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View Full Version : The Islaamic verdict on Backbiting

Mujahida 4 Life
07-03-2005, 07:47 PM
The Islaamic verdict on Backbiting

A Muslim is someone who represents the Shahaadah, 'There is none worthy of worship but Allaah and Muhammad (saw) is the Final Messenger'. This Shahaadah is ensured by building and shaping our personalities upon this foundation. However, in this age of trials and tribulations, we find that amongst the Muslims in colleges, mosques and communities, the Islaamic Personality has been exchanged for personalities which contradict the Shahaadah.

One of the most rampant of these actions Muslims do that contradicts the Shahaadah is that of backbiting. The level of this is quite plain and obvious to see, even extending to the fact that Muslims talk about other Muslims when they are not present. In many cases, it has become a social landmark to backbite Muslims in order to build up ones own position.

Talking about someone's physical features like, she looks like so-and-so, or discussing about the lifestyle of Muslims or saying this Muslim or that Muslim is not to be trusted are all examples of this great evil. Sometimes, the talk reaches the level of slander, for example; that Muslim does not pray, that Muslim is a Faasiq (rebellious sinner), that person is a Munaafiq or even to the level of Takfeer (declaring him to be a disbeliever) based upon no evidence.

All of this produces relationships amongst Muslims of distrust, disunity and non co-operation. On top of all this, the undertakers of backbiting are in a state of disobeying Allaah and committing sin. Allaah (swt) says in the explanation of the Qur'aan:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلا يَغْتَبْ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَحِيمٌ

"O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed 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 Allaah. Verily, Allaah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful." [EMQ al-Hujuraat, 49: 12]

In one hadeeth, narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abou Hurayrah (ra), it is related that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) asked the Companions:

أتدرون ما الغيبة؟ قالوا: الله ورسوله أعلم. قال "ذكرك أخاك بما يكره" قيل: أفرأيت إن كان في أخي ما أقول؟ قال "إن كان فيه ما تقول، فقد اغتبته. وإن لم يكن فيه، فقد بهته"

“Do you know what is meant by backbiting? They answered, 'Allaah and His Messenger know better.' He (saw) said, 'It is to narrate such things about your brother which he dislikes.' One of the members of the audience asked, 'Even if my brother may be like that?' He (saw) replied, 'If such defects, as you say, are present in him then you have backbitten him and if he does not have what you say, then you have committed slander.” (Saheeh Muslim, Book of Virtue, chapter 20 #2589)

In another hadeeth narrated by Abou Daawud on the authority of Anas (ra), the Messenger of Allaah said, “On the night of al-Israa' I passed by some people who had copper nails and they were clawing their faces and chests with them. I asked Gabriel, 'Who are these persons?' He said, 'These are the people who eat the flesh of human beings and disgrace them.'”

In another narration by at-Tabaraanie on the Authority of Ibn Mas'oud (ra), he related, “We were sitting with the Prophet (saw). Then a man got up and left, whereupon another spoke ill of him. The Prophet (saw) told him, 'Pick your teeth.' The man replied, 'Why? I haven't eaten any meat.' The Prophet (saw) replied, 'You have eaten your brother's flesh.'”

It should be clear to all of us therefore, that the sin of backbiting is equivalent to eating the flesh of our brother or sister we are backbiting. However, the Islaamic personality is not upheld by simply abstaining from backbiting, but if someone does backbite then you are responsible to either discourage the listening of backbiting or contradict the backbiter and if this has no effect, then to leave their company even if they are your family such as your own brothers or uncles etc.

In a hadeeth narrated by at-Tirmidhie on the authority of Abou Dardaa' (ra), the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “A person who avoids dishonouring their brother, Allaah will keep his face away from the Fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement.”

In another hadeeth, narrated in Imaam Ahmad's Musnad, the Prophet of Allaah (saw) said, “If anyone defends his brother who is slandered in his absence, it will be (his) due from Allaah to set him free from the Fire.”

Also Allaah (swt) says in the Qur'aan:

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

"And when they hear al-Laghw (backbiting, dirty, false, evil vain talk etc.), they withdraw from it and say: 'To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not the ignorant.'" [EMQ al-Qasas, 28: 55]

Ibn Katheer said regarding this aayah in his book Tafseer ul-Qur'aan al-'Azeem, vol 3, Page 380, “Ibn Is-haaq narrates the Asbaab an-Nuzool (occasion of revelation) for this and the preceding aayaat and says: 'that twenty Christians came to Makkah to meet the Prophet and see what his message was about. They found him and started to question him (saw). He (saw) started to recite the Qur'aan. On hearing the Qur'aan and acknowledging it they began to cry and accepted Islaam. After this they left the Prophet (saw) to go back home. On the way they met Abou Jahl along with a group of people from Quraysh. The people of Quraysh blocked their way and Abou Jahl said to the new Muslims, 'You're completely useless. Your people sent you to prove for them that their religion is correct and the Prophet's is incorrect. You changed your religion and you believe in him. We do not know anyone who is more stupid than you.' The Muslims answered by saying: ‘And when they hear vain talk they withdraw from it and say: Unto us our works and unto you your works. Peace be unto you! We desire not the ignorant.’ The aayah was revealed confirming the statement they made.”

Ibn Katheer goes further to explain that mixing with people who speak vain talk, meaning the people who are ignorant or talk with ignorance, should be avoided.

The evidences also make it clear that when suspicions or attacks against Muslims are present then, Muslims should verify such information to find out the truth and not to mix with people whose topic of discussion is based on ignorance, backbiting or slander, in line with the ayah stated earlier. However, there is a permit to backbite the one who promotes kufr, shirk or disobedience openly and publicly, for example those who promote voting for man-made law, apostates and the kaafir. This is because the messenger Muhammad (saw) said:

لا غيبة لفاسق

"There is no backbiting for the Faasiq (rebellious person who promotes sin and does it shamelessly)." (Fath al-Baarie and Faid ul-Qadeer #8303)

Backbiting and slander are sins which effect the strength of trust in the Ummah and it is clear that Allaah (swt) does not pardon Muslims until they have taken pardon from the ones who have been abused.

In one hadeeth, narrated by Bayhaqi on the authority of Anas, the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “The expiation of backbiting is to seek forgiveness from the one you have backbitten, saying: 'O Allaah! Forgive us and him.”

In this age it is of vital importance to hold onto the rope of Allaah, namely the Qur'aan and Sunnah in accordance with the understanding of the Sahaabah; to have unity within the Ummah and to enable our relationships to thrive with trust. Once the Islaamic personality is represented and the sins of backbiting and slander are stopped then we know that the Ummah is working to follow the Guidance.

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09-06-2005, 05:32 PM
Jazak ALLAH khair, :rose:

09-06-2005, 05:34 PM
I really need to work on that... Insha'allah I'll get rid of it soon...

06-30-2015, 06:50 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by Mujahida 4 Life
The Islaamic verdict on Backbiting

"There is no backbiting for the Faasiq (rebellious person who promotes sin and does it shamelessly)." (Fath al-Baarie and Faid ul-Qadeer #8303)
Imam Ahmad said it is munkar (basically rejected). Al-Haakim, al-Daaraqutni and al-Khateeb said: it is false. islamqa.info/en/106413

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