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Hadith regarding the harms of tongue and backbiting

“Sometimes one may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong and because of that he may slip down in the Fire as far away as the East is from the West.”
(Hadith No. 837 Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira(r.a.) Sahih Bukhari Book 81, Chapter 23)

A man said, “Messenger of Allah (peace of blessing of God be upon him), such and such a woman has a reputation for engaging to a great extent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving but she annoys her neighbours with her tongue.” He replied, “She will go to Hell.” He said, “Messenger of Allah (peace of blessing of God be upon him),  such and such a woman has a reputation for engaging to a small extent in fasting, almsgiving and prayer, but she gives pieces of curd as sadaqah and does not annoy her neighbours with her tongue.” He replied, “She will go to Paradise.” (Narrated by Abu Hurayrah Ahmad and Bayhaqi, in Shu’ab al-Iman, transmitted it. (Mishkat))

Narrated AbuHurayrah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The gravest sin is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim’s honour, and it is a major sin to abuse twice for abusing once. (Abu Dawood, Book 36, Number 4859)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.” (Abu Dawood, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 83)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God 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 God 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)


The following has been taken from Imam Ghazali’s book “Revival of Religious Sciences”. The content has been modified and simplified a bit to make it easier to understand.

Some major causes of backbiting and their medicine:

Anger – Anger is a cause which should be brought under complete control. If you are determined to take revenge upon a person out of anger, know that God will take revenge upon you out of anger for your back-biting as He has prohibited you from that.

To support the opinion of friends – Its medicine is to oppose the opinion of friends in the matter of back-biting a man. Would you rather please your friends than pleasing God?

To show one’s piety by back biting another –  You should know that in that case God’s wrath will fall on you and that you are courting destruction in the next world absolving yourself from guilt in this world. You should also know that you are losing all your virtues by back-biting.

To consider oneself pure and disclose one’s prestige and pride – The medicine is to know that your glory and dignity may vanish and the people may look down upon you.

Envy – Its medicine is as follows. You should know that if you envy anybody for his riches and honour in the world, you will be burnt by fire of envy in this world in addition to your being burnt in Hell-fire.

Ridicule – You should know that you have ridiculed a person in presence of some people, but you will be ridiculed before all the creatures in the next world.

To express astonishment at the conduct of others. It is a mockery which is an act of sin.

Cases in which backbiting is allowed

To help to change one’s evil deed – It is lawful to narrate the works of a sinner to bring him to the right path and to change his evil deed to such a person who is able to prevent that evil work by exercising power over him.For example: To complain to the Police or the right authorities.

To seek legal decision – It is lawful to narrate the deeds of another to seek legal decision or law for remedy. Hinda, daugther of Utba, complained to the Porphet: Abu Sufiyan is a miser. He does not bear necessary expenses of myself and my children. May I spend anything in his absence? The Prophet said: Take such things as are necessary for you and your children. Hinda mentioned about miserliness and opression of Abu Sufiyan, but he did not blackmail her for back-biting as she had intention of taking decision.

To warn a Muslim about one’s harmful things – It is lawful to narrate the faults of another to save a Muslim from his injrious and harmful things. To Disclose faults so that people make take precaution. For example, to save a person from marrying in the bad family. To warn someone to save him from bad company.

To disclose bad deed of an evil doer – To disclose the guilts of those who are accustomed to evil deeds openly is no sin such as a tyrant ruler. The Prophet said: “There is no sin in back-biting a person who has shaken off the screen of shame from his face”.


What should you do when you encounter Backbiting?

To support, or be a part of it, is also supporting backbiting which is a sin. One should make some effort to stop or minimize it, if one can’t do so, he must consider it bad in his heart.

Try to stop it by warning people the harms of backbiting. If you can’t atleast let people know you disapprove of it. Try to talk good about the person being backbited.Try to change the Topic

Leave the Gathering if possible and Pray that God has mercy on the people backbiting and forgives them. And also pray for yourself and the person being backbited, that God forgives and guides us all.

If you cannot leave, atleast consider it bad in your heart. And that is the lowest level of Imaan according to the hadith of the Prophet.

Please leave comments. We would love to see your thoughts regarding the topic for example how we can improve ourselves and refrain from back biting. To recommend an article or other questions about the blog, please email :

Peace be upon you!

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