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Guard Your Tongue!

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 15th November 2010 15:43
Backbiting (Gheeba) - mere words - but they are words that bring upon the one who utters them shame and ignominy and that consign him to the Fire. Such a person has given in to his vain desires and succumbed to his destructive tendencies.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west." [Sahh al-Bukhr (6477) and Sahh Muslim (2988)]

A Muslim utters a word whereby he describes his brother Muslim in a negative way - either explicitly or implicitly - and it plunges the speaker into clear and evident loss. And what could be a greater loss than for a person to say something that does nothing for him but rob him of his blessings and of the rewards for his good deeds? Then, if his good deeds run out, the sins of the one he has backbitten are taken from that person and foisted upon the speaker until he is hurled by them into Hell.

A Muslim utters a mere word upon his tongue thoughtlessly, without any consideration, and without thinking that he will be taken to task for it. Indeed, it is something about which many people are heedless.

Once Mu`dh b. Jabal رضي الله عنه, the illustrious Companion, asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform him of some good work that would admit him into Paradise and distance him from the Hellfire. The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned to him the virtues of many good deeds, then said: "Shall I inform you of the foundation of all of that?"

Mu`dh said: "Certainly."

The Prophet (peace be upon him) took hold of his own tongue and said: "Restrain yourself from this."

Mu`dh then asked: "O Prophet of Allah! Are we held to task for the things that we say?"

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "May your mother be bereaved of you, O Mu`dh! Does anything topple people headlong into the Hellfire save the harvests of their tongues?" [Sunan al-Tirmidh (2616) and Sunan Ibn Mjah (3973)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever can guarantee to me what is between his two lips and what is between his two legs, I can guarantee for him Paradise." [Sahh al-Bukhr (6474)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him), when he said "what is between his two lips" was alluding to the words that a person speaks. To guarantee it means to only speak what Allah is pleased with. When he said "and what is between his legs" he was alluding to sexual relations, meaning that the person guarantees that he will not engage in any unlawful sexual activity that is prohibited by Allah.

Backbiting can be defined as the utterance of words whereby one mentions his fellow Muslim in a bad way or mentions him in a manner that he would be displeased with. It is called backbiting because a person generally berates another person in that person's absence.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) defines backbiting in the following way, and his definition is preferred over any other:

He said: "Do you know what backbiting is?"

They said: "Allah and His Messenger know best."

He said: "It is to mention about your brother something that he would dislike having mentioned about him." [Sahh Muslim (2589)]

Al-Nawaw comments [al-Adhkr]:

Mentioning about your brother something that he would dislike includes what concerns his body, his religious practice, his worldly station, his physical appearance, his moral character, his wealth, his parents, his children, his spouse, his servant, his clothing, his activities, his smiles and frowns and anything else that pertains to him. It does not matter if you mention it explicitly by word or implicitly by indication or a gesture... This includes the likes of saying "O Allah, pardon us all!" "O Allah, forgive us!" "Allah keep us safe!" All of this is backbiting.

The Prophet goes on in the same hadth to explain the difference between backbiting and slander. He said: "It is to mention about your brother something that he would dislike having mentioned about him."

Someone enquired: "O Messenger of Allah! How do you see it if what I said about him is true?"

He replied: "If what you said about him is true, then you have backbitten him. If what you said about him is false, then you have slandered him." [Sahh Muslim (2589)]

Slander is a false statement of enormous sinfulness deserving of severe punishment. Allah says: "And those who malign believing men and women undeservedly bear upon themselves the guilt of slander and a manifest sin." [Srah al-Ahzb: 58]

Al-Hasan al-Basr said: "Backbiting has three manifestations, all of which are discussed in Allah's Book. They are: backbiting, tale-telling, and slander. As for backbiting, it is to say about your brother something that is true about him. Tale-telling is to say something that you have heard about him. Slander is to say about him what is not true."


The Prohibition Of Backbiting

Backbiting is prohibited in Islam. This is a point of consensus among all Muslims, as mentioned by al-Nawaw. Al-Qurtub says that it is agreed upon that backbiting is a major sin, because of the severe threats of punishment levied by the Qur'n and Sunnah against the one who perpetrates this sin.

The evidence prohibiting backbiting is considerable.


Evidence from the Qur'n

1) Allah says: "O you who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that. And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful." [Srah al-Hujurt: 12]

Ibn `Abbs comments on this verse, saying: "Allah prohibits backbiting a believer with the least thing, just as he prohibits eating carrion."

Ab Ya`l discusses the comparison that this verse makes between backbiting and eating carrion, saying: "This emphasizes just how prohibited backbiting is. Eating the flesh of the dead is severely proscribed. It is also something for which people have a natural abhorrence, and people should have the same loathing for backbiting as they have for eating such flesh."

2) Allah says: "O you who believe! Let not some men among you deride others who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is a bad name after faith." [Srah al-Hujurt: 11]

Ibn Kathr, in his commentary on this verse, says about Allah's words nor defame one another:

"Sneering and defamation of people is condemnable and accursed behavior. Allah says: "Woe to every sneering defamer." [Srah Humazah: 1] Sneering is carried out through one's actions and defamation is carried out through one's words."

Al-Shinqt says: "Sneering is by way of action, like rolling one's eyes or making a show of contempt or derision. Defamation takes place by way of one's words and includes backbiting."

3) Allah says: "Woe to every sneering defamer." [Srah Humazah: 1]

We have already discussed its meaning. We should note that the verse starts off by proclaiming woe upon those people. The Arabic word used for it is wayl. It is a word that implies a threat, conveying the meaning of debasement, punishment, and perdition. Wayl is also the name of a valley in Hell that Allah has set aside for sinners who are obstinate in their sinfulness and for unbelievers who are also wanton sinners.

4)"Neither obey thou each feeble oath-monger; detractor, going about with slander." [Srah al-Qalam: 10-11]

Al-Shawkn describes the "detractor" mentioned in the verse to mean one who goes about backbiting people.

Ibn Taymiyah says about this verse: "(It tells us) that the liar and oath-invoker are not to be obeyed, telling us by implication not to conduct ourselves in the same manner. Indeed, prohibiting the acceptance of the words of those who exhibit shameful moral conduct is a more eloquent and emphatic reprimand than to merely prohibit the conduct itself."


Evidence From The Sunnah

1) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Your blood, your property and your honour are sacred to you like the sacredness of this day in this place in this month." [Sahh al-Bukhr (1741) and Sahh Muslim (1679)]

Ibn al-Mundhr makes the following observation: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) had prohibited backbiting in his farewell address to his followers, linking its prohibition to the prohibition of transgressing against another's life or property. Then he emphasized how prohibited it is by declaring its prohibition to be as the sacredness of the sacred land and the sacred month."

2. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "One of the greatest of the major sins is to stretch out one's tongue without right against the honor of a Muslim." [Sunan Ab Dwd (4877)]

3. `'ishah رضي الله عنه relates that she said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): "It should tell you enough about Safiyyah that she is short."

