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Newsletter for October 2014
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Back-biting means to speak someone’s defects behind him. If the defect we are speaking about is not present in that person, then it is allegation, which amounts to double sins. Truly, it is a taste-less sin.
When back-biting ingresses in to our conduct, it leaves adverse effects on the soul. One of which is enmity and hatred towards the victim, which gradually increases. At the time of death, when the veils of angelic realms are lifted, the back-biter may be brought to witness the station of his victims before Almighty Allah, and the honor and blessings bestowed upon them by the Almighty.
1. “…nor let some of you back-bite others” (49:12)
2. “Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother. But you abhor it” (49:12)
3. “Surely (as for) those who love scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and hereafter.” (24:19)
4. “Surely, the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these shall be questioned about that.” (17:36)
5. “Wael (woe) to every slanderer, the defamer.” (104:1)
6. “Allah does not love public accusations unless one is truly wronged. Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” (4:148)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: “O Ali, if some one hears the back-biting of his Muslim brother committed in his presence, yet he does not rally to his assistance, despite being capable of doing so, Allah shall humiliate him in this world and hereafter.”
On inquiry from Abu Zar (r.a.) as to what is Gheebah, he said, “It is to mention about your brother that which he detests.”
“The listener is one of the two back-biters”
“Back-biting is worst than adultery. One indulges in adultery. Thereafter, if he really feels ashamed of it and makes true repentance, and sincerely seeks forgiveness, Allah forgives him. But if a person back-bites someone after this even if he repents, it is of no use until that person forgives him. That’s why back-biting is worse than adultery as it is bilateral, where as adultery concerns only Allah. Back-biting involves both Allah and the poor person who was back-bitten. Unless that person forgives, Allah will not forgive him”
“No fire is faster in consuming dry wood than gheebah in consuming a devotee’s virtues”
Hazrat A’isha narrates, “Once a woman came to visit us and when she turned to go away, I made a gesture by my hand to indicate that she was short in height. There upon The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings be on him and his progeny, said, “You have committed her gheebah.”
Once, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) stoned a man for commission of adultery. One of the persons present remarked to his friend, “This one was finished where he stood, like a dog.” Thereafter, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) accompanied by the two men passed by a carcass and he said to them, “Now take a bite of it, you two” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, should we take a bite of a carcass?” The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied, “That which you have taken of your brother was more rotten than this.”
“One who walks on the path of gheebah of his brother and divulging the defects, the first step that he takes will be into Hell and Allah shall divulge his defects in front of all creatures.”
“Whoever back-bites a Muslim spoils his fasts and breaks his wuzu and shall come on the Day of Resurrection with his mouth stanching more rotten than a carcass.”
“On the night of Mairaaj, I passed by a people who were scratching their faces with their finger nails. I said: O Gibraeel! Who are these people? He replied, “These are those who perpetrated the people’s gheebah and slandered their reputation.”
Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) addressed to his companion, Nawf al-Bakali: “Abstain from gheebah, for it is the food of the dogs of Hell fire. O Nawf, untrue is the one who claims to be of legitimate birth and yet devours the flesh of people through back-biting.”
Nahjul Balagha, sermon 140 is titled as: About back-biting and speaking ill of others.
Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “One who spreads and talks about what he saw or heard about a believer is one of those who, as mentioned by Allah in Holy Qur’an, will taste a painful chastisement as he likes to expose evil deeds.” “Allah drives such person out of His shelter even if this man had fasted in Ramazaan.”
“The havoc wrought on the believer’s face by back-biting is swifter than the one wrought by ‘akalah’ (a disease that consumes the flesh) in the side of his body”
“Whoever does a favor to his brother by refuting his back-biting upon hearing it in a gathering, Allah shall save him from a thousand kinds of evils in this world and hereafter. And if he does not do so despite his ability to refute it, on him shall be the burden of one who commits his back-biting seventy times.”
“O You who have embraced Islam with your tongues but in whose hearts Islam has not entered, do not disparage Muslims and do not seek their defects. Verily, Allah will seek out the person who is after their defects; and one who has Allah after his defects will be humiliated even in his own abode.”
“Gheebah is equal to infidelity, and listening to and being pleased with it, is polytheism.”
Imam Musa al_Kazim (a.s.) said, “If one speaks about a person in his absence about those of his traits which are actually present in him and people are also aware of it then it is not gheebah. But if he mentions some thing which is present in the person but people are unaware of it, it would be gheebah. Moreover, what he says is not present in the man, it is allegation.”
Back-biting Permissible in the following situations:
To protect Muslims from the evils of another person including the situation when one is required to vouch for the integrity of a marriage prospects.
When the person being talked about does not conceal his violations of the Divine Commands.
To describe the fault of a patient before a physician for purposes of treatment.
To criticize a narrator of a Tradition for authenticity.
Cure for the spiritual disease:
The back-biter should purge this bad habit and nourish the roots of unity, sincerity and solidarity in his or her heart and follow these steps:
1. Reflect about the effects of back-biting in this world and life hereafter. Ponder over the golden words of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and his Progeny and the consequent chastisement.
2. Even if one has enmity with a person he should not resort to back-biting. It is mentioned in traditions that the good deeds of the back-biter are transferred to the book of deeds of the victim and his bad deeds are transferred to the back-biter.
3. If possible, repent and seek the victim’s forgiveness. Otherwise seek mercy of Allah for him.
4. Make determination to get rid of this habit and control one’s tongue.
5. The back-biter should search if he has any traces of inferiority complex.
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