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Refraining from backbiting and malicious gossip

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Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem


Assalamu 'Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu


I pray that you are all in the best state of health and Imaan, Ameen!


I have taken this from my book The Ideal Muslimah


The Muslim woman who truly understands the teachings of Islam is conscious of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, fearing Him in secret and in the open. She carefully avoids uttering any word of slander or malicious gossip that could anger her Lord and include her among those spreaders of malicious gossip who are severely condemned in the Qur'an and Sunnah.


When she reads the words of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala:


( . . . Nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it . . . But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.) (Qur'an 49:12)

She is filled with revulsion for the hateful crime of gossip, which is likened to the eating of her dead sister's flesh. So she hastens to repent, as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala commands at the end of the ayah, encouraging the one who has fallen into the error of backbiting to repent quickly from it.

She aheeds the words of the Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam, who said:


"The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and whose hand the Muslims are safe." (Muslim Shareef)

So she feels that gossip is a sin which does not befit the Muslim woman who has uttered the words of the Shahadah, and that the woman who is used to gossip in social gatherings is not among the righteous Muslim women.

`A'ishah Radi Allahu anha said:

"I said to the Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam, `It is enough for you that Safiyyah is such-and-such.'" Some narrators said that she meant she was short of stature. The Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said: "You have spoken a word that, if it were to mixed with the waters of the sea, it would contaminate them." (Abu Dawud Shareef)

The Muslim woman pays attention to the description of the seven acts that may lead to a person's condemnation, which the Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam called on people to avoid. In this list, she finds something that is even worse and more dangerous than mere gossip, namely the slander of chaste, innocent believing women, which is a sin that some women fall into in their gatherings:

"Avoid (the) seven things that could lead to perdition." It was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what are they?" He said: "Shirk [associating any partner with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala]; witchcraft (sihr); killing anyone for whom Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has forbidden killing, except in the course of justice; consuming the wealth of the orphan; consuming riba (usury); running away from the battlefield; and slandering chaste and innocent believing women." (Bukhari Shareef and Muslim Shareef)

The Muslim woman who truly understands this teaching takes the issue of gossip very seriously, and does not indulge in any type of gossip or tolerate anyone to gossip in her company. She defends her sisters from hostile gossip and refutes whatever bad things are being said about them, in accordance with the words of the Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam:

"Whoever defends the flesh of his brother in his absence, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala will save him from the Fire." (Ahmad)

The true Muslim woman also refrains from spreading malicious gossip, because she understands the dangerous role it plays in spreading evil and corruption in society and breaking the ties of love and friendship between its members, as the Prophet (PBUH) explained:

"The best of the servants of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala are those who, when they are seen, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is remembered (i.e., they are very pious). The worst of the servants of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala are those who spread malicious gossip, cause division between friends, and seek to cause trouble for innocent people." (Ahmad)

It is enough for the woman who spreads malicious gossip and causes trouble between friends and splits them up to know that if she persists in her evil ways, there awaits her humiliation in this life and a terrible destiny in the next, as the Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam declared that the blessings of Paradise will be denied to every person who spreads malicious gossip. This is stated clearly in the Sahih Hadith:

"The one who engages in malicious gossip will not enter Paradise." (BukhariShareef and Muslim Shareef)

What fills the believing woman's heart with fear and horror of the consequences of spreading malicious gossip is the fact that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala will pour His punishment upon the one who engaged in this sin from the moment he or she is laid in the grave. We find this in the hadith which Bukhari, Muslim and others narrated from Ibn `Abbas Radi Allahu anhu:

"The Messenger of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala passed by two graves, and said: `They are being punished, but they are not being punished for any major sin. One of them used to spread malicious gossip, and the other used not to clean himself properly after urinating.'" He (Ibn `Abbas) said: "He called for a green branch and split it in two, then planted a piece on each grave and said, `May their punishment be reduced so long as these remain fresh.'' (Bukhari Shareef and Muslim Shareef)


May we all beneift from this, Ameen!


Fi Aminillah

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