentioned), whether it is about: His body, his religious characteristics, his worldly affairs, his self, his physical appearance, his character, his wealth, his child, his father, his wife, his manner of walking, his smile, it is the same whether you mention that about him with words, through writings, or whether you point or indicate him by gesturing with your eyes, hand or head.
As for the body, is when you make fun of how someone looks, or mentioning any bad quality in him, as saying: “he is blind”, “he limps”, “he is bleary-eyed”, “he is bald”, “he is short”, “he is tall”, “he is black”, “he is yellow”, “he’s too thin”, “he’s too fat”. As for his religious qualities, it is when you say: “he is a sinner”, “he is a thief”, “he is a betrayer”, “he is an oppressor”, “he doesn’t pray”, “he prays so fast”, “he does not behave well towards his parents”, “he does not pay the Zakat duly”.” As for the worldly matters, then it is when you say: “he has poor manners”, “he does not think that anyone has a right over him”, “he talks too much” …etc

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is The One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Qur’an 49: 12)

In this verse, Allah strongly forbids backbiting, and he compares the backbiter to one who eats the flesh of his dead brother. If he would hate eating the flesh of his brother, he should also hate to eat his flesh while he is alive by backbiting and slandering him.

Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

“Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.”

Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) once passed by two graves and said:

“Verily, they (occupants of graves) are both being tormented and they are not being tormented for something major.” In the report from Al-Bukhari:
“Rather, it is indeed something major. As for the first one, he used to go around spreading gossip (nameemah) and as for the other, and then he used not to protect himself from his own urine.” [2]
The scholars say the meaning of “and they are not being tormented for something major” is “something major” according to their opinion or “something major” for them to have abandoned doing.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also said:

“Who protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and his private parts from illegal sexual intercourse; I shall guarantee him entrance into Paradise.”

Also Abu Mousa Al-Ash’aree narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

“I asked the Messenger of Allah: Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of Allah replied, “He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.”

And Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

“When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear Allah as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked.”
Allah ordered Muslims to defend, help and stand by each other,

“strong against unbelievers but compassionate amongst each other”[Qur’an 48:29].
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“when any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels the pain”.(Sahih Muslim)
Abu Ad-Darda narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“The one who rebuts another from backbiting has protected himself from the fire.”

And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not the ignorant. (28:55)

…And if Shaitan(evel) causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of those people who are the Zalimun (unfair, wrong-doers,etc.. (6:68)

Prophet Muhammad advised Muslims to love each other, he said:

“…no one believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”(Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“If a man’s Muslim brother is slandered in your presence, and you are capable of defending him and you do so, God will defend you in this world and in the next. But if he fails to defend him, God will destroy him in this world and the next.”(Baghawi).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6477) and Sahîh Muslim (2988)]

Once Mu`âdh b. Jabal, the illustrious Companion, asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform him of some good work that would admit him into Paradise and distance him from the Hellfire. The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned to him the virtues of many good deeds, then said: “Shall I inform you of the foundation of all of that?”

Mu`âdh said: “Certainly.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) took hold of his own tongue and said: “Restrain yourself from this.”

Mu`âdh then asked: “O Prophet of Allah! Are we held to task for the things that we say?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Mu`âdh! Does anything topple people headlong into the Hellfire save the harvests of their tongues?” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2616) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (3973)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever can guarantee to me what is between his two lips and what is between his two legs, I can guarantee for him Paradise.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6474)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him), when he said “what is between his two lips” was alluding to the words that a person speaks. To guarantee it means to only speak what Allah is pleased with. When he said “and what is between his legs” he was alluding to sexual relations, meaning that the person guarantees that he will not engage in any unlawful sexual activity that is prohibited by Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him)

“Do you know what backbiting is?”

They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.”

He said: “It is to mention about your brother something that he would dislike having mentioned about him.” [Sahîh Muslim (2589)]

Al-Nawawî comments [al-Adhkâr]:

Mentioning about your brother something that he would dislike includes what concerns his body, his religious practice, his worldly station, his physical appearance, his moral character, his wealth, his parents, his children, his spouse, his servant, his clothing, his activities, his smiles and frowns and anything else that pertains to him. It does not matter if you mention it explicitly by word or implicitly by indication or a gesture… This includes the likes of saying “O Allah, pardon us all!” “O Allah, forgive us!” “Allah keep us safe!” All of this is backbiting.

