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Utilise your Time in Beneficial Matters & keep away from Qeela wa Qaal – Shaykh Uthaymeen

I advise you all to safeguard your time and to occupy yourselves in that which is beneficial. You should know that time is more precious than wealth, as Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High – said:

“Until when death comes to him, he says: O my Lord! Give me respite so that I may then do righteous actions.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:333].

Time is such that when it departs it does not return, whereas wealth, when it departs, then it is possible to replace it. So time is of the utmost importance. This is why I advise you to safeguard your time, and to occupy yourselves in that which benefits. Keep away from qeela wa qaal (gossiping) – that so and so said such and such about this and that person – because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in an authentic narration: “Indeed Allaah hates qeela wa qaal (gossip mongering), asking too many questions, and wasting one’s wealth.” [4] Unfortunately, many of the youths – after returning to the correct path, and uniting their hearts and unifying their word – have become disunited and fragmented into many factions, and this is due to the whisperings of Shaytaan amongst them and the disuniting of their word. So I advise the brothers to utilise your time in beneficial matters, and to keep away from qeela wa qaal. Indeed, time is like a sword; either you strike it, or it will strike you!

[4] Related by Muslim (no.1715), from Abu Hurayrah radiallaahu ‘anhu.

Source: Excerpted from Very beneficial article :

A Concise Legacy : Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen
Al-Istiqaamah Magazine , Issue No.5 – Ramadân 1417H / January 1997

Groupings , Partisanship & Gossiping – Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymîn

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymîn: From the fear of Allâh (subhânahu wa ta’âlâ) is that one puts great importance on guiding the creation by spreading true knowledge from the Book of Allâh and the Sunnah of His messenger (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and to explain for them the way of the companions and their righteous followers and instruct them to what the prophet (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) instructed to when he said:

“From the good Islam of a person is leaving alone that which does not concern him”

(at-Tirmidhî (2318).)

If you see a person returning [heading] towards Allâh (‘azza wa jall) and busying himself with that which concerns him and only cares about coming closer to Allâh, then you should know that it is from his good islam.

If you see a person caring about insignificant matters of no concern to him and that his time often goes to gossip and a lot of questions, then you should know that it is from his deficient islam. Thus, the prophet (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade gossip and a lot of questions. It is time wasting. It is wastage of time. If a person becomes inflicted by this disease, he will waste his time. He first asks a person regarding what has happened and what this and that one has said. He thereafter goes to the next person and asks the same thing and so on and so forth. That is how he wastes his time and other’s time.

However, were he only to care about that which concerns him… It is okay to ask about what has happened and what is happening in the society if there is a need to ask and if the purpose is to treat and eradicate the problem. The purpose should not be to slander others and cause splitting. There are people who are like that today. Some people have a good intention. But this impoverished person (Miskîn) got this disease, namely to only care about gossip and what this and that individual has said and what this and that group has said. He does not ask in order to treat the disease and eradicate the splitting. He asks in order to slander or to be as the children who say:

“You are either with these or with those!”

We only know of this grouping and this partisanship from the children. That is why I advise you to entirely avoid this matter. It entails no benefit. It only wastes time. The messenger (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade that money and time should be wasted with gossip and a lot of questions.

The Prohibition of Backbiting and the Commandment of Guarding one’sTongue - Imam Al Nawawi


Allah, the Exalted, says:

“And backbite not one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (49:12)

“And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah).” (17:36)

“Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (50:18)

1511. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.”

1512. Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He said, “One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1513. Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah.”

1514. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, “A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1515. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.”

1516. Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Bilal bin Al-Harith Al-Muzani (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “A man speaks a good word without knowing its worth, Allah records for him His Good Pleasure till the day he will meet Him; and a man utters an evil word without realizing its importance, Allah records for him His displeasure till the day he will meet Him.”
[Imam Malik and At-Tirmidhi].

1517. Sufyan bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Tell me, of something to which I may remain steadfast.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Say: My Rubb is Allah and then remain steadfast.” Then I said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear most about me?” He took hold of his own tongue and said: “This.”

1518. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do not indulge in excessive talk except when remembering Allah. Excessive talking without the Remembrance of Allah hardens the heart; and those who are the farthest from Allah are those whose hearts are hard.”

1519. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “He whom Allah saves from the evil of that which is between his jaws and the evil of that which is between his legs will enter Jannah.”