To this he replied: "You have said a word that if it was to be mixed with the water of the sea, it would contaminate it." [Sunan al-Tirmidh (2502) and Sunan Ab Dwd (4875)]

Al-Mubrakfr, in his commentary on this hadth, writes: "It means that backbiting, if it were something that could be mixed with the water of the sea, it would noticeably contaminate it in spite of the vast and copious amount of water that the sea contains. How then is it going to be when it is mixed with our paltry good deeds?"

4. Two Companions رضي الله عنه once criticized a man who had been punished for committing adultery. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was traveling and he passed by the carcass of a donkey. He said: "Where are those two people? Get down and eat from the flesh of this donkey!"

They said: "O Prophet of Allah! Who would eat this?"

He said: "What the two of you have recently done by defaming the honor of your brother is far worse than eating from this." [Sunan Ab Dwd (4428)]


Some Words Of The Pious Predecessors

`Amr b. al-`s, while traveling with his companions, once passed by the dead, rotting body of a mule and said: "I swear by Allah, it is better that one of you should eat from this until he fills his stomach than for him to eat the flesh of a Muslim."

Ka`b al-Ahbr said: "Backbiting nullifies a person's good deeds."

Al-Hasan al-Basr said: "I swear by Allah, backbiting is swifter in consuming the religion of a Muslim than a gangrenous infection is in consuming the human body."

Sufyn b. `Uyaynah said: "Backbiting is worse than a debt. A debt can be paid out, but backbiting cannot."

`Ali b. al-Husayn once heard two people engaged in backbiting and said: "Keep away from backbiting, for it is the broth of the mongrels among people."


Reasons Why People Fall Into The Sin Of Backbiting Others

1. Weakness of faith and impiety make a person likely to speak thoughtlessly and carelessly and transgress against others when he speaks.

When `'ishah رضي الله عنه was accused of impropriety, her co-wife Zaynab bint Jahsh was asked about her. Zaynab said: "O Messenger of Allah! I safeguard my hearing and my sight. I know nothing but good."

`'ishah رضي الله عنه later commented: "She was my rival among the wives of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah restrained her by way of her piety." [Sahh al-Bukhr (2661)]

2. Another reason that people participate in backbiting is on account of the company they keep. They backbite people to please their peers and acquaintances. Allah says, conveying to us the words of the denizens of Hell: "We used to speak in vain with those who speak in vain." [Srah al-Mudaththir: 45]

3. Another reason is hatred, enmity, and envy towards others. Ibn Taymiyah says: "Some people are inspired by envy to backbite, and in doing so, combine between two ignoble traits: backbiting and envy."

4. Love of the world and the pursuit of status and power make people backbite others. Fudayl b. `Iyd said: "No one has ever loved leadership without envying, transgressing, tracking down the faults of others, and loathing to hear anyone else mentioned in a good way."


How To Rid Ourselves Of This Ignoble Trait

1. We can protect ourselves from speaking ill of others by cultivating our fear of Allah and our sense of shame before of our Lord. This can be achieved by reflecting often upon the verses of the Qur'n and the hadth of our Prophet (peace be upon him) that speak about Allah's punishment, that encourage us to repent, and that warn us against evil deeds.

Allah says: "Or do they think that We do not hear their secrets and their private counsels? Indeed we do and our messengers are by them to record." [Srah al-Zukhruf: 80]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Feel shame before Allah as you ought to feel shame before him. So guard the head and what it contains, guard the stomach and what you put in it, and think upon death and returning to dust."
[Sunan al-Tirmidh (2458)]

2. We can reflect upon just how much we lose every time we utter some bad words about another person.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked his Companions: "Do you know who is bankrupt?"

They replied: "The person among us who is bankrupt is the one who possesses neither money nor provision."

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The one who is bankrupt from among my followers is he who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity, and fasting to his credit. However, he had insulted this person, struck that person, and seized the wealth of another, on account of which his good deeds will be taken from him. Then, if his good deeds are exhausted, the sins of those whom he wronged will be taken from them and foisted upon him and then he will be cast into the Fire." [Sahh Muslim (2581)]

3. A beneficial remedy that can help us to rid ourselves of this evil habit is to reflect upon our own shortcomings and work to improve ourselves. If we preoccupy ourselves with our own faults, we will not find time to worry about the faults of others. We should fear that if we speak about someone else's shortcomings, that Allah might punish us by afflicting us with the same.

Al-Hasan al-Basr said: "We used to remind one another that whoever faults his brother on account of a sin and he had repented for it will be punished by Allah by falling into it himself."

Ab Hurayrah said: "One of you sees the dust in his brother's eye but fails to see the crud in his own."

4. Keeping to the company of righteous people and avoiding bad company helps us to avoid backbiting.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The likeness of a good companion and a bad companion is that of a person carrying musk and another who works the bellows. The person carrying musk might give you some of it or at the very least you will enjoy the pleasant scent. The person with the bellows will either singe your clothing or at least make you suffer from the bad smell." [Sahh al-Bukhr (2101) and Sahh Muslim (2628) and the wording is that of Muslim]

Al-Nawaw writes, commenting on this hadth: "It discusses the virtues of keeping the company of the righteous and people who carry out good works and possess good manners... It prohibits us from the company of people who engage in bad deeds and innovations, those who backbite others, and those who are habitually sinful and idle."

5. A person who has a habit of backbiting others needs to make a firm and determined resolution to stop.

We can look at the example of Rasl b. Wahb who said: "I swore an oath that for every time I backbite someone, I would fast a day. This just wore me out, since I would backbite and fast. Then I resolved that for every time I backbite someone, I would spend one silver coin in charity. Then, for the love of money, I gave up backbiting."




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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd November 2010 14:47
Guard Your Tongue!

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And backbite not 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 forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.'' (49:12)

"And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah).'' (17:36)

"Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).'' (50:18)

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.''
[Muslim]

Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam): "Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?'' He said, "One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Sahl bin Sa`d (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah.''
[Al-Bukhari]

What is between the jaws and what is between the legs refers to the tongue and the sexual organs, respectively. They should be guarded against every act that is prohibited by the Shari`ah.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: I heard the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying, "A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This Hadith shows the disadvantages which can be caused by the improper use of the tongue. It is, therefore, essential that one should think before he speaks.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.''
[Al-Bukhari]

Abu 'Abdur-Rahman Bilal bin Al-Harith Al-Muzani (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "A man speaks a good word without knowing its worth, Allah records for him His Good Pleasure till the day he will meet Him; and a man utters an evil word without realizing its importance, Allah records for him His displeasure till the day he will meet Him.''
[Imam Malik and At-Tirmidhi]

This Hadith tells us a fact which can be observed in our everyday life. Sometimes a person utters a good sentence which pleases an individual and he reforms himself or holds himself from doing something wrong. Such a sentence or utterance is highly rewarded by Allah. Similarly, sometime a person utters a mischievous sentence, the ruinous effects of which he does not realize. This utterance hurts someone's feelings and leads him to sin and evil. Almighty Allah is displeased with such a person. The lesson that this Hadith has for us is that one should strictly guard his speech and weigh his words to avoid Allah's Wrath.

