Ghiba (Backbiting)

  • Ghiba – in the absence of somebody, to talk about them or something connected to them (e.g. their children), by one’s tongue or indication

*   An example of an indication would be if someone has a deformity and they walk with a limb, and we nudge someone to point it out

*   Some examples of ghiba are saying someone is short, they have a facial deformity, or something that would humiliate them, even if what we are saying is truth

  • If what we are saying is not true, then it is slander and to slander somebody is also haram
  • When statements are not ghiba:

*   To inform a person’s father/teacher/elder of an incorrect or illegal action is not ghiba because the intention of informing would not be to harm or talk about that person.  The intention would be so the action is addressed

*   When we know someone is going to harm someone (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc).  To remain silent in this situation would be haram

*   When giving a reference

  •   يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱجۡتَنِبُواْ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعۡضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثۡمٌ۬‌ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُواْ وَلَا يَغۡتَب بَّعۡضُكُم بَعۡضًا‌ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن يَأۡڪُلَ لَحۡمَ أَخِيهِ مَيۡتً۬ا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوهُ‌ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬     (Oh you who believe, abstain from many of the suspicions.  Some suspicions are sins.  And do not be curious, and do not backbite one another.  Does one of you like that he eats the flesh of his dead brother?  You would dislike it.  And fear Allah.  Surely Allah is Most-Relenting, Very-Merciful  Surah 49, Verse 12)

*   The first stage of backbiting is suspicion, wrong perception

*   Bad perception leads to spying, which leads to backbiting.

*   When a person is not worried about himself and is more worried about others, then it frees up his time to backbite and gossip.  When a person looks to themselves and sees how bad he is, he is in no position to worry about others

  •  إِنَّ كَيۡدَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا  (The plotting of shaytan is weak Surah 4, Verse 76)
  •   وَقَالَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ لَمَّا قُضِىَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَعَدَڪُمۡ وَعۡدَ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمۡ فَأَخۡلَفۡتُڪُمۡ‌ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِىَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّن سُلۡطَـٰنٍ إِلَّآ أَن دَعَوۡتُكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَجَبۡتُمۡ لِى‌ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِى وَلُومُوٓاْ أَنفُسَڪُم‌ۖ   (shaytan will say when the matter will have been decided, “Allah promised you a truthful promise while I gave you a promise and did not fulfill it.  I had no authority over you, except that I invited you and you accepted my call.  So, do not blame me, but blame yourselves  Surah 14, Verse 22)

*   This will be said by shaytan on the Day of Judgment

*   The only authority Allah SWT has given shaytan is he is able to whisper into our hearts

  • Hadith:  Keep away from ghiba.  Verily, ghiba is more harmful than zina (committing adultery).  The sahaba asked how is it more severe?  The Prophet (ﷺ) replied that sometimes man can commit a major sin (e.g. adultery).  If he commits adultery, but seeks forgiveness from Allah, then Allah SWT will forgive him if his repentance is true.  Verily, the one who does ghiba, he is not forgiven until the one he’s done ghiba of doesn’t forgive him
  • When the Prophet (ﷺ) went for Miraj, he saw some people being punished who had nails of iron and they were clawing their own flesh and cheeks with their own nails.  The Prophet (ﷺ) asked why these people are being punished?  These people were being punished because of the backbiting they used to do
  • Hadith:  If you have ever harmed the honor of somebody, then you should make it halal for yourself today [by seeking their forgiveness] because a day will come when you will not be able to do so
  • Hadith:  The Prophet (ﷺ) asked ‘Do you know who the muflis (pauper) is?’  The sahaba answered, ‘The muflis is one who doesn’t have any money.’  The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘No.  That is the muflis of the dunya.  A muflis is the one who on the Day of Judgment will come with a caravan of good deeds and he will be riding his caravan towards paradise.  He will be stopped by the people he cursed, spoke harsh to, took the honor of, or slandered.  Allah SWT will tell the angels to start distributing his assets.  The distributing will start until his entire caravan will be gone.  The angels will says, ‘ya Allah he has nothing left.’  Allah SWT will say, ‘Give the sins of these people onto him.’

*   Hadith:  Every deed of the children of Adam will be distributed except for one, the fast

*   The rewards of fasting will also go away if we start backbiting while fasting

  • We take ghiba lightly because most people are indulged in it, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow the flow
  • Shaykh Ashraf Thanvi (RAH) states backbiting is the father of adawa (enmity) and sometimes its child.  Look at the lineage of ghiba, where the father and son are cursed.

*   The moment we are ready to take physical action, or do something about it, ghiba turns into adawa (ie. the father of adawa)

*   We can be so upset with someone that enmity immediately forms in our heart and that leads to backbiting (ie. The child of adawa)

  • If somebody does something to someone, even if it is small, but his intention is to take revenge and hurt him, that person can never be the friend of Allah

*   Some people pray ishraq, awwabeen, do tasbeehat, but when someone says something to them, immediately their true colors come forward

*   Omar (RAH) was an angry man.  Allah SWT blessed him and the flow of his anger became for the deen

*   If we hate somebody, it should be for the sake of Allah.  If we love somebody, it should be for the sake of Allah

  • To free ourselves from gossiping and backbiting:

*   Speak good of that person and make dua for them.  If the person has died, we can still make dua for them and do some actions for them

*   If we are sitting with people and they start backbiting, we should either move away or change the subject

*   Make a conscious effort to stop