November 4, 2009
Backbiting, something that is a problem everywhere and that can have detrimental effects on our Ummah and ourselves. So how this is detrimental to us?
On the Day of Judgment our good deeds will be measured against our bad deeds and whichever has the greater balance will effect our outcome on that day.
What does this have to do with sins committed against others?
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying:
"Do you know who is poor? They (the Companions) said: A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth. He (peace be upon him) said: The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakah but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire." [Muslim]
What is being described here is the bankrupt person is the one who runs out of good deeds on the Day of Judgment. How can this be so?
There is a part of the last day where the Muslims will meet on the Sirat (bridge), those that make it across this bridge go to Jannah, those that fall from the bridge will spend at least some time in the Hellfire. On this bridge each will take from the other whatever is outstanding from the previous life. So if a person has done something to harm another, they will take from that person their good deeds to reconcile with that person, so at the end everyone is cleared of outstanding matters, cleansed of their bad doings. Except for those who don't have enough good deeds to give to those who they harmed. As it describes in the Hadith. These will dwell for some time in the Hellfire to cleanse what is left of their sins.
What things are we talking about? You borrowed a pen from someone and you didn't return it, minor but still that person will come to claim what is rightfully theirs. You speak badly about someone or spread lies about them, they will come to collect.. You borrow something and return it in bad condition without apology or replacing what you ruined. You steal from someone. You physically hurt someone. You short change them in a deal. There are some many ways in which we may cause harm or injustice to another person, and unless we sort it out now, in this life it will be sorted out on the Sirat in the form of handing over those good deeds.
How does this all related to the topic of backbiting?
Umar ibn al-Khattab came upon Abu Bakr as-Siddiq pulling his tongue. Umar said to him, "Stop, may Allah forgive you!" Abu Bakr replied, "This has brought me to dangerous places." [Muwatta']
We should be weary of our tongues and what we say. Think about this as an example ... how many times have you or someone else referred to one of your fellow sisters with a remark, "Look at the Hijab, isn't that ghastly" or some such similar comment. It isn't a huge comment, but just like the pen, it will be taken from you in good deeds on the Day of Judgment. We tend to focus on the big bad things we say, or others say without realizing that even the smallest thing will come back to us. And again think for a moment, one such small comment often begins a conversation which grows into worse forms of backbiting and slander.
Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Quran:
"O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite 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 accepts repentance, Most Merciful" [Noble Quran 49:12]
Can you imagine that backbiting is like eating the flesh of your fellow human being?
Do you understand what backbiting is?
Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said:
"Do you know what backbiting is?" They said, "Allah and His Messenger know best." He then said, "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked him, "But what if what I say is true?" The Messenger of Allah said, "If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." [Muslim]
Backbiting is something that you say about a person that they will dislike you to say that is true about them. Even worse is slander because you are adding the addition sin of lying about that person on top of it!!
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
"Who protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and his private parts from illegal sexual intercourse, I shall guarantee him entrance into Paradise." [Bukhari and Muslim]
Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) also said:
"I asked the Messenger of Allah: Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of Allah replied, "He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands."
Are the Muslims safe from your tongue? Are you checking just what words are coming out of your mouth? Will you be handing out all your good deeds on the Day of Judgment because of what you said?
It is worth taking a stock take of what you say. Reflect upon that fact that the most likely person you say bad things about is most likely the person you would least like to share your good deeds with. Contemplate the effort you put into accumulating good deeds only to open your mouth and blow them all away!!
One last tip on this topic, it is easier to avoid backbiting, gossiping and slandering if you do not listen to such talk. It is also a sin to participate in backbiting by listening to others back bite.
Walk away or change the subject, but don't just sit there and absorb the evil utterances of others.
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