The Prophet goes on in the same hadîth to explain the difference between backbiting and slander. He said: “It is to mention about your brother something that he would dislike having mentioned about him.”

Someone enquired: “O Messenger of Allah! How do you see it if what I said about him is true?”

He replied: “If what you said about him is true, then you have backbitten him. If what you said about him is false, then you have slandered him.” [Sahîh Muslim (2589)]

Slander is a false statement of enormous sinfulness deserving of severe punishment. Allah says: “And those who malign believing men and women undeservedly bear upon themselves the guilt of slander and a manifest sin.” [Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 58]

Al-Hasan al-Basrî said: “Backbiting has three manifestations, all of which are discussed in Allah’s Book. They are: backbiting, tale-telling, and slander. As for backbiting, it is to say about your brother something that is true about him. Tale-telling is to say something that you have heard about him. Slander is to say about him what is not true.”

Evidence from the Qur’ân

1.Allah says: “O you who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that. And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful.” [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 12]

Ibn `Abbâs comments on this verse, saying: “Allah prohibits backbiting a believer with the least thing, just as he prohibits eating carrion.”

Abû Ya`lâ discusses the comparison that this verse makes between backbiting and eating carrion, saying: “This emphasizes just how prohibited backbiting is. Eating the flesh of the dead is severely proscribed. It is also something for which people have a natural abhorrence, and people should have the same loathing for backbiting as they have for eating such flesh.”

2. Allah says: “O you who believe! Let not some men among you deride others who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is a bad name after faith.” [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 11]

Ibn Kathîr, in his commentary on this verse, says about Allah’s words nor defame one another:

Sneering and defamation of people is condemnable and accursed behavior. Allah says: “Woe to every sneering defamer.” [Sûrah Humazah: 1] Sneering is carried out through one’s actions and defamation is carried out through one’s words.

Al-Shinqîtî says: “Sneering is by way of action, like rolling one’s eyes or making a show of contempt or derision. Defamation takes place by way of one’s words and includes backbiting.”

3. Allah says: “Woe to every sneering defamer.” [Sûrah Humazah: 1]

We have already discussed its meaning. We should note that he verse starts off by proclaiming woe upon those people. The Arabic word used here is wayl. It is a word that implies a threat, conveying the meaning of debasement, punishment, and perdition. Wayl is also the name of a valley in Hell that Allah has set aside for sinners who are obstinate in their sinfulness and for unbelievers who are also wanton sinners.

4. “Neither obey thou each feeble oath-monger; detractor, going about with slander.” [Sûrah al-Qalam: 10-11]

Al-Shawkânî describes the “detractor” mentioned in the verse to mean one who goes about backbiting people.

Ibn Taymiyah says about this verse: “(It tells us) that the liar and oath-invoker are not to be obeyed, telling us by implication not to conduct ourselves in the same manner. Indeed, prohibiting the acceptance of the words of those who exhibit shameful moral conduct is a more eloquent and emphatic reprimand than to merely prohibit the conduct itself.”

Evidence from the Sunnah

1. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Your blood, your property and your honour are sacred to you like the sacredness of this day in this place in this month.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1741) and Sahîh Muslim (1679)]

Ibn al-Mundhîr makes the following observation: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) had prohibited backbiting in his farewell address to his followers, linking its prohibition to the prohibition of transgressing against another’s life or property. Then he emphasized how prohibited it is by declaring its prohibition to be as the sacredness of the sacred land and the sacred month.”

2. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “One of the greatest of the major sins is to stretch out one’s tongue without right against the honor of a Muslim.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4877)]

3. `Â’ishah relates that she said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “It should tell you enough about Safiyyah that she is short.”

To this he replied: “You have said a word that if it was to be mixed with the water of the sea, it would contaminate it.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2502) and Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4875)]

Al-Mubârakfûrî, in his commentary on this hadîth, writes: “It means that backbiting, if it were something that could be mixed with the water of the sea, it would noticeably contaminate it in spite of the vast and copious amount of water that the sea contains. How then is it going to be when it is mixed with our paltry good deeds?

4. Two Companions once criticized a man who had been punished for committing adultery. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was traveling and he passed by the carcass of a donkey. He said: “Where are those two people? Get down and eat from the flesh of this donkey!”

