Backbiting – A moral evil of society.
Backbiting, also known as Gheebah in Arabic, means mentioning something about a person, behind his back, which he will hate if mentioned in his presence. It can be about his physical appearance, his religious characteristic, his wealth, his character or his family. Slandering and backbiting are considered among the vicious major sins. These sins are forbidden by Allah in the Quran since they sow evil and enmity among people of the same household and between neighbors and relatives. They result in decrement of good deeds and increase the evil ones. Allah strongly forbids backbiting and has mentioned several times in the Quran, and He compares the one who backbites to one who eats his dead brother’s flesh. Allah says:
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not 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 Allah, verily, Allah is The One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
Once Abu Dharr (RA) was in presence of Prophet (SAS) and was given a counsel saying: “O Abu Dharr! Be aware of backbiting, for backbiting is greater than adultery (zina).” Abu Dharr (RA) said: Why is that so, O Messenger of Allah to which He replied:
“This is because when a man commits adultery and then repents to god, God accepts his repentance. However, backbiting is not forgiven until forgiven by his victim.”
Now a days, backbiting is so common and widespread among people that it usually the most discussed issue of meetings and one way of expressing their anger and jealousy among their fellow brothers or sisters. People who are involved in backbiting hide their imperfections to harm others; little do they know that they are the ones being harmed. Apart from backbiting even listening to it is also prohibited. According to some traditions, the one who listens is similar to the backbiter in all aspects such that his act is also a sin and he is obligated to seek forgiveness from the victim.
In one narration the Prophet (SAS) said:
“The listener is one of the two backbiters.”
Try all you can abstain your soul from this sin by keeping your tongue under control. Although some exceptions are allowed as outlined by the Muslims scholars like to warn others about a certain person if he cheats or steals, or to seek advice from a professional if a certain act is allowed or not.