Sufyan bin `Abdullah (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Tell me, of something to which I may remain steadfast.'' He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Say: My Rubb is Allah and then remain steadfast.'' Then I said: "O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear most about me?'' He took hold of his own tongue and said: "This.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Do not indulge in excessive talk except when remembering Allah. Excessive talking without the Remembrance of Allah hardens the heart; and those who are the farthest from Allah are those whose hearts are hard.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

If one indulges in idle talk rather than the remembrance of Allah, his heart becomes hardened, which is a sign of being far from Allah's Mercy. One should therefore occupy himself with the remembrance of Allah.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "He whom Allah saves from the evil of that which is between his jaws and the evil of that which is between his legs will enter Jannah.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

'Uqbah bin `Amir (radiallahu anh) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), "How can salvation be achieved?'' He replied, "Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (radiallahu anh) said: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: `Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.'''
[At-Tirmidhi]

Even the slightest carelessness on the part of the tongue can make all the organs suffer for it. Crookedness of the tongue means the careless use of the tongue which lands the whole body in trouble; and keeping the tongue straight means keeping oneself safe from all kinds of troubles and ordeals.

Mu`adh bin Jabal (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam): "Inform me of an act which will cause me to enter Jannah and keep me far from Hell.'' He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied, "You have asked me about a matter of great importance, but it is easy for one for whom Allah makes it easy.'' He added, "Worship Allah, associate nothing with Him in worship, offer As-Salat (the prayer), pay the Zakat, observe Saum (fasting) during Ramadan and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House of Allah, if you can afford it.'' He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) further said, "Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a screen (from Hell), charity extinguishes (i.e., removes) the sins as water extinguishes fire, and standing in prayers by a slave of Allah during the last third part of the night.'' Then he recited:
"Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Rubb in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allah's Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.'' (32:17,18) Then he added, "Shall I tell you of the root of the matter, its pillar and its highest point?'' I replied: "Yes! Certainly, O Prophet of Allah.'' He said, "The root of this matter (foundation) is Islam, its pillar (mainstay is) As-Salat (the prayer) and its highest point is Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah).'' Then he asked, "Shall I tell you of that which holds all these things?'' I said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allah.'' So he took hold of his tongue and said, "Keep this in control.'' I asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Shall we really be accounted for what we talk about?'' He replied, "May your mother lose you! People will be thrown on their faces into the Hell on account of their tongues.''

Besides describing Articles of Islam, this Hadith mentions the dangers which lie in the careless use of the tongue. All good actions can go to waste if one does not guard his speech. One should, therefore, guard his tongue against that which Allah has made prohibited.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Do you know what is backbiting?'' The Companions said: "Allah and His Messenger know better.'' Thereupon he said, "Backbiting is talking about your (Muslim) brother in a manner which he dislikes.'' It was said to him: "What if my (Muslim) brother is as I say.'' He said, "If he is actually as you say, then that is backbiting; but if that is not in him, that is slandering.''
[Muslim]

This Hadith elaborates the meaning of backbiting and calumny and points out the difference between the two along with the evils of each one of them. Both these evils are mischief of the tongue and entail great troubles. May Allah save us from both.

Abu Bakrah (radiallahu anh) said: Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Verily your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

A Muslim should neither kill another without any lawful reason nor should he usurp his property nor should he disgrace him. Since backbiting is also a kind of tyranny which defames a person, it should be strictly avoided.

`Aishah (radiallahu anha) said: I said to the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam): "Such and such thing of Safiyyah (radiallahu anha) is sufficient for you.'' (She means to say that she was a woman with a short stature). He said, "You have indeed uttered a word which would pollute the sea if it were mixed in it.'' She further said: I imitated a person before him and he said, "I do not like that I should imitate someone even (if I am paid) in return such and such.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

In Arabic, the word "Muhakat'' is often used for imitating someone's defect or deformity, etc. Every imitation of this kind also amounts to backbiting. This is the reason the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) used the analogy stated in this Hadith when `Aishah (radiallahu anha) said that Safiyyah (radiallahu anha) was short-statured. Imam An-Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) regarded this analogy as based on Wahy and supported his contention by the Verse of the Qur'an: "Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed.''

Thus, it is evident from this Hadith that to speak of somebody in a scornful manner, or ridicule someone's physical defect, or to imitate someone's deformity, or talk disparagingly about someone, is a great offense which should be avoided by every Muslim.

Anas (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "During the Mi`raj (the Night of Ascension), I saw a group of people who were scratching their chests and faces with their copper nails. I asked, `Who are these people, O Jibril?' Jibril replied: `These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) and trampled people's honour.'''
[Abu Dawud]

"These are the people who ate flesh of others'' is a metaphor for backbiting. "To trample people's honour'' is akin to harming their goodwill and honour. The punishment for these things mentioned in Hadith makes their seriousness obvious.

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The blood, honour and property of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim.''
[Muslim]

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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 28th November 2010 08:04
Definition Of Gheebah (Backbiting)

A backbiter is called Mughtaab. Gheebah is to talk about your brother/sister in such a manner that he/she would dislike it if told about it. Whether you talk about a physical defect, lineage, manners, conduct, faith or even his clothes, house or mode of transportation - all those constitute Gheebah. With reference to a person's body, it could be stated that he is bald, short, tall, black, yellow, or giving any physical description the person does not like. In regards to family tree, it could include stating that his father is a Bedouin, a garbage collector, cobbler, or anything that he may dislike. In regards to manners and conduct, it could include stating that he has bad manners, is stingy, arrogant, a coward, is weak-hearted, irresponsible or the like. In regards to his deeds associated with religion, it could include statements such as he is a thief, a liar, drunkard, treacherous, an oppressor, careless about Salah or Zakah, saying he doesn't perfect his Ruku' or Sujood, he is not careful about avoiding Najasah (impurities), isn't dutiful to his parents or he doesn't pay Zakah to the right persons, doesn't distribute Zakah correctly, or he doesn't guard his Sawm (fasting) from obscenity, backbiting, or talking ill about others. In regards to his deeds associated with daily living, it could include statements such as he has no manners with people, he talks too much, he always sleeps even when it is not time to sleep, or he sits where he shouldn't. Gheebah statements about someone's clothing could include statements such as his sleeve is wide, his thobe (shirt) is long, or that his clothes are dirty.


The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) defined backbiting when he said: "Do you know what is meant by backbiting?" They said, "Allah and His Messenger know best." He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "To say something about your brother which he dislikes." One asked, "Even if what I say is true about my brother?" He replied, "If such defects you say are true about him, then you have backbitten him, and if he doesn't have what you say, then you have committed slander against him."(Related by Muslim, Abu Dawood, and Tirmidhi)

Hence, it is not allowed to talk about somebody in his/her 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).

