Backbiting (Gheebah) means mentioning something about a person (in his absence), that he hates (to have mentioned), whether it is about his body, his religious characteristics, his worldly affairs, his self, his physical appearance, his character, his wealth, his child, his father, his spouse, his manner of walking, and his smile. It is more or less the same whether you mention that about him with words, through writings, or whether you point or indicate to him by gesturing with your eyes, hand or head. As for the body, it is when you make fun of how someone looks, or mentioning any bad quality of him, as saying: “he is blind”, “he limps”, “he is bleary-eyed”, “he is bald”, “he is short”, “he is tall”, “he is black”, “he is yellow”, “he’s too thin”, “he’s too fat”. As for his religious qualities, it is when you say: “he is a sinner”, “he is a thief”, “he is a betrayer”, “he is an oppressor”, “he doesn’t pray”, “he prays so fast”, “he does not behave well towards his parents”, “he does not pay the Zakat duly”. As for worldly matters, then it is when you say: “he has poor manners”, “he does not think that anyone has a right over him”, “he talks too much” etc. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “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” (Quran 49: 12) In this verse, Allah strongly forbids backbiting, and he compares 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. Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Backbiting implies your talking about anyone in a manner which he does not like. When one reflects deeply over this assimilation it will be enough to keep one away from backbiting. The saddest part of this is that nowadays it has become a part of our “lunch”, “dinner “, and “breakfast “ which is a matter of concern. May Allah protect us from backbiting. Ameen!
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