27 April 2005
A Subtle Reminder: Backbiting Etc
- Gheebah or backbiting means speaking about a Muslim in his absence and saying things that he would not like to have spread around or mentioned.
- Buhtaan or slander means saying things about a Muslim that are not true, or in other words telling lies about him.
- Nameemah or malicious gossip means telling one person what another said in order to cause trouble between them.
InshaAllah, we should all know that this is not a sin that we should take lightly (I have to be reminded quite often myself) and that there are severe consequences of any such action.
Allah (SWT) says in Surah 49 (al-Hujuraat), verse 12: "“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 forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful”
Basically, backbiting is the equivalent of eating the flesh of your brother/sister in Islam... and hopefully we all know that as well as backbiting, cannibalism is Haraam too! (Umm... that was me trying to make you laugh - guess I failed... again)
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah is?” They said, “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2589)
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything that was difficult to avoid. One of them used to walk about spreading malicious gossip (nameemah), and the other used not to take precautions to avoid getting urine on himself when he urinated.” Then he called for a green branch, which he split in two and planted a piece on each grave, and said, “May their torment be reduced so long as these do not dry out.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 213 and Muslim, 292)
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his forgiveness today, before there will be no dinar and no dirham, and if he has any good deeds to his credit they will be taken from him in a manner commensurate with the wrong he did, and if he has no good deeds, then some of his counterpart’s bad deeds will be taken and added to his burden.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2317)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
Whoever wrongs a person by slandering him, backbiting about him or insulting him, then repents, Allaah will accept his repentance, but if the one who was wronged finds out about that, he has the right to settle the score. But if he slandered him or backbit about him and the person did not hear of that, then there are two views according to the scholars, both of which were narrated from Ahmad, the more correct of which is that he should not tell him that he spoke against him in his absence. It was said that he should rather speak well of him in his absence just as he spoke badly of him in his absence, as al-Hasan al-Basri said: the expiation for gheebah is to pray for forgiveness for the person about whom you backbit.
These are just some excerpts from the Qur'aan and Sunnah regarding this matter. My source for this post was http://www.islam-qa.com. InshaAllah, I hope that it was helpful and if you have any further questions just post a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can.
InshaAllah, we should all remind each other of the consequences of this action and prevent ourselves and others from falling into this sin. I pray that Allah (SWT) keeps us from backbiting, slander and gossip and prevents us from being subjected to such actions. Ameen.
And Allah knows best.
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