The act of backbiting is greatly condemned in the eyes of Allah (SWT) and yet, it is one of the most common sins carried out by individuals on everyday basis. Backbiting is a graver sin than one can imagine; if only one understood the repercussions of engaging in backbiting, one would steer clear of it and actively work towards avoiding it.In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) says:
“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (Quran, 49:12).
Here are a few tips to help you keep away from backbiting and all that it entails:
Fear Allah (SWT)
One must never forget that wherever we go, whatever we do, Allah (SWT) is always watching us. The fact that Allah (SWT) greatly condemns the act of backbiting and decrees a great punishment for those who participate in it gives one the motivation to stay far from it. Engaging in backbiting pushes one away from Allah’s (SWT) mercy and blessings as well. Why would you want to incur Allah’s (SWT) wrath on purpose?
Stay quiet than to backbite
If you do not have anything positive to add to a conversation, you should stay silent. A good Muslim does not dwell on matters that are of no concern to him and minds his own business. If you cannot come up with good things to say about the person in question, again, stay silent rather than adding something negative to the conversation.
No one knows when their designated time of death will come. Just that very thought should remind a person that this life is only temporary and the whole purpose of this life is to please Allah (SWT). Instead of dwelling on irrelevant acts such as gossip, one should dedicate the time in doing good deeds, which will not only lead to reward in this life but also the Hereafter. The fact of the matter is we all must die one day: would you want death to come while you are engrossed in an act that is displeasing to Allah (SWT)? Surely, it is not.
Avoid places and people prone to backbiting
Take pre-emptive measures; avoid places and gatherings where you know people get together to discuss other people. Steer clear of people who are in the habit of gossiping and spreading false rumours/assumptions about those around them. Backbiting is a toxic phenomenon, which only fosters negativity, jealousy, and envy in the hearts of man. Find people who are more like-minded and who do not depend on gossip to pass the time.
Preaching the gravity of the sin
If you see people engaging in backbiting, it is your duty as a good Muslim to politely let them know that it is not okay to gossip and perhaps direct them towards a more positive topic of discussion. Moreover, there are subtle and polite ways to make people realise the gravity of gossiping and the punishments attached to it in this world and the Hereafter. Do not be shy in standing up for what is right and if they still do not stop, you can politely excuse yourself and leave.
Feel if people talk behind your back
If you find yourself in a situation, no matter how vexing it may be, and you are aware that you may be about to tread on the line of backbiting, take a moment and ask yourself, how would you feel if the roles were reversed and the other person was backbiting about you? Not so good, one would imagine. Hence, this reminder not only helps one avoid gossip but also remain humble and grateful.
May Allah (SWT) guide us all towards the right path and protect us from the trials and punishments in this life and the next.