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December
03
1995
Islamic Fiqh- Islamic Conduct- Lesson (1-6): The Concept of Ghiba (Backbiting)
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

Ghibah is a major sin:

 Dear brothers, I promised you last Khutbah (sermon) to tackle the topic of Ghibah (backbiting) which I started then, and I will discuss it in details on Sunday's lectures insha' Allah. In fact, Friday Khutab (plural of Khutbah) are usually brief, so we can go into details of topics in religious lectures.

 Muslims in general are most likely far from committing major sins like killing, drinking wine or fornication. However, they are trapped in minor sins of the tongue which are the main reason of veiling them from Allah the Almighty. Sins in general (the minor and the major) veil the Muslim from Allah, but you have to bear in mind that the persistence on minor sins turns them into major ones.

 The pious ancestors, as I mentioned in the Khutbah, said that worshiping Allah cannot be fulfilled properly by offering Salah, and observing Sawm in Ramadan only, but the real worshiping of Allah is manifested in guarding the tongue which needs a strong will. Man drools over talking about people's flaws, shortcomings, scandals and errors, and according to scholars these kinds of talking are social entertainment to people. Thus, they said, "Ghibah is the dining table of dogs' meal, the condiment of the corrupter's food and the deeds of the deviated."

Ghibah and Buhtan:

  I will go into the tiny details of Ghibah, so that the believer will have a decisive stand about it:

((Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying: Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of? He said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, in fact you have backbitten him, and if that is not in him it is a slander.))

[Muslim, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

  Buhtan (slander) is to say about your brother something that is not true, whereas Ghibah is to say about him something true, but it hurts him (in his absence). This is how the Prophet PBUH defined Ghibah; it is to say things about your fellow Muslim which he does not like in his absence, whether these things are about his body, religion, worldly affairs, morals, money, children, wife, clothes, the way he walks, the way he moves, the way he frowns, the way he smiles or anything related to him, and all of which are considered Ghibah.

 One more thing; Ghibah is committed by saying words, writing something, using body language with your eyes, hand or head, or it is committed by other similar ways explicitly or implicitly. Ghibah about someone's body is saying, for example, that he is lame, blear-eyed, short, tall or dark-skinned. Regarding someone's religious condition, Ghibah occurs when you say that he is Fasiq (corrupted), he is a thief, a liar and an oppressor, or when you say that he is negligent of Salah or undutiful to his parents.

 Regarding the worldly affairs, Ghibah is like saying that someone is immoral, he eats and sleeps too much or he sleeps at the wrong time. Regarding someone's father, Ghibah is to say that his father is black, or when you degrade his father's craft. Regarding someone's morals, Ghibah is saying that he is arrogant, hypocrite, tough …etc. Regarding his clothes, Ghibah is saying that someone's outfit is filthy, or that he wears long sleeves…etc.

Ghibah is the mother of sins people commit:

 Dear brothers, Ghibah is one of the most prevailing sin people commit subconsciously in their assemblies, meetings, banquets, wedding ceremonies and sad events. As long as the tongue feeds on people's honor, it is involved in Ghibah, which is one of the major sins.

((Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying: Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet PBUH) said: Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of? He said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbited him, and if that is not in him it is a slander.))

[Muslim, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

((Abu Hudhaifah narrated - and he was one of the companions of 'Abdullãh bin Mas'üd - from 'A'ishah who said: "I told the Prophet (PBUH) about a man, so he said: 'I do not like to talk about a man, even if I were to get this or that (for doing so)." She said: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Safiyyah is a woman who is..." and she used her hand as if to indicate that she is short - "So he said: 'You have said a statement which, if it were mixed in with the water of the sea, it would pollute it."))

