Is It Wrong to Condemn Public Sinners and Oppressors?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


I have done a prohibited type of gheebah and what I did and writing a comment of condemnation like this is impermissible?

What about the warning I asked about? Can this woman warn others to stay away from him because he is evil and dangerous.?

When warning someone for example regarding marriage or business, can one warn a person, even if one’s advice isn’t sought?

And if this is too much to ask, fine, but people always condemn others, for example when a rapist is shown on tv, it is only natural to speak out about how evil this man is, how dare he do this etc. This isn’t a private sin between him and Allah but it involves another. So is it really wrong to verbally condemn such people whose sin we heard of?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Backbiting is one of the most egregious sins in Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Backbiting is worse than fornication.” [Bayhaqi]

However, there are specific scenarios where speaking ill of someone is either not considered backbiting or is not considered a sin. Amongst these scenarios are the following:

1) Warning another of harm

2) Speaking about someone who flaunts their sins

3) Seeking legal redress

4) Seeking help for that person

[Bin Tahir, Sullam al-Tawfiq]

Warning Others

The first two of these relate directly to your question. It is permissible to warn someone about others who may prove harmful to them. This does not only apply to marriage and business; it is not a condition that one is asked about such a person for that warning to be given. [Ibid.] 

However, there must be a legally recognized reason for the warning, and one should only mention regarding them enough detail to deter the one seeking advice from engaging with them. [Ibid.]

Someone Who Flaunts Sin

Another exception is regarding the one who flaunts their sins publicly. However, one can only speak about the specific sin that is being flaunted. For instance, if someone drinks alcohol publicly and says ‘He’s a drunk’ that is not considered backbiting. However, if one says about the same person, ‘He neglects his prayers’ this would be sinful. [Ibid.] 

Actions Based on Intentions

All in all, the above exception of warning someone is conditioned by the intention of protecting that person. If one merely used that situation as a guise to justify backbiting it is still considered backbiting and they must repent.

Hope this helps

Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.