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The Punishment of Backbiting

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

3 April 2014 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.

Salaam 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

Wherever we are, wherever you are, we are inshaa-Allah asking Allah to bless us all in dunya and Akhirah. There are too many issues that we have to refute sometimes, but with ignorant people you don't need to refute because, as Imam Shafi`ee said, “If a hundred `alims come to refute me and debate me I will win on them, but if one jaahil, ignorant one, comes to debate me he will win.”

So today there is too much ignorance around the world: you debate one, ten come from the other side or you speak with one and more people will come, because there is no more contentment! Shaytan has already entered their desires and is telling them what they have to do and what they don’t have to do. So to debate with Shaytan is not easy, because he was not accepting any discussion that Sayyidina Adam (a) was better than him. When Allah told him, “I have ordered you to make sajda to him,” he said, “I am better than him! You created him from mud and clay and You created me from fire, so I am better than him.” So that arrogance is coming from Shaytan.

People today are arrogant, they don't want anyone to show them their mistakes, they don’t like for someone to say about them, “That person made a mistake, it’s not true what he is saying.” That is arrogance. If they have no arrogance you would find peace on Earth, because arrogance brings enmity and hatred [and the arrogant think,] “Why he has to be better than me?” That is what Shaytan said. You cannot follow what Shaytan says and drop what the Prophet (s) said. So the best today is to fix ourselves, to look within you and fix what is wrong in yourself. When you look outside you might find everything wrong, but with whom are you going to speak? It is impossible.

The Prophet (s) said to Archangel Gabriel, one of the highest angels to whom Allah (swt) gave authority--Sayyidina Jibreel (a), Sayyidina Mika’eel (a), Sayyidina Israfeel (a) and Sayyidina `Azraa’eel (a) are the four highest angels and there is also Sayyidina Ridwaan (a); these are the highest over all angels. So one day the Prophet (s) said to Jibreel (a), the angel that brought revelation to the Prophet (s), the Holy Qur'an:

قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِجِبْرِيْلَ عَلَيْهِ الْسَّلَامُ: مَا لِي لَمْ أَرَ مِيْكَائِيْلَ ضَاْحِكاً قَطُّ؟ قَالَ: مَا ضَحِكَ مِيْكَائِيْلُ مُنْذُ خُلِقَتِ الْنَّارُ

Anas Ibn Malik (r) narrated that the Prophet (s) said to Jibreel (a), “Why is it that I have never seen Mika’eel (a) laugh at all?” He said,“Mika’eel (a) has never laughed since the Fire was created. (Ahmad)

He is the Angel of Rain and not one single drop of rain comes without his permission. Count, how many drops of rain come over this world? It has to have his permission. He knows every drop where it comes down, wherever it comes; if a drop comes on your head he knows it, and that rain is rahmat. He said, “Why I didn’t see him laughing? Never did I see him laughing,” and Jibreel (a) answered. Look, if Mikaa’eel is not smiling and laughing, what about us? We are all day laughing and smiling, not taking into consideration that one day we might be asked. He is afraid that one drop of water might not drop in the right place! And Jibreel (a) said, “He never laughed or smiled since Hellfire was created,” which means he was before creation of Hellfire, that he has no sin yet and he is afraid of Hellfire. He never smiled and never laughed, because he saw that Allah (swt) created Hellfire and from that time he was worried.

How much do we have to be worried about Hellfire, as we might be in a bad situation? That is why the Prophet (s) showed the importance of du`a, supplication; he showed the importance of supplication because du`a is the one that can save us from Hellfire.

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ , قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " لَمَّا عُرِجَ بِي مَرَرْتُ بِقَوْمٍ لَهُمْ أَظْفَارٌ مِنْ نُحَاسٍ يَخْمِشُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَصُدُورَهُمْ , فَقُلْتُ : مَنْ هَؤُلاءِ يَا جِبْرِيلُ ؟ قَالَ : هَؤُلاءِ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ لُحُومَ النَّاسِ وَيَقَعُونَ فِي أَعْرَاضِهِمْ " .

Lamaa u`riju bee marartu bi qawmin lahu azhfaarum min nuhaasin yakhmashoona wujoohahum wa sudoorahum. qultu: man haa’oolaa’i yaa jibreel? Qaala: haa’oolaa’i’Lladheena yaakuloona lahoom an-naasi wa yaq`oon fee aa`radihim.

Anas bin Malik (r ) related that the Prophet (s) said:

When I went on Mi`raaj, Ascension, I passed by a group of people in Hellfire and I was seeing them. They had big nails made from copper (metal) and they scratched their faces with them. (Musnad of Imam Ahmad.)

When they scratch their faces with them, what happens? All kinds of pus and blood is coming from them. [I am narrating this] because today one person said to me, “Tell us something to be happy,” so this is to be happy! Sayyidina Mika’eel (a) never smiled.

