Salaam alaykum warahmatullah,
Every so often you see a group of people huddled together ‘gisting’. Gisting can be so much fun that you get carried away and don’t realise when it crosses that thin line into backbiting. We all know backbiting is a sin (even when what you are saying is true). Most of the time what we are saying is actually bad and we cant say them to the hearing of the person in question.
Q49:12 O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. 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. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.
There are several ahadith on the topic of backbiting. One of the clearest ones is – The Prophet (SAW) said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” narrated from Abu Hurayrah (RA)
This is my personal favourite – Hasan Ibin Al Makhaariq reported that “Once a woman visited Aisha and when the woman got up to leave, Aisha made a sign with her hand indicating to the Prophet that the woman was short. The Prophet immediately chastised her, saying, “You have backbitten!”
This shows it’s not just about talking or writing; you are not even allowed to make gestures that the person won’t like should they see you.
What am I getting at? Gisting / backbiting affects us negatively on so many levels.
1. It consumes so much time that it’s clearly a tool of Shaytan to distract us from our purpose in this world (which is to worship Allah SWT)
2. It’s an actual sin and can put us in deficit on the day of Qiyam (you have to pay back people you’ve slandered or backbitten with the only available currency – your good deeds.
3. Gisting becomes gossiping / backbiting / rumour mongering / slandering which generates bad blood and breaks down a community.
Trust me I know how gist can be ‘sweet’ and how a lot of times you are probably not even participating; maybe just sitting there but fact is listening is part of it. May Allah make it easy for us to be better people and better Muslims.
Barakallahu lee wa lakum
السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