[At-Tirmizi, on the authority of Abi Hudhaifah]

 She was short and that was obvious to all people, but can you do anything to someone short if you talk about his shortness? Al-Hasan al-Basrî said, "Ghibah has three manifestations, all of which are discussed in Allah's Book. They are: backbiting, tale-telling, and slander. As for backbiting, it is to say about your brother something that is true about him. Tale-telling is to say something that you have heard about him. Slander is to say about him what is not true." If you convey what you have heard about someone, this is Ifk (obvious lie).

 The Ifk incident is known by all of you; it is when people talked about 'A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. Hence, when you convey what is mentioned to you, this is Ifk, if you mention something about someone in his absence, this is Ghibah and if you mention something untrue about him, this is Buhtan (slander). Accordingly, mentioning other people involves three awful acts: Ghibah, Buhtan, and Ifk, and let me repeat again that Ghibah is to mention something true about someone (in his absence), Buhtan is to mention something not true about someone and Ifk is to convey what you have heard about someone.

 Ibn Sirene once referred to someone as "the black man", and then he asked Allah for forgiveness, lest he was considered a backbiter. In another incident Ibn Sirene wanted to refer to Ibrahim Ibn Al-Adham, and he hated to say the one-eyed man, so he put his hand on his eye to indicate that meaning fearing that he could have backbitten him by saying the one-eyed man. In fact, the more you fear Allah, the keener you will be on His Orders and Prohibitions and the more exalted you will become in Allah's Sight. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾ Verily, The Muttaqun (pious), will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise).﴿

[Al-Qamar, 54]

 Whoever controls his tongue and remembers with it Allah shall he and those around him be healed
Believe me dear brothers, when man guards his tongue and keeps himself busy with remembering Allah, calling to Him, reciting the Quran, learning about the virtues in the Prophetic Sunnah and mentioning the morals of the Prophet's companions, he and those around him will be cured. On the other hand, if he keeps himself busy in mentioning people, he and those around him will be ill. This conclusion is derived from the statement of our Master Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, when he said, "Remembering Allah is a cure and mentioning people is an illness."

 No one can avoid meeting other people whether he likes it or not, so man is obliged to meet his friends, neighbors, colleagues or relatives in a banquet, a meeting, a celebration, a picnic, a sad event or a wedding ceremony. It is unavoidable to meet other people, so before you attend any of these occasions, think first and say, "What should I say?" think of preparing something to discuss, such as an Ayah, a Hadeeth, a story about a companion or anything which brings people closer to Allah, then mention it in a kind, nice, wise and forbearing manner, and if you find people's faces lightened and become radiant, this will confirm Umar's statement, "Remembering Allah is a cure and mentioning people is an illness".

 Dear brothers:

(('A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "Do not backbite one another, for once I said to the Prophet PBUH about a woman that she is tall (in a sarcastic manner), so the Prophet PBUH said to me, "Spit it out, spit it out, because you have just eaten a bite of her flesh."))

 By saying that about that woman, 'A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, seemed to have eaten from that woman's dead flesh. In another incident:

((Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud reported: We were sitting with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when a man stood to leave. Another man spoke badly about him after he left, so the Prophet said, "Pick your teeth." The man said, "O Messenger of Allah, why should I pick my teeth when I have not eaten meat?" The Prophet said, "You have eaten the flesh of your brother."))

Ghibah is not committed only with the tongue:

 Dear brothers, amongst the tiny details of Ghibah is that it is not committed with the tongue only which is clearly forbidden, but there are other ways it is committed with, such as giving hints, saying direct statements, saying words or giving gestures with the head, the eyes or the lips to indicate that someone is stingy (for example). All of the above are forbidden and are considered Ghibah.

 If Muslims aim at establishing a coherent society like one whole body, they should avoid Ghibah, for it shatters the unity of that body, but if Muslims do not care if their society is full of hatred, enmity, envy and bitter feelings, then let them unleash their tongues in Ghibah, for it leads to all the aforementioned. I know a group of men who are accustomed to meet every Tuesday, and this meeting lasted for 17 years, and upon being asked about the reason behind this continuity, one of them said, "There is no Ghibah in our meetings, so our meetings have lasted for a considerable period of time", but had these meetings had Ghibah, they would have stopped a long time ago.

