When the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), was asked about backbiting, he answered: “To mention your brother in a manner which he dislikes”. Then he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was asked, “What if my brother actually has (this failing) that I made mention of?” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “If (that failing) is actually found in your brother, you in fact backbit him, and if that is not in him it is a slander.” [Muslim]
Backbiting refers to a Muslim mentioning his Muslim brother in a manner that the latter dislikes, whether by referring to a defect in his body, or in his lineage, or in his morality. The meaning of insulting is included in backbiting, whether it is in the form of words, gestures, or writing.
Ruling of Gheebah:
Backbiting is forbidden in the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah. The person who commits it is given the similitude of a person who eats the flesh of his dead brother. Allah Says (what means): “…And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it…” [Qur’an 49: 12]
To highlight the sanctity of the Muslim, the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said in his sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage: “…Your blood, your wealth and your honour are sacred, as this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this land of yours, are sacred…?” [Ahmad and Muslim] This firmly proves how far beyond limits one transgresses when he backbites his fellow Muslim
Let us think deeply about this, and regard the orders of Allah and His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, with the awe that they deserve. In the sight of Allah, violating the rights of your brother by backbiting is equivalent to violating the sanctity of the Day of Sacrifice, in the month of Thul-Hijjah, in Mina. Do we really realise the enormity of this violation of a Muslim’s honour?
Islamic perception of Gheebah:
Al-Baraa’ Ibn ‘Aazib, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “There are seventy-two degrees of Ribaa (usury), the least of which is equivalent to committing adultery with one’s own mother. The worst of them (the seventy-two degrees) is a man’s insulting his brother’s honour (i.e. by backbiting).” [Ibn Jaroot]
‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I said to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: ‘It’s bad enough that Safiyyah is such and such. (Some of narrators said: she is short).’ He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “You have said a word which, if it could be mixed with the water of the sea, it would have been… (i.e., the enormity of it is such that, if it were mixed with the vast water of the sea, it would spoil it.)” [Abu Dawood]
A word which, if it could be mixed with the water of the sea, it would have been…! One word alone could do this, and have such a far-reaching impact! So what do you think of the backbiting people of today, whose tongues never cease to wag? What vast oceans could be tainted and corrupted by their words? How many quiet lives are disrupted by them?
‘Amr Ibn Shu’ayb narrated from his father from his grandfather, may Allah be pleased with them: (The people) mentioned a man to the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, saying: “He doesn’t eat until he is fed and he doesn’t visit anybody until they have visited him first.” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “You have backbit him.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! We have mentioned about him something which is true.” He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “It is bad enough that you have mentioned something about your brother which is true.” [Al-Asbahani]
We should all ask ourselves: who among us is infallible? Who among us is free from errors, faults and sins? Who among us would be content to have everything about him, good and bad, spoken of by others? Any one of us becomes furious if he hears someone hinting something about him; so what would you do if it was said clearly and in detail, let alone behind your back?
‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “We were with the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, when a man got up and left, whereupon another man immediately started backbiting him. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Clean the bits of meat from between your teeth!” The man asked: “What should I clean from between my teeth? I haven’t eaten any meat!” He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “You have eaten the flesh of your brother!” [At-Tabarani]
This is the state of our community nowadays: any one of us may commit the sin of backbiting, but then will say: I didn’t backbite, I didn’t eat flesh, I haven’t done anything! Why?
Because we have allowed our tongues to become accustomed to speaking this way, without knowing what backbiting is. Let us learn about our religion. Let us learn about what is lawful and unlawful - as much as we can - and distinguish between the speech which is lawful and the speech which is not.
The evil consequence of Gheebah:
Due to its negative impact on individuals and communities alike, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, frequently made mention of backbiting, and greatly warned against it.
