[Excerpt from booklet written by Hadhrat Sheikh Ibrahim Saheb]


There are eight causes of backbiting:

  1. Anger: Anger is the main cause of backbiting and other spiritual diseases. When a man tells another a thing that he dislikes, it fills hatred in his mind and heart. To avenge this feeling, he begins to backbite.

  2. Pleasing others: The next cause is to please and satisfy his friends and associates.

  3. Freeing from guilt: The third cause is to free oneself from blame and guilt by backbiting about others.

  4. Attribute: The fourth cause is to attribute sins to others whilst showing one’s own innocence.

  5. Express glory: The fifth cause is to praise and glorify oneself by making fools of others in the process.

  6. Hatred: The sixth cause is hatred towards others. Hatred drives one to ‘revenge’ and what better way to take revenge than to revile the name of another?

  7. Jest and ridicule: The seventh cause is jest and ridicule, trying to prove oneself to be superior and more intelligent than others.

  8. Contempt: The eight cause of backbiting is due to dislike or disrespect. In such a case one would consider the person’s honour to be unworthy of protection and would not think twice about dragging his name through the mud.


Besides the above eight, there are three additional causes for those who are learned and religious. These causes are very subtle and difficult to pinpoint and Shaytaan disguises them as being ‘good deeds’:

  1. Faults: The first cause is pointing out the faults of those in authority. When the people notice some faults in a religious and pious man, they would compliment all his good qualities but ... mention that he has one unfortunate fault. If they express that one fault it would be backbiting.

  2. Sympathy: The second cause is the sympathy that is shown towards the pious person who was backbitten about. If one had to say that: "The affairs of that unfortunate man have caused anxiety” and then elaborate on the things that were said, mention the name of the person or make any reference to what was said, that will also be considered as backbiting.

  3. Anger: The third cause is to express anger for Allah’s pleasure. If an incident is mentioned and the person’s name is mentioned, then it will be backbiting, even if the anger is justified and you are trying to defend the person who is in the right, but if the name of the person who is in the wrong is not mentioned, then it will not be backbiting.


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