Beware of Backbiting and Slandering.

‘Ali Abd-Ur-Rahmnn Al-Hudzaifi


All the praise is due only to Allah, the Lord of Al-‘Alamin. May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet SAW, his household and companions.

My fellow Muslims![1] Allah the most Exalted has commanded us to obey him and  that on the Day of Judgement every one ot us shall be liable for all we do. Allah Says:

“Fear Allah and obey Him. Be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned; and they shall not be dealt with unjustly” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 281]        

Brothers in the Faith! Major sins are indeed the cause for all the misery, evil and torment not only in this world and as well as in the hereafter. And the worst of all sins are those that caused  greatest  harm and danger to others. Among the destructive major sins are backbiting and slandering. These two sins were forbidden by Allah made through His Prophet because they sow enmity, evils and discord among people and lead to destruction. They would make their perpetrator regret but that regret will be of no benefit. They would cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbours and relatives. They can diminish in good deeds and increase in evil ones and lead to dishonour and ignominy.

Backbiting and slandering are utterly the most shameful and disgraceful acts. Their perpetrator is detested and he shall not be included as a noble death. Allah forbids these acts in His Book when He says:

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds 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” [Surah Al-Hujurat, 49: 12]

This verse strongly forbids not only suspicion, spying but backbiting and slandering on the others. Allah likens the backbiter to one who eats the flesh of his dead brother. If he would hate eating the flesh of his brother, he should also hate to eat his flesh while he is alive by backbiting and slandering him.

When one reflects deeply over this assimilation it will be adequate to keep one away from backbiting.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet SAW had said: “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.” [Muslim]

Abu Bakar As-Siddiq narrated that the Prophet SAW said in Mina on the day of sacrifice (10th day of Zul-Hijjah):“Verily, your blood, property and honour have become sacred to one another as the sacredness of this day of yours in this month of yours and in this city of yours. Indeed, have I conveyed the Message?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Therefore, my fellow Muslims, guard our tongue from this debasing sin, for whoever guards his tongue from sins and uses his limbs in acts of obedience to Allah  he would be prospered. Sahal Ibn Sa’ad narrated that the Messenger of Allah said :

“Who protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and his private parts from illegal sexual intercourse, I shall guarantee him entrance into Paradise.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Musa Al-Asha’ari said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah SAW, who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of Allah SAW replied, “He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.” [Muslim]

Dear fellow Muslims! Beware of slipping of your tongues and do not give  a free hand to wreak havoc on you. For free tongue destroys its owner and causes him calamities and evils.

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: “When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear Allah as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked.’” [At-Tirmidzi]

Mu’adz Ibn Jabal said: “I said: O Messenger of Allah tell me of a deed that will make me enter Paradise and keep me away from the Fire.

The Prophet said, ‘You have asked of a great matter but it is easy for whosoever Allah makes it easy. You should worship Allah without associating anything with Him, perform Solah, pay Zakah (charity), fast during the month of Ramadhan and perform pilgrimage if you are able to.’ He said further, ‘Should I show you the gateways to good? Fasting is a shield (from evils), charity extinguishes sins as water extinguishes fire and praying in the middle of the night.’ He then recited this verse, ‘Their sides forsake their beds to invoke their Lord in fear and hope and they spend (charity in Allah’s cause) out of what We have bestowed them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.’ [Surah As-Sajdah, 32: 16-17]

The Messenger of Allah SAW then said, ‘Should I tell you the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak?’ I said: Yes O Messenger of Allah. He then said, ‘The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is Solah (prayer) and its peak is Jihad in the way of Allah.’ He then asked, ‘Should I tell you of the foundation of all that?’ I said: Yes O Messenger of Allah. He then took hold of his tongue and said, ‘Hold back this.’

I said: O Messenger of Allah, are we going to be held responsible for what we utter? He said, ‘May your mother be bereaved of you, [2] does anything cast people into the Fire on their faces except what their tongues have uttered?’” [At-Tirmidzi]

Anas RA narrated that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: “When I was ascended to heaven, I passed by a people who had copper nails with which they scratched their faces and chests, and I said, ‘O Jibreel, who are these?’ He said, ‘These are those who used to eat other people’s flesh and attack their honour.’” [Abu Dawud]

Therefore do not treat the issue of backbiting with indifference because it is utterly a great sin. Allah says:  “ You considered it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.” [Surah An-Nur, 24: 15]  

Abu Bakar used to take hold of his tongue and say this is that which caused me destruction. He said this as a sign of humbleness.

Backbiting is so widespread that it has become the topic of people’s meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings and jealousy with those who indulge in backbiting believing that they are hiding their own imperfections and harming others. They are oblivious of the fact that they are only harming themselves. This is because the backbiter if the wrongdoer and his victim is the wronged and on the Day of Resurrection both the wrongdoer and the wronged will stand before Allah Who is the Just Judge and the wronged will appeal to Allah to avenge the wrong done to him, Allah will then give this wronged person from the good deeds of the person who wronged him in accordance with his wrong by backbiting his brother on a Day that no father will give his son any of his good deeds nor a friend to his friend. All will be saying, ‘Myself, myself.’

The Messenger of Allah SAW said: “Usury has seventy something kinds, the smallest of which is for a man to have intercourse with his mother and the highest act of usury is for a Muslim to attack the honour of his Muslim brother.” He also said, “Whoever protects the honour of his brother, Allah will protect him from Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.” [At-Tirmidzi]

So prevent the backbiter of affronting the honour of Muslims. Allah says: “O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah and fear Him and speak (always) the truth.” [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33: 70].    

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah for whoever fears Allah, He protects him from torment and doubles reward for him. Allah says:

“And indeed We have created man and We know what his own self whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our knowledge). (Remember) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being after he or she has attained the age of puberty), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions). Not a word does he or she utter, but there is a watcher by him (ready to record it.” [Surah Qaf, 50: 16-18]           

Brothers in Islam, gossiping about others is also another vicious type of backbiting. It means carrying tales from one people to another with the intention of sowing dissention among them. Allah condemned this deed when He said:

“And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless. A slanderer going about with calumnies.” [Surah Al-Qalam, 68: 10-11]      

The Prophet SAW said: “The gossiper will not enter Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Therefore, fear Allah, dear brothers, and call yourselves to account before you are called to account and weigh your own deeds before they are weighed for you.

Be aware also dear Muslims, that the Ulama’ have explained that it is allowed for the wronged to inform the authorities of the wrong done to him as it is allowed for the person who sees vice to inform those who are capable of removing it and prevent its perpetrator from committing further vice.

It is also allowed for the one seeking for religious decision to mention the wrong done to him to the knowledgeable man from whom he is seeking a decision in order to make things clear for him. It is also permissible for you to tell whoever seeks your advice on a person of something about him.

It is not also allowed for you to hide what you know about him so that he will not be deceived. All these types of speaking about others are lawful.



[1] A Khutbah by Imam Al-Madinah Al-Munawarrah ‘Ali Abd-Ur-Rahmân Al-Hudzaifi,delivered on Jumadil-Thaniyah 5, 1422 [August 24, 2001]

[2]1] This statement is used by the Arabs to rebuke someone, and its literal meaning is not meant.

©Islamic Network


About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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