GOSSIP (GHIBAH) AND TALE-EARING (NAMIMAH)


The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“A PERSON MAY UTTER A WORD HE THINKS HARMLESS, WHICH RESULTS IN HIS FALLING THE DEPTH OF SEVENTY (70) YEARS INTO HELLFIRE.”

Tirmidhi

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“THE ONE WHO ADHERES TO THE LENGTHY SILENCE (EXCEPT FROM THAT WHICH IS GOOD) WILL BE SAVED ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.”

Tirmidhi

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“LET THE ONE WHO BELIEVES IN ALLAH AND THE HEREAFTER UTTER GOOD WORDS, OR LET HIM BE SILENT.”

Bukharee & Muslim

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“YOU SHALL BE SAVED AS LONG AS YOU ARE SILENT, FOR IF YOU SPEAK, IT WILL EITHER BE IN YOUR FAVOR OR STAND AGAINST YOU.”

Al-Bayhaqee

“THE TONGUE IS A GREAT BLESSING FROM ALLAH; THOUGH SMALL IN SIZE, ITS CRIME IS SHOCKING.”

“GENERALLY HOW MANY ERRORS HAVE YOU FOUND THE SONS OF ADAM COMMIT?” THE OTHER REPLIED, “I HAVE COUNTED 8000 SUCH ERRORS, BUT LET IT BE KNOWN, WE CANNOT COUNT THEM ALL. HOWEVER, THERE IS ONE GOOD TRAIT THAT WOULD COVER UP FOR ALL OF THESE ERRORS AND MISTAKES: TO HAVE CONTROL OVER ONE’S TONGUE.”

“DO NOT SPEAK IN A RANDOM MANNER WITHOUT A NEED. ONCE UTTERED, YOU NO LONGER CONTROL THE WORDS, BUT THEY CONTROL YOU.”

“THE TONGUE IS THE THING THAT DESERVES IMPRISONMENT MOST.”

“THE TONGUE IS LIKE A BEAST. IF YOU DO NOT TIE IT UP, IT ATTACKS YOU.”

When asked about

“THE ONE WHO CONTROLS AND PROTECTS HIS HEART THE MOST,

Dhun-Nun al-Misriyy, (Ibrahim Ibn Tawbah) replied:

“THE ONE WHO CONTROLS HIS TONGUE THE MOST.”

“WORDS OF GOODNESS REFLECTS WHAT IS IN THE HEART, AS SINFUL OR BLASPHEMOUS WORDS REFLECT WHAT IS IN THE HEART”

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

O YOU WHO BELIEVE! AVOID MUCH SUSPICION, INDEED 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 ALLÂH. VERILY, ALLÂH IS THE ONE WHO ACCEPTS REPENTANCE, MOST MERCIFUL

Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12

WHEN PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SALLA-ALLAHU ‘ALAYHI WA SALLAM) ASCENDED TO THE SKIES. HE PASSED BY PEOPLE WHO WERE SCRATCHING THEIR FACES AND CHESTS WITH NAILS MADE OF BRASS. THE PROPHET ASKED JIBRIL WHO THOSE PEOPLE WERE, AND JIBRIL REPLIED, “THE ONES WHO WERE EATING THE FLESH OF OTHER PEOPLE.” THIS IS A DIRECT REFERENCE TO THOSE WHO COMMIT GOSSIP (GHIBAH).

Abu Dawud

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

AND WHEN THEY HEAR AL­LAGHW (DIRTY, FALSE, EVIL VAIN TALK), THEY WITHDRAW FROM IT…

Surah Al-Qasas 28:55

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“ALLAH SHALL PROTECT ONE’S FACE FROM HELLFIRE IN THE HEREAFTER IF HE PROTECTS HIS MUSLIM BROTHER FROM GOSSIP.”

Tirmidhi

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“THE REWARD OF THE PERSON WHO COVERS UP THE PREVIOUS MISTAKES OF A MUSLIM IS SIMILAR TO THE REWARD OF THE PERSON WHO RESCUES A GIRL BURIED ALIVE.”

Al-Hakim in his book, al-Mustadrak

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“THE ONE WHO COMMITS TALE-BEARING (NAMIMAH) SHALL NOT ENTER PARADISE WITH THE FIRST GROUP.”

Bukharee

GOSSIP (GHIBAH) AND TALE-BEARING (NAMIMAH)

 The tongue is one of many blessings Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) bestowed upon His slaves. Although the tongue is a tiny organ, the person who uses it to comply with the orders of Allah, the teachings of the Qur’an, and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) may earn blessings in this world and the in Hereafter.

However, the one who uses his tongue in disobedience does not display thankfulness to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) and leads to his own destruction.

One needs to know the sins of the tongue can be small or enormous. One should be aware some of these sins take the person out of Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

 “A PERSON MAY UTTER A WORD HE THINKS HARMLESS, WHICH RESULTS IN HIS FALLING THE DEPTH OF SEVENTY (70) YEARS INTO HELLFIRE.”

Tirmidhi

 This hadeeth clearly refers to the bottom of Hellfire, a place only the blasphemers will reach.

