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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Friday, February 11, 2005

AFFLICTING A MUSLIM WITH THE TONGUE

The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"The whole of the Muslim is sacred, his blood, his property and his
honor. " [Muslim]

Backbiting
Allah, the Most High said:
"Do not backbite one another, would any one of you love to eat the
flesh of his dead brother, verily you detest this...." [Al-Hujuraat
43:12]

The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "Backbiting is
mentioning something about your brother that he dislikes. " [Maalik &
Ibn Mubaraak]

And in another narration, he Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"Backbiting is to mention about a person something about him in his
absence". [Abu Dawood]

The Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "Do you know what is
gheebah (Backbiting)? They said "Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon
him) know best." He (peace be upon him) said: "Mentioning about your
brother what he would hate (in his absence)'. It was said: 'What about
if what I say about my brother is true?' He (peace be upon him) said:
"If what you said about him is true then you would have backbited him,
and if it is not true, then he is slandered (buhtaan). [Muslim]

Based on the above Hadeeth backbiting can be defined as:
"Mentioning about a person in his absence something he would hate even
if it is a characteristic he possesses."

Backbiting is haraam and the person who involves in it must repent.

When is talking about your brother not considered to be backbiting:
Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, came to the Messenger (peace be upon
him) and said:

"Abu Sufyaan is a miserly man and he does not give me enough for me and
my child except if I take from him and he does not know. " The
Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Take what is commonly known as
enough for you and your child".
[Bukhari & Muslim]

It is clear from the above Hadeeth, that, in certain specific cases, a
Muslim is permitted to talk about someone behind his or her back. For
example:

a) If a man is oppressed, he can go to the ruler or judge or someone
who has the ability to stop the oppression, and make a petition, as
Hind did.

b) Also, when seeking an Islamic ruling, it is allowed to mention a
person's bad quality, as is established in the hadeeth of Hind above,
as when Hind asked: "Abu Sufyaan is a miserly man and he does not give
me enough for me and my child except if I take from him and he does not
know".

c) Seeking help to change a wrong by taking one's right. If someone
cannot change it himself, then he can go to someone who is in a
position to change it. Thus, he will have to backbite his oppressor to
inform the person who can give him authority. The hadeeth of Hind above
exemplifies this.

In the case of "commanding good and forbidding evil", a person is
allowed to mention the known innovation or sin of another person, in
order to warn others about it. However, if one declares the actions of
people that are done in secret, this is considered to be backbiting.

One is also permitted to inquire about a person who has a specific
callname, like the deaf man, or blind man. However, if his correct name
is known, then it would not be allowed to use other false names.

In the same vein, one is allowed to forewarn and caution his brother or
sister, about someone who is a sinner or innovator, in order for them
to be free from their influence. Allah, the Most High said:

"Help one another in righteousness and piety; but do not assist one
another in sin or transgression" [Al-Maaidah 5:2]


Some factors that cause backbiting and their cures:
1. Subsiding anger.
This is done by backbiting the person who kindles his anger -so
everytime this person makes him angry, he subsides it by backbiting the
person. Through this (the backbiting), he feels he is getting even with
the other person. The cure for this is the advice of the Messenger
Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam "Whoever suppresses his anger while in a
position to enforce it, Allah will call him at the head of the creation
until he chooses for him from the hoor'een (special women of Jannah
that are promised to the believer), for him to marry from them as he
pleases. [Ahmad and At-Tabaraanee]

2. Wanting to keep Mends.
In order to maintain friends with others, a person indulges in
backbiting because he is afraid of losing their friendship. Thus he
does not reprimand them when they backbite, but indulge in it with
them. To cure this he must remember the saying of the Messenger
Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam "Whoever solicit the pleasure of men by
displeasing Allah, Allah will consign him to mankind. [At-Tirmidhi]

3. Wanting to raise one's status with other people.
This is done by debasing others, by saying things like such and such a
person, is ignorant or his understanding is weak, thus indirectly
implying that he is more knowledgeable than the one he debases. In
order to cure this sickness, the perpetrator must be reminded that
Allah is the final judge and this person that he is claiming is
ignorant, might be better than him with Allah. Furthermore, that person
may be excused because of his lack of understanding.

4. Playing around and making fun of others.
This could involve mockery and sarcasm. It is enough to remind those
indulging in this practice of what Allah, the Most High said:

"O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be
that the latter is better than the former..." [Al-Hujuraat 49:11]

At other times, it could involve lies, as mention is made of some
people in a way to make others laugh. It is enough to answer with the
statement of the Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam: "Woe to the one
who speaks and lies to make people laugh, woe to him, woe to him"
[Ahamad, Abu Dawood & others]

5. Envy.
Through envy, a person is backbited because of his noble position and
high standing, in order to debase and reduce his worth in people's
eyes. The envier should reflect upon the statement of the Messenger
Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam: "Faith and envy cannot exist together in
the heart of the slave". [Ahmad 8: 436]

6. Fear of Blame.
Something is attributed to a person who wants to free himself from it,
by blaming another person totally, although they both had shared in the
act. He does this so that he can free himself from being blamed. The
correct thing to do is to acquit himself honestly, and not try to throw
the blame upon anyone else.

7. Having too much spare time.
This can cause a person to fall into backbiting, because it is easy for
such an idle mind to become busy with men, their honor and their
faults. To correct this a person must spend his time in acts of
obedience to Allah, worship, seeking knowledge, and teaching others.
The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "Two blessings are
misused by people, good health and spare time to do good." [Bukhari]

8. Trying to get close to a person in authority to acquire material
gains.
In order to get close to those in authority and to gain their favors,
someone may backbite his workmates with his boss. To cure this, he must
realize the true value of this world with Allah, the Glorious, and that
He is the Provider, and that He would allow him to get only what he
deserves. And no boss can give him anything if Allah, the Sublime does
not will such for him. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:

"...know that if the nation (all mankind) were to gather together to
benefit you with something, it would only benefit you with something
that Allah had already prescribed for you..." [At-Tirmidhi]



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