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Why Backbiting (Ghībah) is a Sin

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10-October-2017

Backbiting (ghībah) is a sin because it puffs up our pride and sows discord in the Muslim community By Rayhan al-Safawi As Muslims, we must resist speaking against one another. This is the philosophy of the prohibition backbiting (ghībah). Ghībah is a way of judging others and it is a path Satan uses to make […]

Backbiting (ghībah) is a sin because it puffs up our pride and sows discord in the Muslim community

By Rayhan al-Safawi

As Muslims, we must resist speaking against one another. This is the philosophy of the prohibition backbiting (ghībah). Ghībah is a way of judging others and it is a path Satan uses to make us think that we are better than the one we are doing ghībah of. The best way to avoid this is to pray for our brother and sister who have erred. We must not give in to the temptation to backbite behind our brothers and sisters as well as our equals from other faiths. We must make duʿa even for those who have disappointed us and hurt us in more ways than we can count. Just like God sustains us, we must take the effort to sustain one another. This is not just some annoying clause of Islam, it is a critical part of our victory in the spiritual warfare against the Devil. It is only through a cohesive and healthy community that we can remain spiritually sound. Without a cohesive community, most of us will lose our religion.

The problem of ghībah is much deeper than simply sowing discord in the community. When we do ghībah of another person, we think that we are not like them and thus unconsciously – and inevitably – we believe that we are better than them. By doing so we puff our selves up and become arrogant and thereby become worse than them. Although we accept the mercy, forgiveness and love of God when we make mistakes, when we refuse to extend God’s mercy on others, we create a situation where God may also begin withdrawing His mercy from us in this world and in the next. As God once said in a hadith qudsī, “whoever does not show mercy shall not be shown mercy from God.”

Rayhan al-Safawi is a blogger at the World Shia Forum. He lives with his family in the West Coast, United States.

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