Among the sins of the tongue are gossip (ghibah) and tale-bearing (namimah)

Ibn Abid-Dunyia related,

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

 “ONE CAN GREATLY BEAUTIFY HIMSELF WITH TWO HABITS–GOOD MANNERS AND LENGTHY SILENCE.”

 In the above hadeeth lengthy silence means not speaking, except for what is good, such as remembering and praising Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) and teaching others what is good.

Related from the route of Abu Hurayrah (Radia Allahu Anhu),

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

 “LET THE ONE WHO BELIEVES IN ALLAH AND THE HEREAFTER UTTER GOOD WORDS, OR LET HIM BE SILENT.”

Bukharee & Muslim

 We are responsible for our words.

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

 …VERILY! THE HEARING, AND THE SIGHT, AND THE HEART, OF EACH OF THOSE YOU WILL BE QUESTIONED (BY ALLÂH)

Surah Al-Isra’ 17:36

 A saying of the Prophet to the Companion, Mu’adh Ibn Jabal, in which he responded to Mu’adh by saying:

In this hadeeth the Prophet answered the question of Mu’adh Ibn Jabal,

 “CONFIRMING WHAT MAKES THE PEOPLE FALL INTO HELLFIRE ON THEIR FACES IS THE REAPS OF THEIR TONGUES.”

Tirmidhi

The one uses his tongue in remembering Allah, performing obedience, ordering the lawful, and forbidding the unlawful.

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

 NOT A WORD DOES HE (OR SHE) UTTER, BUT THERE IS A WATCHER BY HIM READY (TO RECORD IT)

Surah Qaf 50:18

However, it is known that some of these sinful words will be erased if the person repents. On the Day of Judgment wouldn’t each one of us want to have all good words in his record and not those disliked or sinful words?
It is important to emphasize on matters relating to the tongue.

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“THE ONE WHO ADHERES TO THE LENGTHY SILENCE (EXCEPT FROM THAT WHICH IS GOOD) WILL BE SAVED ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.”

Tirmidhi

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“YOU SHALL BE SAVED AS LONG AS YOU ARE SILENT, FOR IF YOU SPEAK, IT WILL EITHER BE IN YOUR FAVOR OR STAND AGAINST YOU.”

Al-Bayhaqee

Due to the importance of this subject the scholars of Islam were compelled to write extensively about it.

Among the great scholars of Islam is Imam Al-Ghazali, who said about the tongue:

“The tongue is a great blessing from Allah; though small in size, its crime is shocking.”

A person may utter words of praise and thankfulness to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) for which he earns reward. One might also utter a word that takes him out of the fold of Islam. Which cause loosing the reward of all his previous good deeds.

Among these is what Imam An-Nawawi reported:

Qiss Ibn Sa’idah and Aktham Ibn Saifiyy met together. One of them asked the other,

“Generally how many errors have you found the sons of Adam commit?” The other replied, “I have counted 8000 such errors, but let it be known, we cannot count them all. However, there is one good trait that would cover up for all of these errors and mistakes: To have control over one’s tongue.”

Imam ‘Ash-Shafi’, in addressing his companion, Ar-Rabi’, said:

“Do not speak in a random manner without a need. Once uttered, you no longer control the words, but they control you.”

That is, once you speak a word it will be to your benefit if it is good. However, if it is sinful, then it will be written against you and will require a valid repentance.

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (Radia Allahu ‘Anhu) said:

“The tongue is the thing that deserves imprisonment most.”

 Other scholars said:

 “The tongue is like a beast. If you do not tie it up, it attacks you.”

 Various scholars talked at length about issues related to the tongue to highlight for Muslims the importance of keeping control of one’s tongue.

When asked about

 “The one who controls and protects his heart the most,

 Dhun-Nun al-Misriyy, (Ibrahim Ibn Tawbah) replied:

 “The one who controls his tongue the most.”

Allah made the tongue witness to what is in the heart, as mentioned by the great scholars of Islam.

“Words of goodness reflects what is in the heart, as sinful or blasphemous words reflect what is in the heart”

GOSSIP (GHIBAH)

Gossip (ghibah) is a disease prevailing in many societies. In addressing this issue, let us remind ourselves and others to be cautious of spreading this disease.

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

O YOU WHO BELIEVE! AVOID MUCH SUSPICION, INDEED 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 ALLÂH. VERILY, ALLÂH IS THE ONE WHO ACCEPTS REPENTANCE, MOST MERCIFUL

Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12

In the above Ayah, Allah ordered us not to commit gossip (ghibah) amongst one another as it is similar to one eating the flesh of his dead brother. Allah gave us this comparison to show the ugliness of this sin and to guide us to clear ourselves of it.

There are many hadeeths of the Prophet (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) highlighting the unlawfulness of gossip (ghibah).

From the route of Abu Musa al-Ash’ariyy,

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was asked about the best among the Muslims, to which he replied:

“HE WHOM THE MUSLIMS ARE SAFE FROM HIS HANDS AND HIS TONGUE.”