1520. ‘Uqbah bin `Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), “How can salvation be achieved?” He replied, “Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins.”

1521. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: `Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.”’

1522. Mu`adh bin Jabal (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): “Inform me of an act which will cause me to enter Jannah and keep me far from Hell.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied, “You have asked me about a matter of great importance, but it is easy for one for whom Allah makes it easy.” He added, “Worship Allah, associate nothing with Him in worship, offer As-Salat (the prayer), pay the Zakat, observe Saum (fasting) during Ramadan and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House of Allah, if you can afford it.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) further said, “Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a screen (from Hell), charity extinguishes (i.e., removes) the sins as water extinguishes fire, and standing in prayers by a slave of Allah during the last third part of the night.” Then he recited: “Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Rubb in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” (32:17,18) Then he added, “Shall I tell you of the root of the matter, its pillar and its highest point?” I replied: “Yes! Certainly, O Prophet of Allah.” He said, “The root of this matter (foundation) is Islam, its pillar (mainstay is) As-Salat (the prayer) and its highest point is Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah).” Then he asked, “Shall I tell you of that which holds all these things?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” So he took hold of his tongue and said, “Keep this in control.” I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Shall we really be accounted for what we talk about?” He replied, “May your mother lose you! People will be thrown on their faces into the Hell on account of their tongues.”

1523. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do you know what is backbiting?” The Companions said: “Allah and His Messenger know better.” Thereupon he said, “Backbiting is talking about your (Muslim) brother in a manner which he dislikes.” It was said to him: “What if my (Muslim) brother is as I say.” He said, “If he is actually as you say, then that is backbiting; but if that is not in him, that is slandering.”

1524. Abu Bakrah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Delivering the sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage on the day of Sacrifice at Mina, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Verily! I have conveyed this message to you.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

1525. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: I said to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): “Such and such thing of Safiyyah (May Allah be pleased with her) is sufficient for you.” (She means to say that she was a woman with a short stature). He said, “You have indeed uttered a word which would pollute the sea if it were mixed in it.” She further said: I imitated a person before him and he said, “I do not like that I should imitate someone even (if I am paid) in return such and such.”
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

1526. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “During the Mi`raj (the Night of Ascension), I saw a group of people who were scratching their chests and faces with their copper nails. I asked, `Who are these people, O Jibril?’ Jibril replied: `These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) and trampled people’s honour.”’
[Abu Dawud].

1527. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “The blood, honour and property of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim.”

Some cases where it is permissible to Backbite - Imam Al Nawawi


1531. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: A man sought permission for audience with the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). He said, “Give him permission but he is a bad member of his tribe.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1532. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “I do not think that so-and-so understands anything of our Faith.”

Al-Bukhari said: Al-Laith bin Sa`d, who is one of the narrators of this Hadith, said: The two men mentioned by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in this Hadith were hypocrites (i.e., they revealed Faith and concealed disbelief).

1533. Fatimah bint Qais (May Allah be pleased with her) said: I came to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and said to him: “Muawiyah and Abul-Jahm sent me a proposal of marriage.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Muawiyah is destitute and he has no property, and Abul-Jahm is very hard on women.”
[Bukhari and Muslim].

1534. Zaid bin Al-Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) said: We set out on a journey along with the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and we faced many hardships. `Abdullah bin Ubaiy (the chief of the hypocrites at Al-Madinah) said to his friends: “Do not spend on those who are with the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) until they desert him.” He also said: “If we return to Al-Madinah, the more honourable (meaning himself, i.e., Abdullah bin Ubaiy) will drive out therefrom the meaner (meaning Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)).” I went to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and informed him about that and he sent someone to `Abdullah bin Ubaiy. He asked him whether he had said that or not. Abdullah took an oath that he had not done anything of that sort and said that it was Zaid who carried a false tale to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). Zaid said: I was so much perturbed because of this until this Verse was revealed verifying my statement:

“When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)), they say: `We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah.’ Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed.” (63:1) Then the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) called the hypocrites in order to seek forgiveness for them from Allah, but they turned away their heads.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1535. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, said to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): Abu Sufyan is a niggardly man and does not give me and my children adequate provisions for maintenance unless I take something from his possession without his knowledge. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to her, “Take from his possessions on a reasonable basis that much which may suffice for you and your children.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Prohibition of Listening to Backbiting - Imam Al Nawawi


