Backbiting eats virtuous deeds
Abu Hurairah relates that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said,
“Do you know what is backbiting?”
The Companions replied,
“Allah and His Prophet know better.”
The Holy Prophet said,
“To talk about your brother (Muslim) in such a way which he dislikes.”
“What if he possesses that evil which is talked about?”
The Prophet said,
“Whatsoever you are saying, if he has that then it is backbiting and if he does not then it is slandering.” (Muslim)
Backbiting is talking about another Muslim brother in a way that makes him feel bad if he finds out.
A Disease of inciting innerself
Backbiting is the illness of innerself that has plagued many individuals causing homes to turn into a battlefield. It is like a blazing fire that engulfs the vast majority of Muslims. Most pious people also seem to listen to gossip without hesitation and shake their heads in approval. Backbiting is tarnishing the honour of fellow Muslims. Desire to be superior lays the foundation of backbiting. Nowadays, backbiting is the liveliness of every gathering and is considered the vital part of every ceremony. We hurt our Muslim brothers and sisters because of backbiting.
The Holy Prophet said:
“A Muslim is the one from whose hands and tongue other Muslims are safe.”
“Whoever hurts a Muslim, he hurts me and whoever hurts me hurts Allah.”
Forbidden in Islam
Some people justify themselves by saying that ‘we are telling the truth.’ Ahmed Yaar Khan Naeemi says, “Backbiting is narrating one’s genuine flaws whereas slandering refers to stating false faults in others. Backbiting is the truth but is still forbidden in Islam.
Condemnation of backbiting
We should remember that Allah Almighty has forbidden backbiting. Allah says:
“And spy not (on someone’s unknown matters or secrets) nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it.” (49:12)
In this verse, the backbiter is likened to a dog as dog is such animal who eats the flesh of its dead brother after it dies. While a lion, a beast or a sheep or any other animal does not eat the flesh of his dead brother.
Why does Islam condemn backbiting?
Today, Muslims tear the flesh of their fellow Muslim brothers in the form of backbiting. They see it happening in front of them and no one defends the honour of his brothers as he does not forbid others from backbiting.
“Woe to everyone who slanders (face to face) and finds fault (in absence)!” (104:1)
Allah Almighty is repeatedly forbidding us from this evil. A Muslim is the protector of the honour of another Muslim brother but alas! Such a critical time has come that Muslims are the ones who are ridiculing their fellow Muslims.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) addressed the Ka’bah and said:
“The sanctity of a believer is greater than yours.” (Ibn Maja)
Hadith regarding backbiting
Naeem-ud-Deen Muradabadi writes in Khazain-ul-Irfan:
When Holy Prophet used to travel for Jihad, he would make a group of every poor Muslim with two rich ones so that he could serve them and in return they can feed him. On one such occasion, sacred Companion Salman was sent away with two men. One day he fell asleep so he could not cook food. They sent him to the Prophet’s house to ask for food. Usama bin Zayd was the kitchen attendant of the Prophet (pbuh). He had run out of food, so he said, ‘I have nothing.’ Salman returned and told the two comrades, they said that Usama has displayed stinginess. When they came to the sacred assembly of Prophet Mohammad, the Holy Prophet said, “I see the flesh in your mouth.” They stated that they had not eaten meat. The Prophet said, “You have backbitten, one who backbites eats the flesh of his Muslim brother.”
Types of backbiting
There are different types of backbiting such as :
Backbiting about someone’s physique
Backbite someone regarding his character or behaviour
Backbiting regarding lineage
Backbiting regarding religious matters
The last one is the most dangerous such as saying about someone that he does not perform Wudu (ablutions) properly, does not pray properly, he does not understand religion, is very stingy and so on. Above all, Satan whispers in the inward of man that such acts are not backbiting but are called ‘advice’ in Islam. Whereas the advice is to contact the person concerned in private to tell him his weakness and pray to Allah that may Allah protect him.
Reasons for backbiting
There are many reasons behind backbiting, some of which are as follows:
Some people burn in the fire of jealousy all the time and always try to destroy the happiness of others. When someone receives a compliment in front of them they are unable to tolerate it so they become sarcastic. When someone is being praised they start pointing out their weaknesses.
Calming down Anger
If there is a quarrel with someone, calm down your anger by explaining its evils and shortcomings in meetings.
Sitting in the company of friends who backbite others and enjoy it. Instead of trying to stop or rebuke them, you support them.
“On that Day, all friends and acquaintances will become enemies to one another except the pious.” (43:67)
Praising oneself and mentioning bad about others
If anything good is mentioned about others in front of the backbiter, he acknowledges their extensive knowledge and reputation but tries to change the subject by drawing attention towards one’s shortcomings. They start pointing out his weaknesses. Satan makes them think they are advising someone but if they had been truthful in giving admonition they would had done in private instead of public humiliation.