They said: “O Prophet of Allah! Who would eat this?”

He said: “What the two of you have recently done by defaming the honor of your brother is far worse than eating from this.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4428)]

Some words of the Pious Predecessors

`Amr b. al-`Âs, while traveling with his companions, once passed by the dead, rotting body of a mule and said: “I swear by Allah, it is better that one of you should eat from this until he fills his stomach than for him to eat the flesh of a Muslim.”

Ka`b al-Ahbâr said: “Backbiting nullifies a person’s good deeds.”

Al-Hasan al-Basrî said: “I swear by Allah, backbiting is swifter in consuming the religion of a Muslim than a gangrenous infection is in consuming the human body.”

Sufyân b. `Uyaynah said: “Backbiting is worse than a debt. A debt can be paid out, but backbiting cannot.”

`Ali b. al-Husayn once heard two people engaged in backbiting and said: “Keep away from backbiting, for it is the broth of the mongrels among people.”

Reasons why people fall into the sin of backbiting others

1. Weakness of faith and impiety make a person likely to speak thoughtlessly and carelessly and transgress against others when he speaks.

When `Â’ishah was accused of impropriety, her co-wife Zaynab bint Jahsh was asked about her. Zaynab said: “O Messenger of Allah! I safeguard my hearing and my sight. I know nothing but good.”

`Â’ishah later commented: “She was my rival among the wives of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah restrained her by way of her piety.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2661)]

2. Another reason that people participate in backbiting is on account of the company they keep. They backbite people to please their peers and acquaintances. Allah says, conveying to us the words of the denizens of Hell: “We used to speak in vain with those who speak in vain.” [Sûrah al-Mudaththir: 45]

3. Another reason is hatred, enmity, and envy towards others. Ibn Taymiyah says: “Some people are inspired by envy to backbite, and in doing so, combine between two ignoble traits: backbiting and envy.”

4. Love of the world and the pursuit of status and power make people backbite others. Fudayl b. `Iyâd said: “No one has ever loved leadership without envying, transgressing, tracking down the faults of others, and loathing to hear anyone else mentioned in a good way.”

How to rid ourselves of this ignoble trait

1. We can protect ourselves from speaking ill of others by cultivating our fear of Allah and our sense of shame before of our Lord. This can be achieved by reflecting often upon the verses of the Qur’ân and the hadîth of our Prophet (peace be upon him) that speak about Allah’s punishment, that encourage us to repent, and that warn us against evil deeds.

Allah says: “Or do they think that We do not hear their secrets and their private counsels? Indeed we do and our messengers are by them to record.” [Sûrah al-Zukhruf: 80]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Feel shame before Allah as you ought to feel shame before him. So guard the head and what it contains, guard the stomach and what you put in it, and think upon death and returning to dust.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2458)]

2. We can reflect upon just how much we lose every time we utter some bad words about another person.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked his Companions: “Do you know who is bankrupt?”

They replied: “The person among us who is bankrupt is the one who possesses neither money nor provision.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The one who is bankrupt from among my followers is he who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity, and fasting to his credit. However, he had insulted this person, struck that person, and seized the wealth of another, on account of which his good deeds will be taken from him. Then, if his good deeds are exhausted, the sins of those whom he wronged will be taken from them and foisted upon him and then he will be cast into the Fire.” [Sahîh Muslim (2581)]

3. A beneficial remedy that can help us to rid ourselves of this evil habit is to reflect upon our own shortcomings and work to improve ourselves. If we preoccupy ourselves with our own faults, we will not find time to worry about the faults of others. We should fear that if we speak about someone else’s shortcomings, that Allah might punish us by afflicting us with the same.

Al-Hasan al-Basrî said: “We used to remind one another that whoever faults his brother on account of a sin and he had repented for it will be punished by Allah by falling into it himself.”

Abû Hurayrah said: “One of you sees the dust in his brother’s eye but fails to see the crud in his own.”