Allah, the Exalted, says:

“And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk) they withdraw from it.” (28:55)

“And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden).” (23:3)

“Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allah).” (17:36)

“And when you (Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Qur’an) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Shaitan (Satan) causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers).” (6:68)

1528. Abud-Darda’ (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “He who defends the honour of his (Muslim) brother, Allah will secure his face against the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

1529. `Itban bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said in his long Hadith cited in the Chapter entitled `Hope’ reported: When the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) stood up to offer As-Salat (the prayer) he asked, “Where is Malik bin Ad-Dukhshum?” A man replied: “He is a hypocrite. He does not love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do not say that. Do you not know that he said: La ilaha illallah (there is no true god except Allah),’ seeking His Pleasure. Allah has made the fire of Hell unlawful for him who affirms that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1530. Ka`b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said in his long story about his repentance: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was sitting among the people in Tabuk. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “What happened to Ka`b bin Malik?” A person from the tribe of Banu Salamah said: “O Messenger of Allah! the embellishment of his cloak and an appreciation of his sides have allured him, and he was thus detained.” Mu`adh bin Jabal (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “Woe be upon you! You have passed indecent remarks. O Messenger of Allah! by Allah, we know nothing about him but good.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remained silent.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

The Backbiting Of The Heart – Imaam An-Nawawee

Know that having bad thoughts about someone is forbidden just like having bad speech about him. So just as it is forbidden for you to speak to others about the defects of a person, it is likewise forbidden for you to speak to yourself about that and to hold bad thoughts for him.

Allaah says:

“O you who believe, avoid much (types) of suspicion. Verily some (forms) of suspicion is a sin.” [Surah Al-Hujuraat: 12]

And Abu Hurairah (radhi Allaahu anhu) reported that Allaah’s Messenger (sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Beware of suspicion, for indeed suspicion is the most untruthful form of speech.” [39]

The ahaadeeth with this same understanding I have mentioned here are many. What the backbiting of the heart means, is: When the heart has firm conviction and holds bad thoughts about someone. But as for the notions that occasionally display in one’s mind or when one talks to himself, then as long as these thoughts do not remain established and continuous in him, it is excused according to the consensus of the scholars. This is since he has no choice in the matter as to stop it from occurring nor can he find any way to liberate himself from it when it does occur. This is the understanding of what has been authentically established (in the texts).

The Messenger of Allaah (sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed, Allaah has permitted for my ummah that which their souls whisper to them, so long as they do not speak it out (audibly) or act upon it.” [40]

The scholars say: “This refers to the notions that form in one’s mind, but do not become settled or established there.”

And they said: “This is regardless if the notion consists of backbiting, disbelief or so on (i.e. it is pardoned, so long as it does not settle). So (for example) whoever’s mind becomes flooded with thoughts of disbelief, but they are only thoughts, without him intending to have them carried out, and he then rids himself of these thoughts right after they occur, he is not a disbeliever nor is there any sin on him.

We have already stated previously, in the chapter on the (internal) whisperings, the authentic hadeeth, in which the Companions said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Some of us find things in our thoughts that are too tremendous to speak of.” So he (sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “That is the confirmation of Faith.” [41]

And this goes for the other reports we have mentioned in that chapter that bear the same understanding.

The reason for these thoughts being excused is due to what we have stated previously that these thoughts are impossible to prevent. Rather, one is only able to prevent those thoughts from becoming settled and established in one’s mind. This is why the heart’s being resolute and determined on these thoughts is forbidden.

So whenever these thoughts, which consist of backbiting or any other sin, present themselves in your mind, it is an obligation on you to repel them, turn away from them and mention some excuse or explanation that will change what seems apparent.

We stated previously that if someone is presented with a notion of bad thoughts for another person, he should cut off those bad thoughts. But this is unless there is some (religiously) legislated benefit that leads to thinking (about that person) in this manner. So if such a reason exists, holding these thoughts about his deficiencies is permissible, as well as warning against them, as can be seen in the jarh (criticism) of certain witnesses, narrators and others we have mentioned in the Chapter on “What Type of Backbiting is Permissible.”


