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Why We Participate in Backbiting?

Lets explore the reasons people participate in the evil habit and major sin of backbiting.  If we know why we backbite others, we will understand the behavior our ego.  Every time we initiate backbiting, we will recognize that the ego is riding us and is in control and we have to use our willpower to hone it down before the imminent destruction of ourselves and others.  

Here are 5 reasons why people participate in backbiting:

1: People backbite to please their friends and acquaintances.

When a group of people are participating in slandering of others and backbiting, a person may remain quiet and even encourage backbiting for fear of rejection and exclusion.

2: People backbite because of envy toward others.

Ibn Taymiyah says: “Some people are inspired by envy to backbite, and in doing so, combine between two ignoble traits: backbiting and envy.”

3: A person backbite to get things off one’s chest.

If someone was offended or hurt by another, the victim would backbite the attacker to lessen his or her anxiety and grief.

4: People backbite because of jealousy towards others.  

If someone is well liked and praised by others, a person because of jealousy would criticize and insult the person being praised.

5: People backbite to put someone down and raise their status in return.

The goal of backbiting is to show others that he is worthy of higher status and power than the other person.  Fudayl b. Iyad said: “No one has ever leadership without envying, transgressing, tracking down the faults of loathing to hear anyone else mentioned in a good way.” [1]

It is a Divine Order to fight against our ego, to catch it, and to force it to surrender. The means for this fight is our will-power. Everyone has this will-power, but only a few use it. It has been given to us to help us in the fight against our ego, and not for any other reason. Will-power has nothing to do with the desire for food, drink, or sex. Those are habits of our animal nature which make themselves felt without will. Will only appears when we try to free ourselves from our habits.[2]

Notes:

1. http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_101_150/backbiting.htm

2.  Sheikh Nazim Alhaqqani

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