Backbiting in Islam and on the web

I came across a thread  on several blogs that disturbed me somewhat and I responded.  At the risk of being vague, and it’s done intentionally, I will not identify the blogs because it would defeat the purpose of this post about backbiting.

I noticed a lot of bloggers, Muslim and non Muslim alike seem to delight in using terms and expressions that are meant to hurt and verbally defeat a perceived opponent.  Muslim bloggers have clear injunctions in their deen,or way of life, that this type of behavior is not acceptable. There is no doubt what is considered backbiting in Islam; the words of the Last Messenger of God are quite clear and succinct:

‘Do you know what backbiting is?’ They replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best’. He said, ‘It is saying something about your brother which he would dislike’. Someone asked, ‘What if I say something about my brother which is true?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, ‘If what you say of him is true, it is backbiting and if it is not true you have slandered him.’

The implication of the above is clear: backbiting is defined by the object of the statements, not by the one uttering them.  That is to say if one doesn’t like what is being said about one’s self, then what is said is considered backbiting, a most grievous sin.

O you who believe! Shun suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that. And keep your duty (to God). Lo! God is Relenting, Merciful.

It would seem the above are enough to keep the level of discussion from falling  into backbiting, the likes you can find available on the ‘net these days. Regrettably it isn’t.  The notion of discussing  ideas and not personalities is one that will be strictly adhered to here on the pages of Miscellany101.  If I have somehow not followed the guidelines of backbiting that were clearly enunciated in the voluminous pages of prophetic tradition and the clear verses of Quran Kareem, I apologize and promise to do better.  I will hold comments made to Miscellany101 to the standard that don’t allow for backbiting so don’t go there, here.  As long as comments are in English and not abusive or profane they will end up here.

Quote of the day

We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force.

Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.

Martin van Creveld – professor of military history – Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Nothing more indicates the suicidal nature of the Israeli zionist government and their complete disregard for international law and opinion than this obscure quote by a rather mainstream Israeli historian. It also explains both the reason for Israeli actions in the occupied territories and the silence of the world community towards them.  It lays to rest the notion that Israel is a client state of the US and instead confidently asserts the premise that America, along with most other western powers is a client state of Israel and can be threatened to pursue the Israeli program with military force or retaliation at the slightest hesitation on their part.  It’s an indication of the brazeness of that supposition that von Creveld make this statement to a western audience without any reservation or reluctance.