The Sin of Backbiting in Islam

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

from “Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasideen” (being Ibn Qudamah’s abridgement of Ibn al-Jawzi’s summary of al-Ghazzali’s “Ihya’ `Ulum al-Deen“)

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it, [so similarly, avoid backbiting]. And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Qur’an, [49:12]

“And do not follow that of which you do not have knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – [you] will be asked about all of those.” Qur’an, [17:36]

“He does not utter a [single] word, except that there is, with him, [an angel] ready and waiting [to record it].” Qur’an, [50:18]

Imam Nawawi says “It is obligatory for every sane adult to guard his tongue against talking, except when it contains a clear benefit. If talking and remaining silent are of equal benefit, it is sunnah to abstain, for permissible talking might lead to something undesirable or forbidden, as in fact is very often the case, and nothing matches safety.”

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah :

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say [something] good, or he should keep silent.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

Nawawi says, “This hadith is quite explicit that it is imperative to not talk unless the speech is good, which is that wherein there is some benefit. If a person is in doubt as to whether there will be any benefit, then he should remain silent.”

On the authority of Sahl ibn Sa`d :

“Whoever guarantees for me what is between his two jaws and what is between his two legs, I guarantee Heaven for him.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

On the authority of `Uqbah ibn `Amir : I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is salvation?”
He said, “Hold your tongue, let your house contain you, and weep over your sins.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

Mu`adh ibn Jabal said, “Are we even going to be held accountable for what we say?!”
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “May your mother be bereaved of you! Is there anything which drags people into the Fire on their faces other than the harvest of their tongues?!” [Tirmidhi (hasan sahih)] Continue reading