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Home Articles Articles What is Backbiting?

What is Backbiting?

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Ayah 49:12 in the Qur'an strongly prohibits gossip and much of the behaviour it entails:

"O you who believe, avoid (indulging in) much suspicion; truly, some suspicion is a sin.  And do not spy or backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?  You would abhor that.  And be conscious of Allah; indeed, Allah is Relenting, Merciful."

With regard to suspicion, Prophet (PBUH) said: "Avoid suspicion, for airing suspicion is the most lying form of speech." (reported in Bukhari)

With regard to spying and respecting the privacy of others, the Prophet (PBUH) said: "He who listens clandestinely to people's conversation against their wishes will have molten lead poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection." (reported in Bukhari and Muslim)

Backbiting is explained in the following hadith:

"The Prophet (PBUH) asked his companions: 'Do you know what backbiting is?'

They replied: 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said: 'It is saying something about your brother which he would dislike.' Someone asked: 'What if I say something about my brother which is true?' The Prophet (PBUH) replied: 'If what you say of him is true, it is backbiting and if it is not true you have slandered him.'" (reported by Muslim)

Also see the following condemnations of gossip:

"Allah does not like the announcing of evil in public speech except by one who has been wronged; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing." (Qur'an 4:148)

"And do not obey any despicable man, ready with oaths, a slanderer, going among people with calumnies." (Qur'an 68:10-11)

"Those who accuse chaste but careless (or indiscreet) believing women shall be accursed in this world and in the Hereafter, and theirs will be a grievous punishment on the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them concerning what they did.  On that Day Allah will pay them in full their just due, and they will show that Allah is indeed the manifest Truth." (Qur'an 24:23-25)

"Indeed, those who love that a scandal should be spread concerning those who believe will have a painful punishment in this world and in the Hereafter; and Allah knows and you do not know." (Qur'an 24:19)

And, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The one who spreads gossip which he has overheard will not enter the Garden." (reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


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