It’s a Common Disease


Its not an infectious disease or cancer that can harm a person’s body in this world…but its much more dangerous…it rapidly engulfs a person’s existence like wild fire…leaving him helpless in this world and hereafter…the disease is “Backbiting”.

Consequences of Backbiting :

• When backbiting ingresses into our conduct, it leaves adverse effects on the soul.  One of these is cultivation of enmity and hatred towards the victim, which gradually increases.

• The backbiter’s hatred and enmity towards the person may then lead him to hate God Almighty! Thus, he will leave this world with enmity of God in his heart, and enter everlasting wretchedness…

Prohibition of Listening to Backbiting:

The common triggers

• Among the more subtle forms of backbiting is listening to it with amazement.  Such a person expresses his amazement in order to make the backbiter more lively in his descriptions.  His amazement encourages the latter in his evil act. For instance, he will say, “Strange” or “Oh! Is it that” or “Oh my God, then what happened? or “Yeah, I told you about him/her”…or he might say, “I didn’t know that!” or “I didn’t know he would do such a thing!”…etc..Etc…

These expressions are meant to affirm the backbiter’s statements and to encourage him to add something more.  These acts are in fact the Devil’s artifices.  Surely, to affirm backbiting is also backbiting; as is to listen to it, or even to remain silent upon hearing it.

Is Backbiting ever allowed?

• One must be very careful not to let the existence of these exceptions allow transgression into sin.  

Some of these situations are…

1.  To protect a person from the evil of another person, including situations where one is asked to vouch for the integrity of a marriage prospect…

• 2. When the person being talked about does not conceal his violations of Divine commands and openly commits sins…

• 3. To describe any fault of a patient before a physician for purposes of treatment…

• 4. Criticism about a narrator of traditions…

The Cure of this deadly disease:

• If someone, God forbid, has been guilty of this ugly act, he or she must purge this vice and nourish the roots of sincerity, unity, and solidarity in his or her heart by following these steps…

• Backbiting often results from a weakness in the backbiter’s own soul, such as an inferiority complex.  You should pry into your soul to discover what weakness prompted you to backbite your brother or sister; then set out to remedy the weakness.

• Meditate for a while about the effects of this sin in this world and in the Hereafter. Reflect on the fearsome, frightful forms that will beset you in the grave.

• Consider this: even if you have enmity toward a person whom you backbite, that animosity requires that you should not resort to backbiting.  It is stated in the traditions that the good deeds of the backbiter are transferred to the book of deeds of the victim of his backbiting, and the victim’s sins are transferred to the record of the backbiter.

• Repent and seek the forgiveness of the victim, if this is possible without any chance of vicious consequences; otherwise, you must implore God’s mercy for the victim.

• Gather all your strength to rid your soul of this sin at all cost, by making a covenant with yourself to abstain from this abominable for a certain time. Bring your tongue under control and be fully watchful of yourself, steadfastly vigilant, calling yourself to account.  God willing, it is hoped that after some time you will find yourself reformed and free of its ill traces. Gradually the burden of the task will ease, and you will feel a natural disposition to dislike and detest it.  At that point, you will come to possess spiritual peace and delight in achieving freedom from this vice.

….Nor backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor it. (Holy Al Qur’an 49:12)

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib ( AS) said:

“He who bears tales to you, certainly bears tales about you”

-Wish you a good day!

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