((Once a woman visited Hadrat 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and when the woman got up to leave, Hadrat 'A'ishah Siddiqua (may Allah be pleased with him) made a sign with her hand indicating to the Prophet (PBUH) that the woman was short of stature. The Prophet (PBUH) immediately chastised her, saying, "You have backbitten!"))

[At-Tirmizi]

 Taunting and mimicry are considered Ghibah, so when someone mimics a lame person or the way he moves and walks to make other people laugh, he is committing the worst kind of Ghibah. Also, Ghibah is committed by drawing caricatures of people or writing something funny about them to make other people laugh at them. It is said, "The pen is the other tongue."

Amending people's shortcomings should not be by mentioning their names:

  If someone wants to amend his society, how will he refer to others' flaws? In this case he does as the Prophet PBUH used to do; he PBUH used to climb the Minbar (pulpit) and say, "What is wrong with people doing so and so…" though the one who did something wrong could have been one individual, the Prophet PBUH used to refer to a group of people, avoiding by that specifying a person in particular, so he used to mention his act as a flaw that prevailed in the society.

 When I entered the Masjid today, there was a group of brothers who were praying close to the only entrance of the Masjid's Haram, and they blocked the way of people to reach inside or to go out. It is recommended to join another row of prayers, for it is not acceptable to block the way in order to offer four Ruka't of Ishaa'. Thus, when someone intends to pray behind Imam, he should think about the place he is taking and ask himself whether it is the only entrance to the Haram or not, because it is unacceptable to block the way.

 As I have just said, in order to amend flaws in the society, we mention these flaws without mentioning names or specific people, but we describe the condition and find a solution for it.

Other ways of Ghibah:

 There are creative ways man uses assuming he is not backbiting, like mentioning someone and then saying, "Praise be to Allah who cured us from stinginess", because his words mean that this person is stingy, which is but Ghibah. Furthermore, if one says upon mentioning a person, "Praise be to Allah who cured us from earning ill-gotten money", he accuses that person of earning ill-gotten money, and it is Ghibah. If you say upon mentioning a person, "Praise be to Allah who cured us from hypocrisy" this is Ghibah as well, and it is even worse than the Ghibah we have mentioned so far, because you accuse a fellow Muslim of something, and you praise yourself, while you may not be as you claim. In this case you act arrogantly and haughtily, and you discredit a Muslim brother.

 There is another way of Ghibah, which is keeping silent while the attendants of the assembly are backbiting a person in front of you, and all you do is just listening to what they say. Well, this is also one way of Ghibah.

 Another creative way of Ghibah is committed by praising someone although you know that he has shortcomings, and you intend by your words to provoke people to dispraise him. For instance, when you say, "How great this person is, how great his actions are and how devoted his worship is" in front of people who know that such a person lacks what you say, and so they start saying the opposite and backbiting him, while you pretend to be surprised of what they say, this is one way of Ghibah.

As I mentioned earlier, it is also out of Ghibah to keep silent listening to people who backbite someone before you. You keep listening to them and enjoy what they say, which is Ghibah. In Tabook expedition, the Prophet PBUH missed a man, so people started to say, "He is hypocrite", but one of the companions stood up - I think he is Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas – and said, "By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, he is a good person, but some people were lagged behind, given we do not love you more than they do, and had they known that you will meet the enemy, they would never have hesitated to fight with you." The Prophet PBUH showed a satisfaction smile from what he heard, for the person who keeps silent in an assembly where another Muslim is backbitten is a backbiter himself.

 There is a disagreement among scholars about considering mentioning someone's flaws in his presence Ghibah or not. Most likely it is not; it is considered bad-mouthing and swearing the person before you, while Ghibah is basically mentioning someone in his absence. It was said, "Discrediting people in their absence is just like adulating them in their presence", for both of them are manifestation of weakness, cowardice, despicability and act of cringing. In concise, whatever you fear to tell your brother about in his presence, but you tell others about in his absence is but Ghibah.