4. Keeping to the company of righteous people and avoiding bad company helps us to avoid backbiting.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The likeness of a good companion and a bad companion is that of a person carrying musk and another who works the bellows. The person carrying musk might give you some of it or at the very least you will enjoy the pleasant scent. The person with the bellows will either singe your clothing or at least make you suffer from the bad smell.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2101) and Sahîh Muslim (2628) and the wording is that of Muslim]

Al-Nawawî writes, commenting on this hadîth: “It discusses the virtues of keeping the company of the righteous and people who carry out good works and possess good manners… It prohibits us from the company of people who engage in bad deeds and innovations, those who backbite others, and those who are habitually sinful and idle.”

5. A person who has a habit of backbiting others needs to make a firm and determined resolution to stop.

We can look at the example of Rasûl b. Wahb who said: “I swore an oath that for every time I backbite someone, I would fast a day. This just wore me out, since I would backbite and fast. Then I resolved that for every time I backbite someone, I would spend one silver coin in charity. Then, for the love of money, I gave up backbiting.”

“Fear Allah and obey Him. Be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned; and they shall not be dealt with unjustly” (Al-Baqarah 2: 281) 

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Al-Hujuraat 49: 12) 

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said, “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.” (Muslim) 

Abu Bakr narrated that the Prophet said in Mina on the day of slaughtering (10th day of Dhul-Hijjah), “Verily, your blood, property and honour have become sacred to one another as the sacredness of this day of yours in this month of yours and in this city of yours. Indeed, have I conveyed the Message?” (Al-Bukharee and Muslim) 
Sahl ibn Sa’d narrated that the Messenger of Allah said

“Who protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and his private parts from illegal sexual intercourse, I shall guarantee him entrance into Paradise.” (Bukharee and Muslim) 

Abu Moosa Al-Ash’aree said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah: Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of Allah replied, “He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.” (Muslim) 
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear Allah as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked.’” (At-Tirmidhee) 

Mu’aadh ibn Jabal said, “I said: O Messenger of Allah tell me of a deed that will make me enter Paradise and keep me away from the Fire. The Prophet said, ‘You have asked of a great matter but it is easy for whosoever Allah makes it easy. You should worship Allah without associating anything with Him, perform Salaah, pay Zakaah (charity), fast during the month of Ramadaan and perform pilgrimage if you are able to.’ He said further, ‘Should I show you the gateways to good? Fasting is a shield (from evils), charity extinguishes sins as water extinguishes fire and praying in the middle of the night.’ He then recited this verse, ‘Their sides forsake their beds to invoke their Lord in fear and hope and they spend (charity in Allah’s cause) out of what We have bestowed them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.’ (As-Sajdah 32: 16-17) The Messenger of Allah then said, ‘Should I tell you the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak?’ I said: Yes O Messenger of Allah. He then said, ‘The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is Salaah (prayer) and its peak is Jihaad in the way of Allah.’ He then asked, ‘Should I tell you of the foundation of all that?’ I said: Yes O Messenger of Allah. He then took hold of his tongue and said, ‘Hold back this.’ I said: O Messenger of Allah, are we going to be held responsible for what we utter? He said, ‘May your mother be bereaved of you[1] does anything cast people into the Fire on their faces except what their tongues have uttered?’” (At-Tirmdhee) 

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.’” (Abu 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) 
The Messenger of Allah(SAW) said, “Usury has seventy something kinds, the smallest of which is for a man to have intercourse with his mother and the highest act of usury is for a Muslim to attack the honour of his Muslim brother.” He also said, “Whoever protects the honour of his brother, Allah will protect him from Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tirmidhee) 

So prevent the backbiter of affronting the honour of Muslims. Allah says, “O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah and fear Him and speak (always) the truth.” (Al-Ahzaab 33: 70) 

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah for whoever fears Allah, He protects him from torment and doubles reward for him. Allah says, 

“And indeed We have created man and We know what his own self whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our knowledge). (Remember) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being after he or she has attained the age of puberty), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions). Not a word does he or she utter, but there is a watcher by him (ready to record it.” (Qaaf 50: 16-18) 

“And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless. A slanderer going about with calumnies.” (Al-Qalam 68: 10-11) 

The Prophet(SAW) said, “The gossiper will not enter Paradise.” 

