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How To Stop Backbiting for Good?

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How do we stop ourselves from backbiting?  I will talk about several things we can apply to our lives to prevent ourselves from backbiting and any other sins whether large or small.

1. Remind ourselves of the serious punishments for backbiting 

In order to stop ourselves from backbiting we need to remember the severe punishments for backbiting mentioned by Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) and Holy Quran. Allah will forgive the sins between you and Him, but He will not forgive you until the person you backbite  forgives you.

So I will repeat again what I said so that these Hadiths stick with you.  The holy prophet said in the previous Hadiths I mentioned: When we backbite, on the day of judgement our good deeds will be transferred to the person we backbite to repay the person we backbitten.  We all know at the day of judgement, people deeds will be put on a scale.  If the bad deeds outweigh the good deeds, we suffer the punishment of the Hellfire.

2. Have Taqwa or be Concious of Allah 

 We should adopt the behavior of consciousness of Allah Almighty or taqwa, knowing that even if we don’t see Allah, Allah sees us at every instant of our lives, he knows our thoughts, and everything that we do is recorded.

Allah says: “Or do they think that We do not hear their secrets and their private counsels? Indeed we do and our messengers are by them to record.” [Sûrah al-Zukhruf: 80]

We have to develop the level of Ihsan or spiritual excellence which is to worship Allah as if we see him as Prophet (sas) describes:

In a Hadith narrated by Umar ibn Al Khattab, Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Ihsan is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not, yet truly He sees you.”

3. Don’t put yourself in a position to judge Allah’s servants 

 If one is backbiting, he is making himself into a judge with no authority from Allah who is the Judge of Judges such as saying, so you can’t say “So-and-so is not a good person.”

 Know that you are not the judge of Allah’s servants; He created them and He judges them as He wills! .

عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كُلُّ بَنِي آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ وَخَيْرُ الْخَطَّائِينَ التَّوَّابُونَ

Prophet (saws) said: “All human beings without exception are sinful, but the best sinners are those who repent the most.” [Tirmidhi]

Try not to look for flaws or sins in others, because we all make sins either small or large, and may Allah forgive us.  And if  a brother or sister makes a mistake, try to make 70 excuses for your brother as holy prophet (sas) instructed.  This means we shouldn’t wait for a single mistake from another and try to use that mistake as an excuse to start a war on that person.  We should learn to forgive as Allah forgives and be tolerant of others.

4. Become Aware of your speech 

 We must be aware of what and why we are speaking.  Does our speech have a purpose , does it have an intention?,

من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say [something] good, or he should keep silent.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

Nawawi says, “This hadith is quite explicit that it is imperative to not talk unless the speech is good, which is that wherein there is some benefit. If a person is in doubt as to whether there will be any benefit, then he should remain silent.”

5. Wish for your brother what you wish for yourself 

On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) – the servant of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) – that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said :

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: (لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسه

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

This is the golden rule for Muslims.  I call it the golden rule.   It’s an order from Allah and his prophet to lover for your brother what you love for yourself.  So how can you have jealousy and envy in your hearts if you love for your brother what you love for yourself. Love your brother even if he has something that you don’t have.  Know that Allah has written what you have now in your life.

Also, if you love for your brother what you love for yourself, you wouldn’t love for yourself that someone talk bad about you behind your back or backbiting.

6. Face the person who attacked you instead of getting revenge by talking behind his back or backbiting:    

Allah says in the holy Quran:

لاَّ يُحِبُّ اللّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوَءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلاَّ مَن ظُلِمَ وَكَانَ اللّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمً

Allah loves not that evil should be voiced in public except where injustice has been done, for Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:148)

Allah doesn’t like someone to begin to speak up and criticize and attack, except when you are oppressed. Are you oppressed? If you are not, then don’t backbite. If you have a problem with someone, keep that problem between you and him, don’t spread it. . Allah will definitely punish anyone who will be disobedient  to this verse of Holy Qur’an .

7. Use your willpower to fight your ego 

We have to declare jihad or struggle against our nafs or ego. Be proud when you say I am on jihad. I am talking about the greatest jihad or struggle is against the nafs or ego and not against another people or unbelievers.

The Prophet  (saws) said: The mujahid is he who makes jihad against his nafs for the sake of obeying Allah. (Tirmidhi)

There is a creature or animal inside of us called the ego that orders us to sin and do wrong things. he ego has dirty characteristics such as anger, envy, jealousy, fear, stinginess, arrogance, and backbiting.  As Allah mentions in the holy Quran: The ego orders evil.  The main goal of Islam is to use willpower to control our ego.

The Holy Prophet, Peace be upon him, used to ask Allah to protect him against his ego: ” Allahumma la takilni ila nafsi tarfatain – Oh Allah, don’t leave me in the hands of my ego for even a split second (literally, the time it takes to blink an eye or less than that).”

Every moment of our lives is a struggle against our nafs or ego and to stop it before it takes over us.  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.

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