Talking about someone else's fault - even in the absence of that person - with the intention of saving someone from that person's harm or of getting someone's help in correcting these faults or of recording one's grievances with the authorities or of any other imaginable positive reason to discuss such faults, should not be considered as Gheebah.

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'an, Allah states:
"Do not defame one another." (Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:11)

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'an is that it says that finding faults in others is like finding faults in you.

Just like Allah (azza wa jal) states:
"Do not kill yourself." Hence, if you kill others, they will try to kill you. Allah also says in the Qur'an: "Woe to every slanderer and back-biter!" (Surah Al-Humazah, 104: 1)

Allah (azza wa jal) made it clear that defaming another Muslim in his/her absence is like eating the flesh of one's dead brother (49:12), which obviously, everybody hates. Hence, it is the most dreadful sin. Note that if the person is present, he/she may have a chance to defend himself/herself, although everybody does not have the courage to defend themselves in these circumstances. If, however, he/she is defamed in his/her absence, the damage is deep and somewhat permanent.

The tongue alone does not do backbiting; it can also be done with the eyes, hands and other movements. For example, imitating somebody who is limping, in order to insult him/her.

Muhammad Rasool Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Backbiting is a worse sin than adultery." It is further explained in a saying of the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), narrated by Abu Sa'eed (radiallahu anh) and Jubair (radiallahu anh) in Bayhaqi: "Allah may forgive a person if he/she repents after committing adultery. However, Allah will not forgive the one who backbites, till his/her victim forgives him/her."

One time, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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 of his clothes and body whilst urinating.

The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) during his Mi'raj journey saw some people who had nails made of red copper. They were tearing apart their faces and chests with these nails. The Noble Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) asked the Angel Jibrail (alaihisalam) 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 Hurayra (radiallahu anh) narrates that the Noble Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The killing of a Muslim by another unjustly, usurping others' wealth or defaming other Muslims is totally forbidden (or Haram)." (Sahih 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 (radiallahu anh) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The ransom for backbiting is to pray to Allah for forgiveness by saying, " O Allah! Forgive my sins and his too."

Making Fun

Backbiting (Gheebah) can even be making fun of a person. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) vigorously opposed all aspects of backbiting even when it occurred in his own family. For example, once a woman visited Hadrat A'ishah (radiallahu anha) and when the woman got up to leave, Hadrat A'ishah Siddiqua (radiallahu anha) made a sign with her hand indicating to the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) that the woman was short of stature. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) immediately chastised her, saying, "You have backbitten!" (Tirmidhi)

Imam Al- Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih), a great scholar, commented regarding the above Hadith saying, "This Hadith is paramount with regard to backbiting and I don't know anything more severe than this."


Nameemah (Tale carrying)

Nameemah is the use of speech by people against each other, wishing to cause corruption. Allah (azza wa jal) says in regard to this matter: "...Neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it [so hate backbiting]." (Surah Hujurat, 49:12)

The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) has clearly stated, "The gossip-monger will not enter paradise" (Bukhari, Muslim). Further, when the sin is injurious to others, Islam does not distinguish between a Muslim and a non-Muslim victim. The Muslim scholars generally consider backbiting of a non-Muslim unlawful.


Guarding the Tongue

"And follow not that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned." (17:36)

"Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created. He has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not." (96:1-5)

It is well known that whoever guards his/her tongue will make fewer mistakes. He will be in control of himself and avoid from falling into something wrong. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) guaranteed Paradise for one who guards his/her mouth. He is reported to have said: "Whoever gives me surety to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I guarantee for him (entrance into) Paradise." [What is between one's jaws is the Lisan (tongue); and what is between the legs is the Farj (private parts)]."

Imam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) said, "Be aware that it is incumbent upon every Mukallaf (competent person in full possession of his faculties) to guard his tongue against all kinds of talking except when it is evident that talking will be a means of beneficence. When talking and being quiet are both equal as a prudent measure, and then the Sunnah is to abstain from talking. Sometimes even a lawful talking may lead to unlawful or distasteful matters. This is a common practice, but there is nothing equivalent to safety." If your tongue is right and straight then the extremities will be straight. But if your tongue disobeys and indulges in the private affairs and honor of people, then the extremities will disobey and Allah's prohibitions will be violated. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said: "When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all parts of his body deny the tongue saying, 'Fear Allah regarding us, we follow you. If you are right we shall also be right, and if you go astray, we shall also go astray.'" Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) said that denying the tongue means to humiliate and submit.

The tongue is a great gift from Allah (azz wa jal) and a marvelous creation. The size may be small, but its capacity to obey or disobey can be great. The Kufr (disbelief) can't be distinguished from Iman (faith) except through the testimony of the tongue. Iman and Kufr are the ultimate capacity to obey or disobey. The tongue has a very broad range of functions. It has a large measure of good that can be performed and a large measure of evil that can be inflicted. If one let go one's tongue, Shaytaan will take him everywhere and lead him to an edge, then allow him to fall for his own downfall. The only way to be saved from the evils of the tongue is to restrain it with the bridle of the Shari'ah (Islamic law). It should be used, but only for what is beneficial in this life and the Hereafter.

Indeed the tongue controls the rest of your body. A well-controlled tongue will keep us within Islam but a loose tongue will destroy us. Instead of swearing, lying and engaging in useless talk we can use our tongues in better ways and what better than telling people about Islam. Allah says
"Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah and works righteousness and says I am one of those who bow down in Islam" (41:33)

Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahmatullahi alaih), said: "It is strange that a person may find it easy to protect himself from eating Haraam, oppression and injustice, adultery, theft, drinking Khamr, and from unlawful looking, but it is hard for him to restrain the movement of his tongue. How often do we see people who are very cautious about falling into shameful deeds or injustice, but their tongue lashes against the living and the dead and they don't mind it?" He further said: "Some people have the disease of criticizing all the time. They forget the good about others and only mention their faults. They are like flies that avoid the good and pure places and land on the bad places and on wounds. This is because of the evil within the self and the spoiled nature."


Prohibition of Gheebah

Allah (azza wa jal) says:

"And spy not, neither backbite against one another. Would any 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." (49:12)

"And follow not that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned." (17:36)

"Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is watcher by him ready (to record it)." (50:18)

It was narrated by Abu Musa (radiallahu anh): "Some people asked Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) whose Islam is the best?" (i.e., who is a very good Muslim?) The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied, "One who avoids harming the Muslims with his tongues and hands." He is also reported to have said, "Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should talk what is good or keep quiet. Sometimes a person may utter a word to which he attaches no importance and by it he falls into Hell farther than the distance between the East and West."