The Islamic ruling on Ghibah:

 Dear brothers, the Islamic ruling on Ghibah is that committing it is Haram according to the Quran, Sunnah and what scholars agreed upon. The proofs of its prohibition are so many. Al-Qurtubi said that it was agreed upon among scholars that Ghibah is a major sin not a minor one. They supported their ruling by referring to the prohibition of eating dead animal, eating pork and drinking blood in Islam. Are these things not forbidden in Islam? Yes, they are. Ghibah is even worse than that, for it is like eating your brother's dead flesh, and so it is a major sin.

 One might say, "This sin is widely spread, it is considered Ummu Al-Balwa (An unfavorable widespread situation affecting most people which is difficult to avoid) and it is committed by the majority of people, but this claim is refuted by saying, "The prevalence of a major sin does not make it minor, because the major sins stay major whether they are committed on a small scale or a large one." As for Muslim scholars, they agreed that insisting on backbiting people is undoubtedly a major sin.

 Muslim scholars also said, "Just like Kufr which can be implicit and explicit, there are different types of Ghibah." For example, when you criticize the size of a house or its color without speaking ill of the owner himself, this has less harmful effect than backbiting a scholar from whose knowledge people benefit. When you backbite this scholar, you are driving people away from him and smearing his reputation. Therefore, the worst type of Ghibah is to backbite a man who is spreading the word of truth among people, and the type which has the least harmful effect of Ghibah is to criticize someone's belongings, and had he known that you did so, he would not have become very upset. These are the different types of Ghibah.

Prophetic Ahadeeth about Ghibah:

 Dear brothers, I would like to mention some of the Prophetic Ahadeeth about Ghibah. The first Hadith:

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "…Everything belonging to a Muslim is inviolable for a Muslim; his honor, his blood and property..."))

[Muslim, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 You are forbidden from killing him and from taking his money unlawfully. As for his honor, since it is a subject of praising and dispraising, violating it is forbidden. Some people might think that violating someone's honor is related only to slandering his women, but it is more than that. Hence, you are forbidden from killing the Muslim, extorting his money and backbiting him. In a previous lecture I told you the following Hadith:

((A person who has the following characteristics has perfect chivalry and justice: one who does not oppress the people in his dealings with them; one who does not lie when he talks to the people; one who does not act opposite to what he promises. It is incumbent to act like a brother with him; support his justness; respect his manliness; and not gossip about him.))

[Musnad Shihab, on the authority of Ali bin Abi Talib]

 If his Aqeedah is sound, if he offers the acts of worship and if he does not oppress others, lie to them or betray them, then it is forbidden to backbite him. The Hadith is crystal clear. It is reported in Sahih Muslim.

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Do not envy one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another; do not hate one another; do not harbour malice against one another; and do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him nor does he look down upon him, nor does he humiliate him. Piety is here, (and he pointed to his chest three times). It is enough evil for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother-in-faith: his blood, his property and his honor."))

[Muslim, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 The second Hadith:

((Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, 'Beware of suspicion, for it is the worst of false tales and do not look for the other's faults and do not spy and do not hate each other, and do not desert (cut your relations with) one another O Allah's slaves, be brothers!"))

[Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 "Do not hate each other" means you should avoid anything which causes hostility among you.

 The third Hadith:

(( Sa'id ibn Zayd narrated: The Prophet (PBUH) said: The most prevalent kind of usury is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor.))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of Sa'id Ibn Zayd]

 The Muslim here is the one who directs his face to Qiblah (The direction of Makkah), who offers prayers, who bears witness that Allah is the Only Deity and that Muhammad PBUH is His Messenger, who pays his Zakat, who lowers his gaze and whose Aqeedah is sound:

((The most prevalent kind of usury is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor. Then he recited, "And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.))

