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Imaam Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalaani – rahimahullaah – said:
It is reported from Abu Hurairah radiyallaahu anhu- who said – The Messenger of Allah -salallaahu alayhi wasallam said:
“Do you know what backbiting is?” They said: Allah and His Messenger salallaahu alayhi wasallam know best. The messenger of Allah salallaahu alayhi wasallam then said: “It is saying something about your brother which he dislikes or hate.” Someone asked, ‘’Supposing that what I said about my brother was true?’’ The Messenger of Allah salallaahu alayhi wasallam replied by saying: “If what you said about him is true, then you have back bitten him and if it is not true, you have slandered him.”
Transmitted and recorded by Imaam Muslim in his “Sahih”#2589.
The hadith shows the importance of the following:

♦ It indicates that it is disliked and Haraam(proscribed) to backbite and slander others. Backbiting is saying a thing about your brother which are true in reality but he dislikes it. And slandering is making false accusations about your brother in his absence.

These two sins are forbidden by Allah because they sow enmity, evils and discord among people and lead to destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbors and relatives.

They can decrease the good deeds and increase the evil ones and lead to dishonor and ignominy. Backbiting and
slandering are shame and disgrace. The perpetrators are detested and they shall not have a noble death. Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Qur’an.

♦ It shows that it is permissible to backbite the disbelievers. In the hadith above, the word” akhaaka” means your brother in Islam. And the kuffar are not our brothers in religion. For this reason, it is allowed to broadcast or expose their bad act in order for the Muslim to beware of following their stinking way of life or manners.

♦ It indicates that backbiting is one of the major sins. Though, there are difference of opinions of scholars on this. Imaam Qurtubi mentioned that there is consensus between scholars that backbiting is a major sin. However, Imaam Ghazali and the author of umdah among the Shaafi’a mazhab counted backbiting among the minor sins. Imaam Azzrakshi said:

” It is really amazing for those scholars that counted eating the flesh of a dead animal among the major sins but they counted backbiting among the minor sins.

Whereas Allah subuhanahu wata’ala has placed backbiting in the same position like eating the dead carcass of a person and many hadith has being narrated which shows a strong prohibition of backbiting”.

♦ In addition, The scholars have stated that backbiting is permitted in certain situations:

• Complaining. It is permissible for the one who has been oppressed or wrong to complain to the ruler or judge and others who have the authority or ability to settle the case with the one who wronged him.

• Seeking help to change evil and bringing back the sinner to the right path, so he may say to the one who he hopes is able to do something “So and so is doing such and such; tell him not to do it again or to stop it.”

• Seeking advice or a fatwa (religious ruling), by
saying to the mufti (scholar), “So and so has wronged me by doing such and such. And the reason for this is because the problem cannot be solved unless when he mentions it to the judge.

• Warning the Muslims of someone’s evil, such as highlighting the weakness of some reporters or witnesses or authors. That also includes seeing someone buying faulty goods, or someone keeping company with one who is a thief or adulterer, or giving a female relative of his to such a man in marriage, and the like. You should tell them about that by way of sincere advice, not with the aim of causing harm like in the case of Muawiya, Abu jahm and usama radiyallaahu anhum jami’an.

• If a person openly commits evil or follows bid’ah (innovation), such as drinking alcohol and armed robbery, it is permissible to speak of what he is doing openly in order to caution others about him. But it is not permissible to speak against him in any other way unless it is for such reason.

• For identification. if someone is known by a nickname such as the dim-sighted one, or the
blind man or the one-eyed or the lame one, it is permissible to identify him as such, but it is not permissible to mention that by way of belittling him, mockery and if it is possible to identify him in some other way, then it is better to do that.

Imaam Ibn Abi Shareef has placed the six situations where backbiting is allowed in a poem.
He said:
الذم ليس بغيبة في ستة متظلم ومعرف ومحذر
ولمظهر فسقا ومستف ومن طلب الاعانة في إزالة منكر


Blaming or saying about others is not a backbiting in six places the oppressed, for identification and warning against

And one who commits sins openly, the one who seeks fatwa and the one who seeks assistance to change evil.

♦ Lastly, there are some misconceptions that are found in people or we ourselves have encountered one way or the other. When one try to forbid others from backbiting, they will respond by saying
“we are just saying what we know about him and we are not lying against him.” They are indirectly saying that the act is not really that bad as such. In other words, they see the act to be minor.

But backbiting is no walk in the park. It is one of the most disgusting and gracious acts one could ever commit. That’s why Allah subuhanahu wata’ala asks those who backbite, “Would one of you
love to eat the flesh of his dead brother (or sister)?” Allah is comparing backbiting to something vilely rancid, so no one is fooled to think it’s not an inhuman act like that of murder or rape.

The imagery of you eating the dead carcass of the person you’re talking about really paints a clear picture of the sin. For this reason, it is not just about “we are just saying what is real about him” as some of us might claim, but in reality you are going to that person’s body after their janāzah , ripping off their thigh, chewing it up, and enjoying it too.

Allaahu A’alam!

Baarakallaahu feekum!


Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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