Exemptions from Backbiting

Firstly, a person who was unjustly treated. He can go to who is in position to remove the unjustness, like a judge or leader, and talk about how the other person took away his rights. Because the people cannot preserve their rights except this way. This is not backbiting because Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat An-Nisa’ (Verse 148), what can be translated as, “Allah does not like that the evil should be uttered in public except by him to whom injustice has been done.” Also reported by Imam Bukhari that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, “Not paying a loan back, when able to do so, allows a person, the loaner to mention it publicly, and the lender be punished.” The point here, then, is that complaining to whom is in position to remove the unjustness, is not considered backbiting.

Secondly, asking for fatwah, (an Islamic legal opinion) from a person with knowledge. In such a request, he might mention things that happened between him and somebody else. Some of the things might not be good. But, Islam allows you to mention them as long as your intention is to know the hukum, (legal Islamic ruling) in those matters. The proof comes in the following of the prophets tradition, reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim that Hind, the wife of Abu-Sofian said to the prophet, “Abo-Sofian is a stingy man, and he does not spend enough money on me and my child; except if I take from his money without his knowledge. The prophet (S.A.W.) told her, “Take what is enough for you and your child, with fairness.” In this narration, Hind mentioned Abu-Sofian, her husband, in a bad manner as a stingy man, yet prophet (S.A.W.) allowed it.

Thirdly, advising the Muslims about what is good for them in their daily life. For example, if somebody asks you about a man or women whom he intends to marry or is a partner in business. You are required to tell what you know about him in terms of his suitability for what you are asked about. The proof comes from the prophet’s tradition reported by the group of hadith collectors except for Imam Bukhari, that Fatemah, daughter of Ques came to the prophet (S.A.W.) and said, “Abo-Jahm and Moa’weyah both proposed to marry me who should I accept?” The prophet (S.A.W.) replied that, “Moa’weah is a poor man, and Abo-Jahm beats his woman.” In this tradition, the prophet mentioned something that the two men hated to be mentioned; yet he said it because he was trusted for an advice.

Fourthly, warning Muslims and raising up their awareness of the enemies of Islam, especially if the enemies are from inside, such as they might be Muslims but they work, think, and plan against Islam. The proof comes from the prophet’s tradition, reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, that a man asked for permission to enter to see the prophet (S.A.W.). The prophet (S.A.W.) said, “Let him come in. What evil, he is.” (That person was a Muslim, but he’s not a good person). The prophet (S.A.W.) said so, to warn the Muslims around him from that man. Imam Bukhari also reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said about two persons mentioning their names, “I do not think that those two persons know anything about our dean”. He means that they are hypocrites, who show Islam, yet hide their unbelief. Imams Bukhari and Muslim also reported that Zaid Ibn-Arqam said that they were traveling with the prophet (S.A.W.) and there was a hardship on everybody. Abdullah-Ibn-Obai’, a well known hypocrite, said, “Don’t spend money on the companions until they leave the prophet (S.A.W.); When we reach Madinah we will kick the prophet (S.A.W.) out of Madinah. Zaid told the prophet (S.A.W.) about what was said. The prophet (S.A.W.) asked him about his sayings, but he swears that he did not say any such thing. Zaid was sad until Allah (S.W.T.) revealed, through, some, which proved that Zaid said the truth. In this tradition Zaid told the prophet (S.A.W.), what that hypocrite said, and the prophet (S.A.W.), agreed to what he said. The point then, is we are allowed to tell about the enemies of Islam.

The Fifth and the last case in which Muslims are allowed to talk about others, without considering it as backbiting, is when you identify someone as the blind, deaf, mute, and handicapped person. The objective is not to put him down, but only to identify him as he is known. However, if we can avoid mentioning his handicap, and finding other ways to identify him, such as his name, then this would be better.

Let’s be careful and watch our tongues from any backbiting. Tongues are one of the main reasons that make many people to enter the Hell Fire. Let’s stick to these exemptions we had mentioned, and not to extrapolate other.

“Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is most Forbearing.” (Quran – 2:263)

“Allah does not love the utterance of evil words in public except by one who has been wronged. Allah is He Who hears and knows all things.” (Quran -4:148)

‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amir (raa) narrated that the Prophet (saw) never used bad language. He used to say, “The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.” (Bukhari 4/759 and 8/56)

Narrated Anas:   The Prophet said, “None of you will have faith till  he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” Sahih  Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 2, Number 12.

Narrated Abu Huraira:  Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (or insult) his neighbor…”  Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 482.