[Al-Ahzab, 58]

  The fourth Hadith:

((Narrated 'A'ishah, Ummul Mu'minin: I said to the Prophet (PBUH): It is enough for you in Safiyyah that she is such and such (the other version than Musaddad's has:) meaning that she was short-statured. He replied; You have said a word which would change the sea if it were mixed in it. She said: I imitated a man before him (out of disgrace). He said: I do not like that I imitate anyone even if I should get such and such.))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of 'A'ishah]

 All she said is that Safiyyah was short. I commented on this Hadith once by saying that the sewage of main cities is poured in the sea, and though the sewage is black, the sea is still considered Tahir (pure), yet what she said would change the sea water.

 Sa'd, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "I consider myself a real man in three situations, but I am just a common man apart from these situations…I never heard something from the Prophet PBUH, but I knew for sure that it was the truth revealed to Him from Allah the Almighty."

((Abu Hurairah narrated: The Prophet PBUH said, "A slave (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire."))
((Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "During the Mi'raj (the Night of Ascension), I saw a group of people who were scratching their chests and faces with their copper nails. I asked, 'Who are these people, O Jibril?' Jibril replied: 'These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) and trampled people's honour."'))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of Anas]

 On the Day of Resurrection, they will have copper nails with which they will scratch their chests and faces.

((Narrated Sa'id ibn Zayd: The Prophet (PBUH) said: The most prevalent kind of usury is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor.))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of Sa'id Ibn Zayd]

People's rights are built on justice, whereas Allah's Rights are built on forgiveness:

 Jabir and Abu Sa'id Al-Khidri, may Allah be pleased with both of them, reported that the Prophet PBUH said:

((Beware of backbiting, for backbiting is graver than adultery.))

 People's rights are based on justice, whereas Allah's Rights are based on forgiving. Let me be frank with you: If you backbite someone, you should go to him and ask for his forgiveness and express your new opinion of him in front of those who heard you backbiting him the first time, only then you will be forgiven. Allah the Almighty says in many Ayat:

﴾ "He (Allah) will forgive you ﴿

[Nuh, 4]

 Is Allah not Generous and All-Forgiving? What do we understand from this Ayah? Allah the Almighty says:

﴾ "He (Allah) will forgive you of your sins﴿

[Nuh, 4]

 This means that Allah will forgive all the sins between you and Him, but the sins between you and other people shall be forgiven only if they forgive you. There is a prevailing misconception among people that if they offer Hajj all their sins will be forgiven. Indeed, the one who offers Hajj will return as the day his mother gave birth to him without any sin, but this is true for the sins between man and Allah, but as for the sins between man and other people, they will not be forgiven unless those people forgive him.

 Can you imagine any deed more exalted than sacrificing man's life in the Cause of Allah? Sacrificing one's life which is the most precious thing man owns is more exalted than any other deed. Yet, all the sins of the martyr shall be forgiven on the Day of Resurrection save debt unless he pays it back. Whenever a companion of the Prophet PBUH died, he PBUH used to ask:

(("Is he indebted to anyone" They said: "Yes" He said: "Perform 'Al-Janazah prayer' for your companion." And he did not.))

 If he had no debts the Prophet PBUH would perform Al-Janazah prayer. This person sacrifices his life in the Cause of Allah, but his debts are not waived.
Punsihment of the backbiter in the Hereafter:
  In another Hadith narrated by Abi Hurairah, he said that the Prophet PBUH said:

((Whoever eats his brother's flesh (i.e. backbites him) in the worldly life will have this flesh offered to him on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to him, "Eat it as you did in the worldly life", so he will eat, become pale and scream.))

[Al-Mu'jam Al-Awsat, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 The one who backbites his fellow Muslim will eat his dead flesh on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be in dismay to such an extent that his facial expressions will be totally changed.

