Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُه

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you



I begin with the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

The Messenger of Allah, SAW, said, “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet said, “To mention your brother in a way he dislikes.” It was said, “What if it is true about him?” The Prophet said, “If what you say about him is true, it is backbiting. If it is not true, it is slander.”

Backbiting could be as a result of either envy or hatred. People feel the need to make derogatory remarks about others in their absence either to make them appear less honorable in the eyes of others or because they are envious of them.

We often bask under the seemingly moral justification of “I can say it to his face”. As long as you have not yet done so, if you speak about anyone behind his back in what he dislikes, you have indulged in backbiting and it’s a major sin.

Some will use defaming words to describe others just so these others would be seen in a dishonorable way. Oh, he is arrogant, he is a talkative, he is ignorant, he is womanizer etc.

The spirit of Islamic brotherhood permeates all spheres of life. The Muslims have been charged with the responsibility of defending their brothers especially when someone seeks to attack their honor behind their backs.

Asma’ bint Yazid reported: The Messenger of Allah, SAW, said, “Whoever defends the flesh of his brother from backbiting, it will be a duty upon Allah to free him from the Hellfire.”

Al-Albani declared it to be Hasan (fair)

If defending someone’s honor from backbiting can attract a reward of being saved from Hell what then will be the punishment of the one that has taken upon himself to backbite his fellow brothers?

What is worse than backbiting is slandering. When you spread unsubstantiated malicious gossip about others just because of envy or hatred, then you are eviler than the one who backbites.

Allah says 

“O believers! Avoid many suspicions, ˹for˺ indeed, some suspicions are sinful. And do not spy, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of their dead brother? You would despise that! And fear Allah. Surely Allah is ˹the˺ Accepter of Repentance, Most Merciful.” Qur’an 49:12

If you look at the above verse critically, you will realize that Allah has told us what to do to prevent falling into backbiting and He has equally told us what to do if we happen to fall into the sin and has concluded by giving us hope that He forgives and accepts our repentance.

As long as one is given to spying on others, he can’t help falling into the sinful act of backbiting. When you spy, you are tempted to talk about what you discover of the secrets of others and that will amount to backbiting. Hence, Allah prohibited us from spying.

The evil of backbiting has been likened to the eating of the flesh of one’s dead brother to draw home the message of the evil nature of the act. Indeed, none will eat the flesh of his dead brother hence, do not backbite anyone.

Allah asks us to have Taqwa of Him (loosely translated as fear Allah). The reality of Taqwa of Allah is to leave what we have been prohibited from and to do what we have been commanded to do. Hence, if you find yourself backbiting others then have Taqwa of Allah and eschew it.

What happens after abandoning the act of backbiting since the one that is guilty of backbiting others will still be carrying the burden of what he has done of damaging their honor and reputation? He is expected to repent sincerely to Allah and to seek forgiveness from his victim.

Scholars are divided on whether it is a must to tell the person whom you have spoken ill of behind his back the details of what you said or it’s enough to seek his forgiveness in general terms.

If telling him won’t lead to a more dispute then it should be done otherwise it is enough to repent and trace back your steps to any gathering or group or individuals or platforms where you backbite him and say good things about same person.

A person might be sitting innocently in a gathering and as soon as he starts talking some will use their foot to nudge at others indicating a symptom of disapproval of the one speaking while acting as if they are with him. That is haram.

Imam Shafi’ said

‏”Good bye to the world, if there is no one

‏As a true good friend who is just and open.”

If you feel the need to say negative things about others remember that the Prophet SAW said:

“When I was taken to the heavens I passed by some people who had nails made of copper with which they were scratching their faces and chest. I enquired who are these people Jibreel? He replied, these are people who used to eat the flesh of others (backbite others) and defame them.'(Abu Daawood).

Also, do not listen to backbiting. Ask forgiveness from whom so ever you backbite. This will make you think twice the next time you think of backbiting as you would also consider the shame in having to ask forgiveness from that individual.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet SAW said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent." [Muslim].

‎Please, if you have nothing good to say about others, just keep quiet.

Scholars, students of knowledge, politicians, family and friends, colleagues at work, one way or the other backbite one another and that’s why relationships don’t last any longer. Please learn to say good things about others because none is without a vice.

X @Penabdull Instagram @Penabdul