"And the person may utter a word which displeases Allah without thinking how serious it is, as a result of which Allah will record His wrath for him, because of His displeasure until the Day when he meets Him." (Related by Mu'atta Imam Malik and Tirmidhi).

'Uqbah ibn 'Amr (radiallahu anh) asked, "O Allah's Messenger (pbuh), what is salvation?" He said: "Control your tongue, keep inside your house, and weep for your sins." (Related by Tirmidhi)

In one Hadith, Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) took hold of his tongue and then said, "Keep this under control." When the Sahaba (radiallahu anhum) asked, "will we be called to account for what we say?" He replied, "Won't the people be thrown face down into Hell on account of the produce of their tongues." (Related by Tirmidhi).

Now let us see the punishment of the person that backbites in this life and the Hereafter. The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "O you people who believe with their tongues (meaning those who pay lip-service to faith), when faith has not entered their hearts, do not backbite the Muslims and do not expose their faults. Whoever exposes the faults of his Muslim brother, Allah will expose his faults. And if Allah exposes his faults, his faults will be open for everyone even if he would hide inside his house." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi). Backbiting is prohibited by Ijmaa' (consensus). Imam Qurtubi (rahmatullahi alaih) said, "The Ijmaa' is that Gheebah is a major sin and it necessitates repentance, it is Wajib (obligatory) to turn to Allah in repentance from it."


Backbiting By Writing

Gheebah can also be through writing, for the pen is one of two tongues. This is the case when the person tells the truth about others. It is Gheebah and he is Mughtaab, a backbiter. By doing this he disobeys his Lord and he eats the flesh of his brother. But if he is lying then he combines Gheebah and Kidhib (lying).

"When people mention others they may commit one of these three: Gheebah, Buhtan and Ifk, and all are in the Book of Allah. Gheebah is to say what is true about a person. Buhtan is to say what is not true about a person. And Ifk is to say what was conveyed to you." Allah's Messenger ) (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam): "All things belonging to a Muslim are unlawful for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour." (Muslim, Ahmad and Bayhaqi) Gheebah deals with honor and Allah has combined honor with property and blood.


Types Of Gheebah

Gheebah has different forms and may take all kinds of means. The worst type of Gheebah is the one that combines gossip and riyaa'. An example would be when some person is mentioned and a one may say, "I seek refuge with Allah from shamelessness. I ask Allah to protect me from such." The intention here is to criticize the other person and it is done in the form of a Du'a (supplication).

One may also praise another person but the intent is to criticize, such as saying: "How good such-and-such person is, he never had a shortcoming in his worship but now he is being lazy. He was tried with something everyone of us is tried with, which is lack of patience." One would criticize oneself but his/her intention is to criticize others by doing this. At the same time he praises himself by showing that he is righteous since he criticizes himself. In this case, he is Mughtaab, Muraa'ee and praising himself. He combines three shameful deeds and because of his ignorance he thinks that he is a righteous person who would not make Gheebah.

Another form of Gheebah is that one criticizes another person, but the people don't pay attention to what has been said. So he says, "Subhaan Allah. How amazing!..." so the people may listen to him and know what he is saying. Or he may say, "I was hurt to hear about our friend and how he was humiliated. I ask Allah to relieve him." He is actually lying about his concern regarding the friend, in his pretense of making Du'a. If he meant to pray for him, he would have prayed for him while alone.


The Motives for Gheebah

There may be numerous reasons to motivate one to make Gheebah. The following examples are among these reasons:

1) Lack of fear of Allah. Whoever feels the greatness of Allah and acknowledges that Allah is watching all his deeds and utterances, he would avoid anything that may displease Allah.

2) Getting things off one's chest. A person may do something to upset another. Every time the aggrieved person feels angry about it, he alleviates the anxiety by making Gheebah about the other person.

3) Joining a group of friends. When a group is engaged in a loose talk aimed at slandering others, a person may think that if he speaks out and tries to stop them they may dislike him and exclude him. So, he joins them in talking ill about others, assuring that this is the only way to be acceptable to them.

4) Seeking to raise one's own status by putting down others. A person may say: "So-and-so person is ignorant, he is not smart." The intention is to praise oneself and show that he has more knowledge than the other person.

5) Envy and jealousy. Some person may be praised by people who like him. A jealous person may hear them and make Gheebah of the other person, criticizing and insulting him, so that the people may think differently about the person they have just praised.


Types of Permissible Gheebah

Gheebah is permissible for a sound religious purpose that cannot be achieved except by using it. These permissible types of Gheebah are as follows:

1) Complaint because of an injustice, such as complaining to a ruler, judge or others in authority. A person may say in this case: "I was treated unjustly by so-and-so in such and such matter."

2) Seeking help to change a Munkar (wrong deed) and to correct the wrongdoers. A person may say: "A person does such and such, so stop him." His intention should be to check the Munkar. If this is not the case, then the statement is Haraam.

3) Seeking a Fatwa. A person may state to the Imam, Mufti or Shaikh, "My father, brother or so-and-so has treated me unfairly. Is that act permissible? And how do I get out of this situation? How do I obtain my rights?" This way of seeking a Fatwa is permissible. However, it is safer and more preferable to say whatever would be said about a non-specific person as doing such and such, as anonymously as possible.

4) Warning Muslims against evil and advising them. This could include criticism of untrustworthy narrators or witnesses. This is permissible by Ijmaa', rather it is mandatory and the benefit is very clear. Such as consulting in the matters of marriage or a business partnership. In this case, the person consulted should not hide anything about the concerned person. He should mention the faulty qualities only with the intention of benefiting the consultant.

5) Mentioning the person who indulges in Haraam or Bid'ah openly. This would include mentioning those who openly drink Khamr or those in positions of authority doing wrong. It is permissible to mention the sin of such a person. However, it is prohibited to mention the person with a different sin unless there is a reason that makes it permissible to do so for that sin.

6) Identifying a person. If a person is known by a descriptive nickname, such as Al-A'mash (squint-eyed), Al-A'raj (one who walks with a limp), or Al-Asamm (deaf), then it is permissible to use these names for identification purposes. But it is not permitted to use these names if the intention is to insult the person. If it is possible to identify such person by using another descriptive name, then it is better and preferable.


Kaffarah (Expiation) Of Gheebah

Committing Gheebah is forbidden by the Ijmaa' of the scholars, and considered a major sin. Scholars differ in the Kaffarah of the Mughtaab (backbiter), but they all agree that he/she must make Tawbah as the first step. Repentance itself has three conditions: refraining from the sin, regret for the commission of the sin, and determination not to commit it ever again. Repentance from Gheebah, however, has an additional condition, a fourth one because the Mughtaab has actually committed two offenses:

1) One offense is towards Allah (because he committed an act which Allah has prohibited). The expiation is to turn to Allah in repentance and to regret what has been done.

2) The other one is against Allah's creatures. If the Gheebah has reached the person, then forgiveness must be sought from him and regret must be expressed to him for what has been said. But if the Gheebah didn't reach the person, then he should pray for the person's forgiveness and not tell him something he didn't know anyway, fearing that some evil may result from telling him.