 Listen to the following Hadith:

(('A'ishah said: The camel of Safiyyah daughter of Huyayy was fatigued, and Zainab had a surplus mount. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to Zainab: Give her the camel. She said: Should I give to that Jewess? Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) became angry and kept away from her during Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram, and a part of Safar.))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of 'A'ishah]

 Much in the same line, one should not hurt someone just for the color of his skin. The Prophet PBUH kept away from his wife Zainab for more than two months (Dhul Hijjah, Muharram and a part of Safar), because she said, "Should I give to that Jewess?"

((Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "During the Mi'raj (the Night of Ascension), I looked into hellfire and I saw a group of people who were eating carrions. I asked, 'Who are these people, O Jibril?' Jibril replied: 'These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) …'"))

[Ahmad, on the authority of Ibn Abbas]

Man's religion is manifested in his treatment to others:

 Pay attention to the following delicate Hadith which I encourage all of you to memorize:

((Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying: "Do you know who is poor?" They (the Companions of the Holy Prophet PBUH) said: "A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth." He (the Holy Prophet PBUH) said: "The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire."))

[Muslim, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 What kind of man is he? He offers Salah and Sawm, and he pays his Zakat, but he blasphemes this man, backbites that one and takes people's money unlawfully. Indeed man's behavior reflects how religious he is.

((On the authority of Abdullah, the son of Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say, "Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad PBUH is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Salah (prayer), paying the Zakat (obligatory charity), making the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan."))

[Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn Umar]

 It is out of question that Islam is built on these five pillars, but Islam is not only about these five pillars, and the Prophet PBUH did not say that. Islam is all about good conducts, honesty, trustworthiness, piety, chastity, courage, generosity and loyalty. Therefore, it is not enough to offer Salah, observe Sawm, pay Zakat and offer Umrah then deceive others, forge oath, backbite other people, blaspheme them, extort people's money or cheat them, for the true Muslim should not be like that. In fact, if you want to put your finger on the vulnerability of Muslims just keep this Hadith by heart:

(("Do you know who is poor?" They (the Companions of the Holy Prophet PBUH) said: "A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth." He (the Holy Prophet PBUH) said: "The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire."))

 The Prophet PBUH does not speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired, so every word the Prophet PBUH said is irrefutable Revelation, and whoever takes this Hadith lightly, gives a deaf ear to it and insists on believing that Islam is only Salah, Sawm, Hajj and Zakat, and that it is not about righteousness, guarding one's tongue and being keen on the lawful ways of earning and spending one's money is accusing the Prophet PBUH of lying.

Ghibah and Namimah (calumny) consume man's faith:

((Narrated Mu'adh Ibn Anas: The Prophet (PBUH) said: "If anyone guards a believer from a hypocrite, Allah will send an angel who will guard his flesh on the Day of Resurrection from the fire of Jahannam; but if anyone attacks a Muslim saying something by which he wishes to disgrace him, he will be restrained by Allah on the bridge over Jahannam till he is acquitted of what he said.))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of Mu'adh Ibn Anas]

((On the authority of Abu Hurairah, he said that the Prophet PBUH said: "Whoever meets Allah without falling into Shirk (joining partners with Allah in worship), having paid his Zakat willingly and acting upon Allah's Orders will be admitted to Paradise. There are five matters which have no atonement: Shirk, killing a soul whom Allah has forbidden us to kill, except in cases dictated by Shari'ah (Islamic law), extorting the money of a believer, fleeing from the battlefield and forging oath with which he takes something that does not belong to him))

[Ahmad, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 Why is there no atonement for these five things? The delicate question is why is there atonement for the one who swears on something and then breaks his oath? This atonement is to feed 10 poor people or to observe Sawm for three days, but the Yameen Al-ghamoos (false oath) in front of the judge in order to take the money of a Muslim unlawfully has no atonement? It is because this Ghamoos oath casts man out of Islam and submerges him in Hell-Fire. Thus, one of these five matters is to slander an innocent honest believer in order to destroy him.

