On Ghibah and Gossip

Husayn al-Awaa'ishah

How To Stop Gossip

If any of us hear gossip about one of our brothers or sisters, we are enjoined to oppose it, and correct the speaker - gently, politely, and with wisdom. This is in accordance with the various ways of changing a bad deed which were described by the Messenger of Allah (SAAS), which we should try to do to the best of our ability.

"Whoever of you sees an evil deed should change it with his hand [by acting], or if he cannot do that, then with his tongue [by speaking out], or if he cannot do that, then with his heart - and that is the weakest of faith." Muslim (Kitab al-lman, No. 49).

The least of these is opposing the wrong deed in our hearts, which in this case should make us leave the gathering where the gossip is taking place.

Let us think about the words of Allah (SWT):

"When you see men engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, Turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes you forget, then after recollection, do not sit in the company of those who do wrong." [al-An'am 6:68]

Let those who relish gossip beware! The Messenger of Allah (SAAS) ordered those who hear gossip to reject it, but they are accepting it with pleasure! Woe to you! Are you not thinking about where you will end up? It is as if you think you were created only for fooling about and committing sins! For your Lord's sake tell me: are you Muslims?!

The Virtue of Speaking Up For a Muslim in His Absence and Opposing Ghibah

From Abu'l-Darda' (RA): The Messenger of Allah (SAAS) said: "Whoever defends the honour of his brother, this will be a protection for him from the Fire." [Al-Khara'iti, Makarim al-Akhlaq; Ibn 'Asakir. There is nothing wrong with its Isnad as there is corroborating evidence. See Ghayah al-Maram (below Hadith No. 431).]

From Asma' bint Yazid (RA), who said: The Prophet (SAAS) said: "Whoever defends his brother's honour in his absence, will be entitled to Allah's protection from the Fire." [Ahmad et al. It is Sahih because of corroborating and similar reports. See Ghayah al-Maram (431).]

The Prophet (SAAS) said: "Whoever defends his brother's honour, Allah will protect his face from the Fire of the Day of Resurrection."[Narrated and classed as Hasan by al-Tirmidhi. Classed as Hasan by al-Albani, Ghayah al-Maram (below Hadith 431).]

From Mu'adh ibn Anas al-Juhani: The Prophet (SAAS) said: "Whoever protects a Muslim from a hypocrite, (probably he said:) Allah will send an angel to protect his flesh from the Fire of Hell; and whoever accuses a Muslim of something, seeking to disgrace him, Allah will detain him on the bridge of Hell until he has been fully punished for what he said." [Abu Dawud: Sahih Sunan Ab iDawud (4086); Ibn Abi Dunya. See also al-Albani, Sahih al-Targhib wa'l-Tarhib.]

Anecdotes on the Condemnation of al-Ghibah

1 - It is reported from al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) that a man said to him: "You have gossiped about me. He (al-Hasan) said: "You have not reached such a position that you can control my Hasanat!" [Translator's Note: The Islamic teaching is that the Hasanat (rewards) of the one who gossips will be awarded to the victim.]

2 - Someone was told: "So-and-so has gossiped about you" - so he sent him a dish of dates, with the message: "I heard that you had given me your Hasanat as a gift, and I want to return the favour; please excuse me for not being able to pay back in full."

3 - It was reported from Ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy on him) that he said: "If I were to gossip about anyone, I would gossip about my parents, for they have more right to my Hasanat."

4 - Ghibah is the hospitality of the wrongdoer.

5 - From Amr ibn al-As (radhiallahu `anhu); He passed by a dead mule, and said to some of his companions: "It would be better for a man to eat his fill from the meat of this than from the flesh of his fellow-Muslims." [Sahih al-Targhib at-Tarhib]

6 - A man mentioned something bad about another to his friend. His friend said to him: "Do you go out and fight against the Romans?" He said, "No." His friend asked: "Do you go out and fight against the Turks?" He said, "No." The friend said: "The Romans are safe from you, and the Turks are safe from you, but your Muslim brothers are not safe from you!"

7 - If you are unable to do three things, then you must do three (other) things: if you cannot do good, then stop doing evil; if you cannot benefit people, then do not harm them; if you cannot fast, then do not eat the flesh of the people.

8 - The poet said:

"If a man is wise and fears Allah,

This will keep him too busy to concern himself with the faults of others,

Just as the weak and sick person is concerned with his own pain

To think of the pain of others."

source: islamic awakening

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