Controlling Our Tongues
Backbiting is one of the biggest and most evil destroyers of compassion, love andbrotherhood. In Ramadaan, the opportunity is presented for this evil habit become more popular and common since people have much free time at hand. It is important that we guard against this evil trait. In Arabic, the word used for backbiting is Gheebah. Gheebah is declared as Haram in Islam. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala has warned about in the Qur’am likening its practice to that of eating the flesh of a dead person. The Prophet Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam has also cautioned about its grave dangers in many ahaadeeth. It is considered to be from amongst the major sins and repentance from it is obligatory. Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “There is a consensus (Ijmaa’) that backbiting is a major sin and that it is Fard that a person do Tawbah from it.” We sometimes fall prey to the misconception that gheebah is speaking such ill about a person that is not true about him. This is not true. Rasulullah Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam defined backbiting. He once addressed his companions by saying, “Do you know what Gheebah is?” They replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to mention something about your brother (in his absence) that he would hate.” A companion replied, ‘What if what I say about my brother is true?’ The Prophet Sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam replied: “If what you said about him is true then you would have made gheebah of him. If it is not true, then you would have slandered him (buhtaan).” (Muslim) In another hadeeth, the Prophet Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “O ye who have believed with (only) their tongues, yet faith has not yet entered their hearts! Do not backbite about Muslims, and do not search out their faults. Verily, he who follows the private matters of his Muslim brother, Allah shall follow his private matters. And whoever has his private matters followed by Allah, Allah shall expose them even if they were (hiding) in the belly of their home.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud) Allah addresses us in this regard by saying: “O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible …. and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other (make gheebah) behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely, you would detest it…Fear Allah, for Allah is Oft- Returning, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Hujuraat, 12) This Ramadan, among the many resolutions we make, let the resolution to control our tongues feature prominently, and let us make an effort to implement it in our and our families lives.