بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Says Allah, Most High:

“And Allah does not love those who make Zulm”

Nabi Salallahu alayhi wasallam said:

“Gheebah (backbiting) is worse than Zina”

Whilst every Hadith is a treasure trove of information, glad tidings and warnings, this particular Hadith must rank amongst those requiring much deep reflection. Serious concern for the Aakhirah does not allow any space for laxity and carelessness. The eyes of those who live as if there is never going to be death or accountability will only open when the pangs of death usher them into the everlasting world.

That slandering, backbiting and bad mouthing fellow Muslims have become something of a pastime is an undisputed fact. Much pleasure is derived by the nafs. Much amusement, excitement and thrills are experienced when we cut the reputation, gnaw at the character and chew at the personality of innocent Muslims. To the silent flute of Shaytaan we dance, jive, clap hands and echo his song of destruction and mayhem.

O, how our mouths salivate and our tongues roll out reams of rumours. “Did you hear, did you know”, with open mouths and wide eyes, rolling eyes, we exclaim! O, how our fingers madly sprint to text the “guess what” messages about so and so. The e-mails gallop madly in the race to be the first to spread the slander! The phone lines get hot with lengthy conversations of how bad this one or that one is!

When a person deliberately backbites, he is causing untold harm to himself. Know well, that even as he rips reputations to pieces and paints black with his tongue the image of a fellow Muslim, he is in reality, destroying both his worldly and everlasting life. The vapour of the poison of hatred which he spreads, will sooner or later overpower him; for Allah Ta’ala despises Zulm and oppression. For Allah Ta’ala loves Truth and justice. When we slander and backbite about any of the innocent creation of Allah, we cause havoc and Fitnah. We cause destruction and chaos. We ruin and we damage.

Sins differ in scope and nature. Some sins are restricted to one’s self. Other sins net and snare the innocent and the gullible and the naive. If one does not perform a salaah, he has indeed committed a terrible sin. However, the ravages of this sin, are limited to himself. When one backbites and slanders, the sin draws in others towards doom and destruction. An example is Salaah: Generally, a person who discards salaah, will regret and have remorse. But a slanderer, nay, he celebrates and justifies his evil.

Aha, we have succeeded in planting the seeds of doubt. Now all that needs to be done is to sit back and enjoy the fun.

The poor innocent soul suddenly finds himself in the eye of a storm. “Qassams” don’t help. Evidence doesn’t matter. The Shar’i system of verification is abandoned. The tongues are wagging.

And so the tears are spilled and wet the pillow in the dark of the night. And so the sobs from a broken heart are stifled with pain and humiliation. And so does Allah see and watch the suffering of the innocent.

Now who can assist that forlorn, pitiful soul? Now who can console that dejected, rejected creature? Who can unwrap the damage done which was fathered by jealousy and born out of spite?

And so Allah watches. Is He not BASEER? (The All-Watching) Is he not SAMIE’? (The All-Hearing) Is He not QAWI (The All-Powerful)? Is he not SABOOR (The All-Patient)! Is He not HALEEM (The Tolerant)?

Yes, it takes time. Allah is never in a hurry, for to hurry is a sign of weakness. And Allah is Strong, very, very strong! And Allah is Merciful, very, very Merciful!

Perhaps the person will repent. Perhaps he will understand his folly. Perhaps he will think of death and accountability. Perhaps he will come to his senses. Perhaps he was hasty. Allah looks for excuses to pardon those who do wrong. So Allah gives time to a person to repent and to ask for forgiveness from the injured one.

And if a person, instead of making amends, proudly continuous to feast and gorge upon the reputation of his Muslim brother, then Allah puts His Whip to work.

Depending on the severity of the slander and the standing of the victim in Allah’s Sight, the Whip strikes. The mere crack of The Whip is enough punishment for some. The peaceful sleep is gone, the delicious food is tasteless. The laughter is hollow and the mind cannot find peace. Money is useless and the warm companionship of friends cannot defrost the ice-cold feeling of the heart. Some are such beloved friends of Allah, that though they forgive the slanderer and back biter, Allah refuses to forgive. For to hurt those who are Allah’s beloved friends, is akin, according to the Hadith, to declaring WAR against Allah. Allah toasts the kidneys and roasts the livers in the World of such scoundrels.

Moulana Aqeelur-Rahmaan Saheb (Daamat barakatuhum) of Jalalabad, narrated an incident of a person who bad-mouthed Moulana Maseehullah (Rahmatullahi alayh). This person spared no effort in his smear campaign and spared no ear from his slander. Maseehullah Rahmatullahi alyah remained silent.

The person’s malice blocked his mind and his jealousy sealed his eyes. Moulana Maseehullah Rahmatullahi alayh’s silence was misunderstood as a weakness and an admission of guilt.

Years passed by. The mocking continued. Years passed by and the silence continued.

Until one day, late in his life, the person woke up one day and lo and behold… worms crawled out from his tongue. Doctors could not help him. Hakeems could not understand. He could not eat. Allah’s Whip had cracked! His eyes rolled with fear. All the bravado was gone. The ecstasy of gheebat had warned of long ago. The time to reap the bitter fruits had arrived!

(Next issue, Insha-Allah: The masaa’il of gheebat, common questions and answers)