[39] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (10/484 of al-Fath) and Muslim (2563)
[40] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (5/160 of al-Fath) and Muslim (127 and 202)
[41] Saheeh – Reported by Muslim (132); Translator’s Note: This hadeeth shows the Companions’ zeal and enthusiasm in commanding themselves with good and forbidding themselves from evil, such that they would even fight against the evil notions that passed through their minds. But as it is impossible to prevent such thoughts from occurring every now and then, they asked the Prophet (sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) about this. His response to them meant that their trying to repel these thoughts showed their strong Eemaan (Faith) and love for good.

Link to the this post :

Source : Guarding the Tongue – Imaam an-Nawawee (Al-Ibaanah e-Book)

What Type Of Backbiting Is Permissible? – Imaam an-Nawawee

Know that although backbiting is forbidden, it becomes permissible under certain circumstances when done for a beneficial reason. That which makes it allowable is a valid and legitimate goal, which cannot be achieved except by doing it (i.e. the backbiting). These goals can be broken down into six categories:

1. Oppression – It is permissible for the one who is oppressed to complain about his situation to the ruler or the judge or anyone else who holds authority or has the ability to grant him justice against his oppressor. He should say: “Such and such person wronged me” and “he did such thing to me”, and “he coerced me in this manner” and so on.

2. Seeking assistance in changing an evil and returning a sinner back to what is correct – One should say to the individual whom he expects has the ability to put an end to the evil: “Such and such person did this, so prevent him” or something to that effect. His objective should be to look for a way to ultimately put an end to the evil. If he does not intend this as his goal, then it is forbidden (for him to mention it).

3. Seeking a fatwa (religious ruling) – One should do this by saying to the muftee (scholar capable of issuing a fatwa): “My father” or “my brother” or “such and such person wronged me in this way.” “Does he have the right to do so?” “How shall I go about putting an end to it and obtain my right while repelling oppression from myself?” and so on. Likewise, one may say: “My wife did such and such to me” or “my husband did such and such a thing” and so on. This is permissible due to the necessity for it, however, to be more cautious, it is better for one to say: “What do you say about a man who has done such and such thing?” or “concerning a husband” or “concerning a wife who did such and such” (without saying “my”), etc.

By doing this, the goal is achieved without having to resort to specifying anyone. However, specifying an individual by name is permissible (in this circumstance), based on the hadeeth of Hind (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa), which we shall mention later, by the Will of Allaah, in which she told Allaah’s Messenger: “Indeed, Abu Sufyaan (her husband) is a stingy man.” And the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم did not forbid her from saying this.

4. Warning and Advising the Muslims against Evil – There are several perspectives to this, of which one is: Declaring someone unreliable in the field of narrating hadeeth and giving testimony. This is permissible to do, according to the Ijmaa’ (consensus of the Muslim scholars). Rather, it becomes obligatory due to the need for it. Another case is when an individual desires to enter into a relationship with another person either through marriage, business, the consignment of property, the consigning of something to him or any other of the daily affairs. It is obligatory on you to mention to that individual what you know about the person he wants to get involved with, with the intention of advising him.

If your objective can be achieved by simply saying: “It is not good for you to engage with him in business transactions” or “in a relationship through marriage” or by saying: “You should not do this” or anything similar to that, then adding more to this, such as by mentioning his bad characteristics is not permissible. And if the objective cannot be reached, except by specifically explaining that person’s condition to him, then you may mention that to him in detail. Another case is when you see someone buying a product from an individual who is known for stealing or fornicating or drinking or other than these. It is then upon you to inform the buyer of this, on the count that he is not knowledgeable of it already. And this case is not specified to this example only. Rather, it also applies to when you have knowledge that the commodity that is being traded is defective. It is then obligatory upon you to clarify this matter to the buyer, if he is not aware of it.

Another case is when you see a student going to an innovator or a deviant, seeking to attain knowledge from him, and you fear that it may affect the student. In that situation, you must advise him about the state of that innovator, on the condition that your intention only be for the sake of advising. And this is something in which regard many people fall into error, for perhaps the person speaking may do this (advising) because he is jealous (of the person he is warning against). Or perhaps the Devil may deceive him about this matter, causing him to believe that what he is doing is advising and showing compassion, so he believes this.

