The Jumu’ah Naseehat
BACKBITTING AND SLANDER (PART TWO)
Allah, Most High warns us. This warning will only matter if one fears Allah. This warning is contained in a “Book, in which there is no doubt.It is guidance to those who fear Allah. (2:2).
As for the one who does not consider Allah worthy of being feared, well, there is no guidance for him in the Holy Qur’aan. He will do as he wishes, speak as he pleases.
So what does Allah say with regards to back bitting?
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. In deed 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, the Most Merciful”. (49: 12)
There is no ambiguity in this firm warning. The seeds of backbiting are sowed by suspicion. Some suspicion are such in nature that irrespective of intention or circumstances, it is a sin. If the suspicion itself is a sin, than how much more sinful is it not to wag the tongue and give room to the suspicion by backbiting?
When a person steals, it is wrong. However, there is some tangible “benefit”. When a person backbites, what does he get? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Not a cent, not a dime besides a weird kick and tickle from Shaytaan!
There is no such thing as “but I thought” when it comes to the dignity of a Muslim. There is no such thing as even a whisper, nay even a gesture of slander being of no consequence. The heart of a Muslim is the Kaaba where Allah resides. Allah’s residence is simply too awesome to be injured, fractured and found fault with.
Even the Ashaab of Nabi Salallallahu alaihi wasallam were warned:
And why did you not, when you heard it, say? “It is not right of us to speak of this. Glory to God, this is a most serious slander” (24:16)
Allah taught them how to dissociate themselves from commenting on the affairs of others by teaching them to respond with the words: “Subhanallah, it is not right for me to say anything”. Allah directed us to the safe shores of “no comment” instead of the rocky terrain of visualising ourselves as experts on the private and personal affairs of others!
The Definition of Backbiting & Slander
Prophet Muhammad said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They (the companions) 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)
Our guide has given us clear guidance. He truly fulfilled the amaanah of educating the Ummah. He did not leave us to grope in darkness and to formulate our own opinions.
He made it abundantly clear that even if we discuss a fact concerning something a person he/she may dislike, we have backbited. Finish and klaar!
If we speak about something untrue which a person may despise, then, we have slandered him/her. And lest we forget, the Holy Qur’aan has informed us that for the sin of slander there is a special cell in the prison of Jahannam. Terrible, terrible indeed is that cell which is filled with poisonous snakes slithering all around. Name it and that snake is there: Anacondas, black mambas, green mambas and puff adders etc. May Allah save us all. We plead and beseech our Great Rabb and Lord of the heavens and earth to spare us and save us for indeed we are weak and cannot bear the sting of even a mosquito or the irritation of a fly!
And much more terrible is that moment when Allah will duplicate the body of the person whom we backbited. From the body, we will be made to eat. We will be forced to chew and gnaw at raw kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs. Shocked? Why? After all is that not what we were doing in the World. And did Allah not warn us: “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?”
As bad as it may seem, there is still one catastrophic scene from the Day of Qiyamah. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu Anhu) narrates that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of Allah once addressed his companions (Sahaabah) and asked them:
“Do you know who is a pauper?” The Sahaabah replied: “The pauper according to our understanding is he who does not have a penny to his name”. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of Allah disagreed with them and thereafter informed them as to who is the pauper in reality. He said:
“The pauper in my Ummah is he who will come on the day of judgment with (perhaps) a lot of good deeds like Salah, a lot of fasting, a lot of Zakaat (that he had done in this world) but on the other hand, he had used abusive language against a certain person, slandered another person, usurped the wealth of someone, shed the blood of someone and physically abused someone. As a result of his actions, his good deeds will be distributed amongst those whom he had wronged. If his good deeds are not enough (to make up for the wrong he had done), he will be burdened with the sins of those whom he had wronged and he will be thrown into the fire of Hell”. (Sahih Muslim)
Just imagine the scene: It is the Day of Qiyamah. The Trumpet has been sounded. All of the creation has been resurrected. A person crawls out of his grave. Radiance and sheer joy is plastered all over his face. The person has after all, made plenty of Ibaadah in his worldly life. There is an abundance of salaah, an abundance of fasting and an abundance of Zakaat. The body bowed and prostrated in Salaah day after day, it was starved and deprived of food, wealth was spent, all for Allah’s pleasure. The person is confident and self-assured: Jannah is just around the corner. Was he not, after all, obedient unto Allah?
His scroll of deeds are tossed to him. He grabs it with relish and opens it with delight. Yes, all his good deeds are recorded. The angels did not forget or err, nor were they biased. “Whosoever does an atom of good, shall see it” (Surah Zilzaal).
Whilst reading his good deeds, a frown appears on his face. The backbiting and slander which he indulged in has also been recorded! He worshipped Allah but Allah was displeased for he hurt the creation of Allah. The Day has arrived where in front of the creation his deeds are laid bare.
Some people crowd around him. They want to see his deeds. He cannot hide it, he cannot run from them, he cannot escape.
Shame overcomes him for in the world he pretended that he was their friend. Shame for in the world even whilst he was smiling at them, his heart was ripping them to pieces! Shame for in the world even as he was speaking sweetly to them, he was salivating with joy at the mere thought of how and when and to whom will he narrate how bad the person was.
Aha! People trusted him. Aha people found comfort in his company! Aha people, simple and innocent at heart, with all the goodness of blind trust wrapped in love, confided in him. And he/she had broken that trust by belittling, mocking, backbiting and slandering. And so starts the retribution in the most frightening form.
(To be continued, Insha-Allah)