Islam is a religion of peace, love, and compassion. Lies, suspicion, backbiting, slander, and gossip are alien to Islam. They are considered amongst the most destructive of major sins. This is so because these sins sow enmity and discord among the Muslim Ummah (nation) and lead to its destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household, and between neighbours, friends, and relatives. Allah says:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong establish prayer give charity and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have mercy upon them, for Allah is Almighty and Wise.” (Surah Al-Tawba 9:71)
Islam demands that our relationship with mankind be one of sincerity and responsibility. It should be one where we have respect for the honour, reputation, and privacy of others. 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:
يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“They say: Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts any resentment toward those who have faith. Our Lord, you are kind and merciful.” (Surah Al-Hashr 59:10)
Backbiting is the foremost sin mentioned in Holy Quran and Hadith. Gossiping, rumouring, backbiting all destroys friendships and families and fuels mistrust among community members. Still worth, they destroy our hard-earned hasanat and make us liable to punishment in the hereafter.
Backbiting often results from a weakness in the backbiter’s soul, such as an inferiority complex:
- Backbiting festers negativity, jealousy, and envy
- Backbiting pushes away from blessings as well
- Backbiting involve you in a dull gloomy feeling
- Backbiting pushes away from Allah’s mercy
- Backbiting brings sadness and darkness
- Backbiting brings nothing but ugliness
- Backbiting never provide the solution
- Backbiting is a toxic phenomenon
- Allah condemns the act of backbiting
- Better to stay quiet than to backbiting
- Stop backbiting the first time it happens
- Stay silent rather than adding backbiting
- Make people realize the gravity of the sin
- Steer clear of people who are in backbiting
- Make dua to ease and healing into your life
- A good Muslim does not dwell on backbiting
- Allah gives the motivation to stay far from it
- Avoid places and people prone to backbiting
- Avoid spreading false rumours and backbiting
- Allah has punishment for those who backbiting
Islam Prohibits Backbiting and Slandering
Islam also has warned against any matter that roils the pure hearts or arises malice, such as lying, cheating, treachery, and contempt. Backbiting is, however, one of the meanest manners and most serious crimes and sins. God likens the backbiter to the one who eats the flesh of the dead. For a too free tongue destroys its owner and causes him calamities and evils. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“O you, who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is a sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead?” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12)
Backbiting is a destructive element that devastates the social construction and spoils the tied up relations, the Islamic code has forbidden and regarded it as a grand sin. It shows the poisonous seeds of spite among Muslims. Backbiting is decided as forbidden so long as it is intended to disgrace others, but if it is not intended for so or if a reasonable ground relies upon it, it is not forbidden. 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)
It is not acceptable for a Muslim to spread rumours, or engage in the backbiting of another person. That’s why Islam emphasizes treating others with integrity and respect and it is also a sign of a believer. Muslims are warned about the sins of the tongue in which backbiting comes first. Whoever guards his tongue will surely make fewer mistakes.
Below we will discuss how to avoid Backbiting (Gheebah):
- We should recognize that Allah Almighty sees and knows everything beyond our limited understanding and vision.
- We should also recognize that no one is perfect, we all are lacking in some manner.
- Always speak well otherwise keep quiet.
- If you hear rumour or gossip about someone keep it on your own and also remind others not to gossip if they do so then walk away from there.
- Try to avoid spying as it fuels the trading of secrets and misinformation which ultimately creates a climate of mistrust.
- Most important thing is to repent to Allah Almighty for all mistakes and also seek forgiveness for the person whom you hurt.
About backbiting, Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:
- “If they hear gossip, they walk away.” (Quran, 28:55)
- “And say: ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” ( Ta-ha:114)
- “A slanderer, going about with calumnies.” (Surah Al-Qalam, 11)
- “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)
- “Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you do not know.” (Quran, 24:19)
- “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern…” (Quran 33:21)
Whenever you feel tempted to say something bad against someone, remind yourself that if there is something wrong with them, there is something even worse with YOU for you are the one who is bringing out the ugliness in others and spreading them. Even if this person is flawed, you bringing out the flaw could lead to your flaws being exposed in front of all mankind if Allah willed it. So fear Allah. 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 do not know. Verily, your hearing, sight, and heart all of them will be called to account.” (Surah Al-Isra` 17:36 )
Allah will then give the wronged person the good deeds of the person who wronged him by backbiting or other injustices. So get yourself out of this mess. You’re better than this, and with the help of Allah and your free access to speak to Him about anything whenever you want, you don’t need to indulge in talking about other people.
How to Avoid Gossip and Backbiting:
- Beg dua to Allah to control your tongue
- Beg dua for progress the help of Allah
- Beg Allah desperately to save this sin
- Beg dua to Allah Istighfar and tawba
- Beg dua to Allah sincerely to purify
- Beg to Allah to guidance and light
- Beg Allah for Help
- Never get yourself into backbiting
- Fear Allah and don’t harm His slaves
- Be creative, save yourself and others
- Keep cover yourself with unnecessary sadness
- Allah hears you and every word has its consequences
Backbiting and slander are so widespread that they have become the topic of people’s meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings, and jealousy. Those who indulge in backbiting are oblivious of the fact that they are only harming themselves. This is because, on the Day of Resurrection, both the wrongdoer and the wronged will stand before Allah, the Just Judge. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا
“O you who have faith, repent to Allah with sincere repentance.” (Surah Al-Tahrim 66:8)
Some situations allow us to inform others of what someone has done. We are permitted to inform the authorities when someone does injustice to us or others. Islam teaches us that if people are being ridiculed or backbitten in our presence, we should defend their honour. If we neglect doing so, we risk depriving ourselves of the ever-needed help and mercy from Allah. Allah says:
وَمَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ مِنْ حِسَابِهِم مِّن شَيْءٍ وَلَٰكِن ذِكْرَىٰ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
“And not (is) on those who consciously revere (Allah) of their account [of] anything; but (for) reminder, so that they may consciously revere (Allah).” (Surah Al-An`am 6:69 )
Backbiting (gheebah) is prohibited in Islam and is considered a major sin. A Muslim must refrain from backbiting another Muslim, no matter how justified it seems. There is no way that a sin that automatically comes with darkness would bring light, ease and healing into your life. May Allah help us and make us among those who set things right, and call to righteousness. Ameen.