Backbiting: Qur'an and Legal Decision

Topics: Muhammad, Qur'an, Islam Pages: 5 (1324 words) Published: August 28, 2013
CONTENT.

* INTRODUCTION
* DEFINITION OF BACKBITING
* MANIFESTATION OF BACKBITING
* THE PROHIBITION OF BACKBITING
* CAUSES OF BACKBITING
* HOW TO PREVENT BACKBITING
* SITUATIONS WHERE BACKBITING IS PERMISSIBILE
* CONCLUSION

DEFINITION OF BACKBITING

The prophet Muhammad defined backbiting as illustrated in his hadith as: “It is saying something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him. “But what if what I say is true?” The messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.”

On the other hand, backbiting is to speak ill of a believer behind his back, including matters concerning his moralities, appearance or personality. It is not restricted to words, but also includes every behaviour and deed whether suggestive or direct.

And Imam Al-Ghazzali defines backbiting as:
“To say anything bad to another about your brother which is true, in his absence, which he does not like.”

Mentioning about one’s imperfections and faults that he would dislike includes what concerns: a) His body: he is dwarf, bald, short.
b) His religious practice: he is a sinner, a drunkard, careless about his Solat. c) His physical appearance: he is dirty, outdated, messy. d) His moral character: he is arrogant, stingy, coward, irresponsible e) His wealth, his parents, his children and spouse, his smiles and frowns nd anything else that pertains to him.

MANIFESTATION OF BACKBITING

There are 3 manifestation of backbiting.
In the first place, it is backbiting (Ghibah) which means to say something that is true about a person. Next, it is slander (al-Buhtan) which means to say what is not true about a person. Last, it is false narration (tale-telling) (al-Namimah) which means to say something that one has heard about the other.

THE PROHIBITION OF BACKBITING

Backbiting is prohibited in Islam.

Al-Quran: O believiers! Avoid immoderate suspicion; for, in some cases, suspicion is a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you abhor it. Fear Allah; for Allah is the accepter or repentance, Merciful. (Surah Al-Hujurat; 49:12)

Hadith: On the authority of Anas (r.d) who reported that the Messenger of Allah had said: When I was ascended with (to the heavens), I passed by a community of people scratching their faces and chest with their copper nails, I asked: Jibril, who are those? He answered: Those are eat the flesh of people and assault their honour. (Abu Daud)

‘eating the flesh of people’. The phrase in the Hadith corresponds with the Qur’anic ayah from Surah Al- Hujurat. It is clearly shows that the act of backbiting or speaking ill about someone in his absence is obviously prohibited in Islam.

CAUSES OF BACKBITING
There are several causes of backbiting; Imam Al-Ghazali mentions eleven main causes of backbiting. Eight causes are applicable to all people, while the remaining three causes are only applicable to the religious and special people.

To start the ball rolling, it is anger. It means that, relieves one’s anger and revenge towards someone by mentioning his shortcomings and defects and obtains gratification form his anger. The next cause is peer pressure which means desire to fit in with and be accepted by one’s companions and friends. Then, it is shaking off one’s own guilty feeling and also freeing oneself from guilt by attributing to others. It follows with hatred and last but not least, it is jest and play which means a desire to make others laugh. Finally, it’s enmity and envy. Means, a desire to gain the possession and to acquire the position of well-loved person leads to backbiting. The following causes are related to religious men. They are very subtle and difficult to be identified.

First, when the people see some fault in the religious men, they say that a...

References: 1- http://www.islamawareness.net/Backbiting/prohibits.html
2- (Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali)
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