Gossiping

May 10, 2007

Rasoolullah said, “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hell-Fire further than the distance between the east and west” (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).

In Islam, we are prohibited from gossiping about someone behind their back if it is something disliked to that person.  You may ask, what if we are speaking the truth?  If one is speaking the truth about someone behind their back, then this is backbiting and it is dispicable.  If one is speaking falsehood about someone behind their back, then this is slander, something even worse. 

Kab al-Ahbar said: “Backbiting nullifies a person’s good deeds.”

Not only is backbiting considered a sin in Islam, but it is considered a major sin by the consensus of scholars considering the implications mentioned about in the Quran and Sunnah.  The Quranic verses dealing with backbiting include:

  1. “O you who believe! Let not some men among you deride others who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is a bad name after faith.” (Surat Hujurat, 49:11)
  2. “O you who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that. And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful.” (Surat Hujurat, 49:12)
  3. “Neither obey thou each feeble oath-monger; detractor, going about with slander.” (Surat Qalam, 68:10-11)
  4. “Woe to every sneering defamer.” (Surat Humaza, 104:1)

Sneering can be considered defamation by actions (instead of words).  Sneering can include actions as small as even rolling one’s eyes.  Furthermore, Surat Humaza (The Transducer) is dedicated to answering those that gossip about others.  Therefore, as Muslims, it is a duty incumbent upon us to safeguard our mouths from saying anything we would regret later on.

Muadh ibn Jabal (ra) asked Rasoolullah (SAW) to inform him of some good work that would admit him into
Paradise and distance him from the Hell-Fire. Rasoolullah (SAW) mentioned to him the virtues of many good deeds, then said: “Shall I inform you of the foundation of all of that?”

Muadh said: “Certainly.”
Rasoolullah (SAW) took hold of his own tongue and said: “Restrain yourself from this.”
Muadh then asked: “O Rasoolullah! Are we held to task for the things that we say?”
Rasoolullah (SAW) replied: “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Muadh! Does anything topple people headlong into the Hell-Fire save the harvests of their tongues?” (narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “One of the greatest of the major sins is to stretch out one’s tongue without right against the honor of a Muslim” (narrated by Abu Dawud).

Aisha (ra) relates that she said to Rasoolullah (SAW), “It should tell you enough about Safiyyah that she is short.”
To this Rasoolullah (SAW) replied, “You have said a word that if it was to be mixed with the water of the sea, it would contaminate it” (narrated by Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud).  

The hadith above shows the seriousness of backbiting.  The one sentence Aisha mentioned about Safiyyah was serious enough to contaminate something as large as the ocean.  Therefore, we should consider how much we have contaminated our small ponds of good deeds versus the oceans of good deeds the Sahaba had obtained.

Two Companions once criticized a man who had been punished for committing adultery.  
Rasoolullah (SAW) was traveling and he passed by the carcass of a donkey.  
Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “Where are those two people? Get down and eat from the flesh of this donkey!”

They said, “O Rasoolullah, who would eat this?”
Rasoolullah (SAW) said: “What the two of you have recently done by defaming the honor of your brother is far worse than eating from this” (narrated by Abu Dawud).

The punishment for backbiting includes repaying those who we backbite.
Rasoolullah (SAW) asked the Sahaba, “Do you know who is bankrupt?”
They responded, “The person among us who is bankrupt is the one who possesses neither money nor provision.”
Rasoolullah (SAW) answered, “The one who is bankrupt from among my followers is he who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity, and fasting to his credit. However, he had insulted this person, struck that person, and seized the wealth of another, on account of which his good deeds will be taken from him. Then, if his good deeds are exhausted, the sins of those whom he wronged will be taken from them and foisted upon him and then he will be cast into the Fire” (narrated by Muslim).

How lightly we take it when talking poorly about our own Muslim brothers and sisters!  How many of us stay silent when someone else talks ill of our brothers and sisters in our presence?  How many of us thinking it nothing to even roll our eyes when a name is mentioned.  Saying something as simple as “may Allah guide him” with the wrong tone may be considered backbiting as it may be something that defames the honor of our Muslim brother or sister (however, it should be understood that this occurs only when a negative tone is used to make this statement).  We need to defend our brothers and sisters when they are not present to defend themselves.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever can guarantee to me what is between his two lips and what is between his two legs, I can guarantee for him paradise” (narrated by Bukhari).

Therefore, let’s all aim to not talk poorly about our fellow brothers and sisters and let’s be amongst those who will meet in paradise, insha’Allah.

[Taken in part from Shaykh Muhammad Ismail al-Sayyid Ahmad]

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3 Responses to “Gossiping”


  1. […] account with Allah (SWT) and backbiting their fellow Muslimah.  I’ve done a previous post on backbiting and gheebah, but in this post I wanted to emphasis the seriousness of one aspect of it by relating the […]

  2. jainblu Says:

    Asalamu walaykum warahmatullah wabrakatuh. Ramadan Mubarak. 🙂

  3. kanna Says:

    Jesus said ” I Am The Way The Truth and The Life No one can come to Father but by me”

    John 14:6


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