Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Backbitting or venting.

Unfortunately backbiting has becomea norm in all societies. It happens in the home, at work, school etc. It is the worst habit a Muslim can adopt and we must do everything to eradicate such an evil act.

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Backbiting implies your talking about your brother 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 said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact have backbitten him, and if that is not in him it is a slander. [Sahih Muslim Book 32, #6265] 

Backbiting is strictly prohibited in Islam and one can find evidence in the Quran and the Ahadith. Often backbiting is compared to one eating flesh of the dead. 

Allah(swt) says in the Quran: 

"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." [Quran 49:12] 

Just as one finds it rather repulsive and loathes the idea of eating the flesh of a dead human, one should also loathe the idea of backbiting. Just like one is forbidden so is the other. 

Backbiting has been labeled as a destructive sin. Hasan al-Basri 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." 

Cure for ghibah

Realize that it exposes you to the displeasure of Allah, the Exalted. Remind yourself that your good deeds will go to the person whom you are backbiting, and his sins will be borne by you. Ponder over your own faults, and occupy yourself with correcting them. Feel ashamed to discuss the faults of others when you yourself have so many faults. If you are rally free from fault, then occupy yourself with thanking Allah for His favor. Just as you would dislike someone else backbiting you, out yourself in the place of the one whom you are inclined to backbite.
"Indeed, truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Heaven. And, a man [continues to] tell the truth, until he is recorded before Allah as a truthful one. And, indeed, lying leads to evil, and evil leads to Hell. And, a man [continues to] lie until he is recorded before Allah as a liar. [Bukhari, Muslim]
"Insulting a Muslim is impiety, and killing him is [a form of] unbelief." [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi, Tabarani, Daraqutni.]

Ghibah of the heart

To think the worst of Muslims. You may not think badly of a Muslim unless you have definite knowledge of his having done something evil, and there is no possible excuse or justification for him. You should try to make 70 excuses for your brother, and if you cannot find an excuse for him, look for some flaw in your perception. If someone informs you of something bad about someone else, it is obligatory upon you to investigate the matter. Is there some enmity between the informer and the one he is telling you about? You are obliged to think the best of your Muslim brother/sister. Thwart Satan by making du`a for the person. Do not spy on your brother, under the pretext of trying to find out the truth. If it does turn out that he has done something wrong, then advise him in secret.

Cases in which ghibah is permissible

  1. Warning, such as warning a prospective buyer that the merchant is a swindler, or warning a student that his prospective teacher is an innovator or a deviant. Also, revealing the faults of weak narrators and forgers of hadith, and giving someone a candid appraisal of a person whom the former is thinking of marrying.
  2. Injustice. One who has suffered injustice is entitled to mention the one who has committed injustice to someone who is capable of restoring his rights to him, such as a legitimate Muslim ruler or judge.
  3. Seeking help to change an evil, or to reform the wrongdoer. If the intention in telling the ghibah is not to change the wrong, then it is forbidden to relate it.
  4. Asking for a fatwa. A person may say, 'My father/brother/wife has done such-and-such to me. What can I do about it?On the authority of `A'ishah : Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, said to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), "Abu Sufyan is a miserly man, and he is not giving me what would suffice me and my child, unless I take from him without his knowing." He said, "Take what suffices you and your child according to common usage." [Bukhari, Muslim]
    However, it is more precautionary to avoid mention of names, for example by asking instead, "What is the verdict regarding a person who has done such-and-such?"
    On the authority of Fatimah bint Qays : she said, "I came to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and told him, "Abu Jahm and Mu`awiyah have [both] proposed to me." He said, "As for Mu`awiyah, he is a poor man with no money, and as for Abu Jahm, his stick never leaves his shoulder." [Bukhari, Muslim, Malik]
  5. If someone is commonly known by a nickname, although if there is some alternative way to refer to him, it is preferable.
  6. Someone who sins openly, and has no qualms about his sins being mentioned. However, it is not permissible to mention any of his secret sins."There can be no backbiting of one who casts off the mantle of modesty." [Suyuti, Al-Jami` As-Saghir, 2/519, from Bayhaqi.]

Expiation for ghibah

The backbiter has committed two infringements; one upon the limits of Allah, and this must be expiated by repentance and regret. The second is on the rights of his brothers/sisters. If news of the backbiting has reached the person, the backbiter must apologize to him/her, and express regret at having said it.
"Whoever has wronged his brother, in the way of property or honor, let him go to him and repair it, before it is taken [from him on a day] when he has no dirhams or dinars, such thatif he has any good deeds, some of the good deeds will be taken and given to [the wronged one], otherwise [if he has no good deeds], some of the other's evil deeds will be taken and cast upon him." [Bukhari, Al-Mazalim, 5/121, #2449. Ahmad, Al-Musnad, 2/435]
If the person has not learned that he has been backbited, then the backbiter need not tell him, but he should ask Allah to forgive him.
"The expiation with regard to one who has been backbited is that forgiveness be asked for him." [Suyuti, Al-Jami` As-Saghir, 2/390, #6259]
Mujahid said : the expiation for eating the flesh of your brother is that you praise him and pray for good for him, and similar is the case if he has died.


Abu Dawud has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘When I was taken up to heaven (i.e. during the Mi`raj) I passed by people who had nails of copper with which they were scratching their faces and their breasts. I said, ‘Who are these [people], O Gabriel?’ He replied: ‘They are those who consumed the flesh of people [i.e. backbite them] and aspersed their honor. 


May Allah save us from such a terrible punishment and enable us to eradicate backbiting and slander from our tongues and hearts. Ameen

And Allah knows best in all

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