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “O you who have believed (only) with their tongues while (true) belief has not visited their hearts! Do not backbite Muslims nor pursue their defects (and faults), otherwise Allah will pursue your faults, and whomever Allah pursues his defects (and faults) He disgraces him even though inside his house.” [Ibn Abu Ad-Dunya]
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, showed us the safe way of freeing ourselves from the evil consequence of backbiting others when he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to wealth or honour, should ask for his pardon (before his death), before he will pay for it (in the Hereafter) when he will have neither a Dinaar nor a Dirham (gold and silver currencies). (He should secure pardon in this life) before some of his good deeds are taken and paid to this (his brother), or (if he has no good deeds) some of the bad deeds of this (his brother) will be taken (from the person he wronged) and will be loaded on him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
Actions are by intentions
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose ‘hijrah’ (migration) was to Allah and His Messenger, then his ‘hijrah’ was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose ‘hijrah’ was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his ‘hijrah’ was for what he made ‘hijrah’ for.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Many scholars began books with this Hadith. Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, commences his book of Hadith (Saheeh Al-Bukhari) with this Hadith and explains that every action that is done without seeking Allah’s pleasure is invalid and devoid of reward.
It can be said that the entire religion revolves around this Hadith. Imam Ash-Shafi’I, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “This Hadith constitutes a third of all knowledge.”
Muslim scholars differ in opinion as to the limits of the Prophet’s, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, saying: “actions are by intentions”. Many of the later scholars are of the opinion that the limit is that the action is made correct or acceptable with the intention. What is meant by this is that a legislated action needs an intention. As for habitual actions such as eating, drinking, dressing, etc., they are not in need of an intention.
Some say ‘actions’ here is to be understood in its generality; therefore, nothing is exempt from it. Others relate this as the saying of the majority, meaning the majority of the early scholars. This occurs in the words of Ibn Jareer At-Tabari, Abu Talib Al-Makki, and others from the early scholars, may Allah have mercy upon them. Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I like that for every action, from prayer, fasting or charity or any action of righteousness that there be an intention preceding the action. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: ‘actions are by intentions’, and this is taken for every matter.”
Fadl Ibn Ziyad, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I asked Abu Abdullah (Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him) about the intention in action, how should it be? He said: ‘One should concentrate on himself when he intends to do an action, not doing it for the sake of people (showing off).’”
It is possible that the limits of the saying, ‘actions are by intention’, are that the action is good, corrupt, acceptable, rejected, rewarded, or not rewarded according to the intention. Therefore, this statement informs us of the Islamic ruling concerning this: the correctness or incorrectness of the action is in accordance with the correctness or incorrectness of the intention.
The saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, after this: “and for everyone is what he intended” informs that one cannot gain anything from his action except what he intended. So if he intended good, he gets good. If he intended evil then he gets evil. This second statement (of the Hadith) is not merely reiterating the first, because the first statement points to the fact that the goodness or corruptness of the action is according to the intention necessary for that action to exist. The second statement points to the fact that the reward of a person for his action is according to his good intention, and that the punishment for his action is according to his evil intention.
Scholarly definition of the word ‘Intention’:
1. To distinguish different types of worship, one from the other. Like distinguishing Noon (Thuhr) Prayer from Afternoon (‘Asr) Prayer, or distinguishing the fast of Ramadan from other fasts, or distinguishing actions of worship from actions of habit: like distinguishing bathing from impurity from bathing for the purpose of cleanliness.
2. To distinguish for who or what the action is done: is it for Allah only, for other than Allah, or for Allah and others than Him?
The meaning of ‘intention’ in the speech of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the Salaf (righteous predecessors) was used generally to carry the meaning of ‘desire’. In the Qur’an, the word ‘desire’ is often used to describe an intention, as in Allah’s Saying (which means): “…Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter…” [Qur’an 3: 152]
In other verse Allah Says (what means): “Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments…” [Qur’an 11: 15] And Allah Says again (what means): “And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life...” [Qur’an 18: 28]
Sometimes intention is described with the word ‘seeking’ as in Allah’s Saying (which means): “But only seeking the countenance of his Lord, Most High.”[Qur’an 92: 20] And (which means): “…and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allah…” [Qur’an 2: 272]
Regarding the second meaning of intention, there are numerous examples from the ‘Sunnah’ and the statements of the ‘Salaf’. To mention a few:
The Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “People will be gathered upon their intentions.” [Ibn Majah] He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also said: “Mankind will be resurrected upon their intentions.” [Muslim] Another Hadith says: “Verily those slain on the battlefield will be resurrected upon their intentions.” [Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya]
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also said: “For the ones whose concern is this world, Allah will scatter his affair, and place poverty between his two eyes. He will not get from the world except what is written for him. For the one whose intention is the Hereafter, Allah will gather for him his affair and place contentment in his heart, and the world will come to him willingly.”[Ibn Majah]
Zayd Ash-Shami, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Verily I like to make an intention for everything I do even if it is eating and drinking.”