One last case is when a person has some leadership role, which he does not fulfill properly either because he is not fit for it or because he is a sinner or neglectful, etc. So in this case, one must mention this to those who have general leadership over this person, so that he can be removed and someone fit can be put in charge. Or those who have charge over him can know this about him so that they can deal with him accordingly and not be deceived by him, and so that they can make the right efforts to encourage him to be upright or to replace him.

5. When one openly exposes his acts of evil or his innovation – An example of this is when someone has openly exposed his consumption of alcohol, or his illegal confiscation of people’s money and raising of their taxes unjustly and his usurping command wrongfully. It is thus permissible for one to talk about what that individual has made public. But it is forbidden to mention any of his other defects, unless they fall under one of the categories in which we have mentioned that backbiting is permissible.

6. Defining someone – If someone is known to the people by his nickname, such as “the bleary eyed one”, “the one who limps”, “the deaf guy”, “the blind guy”, “crosseyed”, “flat-nosed”, and other than that, then it is permissible to particularize him as such, with the aim of identifying him. However, it is forbidden to apply that to him, when one’s intention is to degrade him. If he can be identified with another (more appropriate) type of name, then that is more preferable. These are the six cases in which the scholars have stated that backbiting is permissible, if it is done in accordance to the guidelines we mentioned above.

The evidences for the permissibility of backbiting can be found in authentic and well-known ahaadeeth. Furthermore, there is an agreement of the scholars concerning the allowance of backbiting in these six cases.

It is reported in the Saheehs of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim that ‘Aa’ishah (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said: “A man sought permission of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم to enter (his house), so he said: ‘Permit him to enter, and what an evil brother to (his) relatives he is.'” [26] Al-Bukhaaree uses this hadeeth as evidence for the permissibility of backbiting the people of mischief and doubts.

Ibn Mas’ood (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) narrated: “The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم divided a portion (of war booty amongst the people), so a man from the Ansaar said: ‘I swear by Allaah, Muhammad did not intend the face of Allaah by this (i.e. he was not fair).’ So I went to Allaah’s Messenger and informed him of this. His face changed (i.e. he became mad) and said: ‘May Allaah have mercy on Moosaa. He was indeed abused with greater than this, but he was patient.'” [27]

In some of the reports of the hadeeth, Ibn Mas’ood said: “I said: I will not raise another hadeeth to him again, after this.”

Al-Bukhaaree uses this hadeeth as proof that a person is allowed to inform his brother of what is being said about him. ‘Aa’ishah (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa) reported that Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم once said: “I do not think that this person and that person know anything at all about our Religion.” [28]

Al-Laith bin Sa’ad, one of the narrators of the hadeeth’s chain said: “They were two individuals from among the hypocrites (at his time).”

Zayd bin Arqam (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) reported: “We set out on a journey with the Prophet and the people suffered great difficulty (due to a lack of provisions). So ‘Abdullaah bin Ubay [29] said to his companions: ‘Don’t spend on those who are with Allaah’s Messenger so that they may disperse and go away from him.’ He said: ‘If we return to Madeenah, surely, the more honorable will expel the lowly ones from it. So I went to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and informed him of that. He sent for ‘Abdullaah bin Ubay and asked him, but ‘Abdullaah bin Ubay swore that he did not say so. So the people said: ‘Zayd told a lie to Allaah’s Messenger.’ And what they said distressed me very much. Later Allaah revealed the confirmation of my statement in His saying; ‘When the hypocrites come to you…’ [Surah Al-Munafiqeen]” [30]

Also there is the hadeeth of Hind (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa), the wife of Abu Sufyaan, in which she said to the Prophet: “Indeed, Abu Sufyaan is a stingy man.” [31] And also the hadeeth of Faatimah Bint Qays (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa), when the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said to her (with regard to her accepting marriage proposals from two suitors): “As for Mu’awiyah, then he is utterly poor. And as for Abu Jahm, then he does not cease to remove the stick from his shoulder (i.e. he beats his wives).” [32]

Footnotes :

[26] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (10/471 of al-Fath) and Muslim (2591)
[27] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim and its checking has preceded.
[28] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (10/485 of al-Fath)
[29] Translator’s Note: He was the leader of the hypocrites in Madeenah. Upon his death, Allaah revealed verses commanding the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم not to pray the funeral prayer over him.
[30] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (8/664 and 646-648 of al-Fath) and Muslim (2772).
[31] Saheeh – Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (9/504 of al-Fath) and Muslim (1714).
[32] Saheeh – Reported by Muslim (1480)

Posted from al-ibaanah e-Book – Guarding the Tongue : Imaam an-Nawawee

The Sin of Listening to the Backbiting and not Prohibiting it – Imam Nawawi

Know that in the same way that backbiting is forbidden for the one who speaks it, it is likewise forbidden for the one who listens to it and approves of it.