The Cure For Gheebah

The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said: "Do you know who is bankrupt?" The Companions (radiallahu anhum) replied, 'The bankrupt amongst us is the person who has no money or property." The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The bankrupt from amongst my Ummah is the one who will come on the Day of Resurrection with a good record of Salah, Sawm and Zakah. But he also had cursed someone, slandered against someone, unlawfully took the property of another, killed someone or beat someone. Then all of these abused persons will receive parts of his (abuser's) Hasanaat. When all of his (abuser's) Hasanaat have been removed from his record after he (abuser) pays back for what he owes, then the aggrieved persons' sins will be transferred to and thrown on him (abuser) and he (abuser) will be thrown into the Fire." (Related by Muslim and Tirmidhi)

The Virtue Of Opposing Gheebah

It is the right of a Muslim to speak up and oppose Gheebah made against his brother Muslim. He should protect his brother's honor and defend his reputation in his absence. Should a person fall short in fulfilling this right, he will be punished sooner or later. To defend your brother against Gheebah is not something minor. There are clear and sound Daleels (evidence) that tell us of the virtue of one who fulfills this obligation. Asmaa' Bint Yazeed (radiallahu anha) said that Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever defends the honor of his brother in his absence, will be entitled to Allah's protection from the Fire." (Related by Ahmad) The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is also reported to have said: "Whoever defends the honor of his brother, Allah will protect his face from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection." (Related by Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

The person who listens to Gheebah is also a sinner unless he opposes with his tongue or with his heart if he fears harm. If he can leave the gathering or interrupt and change the subject, then he should do so. If he says to the Mughtaab, 'be quiet' but he relishes the gossip in his heart, then such is hypocrisy. He will not be excused unless he rejects the gossip with his heart. One should take it seriously and defend his brethren quite explicitly. The Prophet (saw) is reported to have said: "Whoever witnesses the humiliation of a believer and doesn't support him while being capable of supporting him, Allah will humiliate him before all the creatures (on the Day of Judgment)." (Related by Ahmad). Let not the Mughtaab pollute your gatherings and dishonor the Muslims. You should defend the honor of the Muslims. If you do not do so, you may be absent one day and this Mughtaab will be eating of your flesh and you may not find anyone protecting your honour.


Joking

"I was only joking." We treat lies as being trivial. However we are told, "Allah's messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not hate anything more than lying"(Ahmed). The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was once asked "Can a Muslim be a coward?" He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied "Yes." and then was asked "Can a Muslim be a miser?" and the reply was "Yes." The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was then asked, "Can a Muslim be a liar?" The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied "NO! A Muslim can never be a liar." Furthermore, he said, "Truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to paradise...Lying leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the hellfire." (Bukhari). As we know that one lie leads to another ten lies, which lead to bad actions. Remember you can lie and think that you have got away with it but on the day of Judgement your hands, tongue and feet will bear testimony against you and tell the truth.

The Best Example

As we know that the best person to have ever lived is the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and he is the best of example for mankind. If we follow him we can never go wrong. 'isha (radiallahu anha) the Prophet's wife described the Prophet's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) conduct as follows: "He was neither a obscene talker nor a user of bad words. He did not shout nor did he repay evil with evil. He used to forgive people and overlook their sins." (Tirmidhi).

Final Advice

A beautiful saying of the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) that will ensure the protection of our tongue. The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day, LET HIM EITHER SPEAK GOOD OR KEEP SILENT."

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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 29th November 2010 15:29
The Evil Of Calumny (Spreading False And Malicious Statements)

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"A slanderer, going about with calumnies.'' (68:11)

"Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).'' (50:18)

Hudhaifah (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasallam) said, "The person who goes about with calumnies (false and malicious statements) will never enter Jannah.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn `Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasallam) passed by two graves and said, "Both of them (the persons in these graves) are being tortured, and they are not being tortured for a cardinal sin. But indeed they are great sins. One of them used not to save himself from being soiled with his urine, and the other one used to go about with calumnies (among the people to rouse hostilities, e.g., one goes to a person and tells him that so-and-so says about him such and such evil things).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Talebearing (a person who spreads gossip, secrets, etc., that may cause trouble or harm), carelessness in saving oneself from splash of urine drops, and lack of observance of privacy are sins which are liable to punishment.
The Hadith also proves punishment in the grave.

Ibn Mas`ud (radiallahu anh) said: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Shall I tell you what `Al-`Adhu' (falsehood and slandering) is? It is calumny which is committed among the people.''
[Muslim]

We learn from this Hadith that calumny, lying, falsehood and slandering are major sins because they cause conflict and dissension in society. A Muslim must keep himself free from such evils.
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 29th November 2010 15:36
Truthfulness

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)." (9:119)

"...the men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds)..". (33:35)

"...then if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them". (47:21)

Abdullah bin Mas`ud رضي الله عنه reported: The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Truth leads to piety and piety leads to Jannah. A man persists in speaking the truth till he is enrolled with Allah as a truthful person. Falsehood leads to vice and vice leads to the Fire (Hell), and a person persists on telling lies until he is enrolled as a liar".'
[Agreed upon].

Siddiq (veracious) and Kadhdhab (liar) both are adjectives of intensive degree. That is to say, the words stand respectively for someone whose truth has become his second nature; and in the opposite case, one is a liar who is in the habit of telling lies. As one acquires a reputation in this world for his good or bad deeds similar is his position before Allah. One who is ranked among the truthful with Him is entitled to reward, and if one is a liar, he has to suffer retribution for it. This Hadith provides incentive for truthfulness because it is a source of every good deed and contains a warning against lying as it gives rise to all kinds of mischief.

Hasan bin `Ali رضي الله عنه said: I remember (these words) from Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam): "Give up what is doubtful to you for that which is not doubtful; for truth is peace of mind and falsehood is doubt".
[At-Tirmidhi].

One must always avoid doubtful things so that he does not do anything unlawful. This message is repeated in another Hadith which says that he who has saved himself from doubts has in fact saved his Faith and honour.

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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 10:27
Condemnation And Prohibition Of Falsehood

Allah, the Exalted, says:


"And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge.'' (17:36)

"Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).'' (50:18)

Ibn Mas`ud (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Truth leads to piety and piety leads to Jannah. A man persists in speaking the truth till he is recorded with Allah as a truthful man. Falsehood leads to transgression and transgression leads to the Hell-fire. A man continues to speak falsehood till he is recorded with Allah as a great liar.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Whatever attitude one adopts becomes his special trait and then he becomes known by it. Therefore, one should always adopt virtues and good conduct so that he may attain a high esteem with Allah and be also remembered well by people.
Truth is the way to salvation while falsehood is the way to destruction.