Sufyan Ath-Thawri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I have not treated anything more difficult than my intention, because it keeps changing.”
Ibn Al-Mubarak, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “May be a small action is made great by its intention, and may be a great action is made small by its intention.”
The above-mentioned sayings were reported by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya in his book The Sincerity and the Intention.
Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon him, said that the foundation of the religion is upon three Hadiths:
1. “Verily actions are by intention.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
2. “Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours that which is not part of it then it is rejected.” [Muslim]
3. “The Halal (lawful) is clear and the Haram (prohibited) is clear.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
Islam teaches us to perform good actions, stay away from the forbidden actions and stop at the doubtful matters. All of this is perfected upon two matters:
Actions must be done correctly, according to the teachings of Islam, and seeking the Pleasure of Allah, Almighty.
Fudayl Ibn `Iyadh, may Allah have mercy upon him, said about the Saying of Allah (which means): “He who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed.” [Qur’an 67: 2]
Who is sincere and correct in it? If the action is sincere and incorrect, then it is not accepted. Likewise if it is correct and not sincere then it is not accepted. It is only accepted when it is both sincere and correct. It is sincere when it is for the sake of Allah, and correct when it is done according to the teachings of Islam.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
Excellence in faith
In one of the great prophetic narrations which included few, yet very comprehensive words, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), clarified one of the means for salvation, and a sign of the excellence of Islam. This narration gives the believing slave a tool by which to measure himself and realise how close or far he is from the straight path.
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “It is from the excellence of (a believer’s) Islam that he should shun that which is of no concern to him”. [At-Tirmithi].
This narration contains many great meanings which a believer should understand and apply. It is one of the principles and foundations of good manners, and thus some scholars considered it to constitute one-third or one-fourth of the religion of Islam.
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, summed all the aspects of piety and devoutness in this narration. He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, outlined for the slave what to do and what to shun, and it is an indication to the first pillar of soul purification, namely, shunning what does not concern the person, which leads to the second pillar, and that is busying oneself essentially with what concerns him”
He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, clarified that shunning that which does not concern the person is a means to attain excellence in religion. This means, that people, in reality, are of two categories, those who are excellent in Islam and those who are not. The one who applies Islam inwardly and outwardly is the one who has reached the level of excellence, as Allah says (what means): “And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend.” [Qur’an: 4:125].
On the other hand, the one who does not apply Islam inwardly and outwardly is the one whose degree of commitment to Islam is low, and one of the signs of this in him is that he busies himself in that which does not concern him.
The following verse is proof substantiating the meaning of the narration, in which Allah Says (what means): “And they who turn away from ill speech” [Qur’an: 23:3]. “… ill speech” is anything from falsehood, and that includes association, other minor sins and all useless speech, actions and concerns. Furthermore, busing oneself with that which does not concern him is included in the definition of “ill speech”.
There are other prophetic narrations which highlight the virtue of excellence in religion, such as the narration of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, in which he reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “When one of you reaches the level of excellence in faith, then every good deed is multiplied for him ten times up to seven hundred times; and each sin is recorded as only one, until he meets Allah” [Muslim].
The saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “… that which is of no concern to him” means, that which does not benefit him in his worldly life or the Hereafter, and this includes things that are prohibited, disliked, doubtful, and excess permissible matters which one does not really need.