Thus, it is obligatory on the one who hears an individual embarking on committing the prohibited form of backbiting, to forbid him from doing it as long as he does not fear any open harm resulting from that. But if he does fear (harm) from that, then he is obligated to reject the backbiting with his heart and to detach himself from that gathering if he is able to do so. If he has the ability to reject it with his tongue or to cut the backbiting off by changing the topic, then that becomes required of him. And if he does not do that, then he has committed an act of disobedience (i.e. sinned).

If he is forced to stay in that gathering in which backbiting is taking place, and he fears from forbidding it, or he forbids it but it is not accepted from him and he cannot find a way to separate himself from them, then he is prohibited from listening and paying attention to the backbiting. Instead, his way out should be by making remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) with both his tongue and heart or just his heart. Or he should think about something else in order to preoccupy himself from having to listen to it. After having done this, his hearing it without listening or paying attention to it will not harm him, while he is in this mentioned state. If he is able, after this, to withdraw from them and they are still backbiting, then separating oneself is an obligation. Allaah says:

“And when you see those who engage in false conversations about Our verses by mocking at them, then turn away from them until they engage in a different topic of speech. But if the Devil causes you to forget, then after remembering, do not sit in the company of those people who are the wrong-doers.” [Surah AlAn’aam: 68]

It has been reported that Ibraaheem bin Adham was once invited to a waleemah (wedding feast), so he attended it and found people there who were mentioning a man that didn’t come, saying: “He is truly lazy.” So Ibraaheem said: “I brought this upon myself, such that I attended a place in which people are backbiting one another.” So he left from there and did not eat for three days. What has been recited of poetry with regard to this is:

“And restrain your ears from hearing vile speech
Just as you restrain your tongue from speaking it
Because when you listen to this vile speech
You are a partner to the one saying it, so reflect.”

What Should One Do When He Hears His Shaikh, Friend Or Someone Else Being Backbitten?

Know that it is upon the one who hears a Muslim being backbitten to oppose it and prevent the one doing the backbiting. If he is not able to prevent him with his speech, then he should stop him with his hand. If he is neither able to do so with his hand or with his tongue, then he should get up and leave that gathering. And if he hears his teacher (shaikh) being backbitten – or anyone else who has a right over him, or if the person (being backbitten) is from the people of righteousness and nobility, then his concern with what we have mentioned above should be greater.

Posted From the e-Book : Guarding the Tongue – Imaam An-Nawawee

Expiating Oneself and Repenting from Backbiting – Imam Nawawi

Know that it is required upon everyone that commits a sin to rush towards repenting from it.

Repentance with regard to the rights of Allaah must meet three conditions:

1. One must stop committing that sin immediately,
2. He must feel remorse and sorrow for having done it, and
3. He must resolve to not return to committing that sin again.

Repentance with regard to the rights of humans must meet these same three conditions (listed above), as well as a fourth one, which is:

4. Taking back any oppression that was inflicted on someone or asking for his forgiveness or absolvment from that.

So it is obligatory on a person who has committed backbiting to seek repentance according to these four conditions, because backbiting involves the rights of people, so he must seek the forgiveness of the person he has backbitten.

Is it sufficient for one to just say: “I have backbit you, so please absolve me from (this) sin” or must he inform him also of what he said about him?

There are two views on this according to the Shaafi’ee scholars:

The First: His clarifying what he said (when backbiting) is a condition. So if he is absolved without informing him of what he said, the pardon is not valid, just as if he were to absolve him from (stealing) unidentifiable money.

The Second: His informing him (of what he said) is not a condition, because this is something that one will not be able to tolerate and thus forgive. So his knowing (exactly what was said) is not a condition, contrary to the example of the (stolen) money.

The first opinion is the strongest, since people have the ability to grant forgiveness for certain types of backbiting but not other types.

And if the one who has been backbitten is either dead or absent, then one is excused from seeking to be absolved from it. However, the scholars say: He should supplicate much for that person and ask forgiveness for him, as well as do many good deeds.

