"O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful."(43:12)
Here Allah teaches us moral rights and social etiquettes. We are instructed not to indulge in suspicion, spying nor backbiting in our daily life. Let us consider each of them one by one, starting with suspicion.
There are good assumptions and bad assumptions (suspicion). Imam Abu Bakr Al-Jassas divided assumptions into four categories as described in his book Ahkamul-Qur'an.
These four categories are:
* Haram (unlawful),
* Wajib (mandatory),
* Mustahab (permissible) and
* Mubah (acceptable).
The example of unlawful assumption is to keep saying to himself that Allah will definitely punish or torture me and lose total hope in the forgiveness and mercy of Allah. The Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him said: "You should have good hope with Allah till your death-bed." The Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him also said in a Hadith-e-Qudsi: "I treat my servant the way he feels about me."
The example of Wajib assumption is that if, for example, you do not know the direction of Qiblah and there is nobody to guide you, it is permissible to use your best judgment.
The example of Mustahab assumption is to keep good feelings about every Muslim. It is, however, permissible to use precautions in daily dealings without considering another a thief or a traitor without a just cause.
The example of acceptable assumption is that if one is not sure of completing three or four rak'aats in Salah, it is acceptable to use the most prevalent assumption in your mind. Other forms of suspicion are unlawful in Islam.
Let us now consider spying. It is not allowed to search and disclose secrets of others. Hence, to eavesdrop upon somebody while hiding or pretending to sleep is like spying on others. However, if there is a possibility of another party harming you or harming another Muslim, then such spying is allowed.
Let us now consider backbiting. It is narrated by the Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him : "Backbiting is talking about somebody which if he/she heard, would grieve him/her."
Hence, it is not allowed to talk about somebody in his absence, even if what was narrated was true. If it was not true, then it would be a bigger sin and it is called Buhtan (false accusation/slander).
It is important to note that to find other's faults or to talk sarcastically or to defame a person is called 'Lumz'. In the Qur'aan, Allah states in Surah Al-Hujuraat: "Do not defame one another."
It means that when you find faults in others, they will turn around and find faults in you.
The beauty of this wording of the Qur'aan is that it says that finding faults in others is like finding faults in you. Just like Allah states: "Do not kill yourself."
Hence, if you kill others, they will try to kill you. Allah also says in the Qur'aan (Surah Al-Humazah): "Woe to every slanderer and back-biter!"
In the twelfth verse of Surah Al-Hujurat, Allah made it clear that defaming another Muslim in his absence is like eating the flesh of your dead brother, which obviously, everybody abhors. Hence, it is the most horrible sin. Note that if the person is present, he may have a chance to defend himself, although everybody does not have the courage to defend themselves in these circumstances. If, however, he is defamed in his absence, the damage is deep and somewhat permanent.
Backbiting is not done by the tongue alone, it can also be done with the eyes, hands and other movements. For example, copying somebody who is limping, in order to insult him.
The Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him said: "Backbiting is a worse sin than adultery." It is further explained in a saying of the Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him, narrated by Abu Sa'eed and Jubair in Bayhaqi: "Allah may forgive a person if he repents after committing adultery. However, Allah will not forgive the one who backbites, till his victim forgives him."
One time, the Messenger of Allah Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him pointed towards two graves and said to his companions that both of these people are being punished in their graves. One of them used to backbite people and the other was not careful about spilling drops of urine on his clothes and body whilst urinating.
During Me'raj, the Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him saw some people who had nails made of red copper. They were tearing apart their faces and chests with these nails. The Holy Prophet Allah's Peace and blessings be upon him asked the Angel Jibrail (alayhis-sallam) about them, He said, "They are being punished because they used to eat people's flesh in their lives," i.e. used to backbite and defame others.
Abu Huraira May Allah be pleased with him narrates that the Holy Prophet Peace and blessings be upon him said, "The killing of a Muslim by another unjustly, usurping others' wealth or defaming other Muslims is totally forbidden (or Haram)." (Muslim)
Note that listening to backbiting is the same as backbiting somebody. It is better to walk away from such individuals.
Backbiting violates the rights of Allah and the rights of people simultaneously. Hence, it is necessary to ask for forgiveness from the victim first, since Allah will not forgive until the victim forgives. If the victim has died or is untraceable, then ransom has to be paid. Anas May Allah be pleased with him narrates that the Messenger of Allah Peace and blessings be upon him said,
"The ransom for backbiting is to pray to Allah for forgiveness by saying, " O Allah! Forgive my sins and his too."
When backbiting, the person does not think about how the other person would feel if he knew what was said about him, he doesn't think as to how he would feel if the positions were reversed. We like backbiting but hate to be backbitten about. The Hadith says, "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."
Everyone would hate to be backbitten about so why do they backbite? We should bring into our hearts the fear of Allah to save us from this grave sin and all other sins.
Backbiting to save a Muslim from harm is permitted, but the best thing is not to talk unnecessarily about anyone in a good way as well because the Shaytan (devil) will entice you into mentioning his faults. For example, "He's a good person but he has these habits.........."
To save ourselves from this sin and many others, one should act upon this Hadith which deserves to be written in gold. The Hadith states, "Whoever stayed quiet saved himself."