With their nails they are scratching their faces and chests, and I asked Jibreel (a), manha oola, “Who are these people?” and he said, “These are the ones who were eating the raw flesh of people and delving into their honor.”

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

O you who believe! If a corrupt person comes to you with something wrong, ascertain the truth unless you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:6)

And the other verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

O Believers! Avoid suspicion as much as possible, for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it. But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:12)

That is hadith of Prophet (s) and that is the ayat of Holy Qur’an. Those people who are scratching their faces and chests are the ones speaking gheebah and nameemah, spreading fitna between their friends and their family and their communities! Is that not a verse from Holy Qur'an?

O believers! If a corrupted person comes to you with information, what do you need to do? Don't say, “This man is trustworthy, I have to believe him,” as Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “O mu’min,” He is saying to a mu’min, “No, check that person, check what he is saying or you might harm some people and they are innocent of what you are saying.” So when we say something wrong, accusing someone or speaking (badly) about someone, the first thing we have to do is to check, fa tabayyanoo. Dunya is full of hypocrites, too many munaafiqoon, and they create all kinds of lies and they believe their lies after a while as if they became facts, but Allah does not accept that and the lies don't become facts!

Allah said, “Check before you harm someone with ignorance,” and ignorance is not allowed in Islam; you have to be careful or then you will be regretful at the end. Do you want to be regretful when you will see Hellfire in front of you and be like, as Jibreel (a) said, like Mikaa’eel (a), who never laughed after seeing Hellfire? Do you want to scratch your face and your chest with your nails? No, we don’t want that so we have to be careful.

We are speaking in general terms. Don't take it personally or then we cannot speak if people take it personal and no one would be able to say any words. But Allah said in Holy Qur'an, “Avoid too much doubting, don’t listen.” I heard it from Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim (q), that if someone is speaking against someone, making gheebah (backbiting) or nameemah (slander), either stand up, the owner of the place, and say to him, “Don't speak like that in my place.” That is the lowest that you can do, whoever that person is, whatever his position! When you attack someone you must speak face-to-face, and gheebah means that person is not there, so that is backbiting.

You have to be careful! Allah (swt) said, “Avoid too much doubtings as you will be responsible,” so don't let people to make backbiting in your place, your office and masjid or wherever. Say, “No, I don’t want to hear that,” even if you are a wali. A wali doesn't repeat a story, as we read in Grandshaykh's notes, may Allah bless his soul, that if a story is repeated after two hours, don't repeat it or Allah will curse you! As followers of Naqshbandiyya-Nazimiyya Tariqah we have to be careful. Why are we coming here or why do we have centers around the world? To teach people what to do, to avoid harming others, to avoid being an ignorant, ijtaniboo, to avoid too much doubting.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo ’jtaniboo katheeran mina’dh-dhanni inna ba`da ’dh-dhanni ithm.

O Believers! Avoid suspicion as much as possible, for suspicion in some cases is a sin. (49:12)

Dhann, some of doubting is a sin, so don't let, don’t accept for people to repeat what has happened two hours ago or else you will be cursed! Wa laa tajassasoo... And Allah continues the ayat: don't backbite and don't spy. There are too many spies today and Shaytan is the biggest spy, so don’t let your Shaytan to spy: he comes in a picture of human being to do what? To spy on you and then he throws wrong information through the ear of someone. That is why Grandshaykh (q), may Allah bless his soul, said, “If it was in hands of people, they would have gone all the way back to Sayyidina Adam's time to backbite!” If they had the ability to go back, they don't go only two hours, but they go back to Sayyidina Adam (a) and backbite. There is too much of that now.

Allah (swt) said:

وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ

Wa laa tajasassoo wa laa yaghtab b`adakum b`adan ayyuhibbu aahadukum an yaakula lahma akheehi maytan fa-karihtumooh.

And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:12)

You have to read “Laa,” Laam-Alif, meaning “no way;” wa laa yaghtab, for sure there is no way to backbite, not only in Islam but in every religion! when Sayyidina Ibrahim (a) came and Sayyidina Nuh (a) came and Sayyidina Musa (a) came and Sayyidina Sayyidina Dawud (a) came and Sayyidina `Isa (a) came, the Prophet (s) mentioned no way there is an acceptance of backbiting! Allah said it in Holy Qur’an: you are coming against rules of Allah and you are breaking the Islamic Constitution, the constitution for human beings through their spiritualities and their worship, and they have to follow what Allah said in Holy Qur’an!

The Holy Qur'an says: wa laa tajasassoo wa laa yaghtab, don't allow yourself to backbite. If you backbite it is okay for the one who has been ‘backbitten,’ a new English word, as the one who is backbitten is going to be happy because you are taking his sin! Everyone can take his sin; the one who backbites others is carrying the sin of those who have been backbitten.

