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Education and Backbiting

Backbiting is a lethal defect and evil that unveils envy, oppression, and lack of faith. Unfortunately, people hanged to the bad manner of backbiting that became a general custom and a fruit in which they have fun. They used to place each other on the table of slicing to reveal the flaws and imperfections of one another openly.

Reality of backbiting:

Backbiting stands for mentioning the others' affairs that they detest, whether frankly, metonymically, indicatively, symbolically, or literally. It also comprises the mentioning of religious affairs, such as accusing of larceny, treason, negligence of prayers, impiety to parents, or the like, and worldly affairs, such as accusing of ill manners or loquacity or mocking the way of dressing or the like.

Illegality of backbiting:

Islam has banned backbiting since it arouses malice and animosity. God says:

And do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it.

Hence, God considers the backbitten as a brother, considers his honor as the flesh, and considers backbiting him, while he is unaware, as his death.. God also says:

Surely, as for those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter. And Allah knows, while you do not know.

The Prophet (s) said, “Backbiting is more serious than fornication. God may forgive the fornicators if they repent, while He will not forgive the backbiter before the backbitten forgives.” “He whoever keeps on backbiting and unveiling his brother, will be kept on in hell-fire, and God will unveil his flaws before the creatures.” “Sessions in which backbiting is prevalent are ruining the religion. Prompt your hearings from listening to backbiting. The deliverer and the receiver are parties of the sin.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “He whoever declares what he notices and hears about his faithful brother, is with those who are intended in God’s saying:

Surely, as for those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter.”

Backbiting is a grand sin for which God will chastise and interrogate on the Resurrection Day.

Incentives of backbiting:

Ethicists mention a number of incentives of backbiting. They are as follows:

- Mocking and ridiculing encourages backbiting others.

- Jocularity incites to backbite others.

- Faulting others and self-love causes backbiting.

- Associating, flattering, and consenting to individuals that are accustomed to exposing people’s defects cause backbiting.

- If it is expected that somebody will sooner or later backbite, this may lead to take initiative in backbiting him.

Backbiting is a sign of the ingenuity of mentalities that is irrelevant to virtue and morals.

Penance of backbiting:

The penance of backbiting is seeking the backbitten’s satisfaction and acquittal. Numerous narratives assert this indication. It is related that backbiting will not be forgiven unless the backbitten forgives. The Prophet (s) said, “Those against whom there is a complaint of honor or assets, should seek the acquittal before the coming of that day on which there will not be any dirham or dinar. On that day, the good deeds of the charged will be added to the complainants. If there is no good deed, the evils of the complainants will be added to the charged.”

Jurists have issued that the repentance due to which God forgives and pardons does not omit the chastisement of backbiting because it is people’s, not God’s, rights.

Protection against backbiting:

- A deliberate concern of the ceaseless chastisement that God has threatened the backbiters for debasing, dishonoring, and wronging the others, is a protective method against this malignant disease.

- The consideration of the worldly vices that are originated from backbiting, especially when it reaches the backbitten and arouses or increases animosity and may creates harm, insult, and aggression, may encourage avoiding backbiting.

- Removing and treating the incentives of backbiting will save against going on backbiting others.

Adapted from the book: "The Educational System in Islam" by: "Baqir Sharif Al-Qireshi"

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