Humor and ridicule
Gossiping about others to make people laugh and just for fun. Does the backbiter not know that this is a great evil and a sin?
The Holy Prophet said:
“It is enough for a person to be bad if he considers his Muslim brother worthless or inferior.” (Muslim)
Backbiting eats virtuous deeds
Abu Dawud al-Sijistani in his book Sunan Abu Dawud relates a hadith from Abu Buraidah al-Aslami that the Holy Prophet delivered a sermon which the females heard in their homes. The Holy Prophet said,
“O people who have endorsed faith with tongue (only) but faith has not entered your inwards (you have not reached the station of inward verification), neither indulge yourselves in backbiting nor inquire others’ faults, Allah will find out his faults and will disgrace him in his home.”
What are the consequences of backbiting ?
Hasan al-Basri says:
“By Allah, backbiting eats away a person’s religion as quickly as itchy disease affects body.”
Once the Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked the Companions,
“Do you know who the poor and needy are?”
The Companions said,
“The poorest among us is the poor man who has neither dirham nor dinar.”
The Prophet said,
“The poorest is the one who brings prayer, fasting and Zakat on doomsday and comes in a state where he has abused and slandered someone, eaten someone’s wealth, beaten someone or shed blood, his good deeds would be distributed among them. If his good deeds are gone before his debt is paid off, then he would be held accountable for his evil deeds and will be thrown into hell fire.” (Muslim)
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Backbiting and gossip cuts faith in the same way a shepherd cuts a tree.”
(Al Targheeb Wat Tarheeb, hadith 27)
Divine punishment for backbiting
Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri relates that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said,
“During the journey of Miraj, I passed above the people whose flesh was being cut from their body and they were eating morsels of that flesh. I inquired Angel Gabriel about those people. He replied, ‘They are backbiters from your umma’.”
Devastations caused by backbiting
Scholar Ibn Abi Asim says that it has reached us that the gossiper will turn into a monkey, the liar into a dog and the envious one into a pig in hell.
The gossiper will be punished in the grave for backbiting. What will be the punishment? The gossiper will bite his face with his fingernails, causing blood to flow from his face, mouth, eyes and nose. This would be a fully justified punishment for what he used to say on people’s back.
Abdullah ibn al-Abbas relates, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) passed by two graves, he said that both of them are being tormented and but they are not being punished for some great sin. It is a bad thing that one of them was not cautious of his urine while urinating (did not care about cleanliness) and the other used to backbite.
How to overcome backbiting?
It should be kept in mind that backbiting is one of the sins that causes Allah’s displeasure and anger. One should keep in the mind the penalties for backbiting.
Think, would we like others to backbite about our own selves, or to be ridiculed in gatherings and events? Of course not, so treat others in a manner similar to one we like for ourselves. Indeed this is the requirement of faith.
Purification of one’s innerself
When inciting innerself forces you to try to describe faults of others, focus on yourself and see if these faults are present in oneself. You will definitely find a bigger flaw inside yourself. It will be a starting point for enlightening inward. If you don’t find it then beware that finding others fault is the biggest flaw.
We need to strive to purify our innerselfes of the various temptations of backbiting such as defamation, finding imperfections, envy, jealousy, flattery, hypocrisy etc.
Hasan al-Basri says:
“O son of Adam! You cannot find the perfect faith unless you avoid slandering people. First correct yourself, if you do this you will be able to recognise yourself.. Such a person is very dear among Allah’s people.”
It is also worth noting that a person can neither diagnose his inner ailments immediately nor he can get rid of them.
The cure of backbiting and all such esoteric diseases is the spiritual sight and the company of The Perfect Spiritual Guide.
Sarwari Qadri guide (Murshid) is on the footstep of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). He guides the seekers of Allah in the similar manner of our beloved Prophet as he had trained his Companions.
The present perfect spiritual guide of Sarwari Qadri order Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman has saved countless seekers of Allah from deadly diseases of innerself and made their innerself obedient nd granted them the highest spiritual ranks. It is an open invitation for seekers who desire the purification of inward for Divine Vision.
Pledge oath of allegiance on the hands of Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman and get Sultan of invocation i.e. Hoo.
Acquire the blessings as well as the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat.
May Allah protect us from doing backbiting as well as listening to it and keep us safe in His shelter. Ameen
Note: This is an English Translation of the Urdu article which appeared in the November 2021 issue of Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Magazine. Miss Faqiha Sabir Sarwari Qadri wrote the original article. Abeeha Malik Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.