The measure by which one knows whether something is of his concern or not, is Islamic teachings and not ones desires.
Many people decide to abandon enjoining good and forbidding evil under the pretext that this is interfering with people’s privacy and personal life. They would do so claiming that it is not a person’s concern to intervene in other people’s affairs, basing their argument on an incorrect understanding of this very narration.
Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “O you people! You recite and misinterpret the following verse (which means): ‘O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the (right) guidance [and enjoin what is right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden)] no hurt can come to you from those who are in error.’ [Qur’an:5:105] But I have heard Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, saying: “When people see an oppressor but do not prevent him from (doing evil), it is likely that Allah will punish them all.”” [Abu Dawood & At-Tirmithi]
In another narration he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Never that evil is committed and people do not prevent it, though able to do so, but Allah will overwhelm them with punishment”.
One other thing that one must concern himself with is the affairs of other believers and their issues, because he who does not worry about the affairs of his fellow Muslims is not one of them.
The need to understand this narration, its implications and applications intensifies in times like ours, when people’s commitments and personal obligations have increased and priorities are mixed up.
The implementation of this narration is the first practical step toward reforming oneself and those under his guardianship and care which leads to achieving excellence in religion. This happens by concentrating on that which is beneficial and staying away from all that is not ones concern.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Islam, through its instructions and legislations, was keen to organise people’s relation with their Lord the Almighty, in order for them to attain happiness in both this life and the Hereafter. At the same time, Islam legislates what governs people’s relations amongst each other, in order for love and harmony to prevail in the Muslim community. This can be achieved only when each individual is keen to protect and guard the welfare of others just as he would his own, and only then will the Muslim community become strongly bonded and well-established.
For this great objective to be fulfilled, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, guided his nation to accomplish the principle of solidarity saying: “No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself”, clarifying that for faith to become deeply rooted in the heart one must love good for others just as he likes to attain it himself, whether it is to be blessed with bounty or relieved from an agony; this is the path towards a perfect level of belief in one’s heart.
If we ponder the above narration, we find that accomplishing such a state of belief requires the soul to possess a high degree of excellence and good manners when dealing with others. In this state a person overlooks mistakes, perseveres regardless of the harm others may afflict on him and forgives ill treatment. Additionally, he shares the joy and sadness of his fellow Muslims; he visits the sick, comforts the needy, sponsors the orphan, provides for the widow and offers help to others and cheers them with a smile.
Just as he likes people to be happy, he also wishes that they prosper in the Hereafter, and thus he always strives to guide them to the right path, whilst remembering the saying of Allah (what means): “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’” [Qur’an 41: 33]
The narration also goes beyond the boundaries of the Muslims to cover wanting good to reach disbelievers. He likes that Allah blesses them with the bounty of belief and that Allah rescues them from the darkness of associating with Allah and disobedience. This meaning is substantiated with the narration in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Being a true Muslim is achieved by loving for people what you love for yourself”. [At-Tirmithi]
Indeed, we have the best example in our Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Once the Prophet advised Abu Thar, may Allah be pleased with him: “O Abu Thar! I see that you are a weak person, and I love for you what I love for myself, so never be in charge of (even as little as) two people, or be responsible for an orphan’s wealth”. [Muslim]
Our Salaf (righteous predecessors), may Allah have mercy upon them, took upon themselves the implication of this Prophetic advice, and were very sincere in its implementation in the best manner. Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I pass by a verse in the Book of Allah, and wish that all people would have the knowledge I have about it.”
Another such example is that once Wasi’ Ibn Muhammad, may Allah have mercy upon him, wanted to sell his donkey and the man who was buying it from him said to him: “Do you think it is good for me”. He replied: “Had I not thought so, I would not have attempted to sell to you in the first place.”
These two examples and many more reflect the loftiness in faith these people reached which yielded such results.
One of the implications of the narration we are addressing is that a Muslim should not want for others what he hates to happen to himself. This forces the person to shun many bad qualities, like envy, spite, selfishness, stinginess and other dispraised qualities which he would hate people to use when dealing with him.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
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