Answered by : Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question : What is Backbiting and How Can One Be Safe?
|Answer: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that backbiting is, “To mention another with something they would dislike.” [Related by Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud, from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him)]When unsure whether they’d dislike it, avoid saying it. The sunna is to be positive and respectful in speech.
Imam al-Barkawi said in his masterpiece on the operationalization of taqwa, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya,
“Backbiting is to mention the negative points of a specific brother who is known to the the one being addressed, or to indicate them or make them known by the hand or any other limbs.”
Allama Abu Sa`id al-Khadimi explained,
“(A specific brother who is known to the the one being addressed) for the who is not specified or known would not be backbiting.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya fi Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, 3: 183)
Safety lies is holding fast to the counsel of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say that which is good or remain silent.” And he said, “Whoever is silent is saved.” And, “From the excellence of a man’s Islam is to leave that which does not concern him.” The scholars explain “that which concerns him” as being anything in which there is a real worldly or next-worldly benefit.
And Allah alone gives success.