Backbiting (ghiba) and Seeking Counsel

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Is speaking about a situation without mentioning the persons name, even though the other person knows who it is, is that Ghiba? Not being able to express my feelings is at time unbearable. How does one vent, seek counsel or explain a situation about her marriage without committing Ghiba?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

Yes, talking about a known person would be considered slander (ghiba).

Slander: Its Basis and Ruling

Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha] (i.e. if he is known to the one addressed)

Birgivi said it is “to mention the negative points of a specific person who is known to those being addressed, to indicate these points, or to make them known by hand or any other limbs.” [Birgivi, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]

The basis is that all slander (ghiba) is absolutely unlawful (haram). Allah Most High says, “Do not slander one another.” [Qur’an, 49:12]

See also:  Slander, Backbiting, and Talebearing

Permissible Slander

Backbiting or slander is permitted in certain situations. One of these is to complain about any wrongdoing to someone who can do something about it. Another would be to seek assistance in correcting the ways of a sinner.

However, this is an exception and thus only permitted to the extent of the need. As a consequence, you could express yourself with restraint to someone who is able to do something to assist in correcting the matter; though not simply to express your frustration.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak good words or be silent.” [Agreed upon]

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam