Sunday 30 October 2022

DO NOT Slander or Backbite your brother

Strength of character is the hallmark of every true believer. He does not talk bad or ill of his brethern in his absences, what to talk of in their presence. It speaks very low of a man when he talks ill of others in their absence, but is all smiles in their presence. Passing slanders and backbiting is the lowest display of a man's character.

Allah and His Prophet Muhammad ﷺ have always forbade believers to talk ill of others in their absence, even if it is true. In fact, backbiting and slandering are two sins are forbidden by Allah because they sow enmity, evil and discord among people and lead to destruction. Remember, slandering and backbiting often cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbours and relatives. These can decrease good deeds and increase evil ones and lead to dishonor and ignominy.
Backbiting and slandering are shame and disgrace. Their perpetrator is detested and he shall not have a noble death. Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Holy Quran: "Backbiting and gossiping are from the vilest and most despicable of things, yet the most widely spread amongst mankind, such that no one is free from it except for a few people." [5]
The 58th verse of Surah 33. Al Ahzab is one such verse from Qur'an revolving around this theme:

وَالَّذِيۡنَ يُؤۡذُوۡنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ بِغَيۡرِ مَا اكۡتَسَبُوۡا فَقَدِ احۡتَمَلُوۡا بُهۡتَانًا وَّاِثۡمًا مُّبِيۡنًا‏ 
(33:58) Those who cause hurt to believing men and to believing women have invited upon themselves a calumny and a manifest sin.
At another place in Qur'an, it is said: ... Nor backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor it. (Qur'an 49:12)

“Woe to every persistent slanderer, persistent defamer” (Surah Al Humazah Ayah 1) 

This verse determines the definition of slander. It is to ascribe a fault to a person which he does not have, or an error which he has not committed. The Holy Prophet also explained it. According to Abu Da'ud and Tirmidhi, when he was asked as to what is ghibat (backbiting), he replied: 'It is to make mention of your brother in a manner derogatory to him. " The questioner said, "And if the fault is there in my brother?". The Holy Prophet replied: `If the fault that you mentioned is there in him, you backbite him; if it is not there, you slandered him." Such an act is not only a moral sin, which will entail punishment in the Hereafter, but this verse also requires that in the law of an Islamic State also false allegation should be held as a culpable offense.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly,) means, they attribute to them things of which they are innocent, which they do not know and do not do.

(They bear the crime of slander and plain sin.) This is the most serious slander, to tell or transmit things about the believing men and women that they have not done, in order to bring shame upon them and accuse them of shortcomings. Among those to whom the description most applies are those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers, followed by the Rafidites who accuse the Companions of shortcomings and faults of which Allah has stated that they are innocent, and describe them as the opposite of what Allah has said about them. 

Allah, may He be exalted, has told us that He is pleased with the Migrants and Ansar, and has praised them, but these foolish and ignorant people inveigh against them and accuse them of shortcomings, and say things about them that they did not do and could never have done. In reality, their hearts are misguided, for they condemn those who deserve praise and praise those who deserve condemnation. Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that it was said: "O Messenger of Allah, what is backbiting (Ghibah)'' he said, (It is when you mention something about your brother that he dislikes. )

It was asked, "But what if what I say about my brother is true' he said, (If it is true, then you have committed backbiting (Ghibah) about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.) This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said, "Hasan Sahih.'

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Cf. iv. 112. In that passage we were told that anyone who was himself guilty but accused an innocent man of his guilt, was obviously placing himself in double jeopardy; first, for his own original guilt, and secondly for the guilt of a false accusation. Here we take two classes of men instead of two individuals. The men and women of faith (if they deserve the name) and doing all they can to serve Allah and humanity. If they are insulted, hurt, or annoyed by those whose sins they denounce, the latter suffer the penalties of double guilt, viz., their sins to start with, and the insults or injuries they offer to those who correct them. Instead of resenting the preaching of Truth, they should welcome it and profit from it.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The sūrah then speaks of giving offence to believers generally, men and women, and falsely attributing to them what they do not have. This strong condemnation suggests that there was in Madinah at the time a group of people who schemed in this way against believers: they defamed them, conspired against them and circulated false allegations about them. This takes place in all communities at all times with believers in particular being so maligned. God therefore undertakes to reply to their accusers, describing them as hypocrites guilty of calumny and injustice. He certainly says only what is absolutely true.
As Muslims it is our responsibility to guard our tongues and to avoid things which are forbidden. The instructions from the Qur’an and hadith are clear regarding the stance on backbiting and slandering. [6]
Having explained the above said verse in detail, you may now listen to explanation of the Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, And if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Important DOs and DON'Ts from Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages: Understanding Al Qur'an and  Selected Verses from the Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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