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.