Allah said, ayyuhibbu aahadukum an yaakulu lahma akheehi maytan. Allah described the one backbiting, “as if you are eating the raw body,” as if you have the donkey carcass and you backbite is as if all of you are sitting around that donkey eating from it raw flesh. So what happened? You take everything from the donkey and leave the bones. It means anyone who is backbiting you will eat all your bad character, which is good because you stay clean and he will take all your sins. You are not a donkey, he, or she, the one who is backbiting, is the donkey. Allah said in Holy Qur'an, “The one you backbited you are eating raw.” Do you eat raw meat? It is disgusting with blood coming like Dracula or a vampire, and these make everyone afraid and they are fictions. What do you think about real ones coming to bite you in the grave because you have been backbiting your brothers or your sisters or your family or your brothers-at-large in the community, even in politics?

إِنَّ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيكُمْ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ فِيهَا مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا وَيُمْسِي مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا الْقَاعِدُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْقَائِمِ وَالْقَائِمُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْمَاشِي وَالْمَاشِي فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ السَّاعِي ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا فَمَا تَأْمُرُنَا قَالَ ‏"‏ كُونُوا أَحْلاَسَ بُيُوتِكُمْ ‏"‏

Before the Hour comes, there will be a tribulation like patches of dark night. A man will get up a believer and go to sleep a kafir, or will go to sleep a believer and get up a kafir. The one who sits will be better than one who stands and one who walks will be better than one who runs. Break your bows, cut their strings and strike your swords against stones. If someone comes to kill any of you, then be like the better of the two sons of Adam. (Narrated Abu Musa al-Ash`aree, Abu Dawud)

Prophet (s) said, “There are coming fitna on Earth, confusions that will be like big chunks of darkness on Earth. The one who is sitting is better than the one who is standing. Make sure you are not thrown in that confusion, that fitna! Run away from it, you and those around you. Be speaking to yourself, “I don't want to eat the flesh of my brother.” [Ask yourself,] “How can I do that?” Very easy, don't backbite!

From the hadith of Imam Ahmad:

Prophet (s) asked, “Who are these people who are scratching their faces and chests, Yaa Jibreel?” and Jibreel says, “These are the people who used to eat the flesh of human beings by backbiting; they spend their time in backbiting people and they accuse them in their honor. That is like some people do when they accuse others of making zina. `Ard means ‘the honor of someone's family;’ your wife, your children, your father and mother, if you speak bad about that as if you are speaking against their honor. Those who speak against the honor of people will be scratching their faces with nails! That is why Prophet (s) used to recite this du`a - memorize it if you can, and if you cannot then read it:

يامقلب القلوب والأبصار ثبت قلبي على دينك ، ويامصرف القلوب والأبصار صرف قلبي على طاعتك

Yaa muqallib al-quloob wa ‘l-absaar, thabbit qalbee `alaa deenik wa yaa musarrif al-quloob sarrif qalbee `alaa ta`atik.

O Controller of Hearts! Make firm my heart in Your faith, in Your worship. O Holder of Hearts, turn my heart to Your obedience!

“O You, Who changes hearts, moves hearts and sight! Keep my heart straight forward on Your religion. O Controller of hearts, control my heart to obey You.” That is what Prophet (s) used to say and the Sahaabah (r) said, “O Prophet of Allah (s)! If you say that, we who believed in you and accepted you, do you fear for us, because we might be falling into this problem?” He (s) said, “Na`m, yes I fear for you.” That means no one is safe, except for Allah's mercy! And Allah’s Mercy is big.

And Prophet (s) said:

إِنَّ الْقُلُوبَ بَيْنَ إِصْبَعَيْنِ مِنْ أَصَابِعِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُقَلِّبُهَا

Inna ’l-qulooba bayn isba`ayn min asaabi`r-rahmaani `azza wa jall yuqallibuhaa.

Hearts are between two of the fingers of The Most Merciful’s fingers, He turns them.

That means the hearts of Allah (swt) are between the two fingers of The Merciful: He turns them as He likes, means you have to make your Lord happy. And to make Allah happy with you, we go back to the beginning, you have to follow what He asked you to do. What did He say? Id`oonee astajib lakum, “Supplicate to Me, I will answer you, I will accept you.” So what are the conditions of supplications? There are six conditions for supplications ways that Allah will accept the supplication in six ways and we will mention them on Saturday inshaa-Allah to continue that. Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

We have to be careful we don't fall into an environment of backbiting. If you are sitting in a hall or masjid or home, and you hear someone is backbiting, even if that person is speaking the truth, it is not permitted for you to expose people because Allah's Name is as-Sattaar, He covers and veils their mistakes, so you cannot expose it even if it is true, you have no right to expose. If you want to say, “I am Muslim or mu’min,” if you are in tariqah or in a Sufi Order. The first thing they teach is to avoid arrogance and to avoid looking at people as if they are lower than you and backbite them. May Allah forgive us. May Allah bless us.

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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