Know that it is preferable for the one who has been backbitten to absolve the backbiter from his sin, but it is not an obligation on him to do so. This is because it is giving away and forfeiting one’s right, so the choice is his. However, it is strongly recommended (muta’akkidah) for him to absolve him so that his Muslim brother can be free from the harm of this sin and so that he can be successful in receiving Allaah’s great reward of Forgiveness and Love. Allaah, the Most High, says:

“Those who repress their anger and pardon people. Verily, Allaah loves the good doers.” [Surah Aali ‘Imraan: 134]

The proper way he should take in making himself allow the pardoning is by reminding himself that: “This matter has already happened and there is no way to remove it now. So it is not right for me to make him miss his chance of getting reward and absolving my Muslim brother.”

Allaah says:

“And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives (others), that is truly from the things recommended by Allaah.” [Surah Ash-Shooraa: 43]

And He says:

“Show forgiveness!” [Surah Al-A’raaf: 199]

The ayaat similar to what we mentioned above are many. And in the authentic hadeeth, the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

“And Allaah remains in the assistance of (His) servant so long as the servant remains in the assistance of his (fellow) brother.” [Saheeh – Reported by Muslim (2699)]

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said: “Whosoever is sought to be pleased, yet is not pleased is a devil.”

The people of the past would recite:

“It was said to me: Such and such person has spoken badly of you And when a youth sets out to humiliate, it is a shame So I said: He has come to us and issued an excuse The blood-money (i.e. recompense) for a sin – to us – is the apology.”

So what we have mentioned here concerning the encouragement for one to absolve and forgive a person from backbiting is what is correct. As for what has been reported on Sa’eed bin Al-Musayyib that he said: “I will not forgive the one who has oppressed me” and on Ibn Sireen that he said: “I will not forbid it on him and then make it allowable for him, because Allaah has made backbiting forbidden on him and I will never make permissible what Allaah has made forbidden” then it is either unauthentic or erroneous.

This is since a person that pardons someone is not making something forbidden permissible. Rather, he is only forfeiting a right that is established for him. The texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah indicate clearly that it is recommended to forgive and forfeit one’s rights, which are specific to this case. Or perhaps Ibn Sireen’s words can be taken to mean: “I will never permit myself to be backbitten.” This would be correct, for indeed if a person says: “I seek my honor back from the one who backbitten me”, he is not allowing for it to be done. Rather, he is forbidding everyone from backbiting him, just as he forbids others from being backbitten.

As for the hadeeth: “Are you not able to be like Abu Damdam – when he would go out from his home, he would say: ‘I am giving my honor away in charity for the people.’” Meaning: I will not seek justice from those who oppress me whether in this world or the Hereafter. This is useful in removing a transgression that existed before the absolvement, but as for what occurs after it, there must be a new absolvement made after that. And with Allaah lies the success.

Posted from al-ibaanah e-Book: Guarding the Tongue : Imaam an-Nawawee

Do not take Knowledge except from one who is known to be upon the Sunnah – Ahmad Ash-Shihhee

The following is posted from : Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee. This book was read to Allaamaah Rabee’ al-Madkhalee who gave some good instructions regarding it.

The Fourth Advice: Do not take Knowledge except from one who is known to be upon the Sunnah

Imaam Muhammad bin Sireen (rahimahullaah) said:

“Verily, this knowledge is Religion. So look into (i.e. investigate) whom you take your Religion from.”

And he said: “They (the Sahaabah) did not used to ask concerning the isnaad (chain of narration), but when the fitnah occurred, they began saying: ‘Name your men for us.’ So the People of the Sunnah would be looked to and so their hadeeth would be accepted. And the People of Innovation would be looked to and so their hadeeth would not be accepted.” [8]

So when one of these repentant individuals neglects these principles and guidelines, he becomes an open target for these misconceptions and he becomes a play object for many of those who (falsely) ascribe themselves to knowledge and Salafiyyah. So all it takes is for a person to claim knowledge or manifest his connection to the scholars from Ahlus-Sunnah, and you will find the repentant youth flocking around him, without thoroughly examining the reality of his condition and without looking into his history (i.e. background). But When he sees that his followers have become many and those who love him have become engrossed with him, he begins to reveal what he was concealing and what (way) he really inclined to. So now you see him calling to (holding) leadership in the field of Da’wah and pitching a tent for gathering everyone (i.e. regardless of beliefs). Or you see him doing other things that are in opposition to the principles of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah.

