Concept of Hope in Islam

BACKBITING IS MAJOR SINS IN ISLAM

Islam is a religion of peace, love, and compassion. Lies, suspicion, backbiting, slander, and gossip are totally alien to Islam. In fact, they are considered amongst the most destructive of major sins. Islam demands that our relationship with mankind be one of sincerity and responsibility.  Islam teaches us that we are not only held accountable for our attitudes and actions, but also for anything over which we have control or influence in our society or the world around us. Allah says:

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُم مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَن نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهَٰذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هَٰذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيمٌ 

.“And why, when you heard it, did you not say: ‘It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, O Allah]; this is a great slander?” (Surah An-Nur 24:16)

Backbiting is a serious sin in Islam. A sin that, unfortunately, many Muslims have come to normalize in their day to day interactions. Backbiting is so widespread that they have become the topic of people’s meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings, and jealousy. Backbiting is, however, one of the meanest manners and most serious crimes and sins. Allah says:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا 

“Do not concern yourself with things about which you have no knowledge. Verily, your hearing, sight, and heart all of them will be called to account.” (Surah Al-Isra` 17:36 )

Backbiting is to speak ill of a believer behind his back, including matters concerning his moralities, appearance. Those who indulge in backbiting are oblivious of the fact that they are only harming themselves. Backbiting is a graver sin than one can imagine; if only one understood the repercussions of engaging in backbiting, one would steer clear of it and actively work towards avoiding it.

Here are some ways to help us keep away from backbiting:
  1. Backbiting festers negativity, jealousy, and envy
  2. Backbiting pushes away from blessings as well
  3. Backbiting involve you in dull gloomy feeling
  4. Backbiting pushes away from Allah’s mercy
  5. Backbiting brings sadness and darkness
  6. Backbiting brings nothing but ugliness
  7. Backbiting represents a wrong person
  8. Backbiting never provide the solution
  9. Backbiting is a toxic phenomenon
  10. Avoid people who talk about others
  11. Better to stay quiet than to backbiting
  12. Allah condemns the act of backbiting
  13. Stop backbiting the first time it happens
  14. Stay silent rather than adding backbiting
  15. One engrossed in an act displeasing to Allah
  16. Avoid spreading false rumors and backbiting 
  17. A good Muslim does not dwell on backbiting
  18. Allah has punishment for those who backbiting
  19. Try to say something positive about the individual
  20. One must regret and repent from the sins of backbiting

Backbiting can cause very bad effects on an individual, family, and even society. Sometimes it can lead to crime. Speak well or keep quiet. A Muslim has no right to speak badly behind the back of another Muslim whether it is justified or not. Backbiting is basically to talk about your Muslim fellow in such a manner that he/she would dislike it if told about it. Allah sees and knows all things, while our own understanding. Allah says:

إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُم مَّا لَيْسَ لَكُم بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ

“When you received it with your tongues and you said with your mouths whatnot for you of it any knowledge, and you thought it (was) insignificant, while it (was) near Allah great.” (Surah An-Nur 24:15 )

Backbiting is a destructive element that devastates the social construction, the Islamic code has forbidden and regarded it as a grand sin. The evils of backbiting in Islam are deep and far-reaching as they cause nothing but destroys ties of kinship and turn people against one another. Each of us has the responsibility to learn what constitutes as backbiting when it is permissible to speak about an absent person and what to do after we backbite.

 Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:

  • “If they hear gossip, they walk away.” (Quran 28:55)
  • “Woe to every slanderer backbiter!” (Al-Humazah 104:1 )
  • “And say: ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”( Ta-ha:114)
  • “Defamer going about with malicious gossip.” (Al-Qalam 68:11 )
  • “Not they will hear therein vain talk and not sinful (speech).” (Al-Waqi`ah 56:25 )
  • “Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and-backbiter.” (Surah Al-Humaza, 1)
  • “And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed, Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.” (Quran 17:53)

Backbiting is, however, one of the meanest manners and most serious crimes and sins. Backbiting is a toxic phenomenon, which only festers negativity, jealousy, and envy in the hearts of men. Islam also has warned against any matter that roils the pure hearts or arises malice, such as lying, cheating, treachery, and contempt.  Allah says:

لَّا يُحِبُّ اللَّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلَّا مَن ظُلِمَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا 

“Allah does not love public accusations unless one is truly wronged. Allah is All-hearing and All-knowing.” (Surah An-Nisa` 4:148 )

Islam teaches us that if people are being ridiculed or backbitten in our presence, we should defend their honor. If we neglect doing so, we risk depriving ourselves of the ever-needed help and mercy from Allah. The evils of backbiting in Islam are deep and far-reaching as they cause nothing but enmity and suspicion between people, destroys ties of kinship and turn people against one another.

HOW TO AVOID BACKBITING?

Most of the time, we get dragged into gossip, or conversations that lead to gossip. It’s important to know how to get ourselves out of this situation, or what to do in such situations.

  • Avoid People Who Backbite: “Bad company corrupts good character” It is so important to befriend people who have similar morals and values as yourself.
  • Change the Bad to Good: Instead of talking badly about someone, try to say something positive about the individual.
  • Avoid Places of Backbiting: At university, work, and even online, certain meeting places are used for backbiting. If you tend to get involved in backbiting in these locations, stop being there.
  • Stop Asking Leading Questions: Avoid the use of questions that can lead to backbiting.
  • It’s None Of Your Business: Oftentimes we get involved in conversations that are of no concern to us, we’re merely involved to kill time.
  • Change The Topic: Sometimes the best thing to do is find something else to talk about.
  • Stay Silent: Sometimes the best thing to do when you’re unsure of whether you’re backbiting or not is to remain silent.

Backbiting is a toxic phenomenon, which only festers negativity, jealousy, and envy in the hearts of men. Find people who are more like-minded and who do not depend on gossip to pass the time. Many of us backbite and gossip without thinking. We think it is a minor matter, however, Allah reminds us to be careful, for even though we think we are doing something small, it is in fact very large in the sight of Allah. Allah says:

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُم مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَن نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهَٰذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هَٰذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيمٌ 

.“And why, when you heard it, did you not say: ‘It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, O Allah]; this is a great slander?” (Surah An-Nur 24:16 )

Muslims are warned about the sins of the tongue in which backbiting comes first. We should recognize that Allah Almighty sees and knows everything beyond our limited understanding and vision. If we neglect doing so, we risk depriving ourselves of the ever-needed help and mercy from Allah. May Allah (SWT) guide us all towards the right path and protect us from the trials and punishments in this life and the next. Amen