[Excerpt from booklet written by Hadhrat Sheikh Ibrahim Saheb]
Once, a Sahabi (Radiyallahu Anhu) said to Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam regarding another Sahabi: “He is an unfit person.”
Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “You have backbitten your brother.”
The Sahabi (Radiyallahu Anhu) said: “O Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam, we have said what is in him.”
Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “If what you say is not in him, it will be slander.”
Sayyidina Hasan Basri Rahmatullah Alayhi said: “There are three types of bad and evil discussions about one another: (1) backbiting (2) slander and (3) false narration. These three sins are mentioned in the Qur’an. Backbiting is to mention that quality which is found in the next person, whereas slander is to mention a quality which is not found in him and false narration is to say what is heard from others about another.”
Once a man came and said to Sayyidina Hassan Basri Rahmatullah Alayhi: “I heard that you have backbitten me?”
He replied: “You have not acquired and reached such ranks that I will give all my virtues to you.”
Backbiting is not only done by the tongue. It can also be done through signs, gestures, hints, movement of the body and by writing. Every type of backbiting is Haraam.
Sayyidah Ayesha Radiyallahu Anha said: “A woman came to me. When she departed, I hinted with my hand to Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam that she was a dwarf.”
Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “You have backbitten about her.”
The pen is like the tongue. Backbiting can be done by writing with a pen. If a writer criticizes any one through his writing, it will be considered as backbiting. Backbiting can also be committed with reference to a deceased person. When any action of a man was disliked by Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam, he did not particularize that person but said it in a general way. “What will the condition of the people be if they commit such and such an act?”
That was how Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam addressed the issue. Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “The hearer of backbiting is included within (the sin) of the backbiters.”
If the hearer protests by means of his tongue, he will be exempted from its sin. If he cannot do so, he must think it evil in his heart and mind. If he can move away or change the topic, he too will be exempted from sin.
Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “If a believer is dishonoured in the presence of any person, and he does not help him in spite of his ability to do so, Allah will dishonour him on the Day of Qiyaamah before the whole creation.”
Rasulullah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam also said: “He, who protects the honour of a Muslim in his absence, it becomes the duty of Allah to protect his honour on the Day of Qiyaamah.” Another Hadith adds the words: ‘Will be saved from the Fire of Jahannam.’