Bukharee & Muslim

From the route of Anas Ibn Malik (Radia Allahu Anhu), he said:

WHEN PROPHET MUHAMMAD (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) ASCENDED TO THE SKIES. HE PASSED BY PEOPLE WHO WERE SCRATCHING THEIR FACES AND CHESTS WITH NAILS MADE OF BRASS. THE PROPHET ASKED JIBRIL WHO THOSE PEOPLE WERE, AND JIBRIL REPLIED, “THE ONES WHO WERE EATING THE FLESH OF OTHER PEOPLE.” THIS IS A DIRECT REFERENCE TO THOSE WHO COMMIT GOSSIP (GHIBAH).

Abu Dawud

When the Prophet spoke about gossip (ghibah), he gave a very specific definition. From the route of Abu Hurayrah (Radia Allahu Anhu),

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) asked about gossip (ghibah), said:

The Prophet defined gossip (ghibah) as mentioning something about your Muslim brother that he hates. The Prophet was asked,

“WHAT IF THAT THING I MENTIONED WAS SOMETHING TRUTHFUL ABOUT HIM?” THE PROPHET SAID, “IF IT WAS IN HIM, THEN YOU HAVE COMMITTED GOSSIP (GHIBAH), AND IF IT WAS NOT IN HIM, THEN YOU HAVE COMMITTED AL-BUHTAN”

Abu Dawud, An-Nasai, Muslim & Tirmidhi

Slander (Al-Bhutan) which is a sin more enormous than gossip (ghibah). Gossip (ghibah) is mentioning about your Muslim brother something that he hates, whether he is alive or dead, regarding his body, dress, house, character, or the like.

Many people fall into gossip (ghibah) as a result of negligence and not having proper control over their tongues.

EXAMPLES OF GOSSIP

He is short
He is cross-eyed
He is rude
He likes to sleep a lot
He eats too much
His house is messy
His son is rude
He is controlled by his wife
He is too fat
He does not have good taste
His car is ugly
His father is a garbage collector (with the purpose of slandering him)

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“EXAGGERATING IN GOSSIPING ABOUT THE MUSLIM IS AS SINFUL AS THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF USURIOUS GAIN (RIBA).”

Abu Dawud

LISTENING TO GOSSIP (GHIBAH)

Listening to Gossip is unlawful in Islam. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

AND WHEN THEY HEAR AL­LAGHW (DIRTY, FALSE, EVIL VAIN TALK), THEY WITHDRAW FROM IT…

Surah Al-Qasas 28:55

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“ALLAH SHALL PROTECT ONE’S FACE FROM HELLFIRE IN THE HEREAFTER IF HE PROTECTS HIS MUSLIM BROTHER FROM GOSSIP.”

Tirmidhi

If within a gathering of people someone is committing gossip, then it is obligatory on the others to forbid this. If they are unable to stop it by speaking or by force, then they must leave that gathering and hate the gossip in their hearts. In this way they escape being sinful themselves.

THE PRACTICE OF SOME PIOUS MUSLIMS IN THAT REGARD

It was related Ibrahim Ibn Adham was once invited to a banquet. When the guests were seated, some people mentioned the name of a person not in attendance by saying his presence was not pleasant anyway. Ibrahim Ibn Adham immediately reacted by saying:

“This is what I have done to myself; I have allowed myself to be present in a session with people who commit gossip (ghibah).”

He immediately departed that banquet without eating anything, and he continued to abstain from eating for three days.

If a Muslim committed enormous sins and then repented to Allah, it is not permissible for any of us to mention these sins about that Muslim because he already repented. The criterion for judging the Muslim is by his current prevailing state.

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“THE REWARD OF THE PERSON WHO COVERS UP THE PREVIOUS MISTAKES OF A MUSLIM IS SIMILAR TO THE REWARD OF THE PERSON WHO RESCUES A GIRL BURIED ALIVE.”

Al-Hakim in his book, al-Mustadrak

TALE-BEARING (NAMIMAH)

Tale-bearing, (namimah) is defined as spreading words among believers with the purpose of stirring up enmity and problems between them this matter is forbidden. It is unlawful and sinful.

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta ‘ala) says:

HINDERER OF THE GOOD, TRANSGRESSOR, SINFUL

Al-Qalam 68:12

Above Ayah highlights how ugly the sin of tale-bearing (namimah) is.

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“THE ONE WHO COMMITS TALE-BEARING (NAMIMAH) SHALL NOT ENTER PARADISE WITH THE FIRST GROUP.”

Saheeh Bukharee

That is, the Muslim who died without repenting of his sin of tale-bearing (namimah) will be tortured in Hellfire before entering Paradise.
Moreover, know that the reasons for most of the torture in the grave are gossip (ghibah), tale-bearing (namimah), and not clearing oneself from urine.

I ask Allah to protect us from falling into gossip (ghibah), tale-bearing (namimah), and other sins. May Allah make us among those who soundly prepare themselves for the Day of Judgment and among those who use the endowments Allah bestowed upon them in sincerity and obedience.

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