This is the point where the repentant individuals begin to become confused and divided into two or even three categories – those who agree, those who are against and those who are neutral. This confusion only comes about due to two things:

First: The repentant individual’s lack of devoting attention to beneficial knowledge, especially knowledge of the Fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah, since Knowledge protects the one who has it from deviations.

Did you not see how knowledge protected Abu Bakrah (rady Alllaahu ‘anhu) in the Campaign of the Camel (Jamal),[9] when the people put the Mother of the Believers, ‘Aa’ishah (rady Allaahu ‘anhaa) forth (for the campaign). So what protected Abu Bakrah (rady Allaahu anhu) was a hadeeth he heard from Allaah’s Messenger, who said when news reached him of the death of Kisraa and the appointment of his daughter (as the leader): “A people that leave their affairs to be governed by a woman will never prosper.”

So When the fitnah occurred, Abu Bakrah remembered this hadeeth and it protected him from that, such that he said: “Allaah protected me with something that I heard from the Messenger of Allaah When Kisraa died. He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: Who did they put to succeed her?’ They said: ‘Her daughter.’ So he (sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘A people that leave their affairs to be governed by a woman Will never prosper.’ So when ‘Aa’ishah approached, i.e. Basrah, I remembered the statement of Allaah’s Messenger and so Allaah protected me by it.” [10]

Second: A lack or returning to the People Of Knowledge, Since the most deserving to be asked are the People of Knowledge and their students from Ahlus-Sunnah wal- Jamaa’ah, those who have knowledge of this individual whom the people seek to study under. so this person Should be enquired into:

Is he from the Salafee students of knowledge or not?

And did he undergo valid educational studies, Such that he has the right to be sought knowledge from or no?

SO if the answer is in the negative, then the issue comes to an end, all praise be to Allaah. And if the answer is positive, then he can be Studied under and benefited from, but without going to extremes in that matter. Rather, he should be given his due place and status.

This is an important point, which is: Differentiating between the enlightened Scholars, those Who are referred to in issues related to knowledge and current events, such as the two Imaams, Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee and ‘AbduI-‘Azeez bin ‘Abdillaah bin Baaz (rahimahumaAllaa) and those enlightened scholars Who remained after them, such as the Mashaayikh, Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen, Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan, Rabee’ bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee, our Shaikh, Muqbil bin Haadee Al-Waadi’ee and others who are at their level amongst the people Of knowledge and fatwaa from AhlusSunnah waI-Jamaa’ah. So these individuals have their own level and position…

And between the prominent students of knowledge, whose knowIedge is known and whose following of the Sunnah is apparent by way of their books and the commendations of the scholars for them. SO these individuals also have their own level and position…

And between those who are less than them, from the students of knowledge, Whose Salafiyyah is Known and Whose ability to teach is recognized.

Footnotes :

[8] These last two narrations were reported by Imaam Muslim in his Introduction to his Saheeh

[9] Translator’s Note: The Campaign of the Camel occurred after the murder of Uthmaan, radyAlllaahu ‘anhu. when there was much turmoil amongst the Muslims. ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib radullaahu ‘anhu was given the bav’ah (oath of allegiance) as the succeeding Khaleefih and he decided to wait for the turmoil to simmer down before seeking revenge from the assassin of ‘Uthmaan. So the Muslims Were divided into those who were With him on this decision and those Who wanted justice for his murder right away. A group was formed to go and voice their case to ‘Alee and they rallied several of the Sahaabah including ‘Aa‘isha radhi Allaahu ‘anhaa‘ So she participated in the campaign riding on a camel (hence the name Jamal). When the parties at Basrah, a peaceful agreement was decided, yet due to some misunderstanding and confusion battle broke out and many lives were lost. And Allaah knows best.

[10] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (7099), An-Nasaa‘ee (5403) and At-Tirmidhee (2365), and the wording mentioned here belongs to him.

Read the full e-Book: Magnificent Points of Advice for those who have turned to the Way of the Salaf – Abu ‘Abdillaah Ahmad bin Muhammad Ash-Shihhee

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