Muslims in general are most likely far from committing major sins like killing, drinking wine or fornication.
However, they are trapped in minor sins of the tongue which are the main reason of veiling them from Allah the Almighty.
Sins in general (the minor and the major) veil the Muslim from Allah, but you have to bear in mind that the persistence on minor sins turns them into major ones.
The pious ancestors said that worshiping Allah cannot be fulfilled properly by offering Salah, and fasting in Ramadan only, but the real worshiping of Allah is manifested in guarding the tongue which needs a strong will.
Man drools over talking about people’s flaws, shortcomings, scandals and errors, and according to scholars these kinds of talking are social entertainment to people. Thus, they said, “Ghibah is the dining table of dogs’ meal, the condiment of the corrupter’s food and the deeds of the deviated.”
Ghibah and Buhtan
I will go into the tiny details of Ghibah, so that the believer will have a decisive stand about it:
Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying:
Do you know what is backbiting?
They (the Companions) said:
“Allah and His Messenger know best.”
Thereupon he (the Prophet) said:
Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like.
It was said to him:
“What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of?”
If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, in fact you have backbitten him, and if that is not in him it is a slander. (Muslim)
Buhtan (slander) is to say about your brother something that is not true, whereas Ghibah (backbiting) is to say about him something true, but it hurts him (in his absence).
This is how the Prophet (PBUH) defined backbiting. It is to say things about your fellow Muslim which he does not like in his absence, whether these things are about his body, religion, worldly affairs, morals, money, children, wife, clothes, the way he walks, the way he moves, the way he frowns, the way he smiles or anything related to him, and all of which are considered Ghibah.
One more thing; Ghibah is committed by saying words, writing something, using body language with your eyes, hand or head, or it is committed by other similar ways explicitly or implicitly.
Ghibah about someone’s body is saying, for example, that he is lame, blear-eyed, short, tall or dark-skinned.
Regarding someone’s religious condition, backbiting occurs when you say that he is Fasiq (corrupted), he is a thief, a liar and an oppressor, or when you say that he is negligent of Salah or undutiful to his parents.
Backbiting is the Mother of Sins People Commit
Backbiting is one of the most prevailing sins people commit subconsciously in their assemblies, meetings, banquets, wedding ceremonies and sad events. As long as the tongue feeds on people’s honor, it is involved in backbiting, which is one of the major sins…
Whoever controls his tongue and remembers with it Allah shall he and those around him be healed.
When man guards his tongue and keeps himself busy with remembering Allah, calling to Him, reciting the Quran, learning about the virtues in the Prophetic Sunnah and mentioning the morals of the Prophet’s companions, he and those around him will be cured.
On the other hand, if he keeps himself busy in mentioning people, he and those around him will be ill. This conclusion is derived from the statement of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) when he said:
“Remembering Allah is a cure and mentioning people is an illness.”…
Ghibah is not committed only with the tongue
Amongst the tiny details of backbiting is that it is not committed with the tongue only which is clearly forbidden, but there are other ways it is committed with, such as giving hints, saying direct statements, saying words or giving gestures with the head, the eyes or the lips to indicate that someone is stingy (for example).
All of the above are forbidden and are considered backbiting.
If Muslims aim at establishing a coherent society like one whole body, they should avoid backbiting, for it shatters the unity of that body.
But if Muslims do not care if their society is full of hatred, enmity, envy and bitter feelings, then let them unleash their tongues in Ghibah, for it leads to all the aforementioned.
I know a group of men who are accustomed to meet every Tuesday, and this meeting lasted for 17 years, and upon being asked about the reason behind this continuity, one of them said:
“There is no Ghibah in our meetings, so our meetings have lasted for a considerable period of time”, but had these meetings had Ghibah, they would have stopped a long time ago…
Taunting and mimicry are considered backbiting, so when someone mimics a lame person or the way he moves and walks to make other people laugh, he is committing the worst kind of backbiting.
Also, backbiting is committed by drawing caricatures of people or writing something funny about them to make other people laugh at them.
It is said, “The pen is the other tongue.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Beware of backbiting, for backbiting is graver than adultery.
People’s rights are based on justice, whereas Allah’s Rights are based on forgiving.
If you backbite someone, you should go to him and ask for his forgiveness and express your new opinion of him in front of those who heard you backbiting him the first time, only then you will be forgiven…
Allah will forgive all the sins between you and Him (when you repent), but the sins between you and other people shall be forgiven only if they forgive you.
There is a prevailing misconception among people that if they offer Hajj all their sins will be forgiven.
Indeed, the one who offers Hajj will return as the day his mother gave birth to him without any sin, but this is true for the sins between man and Allah, but as for the sins between man and other people, they will not be forgiven unless those people forgive him.
Abridged from Nabulsi.com.