One disgusting habit which is unfortunately prevalent within many Muslims is the habit of Backbiting. Now what is backbiting? The best of creation has informed us, when he was asked in regard to Gheebah (backbiting): He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” (Muslim 31:6265) now we have the definition, how many times does this filth exit our mouths?
Allah Almighty states in the Qur’an: “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (49:12) Look at how Allah equates this sin with cannibalism, yet it seems that this has become the preferred dish of the muslims. It seems that we partake in our favourite meal online. If one were to log on to any form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram then he would find a plethora of dishes prepared and eagerly being consumed by muslims online. Free virtual fast-food, free in this world but an onerous debt to pay in the hereafter.
The condition of the backbiter has been described by our Prophet: “The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire.” What a bone-chilling narration! Allah save us! Even his good deeds couldn’t save him because he did not control his tongue.
Do not think that you will not be taken to account as Allah says in regard to the Day of Judgement: “On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet shall bear witness against them as to what they did.” (24:24) Everything will bear testimony on that day, the tongue that said, the ear that heard, the fingers that typed, the eyes that saw it on the screen. How many people will be brought as a witness against you because they saw your online cannibalism?
The messenger of Allah said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (or insult) his neighbor…” (Bukhari 76:482) If only the masses were to act upon these comprehensive advises, we would indeed find the world to be a harmonious abode. No person would complain about their rights being violated.
Many voluminous books can be written on the detriments of this tongue but one hadith with sums it up quite poignantly is: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west.” (Bukhari:6477) If you have ever wronged anyone in their absence please ask for forgiveness in this world, it is better than being thrown into eternal torment.
May Allah give us the understanding of the gravity of this sin. May he keep us aloof from it. May he guide those who are involved in it and forgive them. May he save us from the tongue of the Backbiter. Ameen.