This very sin which Muslims consider right is the sin which could send many to hell. The Prophet May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him said, "The tongue is what will cause people to be flung face down into hell."
May Allah Taa'la save us from the hell fire and all sins that we have committed
Behind enamel blocks, therein it lies,
It moves in all directions clock and anti-clockwise
If used correctly, it can cause ranks to rise
But shooting without aiming could lead to your demise.
A small piece of flesh without a bone in sight,
It can cure friendship and also incite fights,
Then cowardly behind your teeth, safely it sits tight
And YOU get a jab and a hook from the right.
It bears witness about Allah and His Prophets (alayhimus-sallam)
The hereafter is where you'll see the real profits
It remembers Allah plentiful, but think nothing of it
It recites the Quran wonderful, so start and you'll love it.
It also has a bitter side
If it boasts and talks with pride,
You've backbitten if you speak but hide
It's called slander if you lied,
Abusive language leaves eyes wide
Make an effort, make truth your bride.
"He who keeps quite, gains salvation"
"Backbiting is worse than fornication"
That's our Prophet's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) declaration
Please take into consideration
Take time out for contempletion
About Allah, Lord of all creation.
It recites Quran to gain reward,
Use it for speeches, make it your sword.
Anything that will please the Lord,
To waste precious time, that we can't afford.
With Allah's name begin your day
Remember Him while you work or play
Keep evil doings out of your way
On the straight path you will stay.
If it sings, change it to nasheeds
Pick up an Islamic book to read
Most important repeat your creed
For the Hereafter sow your seed
For that day you'l need every good deed.
Use it to supplicate, use it to repent
At the All-Mighty's doorstep, drop and lament
Solely for worship is why we were sent
Let not Satan be an impediment
And keep Allah's remembrance immanent.
Keep Muslims safe from its attack
Be they red or be they black
Disunity is the biggest drawback
So keep the unity free from slack
Oh Allah! Keep us on the straight track.
Its correct usage whoso guarantees
And of that between his knees
The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) will make certain he sees
Our entry into Paradise with ease.
A humble effort, not a song
An attempt to pass a message on
It can do good, it can do wrong
This poem was about the tongue.
In al-Adab al-Mufrad of Imam al-Bukhari (rahmatullahi alaih), and in Ibn Majah (rahmatullahi alaih) and the Musnad of Imam Ahmed (rahmatullahi alaih), is has been reported from Sayyidna Abu Bakr (radiallahu anh) that the Holy Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "Stick to speaking the truth, because truth is a companion of Birr (righteousness) and both of these are in Paradise; and abstain from lying, because lying is a companion of fujoor (sin), and both of these are in the Hell-Fire."
Unfortunately many Muslims today have adopted the non-Islamic thinking of the kuffar "sticks and stones break bones but words never hurt". Hence the sins of the tongue are belittled when in fact Islam holds them a degree higher than the sins of the flesh. A number of examples are taken from the ahadith in support of this. Sins such as murder, theft, adultery etc are frowned upon as these are abhorred by the society we live in, however sins such as backbiting, lying, dishonouring another person etc are viewed as being of much lesser evil.
The tongue can lead one to fall flat on ones face in hell and we are continuously reminded to safeguard this bodily organ lest it be the cause of our destruction!
"And say to My servants to speak that which is the best, for shaytaan seeks to draw divisions between them." [al Isra' 17:53]
Shaytaan creates enmity and hatred between us by exploiting what we say to each other. It is human nature to feel hurt by what another says, however shaytaan turns this into hatred. Therefore we should cut this at its root by being extremely careful about what we say to our husband, wife, children, parents, and friends. Rather than speaking harshly, we should train ourselves to speak with love and respect otherwise shaytaan will create divisions between us.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 27th February 2002]
Sayyiduna 'Umar رضي الله عنه once said, "The one who speaks alot commits lots of mistakes. The one who makes lots of mistakes commits lots of sins. The one who commits lots of sins will have the Hell-fire as the first place for him." [Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله, Jaami, vol 1, p 152]
Ibn Hajar (رحمة اللہ علیه) states that before a person speaks, he should think about what he is going to say. If he knows that there is no harm, forbidden or disliked aspect about what he is going to say, he may speak.
However, if he finds that his speech is of a permissible nature, even then it is better for him to be quiet in order to make sure that the permissible speech does not lead to some disliked or forbidden speech. [Quoted in Sultaan, p 138]
One of the guidelines that will help a person know what he should or should not say is that a person should refrain from saying anything that he feels like he will have to apologise for in the future.
One time a man came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and asked the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to advise him in a succinct and concise manner. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him three things, one of which was, 'Do not say any word that [you believe] you have to apologise for tomorrow.' [Recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah (Ibn Majaah without the word 'tomorrow').
Imam an-Nawawi رحمه الله stated that a person must only speak something that is beneficial. He said that if a speech is equal in its merits or harm, then it is best to refrain from saying it. Otherwise, permissible speech may lead to forbidden or disliked speech. This actually happens quite often. However, if one is silent, it does not lead to any harm whatsoever. (quoted in Sultaan, p 123)
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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