((On the authority of Uthman bin Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, he said: "I have heard the Prophet PBUH saying: 'Backbiting and calumny consumes man's faith just like the lumberjack who consumes the tree by cutting it into pieces'."))

[Al-Asbahani, on the authority of Uthman bin Affan]

 Your faith is compromised by Ghibah and Namimah.

Whoever achieves worldly gains by violating others' honor shall be punished severely:

 Dear brothers, pay attention to the following Hadith:

((Narrated Al-Mustawrid: The Prophet (PBUH) said: If anyone eats once at the cost of a Muslim's honour, Allah will give him a like amount of Jahannam to eat; if anyone clothes himself with a garment at the cost of a Muslim's honour, Allah will clothe him with like amount of Jahannam; and if anyone puts himself in a position of reputation and show Allah will disgrace him with a place of reputation and show on the Day of Resurrection.))

[Ahmad, on the authority of Al-Mustawrid]

 When man is invited to a banquet to backbite someone's honor, let him know that he will eat this food in Hell-Fire. Also, when someone is given an outfit as a gift for backbiting someone, let him know that he will put this outfit on in Hell-Fire. Whoever earns earthy gains by backbiting people's honor, and whoever builds his glory on the destruction of others, shall be severely punished (on the Day of Resurrection).

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He who has done a wrong affecting his brother's honour or anything else, let him ask his forgiveness today before the time (i.e., the Day of Resurrection) when he will have neither a dinar nor a dirham. If he has done some good deeds, a portion equal to his wrong doings will be subtracted from them; but if he has no good deeds, he will be burdened with the evil deeds of the one he had wronged in the same proportion".))

 Give the rights of others back in the worldly life before the Day of Resurrection. You will not be disgraced if you go to the one whom you backbit, asking for his forgiveness, and then you amend that mistake among those before whom you backbit him.

((Abu 'Ubaidah said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah say: 'Fasting is a shield, so long as you do not damage it."' (i.e. by backbiting).))

[Abu Dawod, on the authority of Ubaidah]

Controlling the tongue is one of the requirements of righteousness:

  By Allah, these Ahadeeth are scary. They are the words of the Prophet PBUH who does not speak of his own desire, but rather it is only an Inspiration that is inspired. When man guards his tongue and abides by the Prophet's method and prospers accordingly, he will feel how close he is to Allah, so be aware that your closeness to Allah is the result of your righteousness.

((Mu'adh narrated that the Prophet PBUH said: "May your mother be bereaved of you, O Muadh! Is there anything that throws people into the Hellfire upon their faces — or: on their noses — except the harvests of their tongues?"))

[Ahmad, on the authority of Mu'adh]

 The Prophet PBUH said:

((The faith of a man cannot be straight unless his heart is straight, and his heart cannot be straight unless his tongue becomes straight. "He will not enter Jannah whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct))

[Ahmad, on the authority of Anas]

 Guarding your tongue is one of the pillars of righteousness. Imam Al-Ghazali mentioned in his book Ihya' Uloom Ad-Deen 13 flaws of the tongue; the mother of these flaws is Ghibah. Hence, my advice is: Stay in your house and remember Your Lord instead of violating people's honor, for Allah the Almighty will hold you accountable for this and will reckon you severely.

 People also drool over backbiting scholars in their assemblies, so they go on and on in violating their honor, and this is but a major sin. Man should not discredit the one who spread the word of truth in order to smear his reputation, for this act does not please Allah.

 As I said earlier, the type of Ghibah which has the least harmful effect is to criticize a color of something, and the worst type of Ghibah is to backbite the one who spread the word of truth, and by doing so you look like the gangster who robs people since you are preventing them from heading towards the Path of Allah. Accordingly, the one who sabotages the relation between the knowledge seeker and his scholar is a gangster by all means.

Translation  : Noura Sharabi
Edited by      : Kawthar Hajj Saleh