Backbiting (Gheebat) in Islam: Its Impact and Why We Must Cease This Practice: The conditions when it is permission able: Learn Quran Online


Gheebat in Islam, also known as backbiting, is a pervasive issue that affects us more than we realize. Let’s be real here – most of us are knee-deep in it, knowingly or unknowingly. It’s like this sneaky habit that creeps up on us when we least expect it.

The Prophet (s) said: The listener finds himself one of the two backbiters.” ” This profound teaching, extracted from Al-Fayd al-Kashani’s Al-Mahajjat al-Bayda’, Volume 5, page 260 .

In the sacred verses of the Qur’an, a profound admonition resonates, urging humanity to refrain from the divisive act of backbiting. Ponder upon this thought: would any among you harbor the desire to consume the flesh of their deceased sibling? The visceral repulsion evoked by such a notion is undeniable. (Qur’an 49:12)

Explaination of Gheebat: What It Really Is

So, what’s the deal with gheebat? It’s basically saying stuff about someone that they wouldn’t appreciate, even if it happens to be true. Here’s the kicker: even if what we say is true, it still counts as gheebat. Tricky, right?

In a hadith, Abu Hurairah questioned the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about backbiting. The Prophet replied, “Mentioning your brother with that which he does not like.” If the statement is true, it constitutes backbiting; if false, it amounts to slander (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1934).

Major Sin Alert!

Now, here’s the heavy part – gheebat is no small thing in Islam. It’s a major league sin that we often commit without batting an eyelash. But hold up, why is it such a big deal?

The Prophet (s) dropped some serious wisdom on him once, Hey Abu Dharr, listen up!  and it goes like this: “Yo, Abu Dharr! backbiting, is worse than jumping into the mess of adultery (zina’) .


Brotherhood in Islam: What’s at Stake

Islam? It’s big on unity. We’re like this big, diverse family, and gheebat? It messes that up. We’re supposed to have each other’s backs, but when we start chatting smack, it’s a whole different story.

Backbiting is a major sin with severe consequences. Islam emphasizes brotherhood and sisterhood, urging believers to support and be kind to one another. The reverse of such positive behavior, like backbiting, is strictly forbidden. Gheebat can lead to strained relationships within families, contradicting Islam’s teachings against cutting ties with relatives.

Let’s Talk its Consequences

Backbiting isn’t just harmless chitchat; it’s a trigger for a chain reaction of bad stuff. Marriages break, families fall apart, and people’s mental health? It takes a hit.

The Prophet’s hadith underscores the importance of ensuring safety for Muslims from harm caused by words and actions (Sahih Muslim 41; Sunan an-Nasa’i 4999).


The Prophet (peace be upon him) was pretty clear on this too: “A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” Think about it – our words can cause actual harm.

Grave Consequences:

In another hadith, individuals being punished in the afterlife are revealed to be those who engaged in backbiting during their worldly lives (Sunan Ibn Majah 349). The severity of this sin is further highlighted by the Prophet’s encounter with tortured souls during his ascension to heaven, identified as backbiters (Riyad as-Salihin 1526 – Abu Dawud).

And it’s not just a casual sin. There’s talk about it keeping folks out of Jannah and even worse, leading to some serious punishments in the afterlife.

The conditions when Backbiting (Gheebat)  is allowed in Islam?

In rare instances, it becomes permissible to discuss the flaws of another individual. Caution must prevail, ensuring that the presence of these exceptions doesn’t lead to sinful transgressions. Some scenarios allowing such discussions include:

  • Safeguarding fellow Muslims from the malice of another person, such as when vouching for the integrity of a potential marriage partner.
  • Addressing situations where the person under discussion openly violates Divine commands.
  • to a physician for the purpose of effective treatment.
  • Critiquing a narrator of traditions (hadith).

How to Put a Stop to It

So, how do we cut this cycle? It’s tough, but not impossible

Some steps are discussed here:

Step 1: Mind Your Tongue

Controlling our speech requires acknowledging that venting frustrations rarely leads to solutions. Justifying speech as a means to “get things off our chest” is a trap. Gheebat is not limited to ill intentions; it includes saying things others wouldn’t like. A valuable reminder from Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣri (RA) emphasizes thinking before speaking, aligning words with favor or refraining from speaking altogether (Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir Al-‘Ilm article 2049).

Let’s start by holding our tongues. It’s hard, I get it. But before we blurt stuff out, a little self-reflection might save us from a whole lot of trouble.

Step 2: Pray It Out

When dissatisfaction prompts discussion about others, prayer serves as a transformative remedy. Instead of criticizing, pray for them, seeking forgiveness for unintentional wrongs. This shift replaces wrongs with good, fostering accountability and mindfulness (Book 16, Hadith 81).

When you slip up, and we all do, say a prayer for the person you’ve spoken ill of. It’s a game-changer, trust me.

Step 3: Socialize Smart

While socializing is essential, its nature matters. Positive conversations about Allah in mosques or friends’ houses contribute positively. Excessive idle socializing, often leading to backbiting, should be moderated. A hadith encapsulates the success formula for a Muslim: restrain your tongue, find contentment at home, and reflect on your sins (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2406)

We’re social beings, but not all socializing is good. Hanging out should uplift, not bring others down.

Step 4: Address Personal Weakness

Understand the root cause of backbiting, addressing any personal weaknesses that contribute to this behavior.

The act of backbiting often stems from a deficiency within the backbiter’s own soul, often rooted in issues like an inferiority complex. It is crucial to introspect and examine your own soul to identify the weakness that led you to engage in backbiting against your fellow brother or sister. Once you’ve identified the root cause, take proactive steps to address and remedy that weakness.

Conclusions :

The Prophet (s) wisely stated, “No fire consumes dry wood faster than gossip consumes a devotee’s virtues.” [Al-Mahajjat al-bayda’, vol. 5, p. 264]

Ultimately, being aware of gheebat and its consequences is our ticket to becoming better versions of ourselves. It’s a journey towards being more conscious of our words, protecting our hereafter, and finding peace in this life. It’s a win-win, isn’t it?


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