Narrated AbuHurayrah:   Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) know best. Thereupon, he (the Prophet) said.  “Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner that 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 said, “If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbiten him, and if that is not in him it is a slander. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6265, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, others…

and

Al-Muttalib ibin Abdullah said, “The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Gheebah (gossip, backbiting) means that a man mentions about a person something which is true, behind his back.”(Al_Suyuti, Zawa’id Al Jami from the report of al Khara’iti in Masawi Al Akhlaq.  Malik reported something similar  with a Mursal Isnad as mentioned in Al-Sahihah, No. 1992)

Hasan Ibin Al Makhaariq reported that “Once a woman visited Aisha and  when the woman got up to leave, Aisha made a sign with her hand indicating to the Prophet that the woman was short.  The Prophet immediately chastised her, saying, “You have backbitten!”  (Ibin Jareer tafseer Al Quraan al AdHeem, vol. 4, p. 328)

and

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin:   I said to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him): It is enough for you in Safiyyah that she is such and such (the other version than Musaddad’s has:) meaning that she was short-statured. He replied; You have said a word which would change the sea if it were mixed in it… Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 41, Number 4857:

O you who believe! Avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.  49:12
 

Allah described backbiting as an act of eating our brothers or sisters flesh.  But don’t think of this as only metaphorical.  Our beloved prophet proved this to us in one of his great miracles.

Ubaid, the freed slave of the Prophet, reported that someone came to the Prophet and showed the Prophet two women who were fasting and said that they were dying of thirst.  The Prophet turned away silently refusing to give permission for them to break their fast.  So, the man begged him again, mentioning that the women were on the verge of death.  The Prophet then said, bring them to me and bring along a bowl.  When they turned to him, he turned to one and told her to vomit in the bowl. She complied, spitting up a mixture of vomit, blood, pus and pieces of flesh which half filled the bowl.  He then turned to the other and had her do the same.  After the bowl was filled, he said, “Verily these two have fasted from what Allah has made halal for them and broken their fast from what Allah has made haram.  They spent their fast eatting the flesh of others.” Ahmad

These women gave up food and drink – halal substances, and instead partook of the flesh of their brothers and sisters.  So distasteful was this fare that it made them sick to the point of near death.  Subhanallah!
 
Further,  our scholars have warned us and have warned us to repent from it:  Al Qurtubi said, “The scholars agree that it is a major sin, and that the committing of this sin necessitates repentance (tawbah) to Allah” (Al-Qurtubi, Tafsir of Surat Al Hujirat).

The Prophet has warned us of great punishments which may befall us as a result of committing this sin:

Narrated AbuBarzah al-Aslami: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: O community of people, who believed by their tongue, and belief did not enter their hearts, do not back-bite Muslims, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, He disgraces him in the open for everyone to see, even if he hid it in the innermost part of his house. Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 41, Number 4862, Sahih Sunan Al Tirmidhi (1655), Ibin Hiban, Hasan by Al Albani, Ghaybah al-Muram, 420

Narrated AbuHurayrah:   Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Do you know who is poor? They (the Companions of the Prophet)  said: A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth.   He (the Prophet) said: The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with  prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of  one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be  entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6251

Allah says,

On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet shall bear witness against them as to what they did. 24:24

And Our Prophet warns us to be careful of our tongues, what we say.  He also encouraged us with the rewards we get for doing so.

Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d:   Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 481:

and

Narrated AbuHurayrah: Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: The servant (whose fault) Allah conceals in this world, Allah would also conceal (his faults on the Day of Resurrection. Muslim: Book 31, Number 6266

and

Narrated Uqbah ibn Amir:: Whoever covers the faults of  believer is like one who has brought to life a female child buried alive. Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 41, Number 4873

5 Responses to “Islam on Backbiting, Bitching and Gossip”

  1. Khalid Says:

    Now let’s ask Allah to Help us repent from this. Now, before the angel of death takes our souls..

  2. Khalid Says:

    Astaghfirullah. I seek Allah’s Forgiveness. Oh Allah Please Help us repent and be saved from sin. There’s none worthy of worship and endless respect (reverence) except Allah. None can Forgive sins except Allah. Oh Allah Please Have Mercy on us. Amin.

  3. Khalid Says:

    Also, you need to repent from curse words. B*tching is a curse word. You know that right? You should remove that word from this blog and replace it with deceiving or complaining. Peace.

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