Answer: Assalamu alaykum,
Thank you for your question. Alhamdulillah, it truly is a blessing that you have hatred in your heart towards backbiting, especially in this holy month, and that you want to help her change. Your concern is a gift in and of itself.
Help her change
The best thing that you can do is to help your mother change to become a better person. This will make her more beloved to Allah and those around her. Start with telling her, before she starts ranting, about a recent book that you might have read about the Prophet’s life, about the enormities of the tongue, about the great blessings in keeping silent. If you tell her often enough, she will start to listen, by the grace of Allah.
In addition, you can try different tactics like changing the subject, keep bringing up your favorite topics, finding her a hobby or pastime, sending her recorded lessons that she can relate to and listen to, and if she really starts ranting, tell her that you need to go. You can also defend your siblings and tell your mom that nobody is perfect, and it doesn’t really help to complain. Tell her that the negativity will affect her health, and you don’t want her to get sick or stressed out.
As with anything, ask Allah to help you and supplicate to Him to help you steer yourself and your family away from the Hellfire. He will certainly listen, and you’ll gradually see improvement. Work on yourself as well, and be sure to understand the enormities of the tongue and its repercussions. Knowledge is a light, and it can be spread to others; I pray that Allah gives you success with your sincere intention with your mother. May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.