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GHEEBAH (part 2)

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  • Adil ibn Manzoor Khan
    In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate   May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You   Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2012
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      In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
      "May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You"
      Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
      Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah
      As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu

      Prohibition of Gheebah

      Allah has said:
      “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.”

      “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:
      “Some people asked Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) whose Islam is the best? (i.e., who is a very good Muslim?)
      The Prophet (SAS) replied, “One who avoids harming the Muslims with his tongues and hands.” 
      “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 Bin Aamer asked, “O Allahs 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 (pbuh) took hold of his tongue and then said,
      “Keep this under control.” When the Sahaba asked, “will we be called to account for what we say?”
      He replied, “Wont 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 (pbuh) 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 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 (pbuh) said: “All things belonging to a Muslim are unlawful for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor.” (Muslim, Ahmad and Bayhaqi) Gheebah deals with honor and Allah has combined honor with property and blood.

      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 Bidah 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-Amash (squint-eyed), Al-Araj (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 (pbuh) is reported to have said: “Do you know who is bankrupt?” The Companions replied, “The bankrupt amongst us is the person who has no money or property.” The Prophet (pbuh) 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 brothers 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 said that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) 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 honor.

      Joking ! 

      “I was only joking”. We treat lies as being trivial. However we are told, “Allah’s messenger did not hate anything more than lying”(Ahmed). The Prophet (SAS) was once asked “Can a Muslim be a coward? He (SAS) replied “Yes.” and then was asked “Can a Muslim be a miser? and the reply was “Yes.” The Prophet (SAS) was then asked, “Can a Muslim be a liar?”
      The Prophet (SAS) 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.

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