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Backbitting

WHAT IS BACKBITING (GHEEBAH)?

Backbiting is talking about someone in their absence something that they would not like even though that is true about that person.

Backbiting has become so commonplace, unfortunately, that it is often inevitable in gatherings, parties etc. There are lots of reasons we fall into backbiting and gossiping about others and one of the main reasons for it is insecurity and jealousy/ envy. Some other reasons are:

Being unaware of its impact and gravity on the society

  • Being unaware of its influence on our personality
  • Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allaah, verily, Allaah is The One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Qur’an 49: 12)

  • Being unaware of its influence on our personality
  • The need to seek attention
  • Insecurity and jealousy towards someone, thus leading to malicious gossip to defame them
  • Having so much idle time that it becomes a habit of sorts

In the Qur’aan, the gravity of backbiting has been conveyed by a nauseating metaphor:

Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allaah, verily, Allaah is The One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Qur’an 49: 12)

THE EVIL EFFECTS OF BACKBITING:

So by now, we’ve grasped that backbiting is a pretty serious deal and is not something to be lightly brushed off. Why though, one might wonder. A look at its effects will provide an answer to that, God-willing.

  • Decreases one’s rank with people – they will find it difficult to trust you and rely on you and would dislike to be friends with you. Moreover, if they were able to talk badly about someone in front of you, what’s the guarantee that they won’t defame *you* in front of others?
  • Causes hatred to settle in the hearts of people towards each other
  • Sows doubts among people regarding each other
  • Distracts others causing them to waste time on gossip and idle talk
  • Exposes sins where Allah has concealed them
  • Severs ties between people
  • Decreases good deeds – on Judgement Day one’s good deeds will be given to the person he has backbitten to compensate for the sin

Being known amongst people as someone with bad character

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TYPES & CAUSES

Types of Backbiting

Backbiting can come in various colors and means, which detrimentally lead to the person being backbitten, no matter how it was done. Here are some of the ways of backbiting that we should check ourselves for:

  • Trash talking, gossiping, vain talk
  • Playing Around, Joking and Making Fun of Others
  • Carrying tales about the person, that will result him being laughed at or viewed negatively by others
  • Writing against the person, whether it be in books, articles, comments on facebook etc.
  • To lift Your brow, or by Hand, leg, head, nose, lips, tongue, eyes, eyebrow, by wrinkling the forehead or by any other gesture if the abuse for someone is expressed to the other, it is considered to be backbiting.
  • To Backbiting inside the Heart, meaning, establishing distrust internally. For example, without witnessing & without Reason, to make up one’s mind that, “That person has no Loyalty in Him” and such judgmental thoughts.

Are there situations where I can speak negatively about someone?

Causes of Backbiting

  • Satisfying Anger

    This is done by backbiting the person who kindles his anger. Every time the person makes him angry, he subsides it by backbiting the person. Through this (the backbiting), he feels he is getting even with the other person.
    Simple Tip: Don’t become Angry. – Muhammad (SAW) (Simple bordered box across the page. Not a quote but just to highlight it from the rest of the text.)

  • Wanting to Make or Keep Friends

    In order to maintain friendship with others, a person indulges in backbiting. As he is afraid of losing their friendship, he does not reprimand them when they backbite, but indulges in it with them.“Whoever seeks the pleasure of men by displeasing Allah, Allah will abandon him to the people.” – Muhammad (SAW) (QUOTE)

  • Even if it was a genuine cause to make you angry

    A person may become angry because of a sin committed by another person, and so he talks about it mentioning that person’s name instead of concealing it

  • Having Too Much Spare Time

    This can cause a person to fall into backbiting, because it is easy for an idle mind to become busy with men, and their faults. To correct this, a person must spend his time in acts of obedience to Allah, worship, seeking knowledge, and teaching others etc.

  • Conceit and Lack of Awareness of One’s Faults

    People should think about their own faults and try to correct themselves and feel ashamed to criticize others when they have many faults themselves.

    Yes Such as

    • When standing in front of a judge as a witness
    • To warn/protect someone – For example, in marriage proposals and business related decisions
    • When telling a doctor about a patient to help in their treatment

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IDEAS & INSPIRATIONS

With Allaah’s help and a few simple steps, it will become easier to manage a crush in shaa Allaah!

  • Reflecting on its ill effects on the unity and brotherhood among people
  • Speaking good or remaining silent. This is definitely easier said than done, but definitely not impossible, and bears the sweetest fruit when accomplished.
  • Thinking about your words before you speak – Is what I am about to say beneficial? Is it going to disrupt the love and trust people share with each other?
  • Is this going to turn the flow of conversation negative? Is this going to make Allah happy? If the person were to overhear me now, would they be happy? If this was said about me, would I be happy?
  • Keeping good company. Look for friends who keep to themselves and avoid poking and prodding into others’ lives.
  • Solving any issues, you may have with someone face to face in a good and dignified manner.

  • Analyzing and pondering over your own sins and faults before counting and analyzing those of others.
  • What also works is reminding ourselves of our sins and shortcomings that have been concealed from the public- would we like them to be revealed to all?
  • Of course not. Is it then, fair for us to unveil the shortcomings of others while they themselves have no say in it?

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STEPS YOU CAN TAKE

I DON’T WANT TO BACKBITE BUT…it happens all around me! How can I step away from it when I’m in a situation where it is happening?

  • By speaking up and saying “This is wrong, let’s stop”!
  • By getting up and leaving – Finding an excuse and leaving the gathering
  • By changing the subject – Switching up the subject so people leave that topic
  • By praising and mentioning good qualities of that person and defending their honor
  • By avoiding keeping company with those who are involved in the habit

I’VE FALLEN INTO THIS SIN, HOW CAN I MAKE IT UP?

  • By feeling remorse over what you have said, repenting to Allah and seeking His Forgiveness sincerely. Earnestly promise to yourself that you’ll do your best to stay away from such gatherings and pray for your Lord’s help in doing so.

  • By seeking the forgiveness of the person you have backbitten; if they are unaware that you have backbitten them, there’s no need to do this as this may increase tensions and problems
  • By improving your relationship with that person
  • By making du’aa for that person, just as you’d like a person to make dua for you if you slipped into something wrong by mistake.
  • By saying something good about that person in front of those whom you spoke negatively about him/her to

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