question mark cloudIf any of us hear gossip about one of our brothers or sisters, we are enjoined to oppose it, and correct the speaker- gently, politely, and with wisdom - to the best of our ability. This is in accordance with the various ways of changing a bad deed which were described by the Messenger of Allah, "Whoever of you sees an evil deed should change it with his hand [by acting], or if he cannot do that, then with his tongue [by speaking out], or if he cannot do that, then with his heart - and that is the weakest of faith." (Reported by Muslim (Kitab al-lman, No. 49).

The least of these is opposing the wrong deed in our hearts, which in this case should make us leave the gathering where the gossip is taking place.

Let us think about the words of Allah (swt): {When you see men engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes you forget, then after recollection, do not sit in the company of those who do wrong.} [al-An'am 6:68]

The Messenger of Allah (SAAS) said, "Whoever defends the honour of his brother, this will be a protection for him from the Fire."

The Prophet (saws) also said, "Whoever defends his brother's honour in his absence, will be entitled to Allah's protection from the Fire." [Ahmad]

And "Whoever defends his brother's honour, Allah will protect his face from the Fire of the Day of Resurrection."[Al-Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (saws) also said,  "Whoever protects a Muslim from a hypocrite, (probably he said:) Allah will send an angel to protect his flesh from the Fire of Hell; and whoever accuses a Muslim of something, seeking to disgrace him, Allah will detain him on the bridge of Hell until he has been fully punished for what he said." [Abu Dawud]

Anecdotes on the Condemnation of al-Gheebah (gossip/backbiting)

1 - It is reported from al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) that a man said to him: "You have gossiped about me." He (al-Hasan) said,

"You have not reached such a position that you can control my Hasaanat!" [Translator's Note: The Islamic teaching is that the Hasanaat (rewards) of the one who gossips will be awarded to the victim.]

2 - Someone was told, "So-and-so has gossiped about you" - so he sent him a dish of dates, with the message,

"I heard that you had given me your Hasanaat as a gift, and I want to return the favour; please excuse me for not being able to pay back in full."

3 - It was reported from Ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy on him) that he said,

"If I were to gossip about anyone, I would gossip about my parents, for they have more right to my Hasanaat."

4 - Gheebah (backbiting) is the hospitality of the wrongdoer.

5 - `Amr b. al-`Âs, while traveling with his companions, once passed by the dead, rotting body of a mule and said,

“I swear by Allah, it is better that one of you should eat from this until he fills his stomach than for him to eat the flesh of a Muslim.” [Sahih al-Targhib at-Tarhib]

6 - A man mentioned something bad about another to his friend. His friend said to him, "Do you go out and fight against the Romans?" He said, "No." His friend asked: "Do you go out and fight against the Turks?" He said, "No." The friend said,

"The Romans are safe from you, and the Turks are safe from you, but your Muslim brothers are not safe from you!"

7 - If you are unable to do three things, then you must do three (other) things: if you cannot do good, then stop doing evil; if you cannot benefit people, then do not harm them; if you cannot fast, then do not eat the flesh of the people.

8 - The poet said:

"If a man is wise and fears Allah,
This will keep him too busy to concern himself with the faults of others,
Just as the weak and sick person is concerned with his own pain
Too much to think of the pain of others."