`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As (radiallahu anhuma) said: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whosoever possesses these four characteristics, is a sheer hypocrite; and anyone who possesses one of them, possesses a characteristic of hypocrisy till he gives it up. (These are:) When he talks, he tells a lie; when he makes a covenant, he acts treacherously; and when he quarrels, he utters foul language.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn `Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) said: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who narrates a dream which he has not seen will be put to trouble to join into a knot two barley seeds which he will not be able to do; and he who seeks to listen to the talk of a people (secretly) will have molten lead poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection; and he who makes a picture (of people or other creatures with a soul, such as animals and insects) will be (severely punished), and he will be asked to infuse spirit therein, which he will not be able to do.''
[Al-Bukhari]

Ibn `Umar (radiallahu anhuma) reported: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) as saying: "The worst of lies is to pretend to have seen something which he has not seen.''
[Al-Bukhari]

This Hadith strongly condemns falsehood, whether it relates to a dream or to the real world. It is a great sin in both cases.

Sumurah bin Jundub (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) very often used to ask his Companions, "Has any one of you seen a dream?'' So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allah willed to relate. One day he (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Last night I had a vision in which two men (angels) came to me and woke me up and said to me, `Proceed!'

I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man's head, smashing it. When he struck him, the stone rolled away and he went after it to get it, and no sooner had he returned to this man, his head was healed and restored to its former condition. The thrower (of the rock) then did the same as he had done before. I said to my two companions, `Subhan-Allah! Who are these?' They said: `Proceed, proceed.'

So we proceeded and came to a man lying in a prone position and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man's mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck), and similarly tear his nose from front to back, and his eyes from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man's face and did just as he has done with the first side. He had hardly completed that (second) side when the first returned to its normal state. I said to my two companions, `Subhan-Allah! Who are these?' They said, `Proceed, proceed.'

So we proceeded and came across something like a Tannur (a kind of baking oven, a pit usually clay-lined for baking bread).'' I (the narrator) think the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "In that oven there was much noise and voices.'' The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, "We looked into it and found naked men and women, and behold, a flame of fire was reaching to them from underneath, and when it reached them they cried loudly. I asked, `Who are these?' They said to me, `Proceed, proceed.'

And so we proceeded and came across a river.'' I (the narrator) think he said, "-- red like blood.'' The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, "And behold, in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. Behold, while the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. Then again he (the former) returned to him (the latter), and every time the former returned, he opened his mouth, and the latter threw a stone into his mouth, (and so on) the performance was repeated. I asked my two companions, `Who are these?' They replied, `Proceed, proceed.'

And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance you ever saw a man having! Beside him there was a fire, and he was kindling it and running around it. I asked my two companions, `Who is this (man)?' They said to me, `Proceed, proceed!' So we proceeded till we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colours. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man, and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number as I have never seen! I said to my two companions, `Who is this?' They replied, `Proceed, proceed.'

So we proceeded till we came to a majestic, huge garden, greater and better than any garden I have ever seen! My two companions said to me, `Ascend up' and I ascended up.'' The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, "So we ascended till we reached a city built of gold and silver bricks, and we went to its gate and asked (the gatekeeper) to open the gate, and it was opened; and we entered the city and found in it men with one side of their bodies as handsome as the most handsome person you have ever seen, and the other side as ugly as the ugliest person you have ever seen! My two companions ordered those men to throw themselves into the river. Behold, there was a river flowing across (the city), and its water was like milk in whiteness. Those men went and threw themselves in it and then returned to us after the ugliness (of their bodies) had disappeared, and they came in the best shape.''

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) further added, "My two companions said to me: `This place is the `Adn Jannah, and that is your place.' I raised up my sight, and behold, there I saw a palace like a white cloud! My two companions said to me, `That palace is your place,' I said to them, `May Allah bless you both! Let me enter it.' They replied, `As for now, you will not enter it, but you shall enter it (one day).'

I said to them, `I have seen many wonders tonight. What does all that mean which I have seen?' They replied, `We will inform you: As for the first man you came upon, whose head was being smashed with the rock, he is the symbol of the one who studies the Qur'an and then neither recites it nor acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the enjoined prayers.

As for the man you came upon, whose sides of mouth, nostrils and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the symbol of the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells lies that are spread all over the world.

And those naked men and women whom you saw in a construction resembling an oven, they are the adulterers and the adulteresses. And the man who was given a stone to swallow is the eater of Ar-Riba (usury),

and the bad-looking man whom you saw near the fire, kindling it and going around it, is Malik, the gatekeeper of Hell,

and the tall man you saw in the garden is (Prophet) Ibraheem (Abraham - alayhisallam), and the children around him are those who died upon Al-Fitrah (the Islamic Faith of Monotheism).'''


The narrator added: Some Muslims asked the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) , "O Messenger of Allah! What about the children of Al-Mushrikun (i.e., polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam))?'' The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied, "And also the children of Al-Mushrikun.'' The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) added: "My two companions added, `The men you saw half handsome and half ugly were these people who had mixed an act that was good with another that was bad, but Allah forgave them'.''


Another narration of Al-Bukhari is: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "One night two men came to me and took me to a blessed land.'' (The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) told of the same incident as above) and said, "After a while of walking we came upon a pit like an oven, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom with fire raging in it. When the flames rose up (the people in it) also rose up till they were about to come out; and when the fire subsided they, too, would go down with it. In it were naked men and women.'' (The remainder of the Hadith is the same as the above Hadith except that at the end of it, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "We came upon a river of blood in the middle of which there was a man standing, and at the bank of the river there was a man with plenty of stones before him...'' In this narration we also find: "They made me climb the tree and they made me enter an abode so beautiful the like of which I have never seen before. There (I saw) old men and youth.'' In this narration we also find: "`The first house you entered was the abode of the believers in general, and the other house was the abode of the martyrs. I am Jibril (Gabriel - alayhisallam), and this is Mika'il (alayhisallam). Raise your head.' I looked up and saw something like clouds. They said to me, `That is your abode.' I said, `Shall I enter it?' They said, `You have not completed your term of life yet. When you do, you will certainly enter it.'''
[Al-Bukhari]

There is in the Sunan of Abu Dawud from a mawla of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn Rabi'ah from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amir ibn Rabi'ah that he said, "The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) came to our house when I was an infant, and I went out to play. My mother said, ''Abdullah! Come here and I will give you [something].' The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, 'What do you mean to give him?' She answered, 'I mean to give him a date.' He (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, 'If you had not done that it would have been written against you as a lie.'" [Abu Dawud 4991, Jami' al-'Ulum w'al-Hikam, page 743]

Az-Zuhri mentioned that Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu anh) said, "Someone who says to an infant, 'Come and get a date!' and does not give him anything, then it is a lie." [Ahmad 2:452, Jami' al-'Ulum w'al-Hikam, page 743]

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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd December 2010 12:24
Ascertainment of what one Hears and Narrates

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge.'' (17:36)

"Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).'' (50:18)

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anh) said: The Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "It is enough for a man to prove himself a liar when he goes on narrating whatever he hears.''
[Muslim]

We learn from this Hadeeth that it is not fair to accept everything one hears as true without verifying it. Nor it is right to communicate it to others because it is quite possible that what one has heard is untrue and by communicating it to others, he adds it to his own lies.

