Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question : What is Backbiting
Is it backbiting when i say something about my “family” or about “parents” to a non-muslim. They dont know them. fex they are talking about islam and me, then i say my family is not much religious, i like it myself to wear hijab. (most of them think you are forced to wear hijab).
2) If you talk about an organization is bad, or a website, will it be considered backbiting when people know who is the owner/leader.
3) is this backbiting when a mother tells her children what her husband/childrens father has done during the day (a number of foolish things)?
4) is that backbiting when someone says something bad about a person “with his/her namebut i dont know that specific person? Should one then stop them?
5) A friend of mine tells me her personal mattes (about her marriage life, her husbands attitude to her). She is depressed, wants to talk to someone. Is she backbiting her husband? i know her husband. What should I/someone do with such persons?
6)is it considered lying if you say ” i think so”, “I think it costs so much”, “i think thats uncle jamil at the door”? E.g when “think” is putted before?
Answer : 1. It would be backbiting to mention something negative about one’s parents that they would dislike–as saying it is one’s parents is sufficient specification. The exception would be if there is genuine need to mention it, to the extent of the need, only.
2. In general, we should uphold the Prophetic command to, “Say the good or remain silent.”
Speaking ill of large groups or organizations isn’t backbiting, but can fall under many other sins of the tongue or heart (such as thinking ill of others, not having sincere concern for them, not wishing well for them, arrogance, etc)
3. Any mention of another with that which they’d dislike is backbiting, unless there is a good reason in doing so–and it is couldn’t otherwise be fulfilled.
4. Mentioning someone’s name is sufficient specification for the negative mention to be backbiting, even if the person addressed doesn’t know them. (As they could well get to know them, or tell someone else who may know them.)
5. If someone wants to talk, one should “direct” them to stick to the issues–with discretion and tact, but without wronging oneself by listening to the haram–rather than attacking individuals.
6. Saying “I think…” would make it an opinion rather than an assertion of fact. However, if one’s opinion could be listened to or followed, then one shouldn’t affirm it unless one has good reason to think that one is correct. Be sure before you speak.