Samurah (radiallahu anh) reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who relates from me something which he deems false is one of the liars.''
[Muslim]

In some of the narrations of this Hadith, the word used is "Kadhibain'' which means "two liars'' One is that person who tells a lie and attributes his statement to the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). The second is that person who conveys it to others. Thus, this Hadeeth has a stern warning for those preachers who feel no hesitation in relating false and fabricated Ahadeeth.

Asma' (radiallahu anh) reported: A woman came to the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and said: "I have a co-wife. Is there any harm for me if I give her the false impression of getting something from my husband which he has not in fact given me?'' The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The one who creates a false impression of receiving what one has not been given is like one who wears two garments of falsehood.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Some people disguise themselves as pious to create a false impression of their piety; some put up the appearance of scholars to establish their scholarship; and some take to highly expensive clothes to give the impression of being rich. Since these things are fabricated and false, they constitute great sins. One should live as one really is.


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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 3rd December 2010 09:46
Prohibition of Obscenity

Ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "A true believer does not taunt or curse or abuse or talk indecently.''
[At-Tirmidhi]

Remember! That every time you speak, an angel writes down what you say, and that one day you will have to answer for every single word you ever uttered....

Anas (radiallahu anh) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Indecency does not leave anything untainted and decency does not leave anything ungraced and embellished.''
[At-Tirmidhi]


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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 11th December 2010 23:05
An Insult With A Gift!

It is reported that 'Abd Al-Rahmān b. Mahdī (rahmatullahi alaih) said, "If it were not for the fact I hate that Allah is disobeyed, I would have wished that no one remain in this city except that he had spoken ill of me and backbitten me; for what is nicer than a good deed a man finds in his records on the Day of Resurrection without having done a thing or even having known?"
Abū Nu'aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyā` 4:45.


This is a reference to a person who has been backbitten receiving good deeds on the Day of Judgment from the person who backbit him and didn't repent and make amends, as mentioned in some narrations from the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). The narration reminds us of the dire consequences of backbiting others: your good deeds may go to them if you don't repent and make up for what you have done. It also provides assurance for those who have been backbitten: if left wronged in this life, they will be given good deeds in the hereafter as compensation and justice will be done.



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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 11th December 2010 23:09
The Place Of The Heart And The Tongue

It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basr (rahmatullahi alaih) said:

'The intelligent person's tongue is behind his heart: when he wants to speak, he first thinks. If [his words] will be in his favour, he says them, and if they will be against him, he does not speak. And the ignorant person's heart is behind his tongue: when he merely thinks of saying something, he says it, whether it is for or against him.'

[Ab Bakr Al-Daynr, Al-Mujlasah wa Jawhir Al-'Ilm article 2049]



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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 12th December 2010 10:11
Seifeddine-M wrote:
An Insult With A Gift!

It is reported that 'Abd Al-Rahmān b. Mahdī (rahmatullahi alaih) said, "If it were not for the fact I hate that Allah is disobeyed, I would have wished that no one remain in this city except that he had spoken ill of me and backbitten me; for what is nicer than a good deed a man finds in his records on the Day of Resurrection without having done a thing or even having known?"
Abū Nu'aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyā` 4:45.


This is a reference to a person who has been backbitten receiving good deeds on the Day of Judgment from the person who backbit him and didn't repent and make amends, as mentioned in some narrations from the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). The narration reminds us of the dire consequences of backbiting others: your good deeds may go to them if you don't repent and make up for what you have done. It also provides assurance for those who have been backbitten: if left wronged in this life, they will be given good deeds in the hereafter as compensation and justice will be done.





I remember reading about a pious servant of Allah who, when he heard a particular person ahd backbitten about him, he sent a tray of mithai (sweetmeats) to that person as a gift. The person ended up apologising and becoming a friend!
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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 13th December 2010 23:57

There is another narration about a person who was travelling, and when he reached a certain place he fell unconscious. When asked why he had fainted, he replied that he had previously backbitten someone in this exact spot. When he reached this place he had a vision of the Day of Judgement and being called to account for it, which had caused him to faint!

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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2010 00:01

Backbiting: A Form Of Cannibalism! Part 1

Backbiting: A Form Of Cannibalism! Part 2

 

The act of backbiting has been declared prohibited in Islam. This is the only religion which has declared it to be haram, however its nature is detested in all cultures. Yes, in this age, due to our pitiful state it is overlooked, but the word used to refer to the act 'backbiting' even in the English language, signifies its graveness. The Quran calls it cannibalism and the English language implies the same. The sin of backbiting is grave indeed and its consequences are very severe, yet we overlook or explain it away. Our excuses may appease those around us today but on the Day of Judgment we will be held to account.

[Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh Ul Haq]

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#14 [Permalink] Posted on 14th December 2010 00:03

An alim (scholar) was asked ‘How do you learn to control your tongue?’ His reply was amazing. He said ‘My way of controlling my tongue is as follows; whenever my nafs tells me to speak, I remain silent. Whenever my nafs tells me to remain silent, I speak’.

There is a wealth of information in these words of wisdom. When will a person’s nafs tell him to remain silent? When it comes to defending the truth, the nafs often tells the person to remain silent. Why do you have to be the spoilsport? Why do you want to get into trouble? If you are sitting in a gathering with nine other people and everyone is sitting backbiting and slandering someone why dont you just keep quiet? Your nafs will say ‘By remaining silent, the nine others won’t oppose you. If you speak up and say, look, it’s haraam for you to do this (and thereby defend the honour and intergrity of the innocent person in his absence), everyone will turn against you. So why do you want to be a spoil sport? Why do you want to tarnish your name? Just be quiet’., It is in such a situation that the nafs says remain silent. This is why the alim said ‘Whenever my nafs tells me to speak I remain silent, and whenever my nafs tells me to remain silent, I speak’.

[This excerpt is based on a dars (lesson) on Ramadhan delivered by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 30th July 2010]

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#15 [Permalink] Posted on 18th December 2010 23:37
Silence Is Salvation (Audio Lecture)

Allah & His Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) love the excellent characteristic of remaining silent over vain speech and have exhorted the believers to adopt this exemplary trait. And indeed, one of the beautiful qualities of a believer is that he only speaks good otherwise he remains silent. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we have adopted an un-Islamic approach to this sphere of life and taken on board the maxim'... words will never hurt...'

As a result of this, we deem the deeds of the tongue as being insignificant in comparison to other deeds whereas the reality is that the tongue can lead one to paradise or hell. This talk also outlines the manner, conditions and circumstances in which we have been instructed to speak by the Qur'an and Sunnah.


[Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyad Ul Haq]

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