Joined: Oct 2008
Backbiting Scholars by Saalih Aalus-Sheikh
O believers, fear Allah for what He is worthy of and fear a day when you will be returned to Allah and He will hold everybody accountable on that severe day with what he has said, what he has done and what he has believed. Everything will be exposed on that day whether good or bad. Allah says which translates as: "So whoever does good equal to the weight of an atom or a small ant shall see it, and whoever does evil to the weight of an atom or a small ant shall see it" (Az-Zalzalah: 7-8).
O believers! Allah glorified in His book the importance of the scholars of the religion because they bear in their chests the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). They explain the religion to the people. This was the position of the Sahabah and Allah praised them with regards their position. Allah says which translates as: "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers and merciful amongst themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate in prayer"(Al-Fath: 29). He also praised them in another verse saying which translates as: "And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun those who migrated from Makkah to Madinah and the Ansar, the residents of Madinah, and those who followed them exactly in faithı"(At-Tauba: 100).
Although Allah praised them in these verses and in many others in the Quran, there were people in the time of the companions trying to misguide others and who believed that the Sahabah were not on the right path. Some of them claimed that the Sahabah were disbelievers because they thought they did not bear the responsibility of the religion and they claimed that some of the Sahabahs favored this world over the hereafter. Others claimed that some of the Sahabah made rulings not pleasing to Allah, but pleasing to men and accepted other than the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet.
However it was the consensus of the Ummah from the people of the Sunnah that anyone who belittles any of the Sahabah or mentions the scholars of this nation with anything other than good then he is not on the correct path and he is misguided. This is because the scholars of the Ummah are the inheritors of Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). They inherited the Quran, the Sunnah-the actions of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), and his sayings-the Ahadith and they conveyed it to people. Therefore, anyone who tries to defame or slander the companions is defaming or slandering the religion because the companions were the ones who conveyed Islam to us and to the people. He who slanders them or defames them is actually slandering and defaming what they have conveyed to us. This is one of the biggest means the disbelievers to use to make people have doubts about Islam and slander it because when they say that the companions were not trustworthy then how do you accept what is being conveyed by someone who is doubtful.
Likewise as time went on many people started slandering the scholars of the Sunnah and the scholars of Hadith. Sometimes they would say that they do not understand anything of this world and they do not understand anything about reality. They accuse the scholars of being to close to the rulers and presidents. They claim that the scholars only read and memorize religious texts but do not use their minds to understand it and many other criticisms and these are nothing but excuses slandering and defaming the scholars. As we have said when the people of knowledge are slandered then this is defaming, slandering, and casting doubts about the religion because the religion is clarified and explained and conveyed by the scholars. They explain the book of Allah and its meaning.
They explain the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and what it means, so anyone who slanders and defames these people is making a direct slander of the religion. However, some people might not mean it, but this is exactly what is happening because no one else conveys the religion but the scholars and those who inherited it from the Prophet. As the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said in the Hadith found in the books of Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah and reported by Abu Dardah, he (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, "The Prophets didn't leave gold nor silver behind them to be inherited, but they left knowledge to be inherited and anyone who takes it and learns it has collected a great fortune". Yes, the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets and slandering and defaming them is a direct slander to the religion. Slandering them and trying to destroy their image with facts or with lies would result that people doubting them and when people doubt them they will not trust the religion, nor will they trust the way they explain the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Nor will they trust the rulings about certain matters. If people do not trust the scholars, then the ignorant will start giving ruling and advice regarding Islam without knowledge and of course this would misguide others, as they are misguided.
O believers, when Allah elevated and exalted the ranks and degrees of the scholars He made backbiting to be among the great sins. Allah says which translates as: "And spy not neither backbite on one another, would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? He would hate it"(Al-Hujarat: 12). Allah made backbiting the same as eating the flesh of your dead brother and eating dead meat is one of the great sins. Likewise backbiting is a great sin and if backbiting is great it becomes greater if the person spoken about is one of the companions of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) or one of the scholars who taught the book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and educated and enlightened people and defended the Sunnah. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) forbade us from backbiting when he was asked in the Hadith found in Sahih Muslim reported by Abu Hurrairah; the companions asked, what is backbiting. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, "Mentioning your brother with something that he hates". This means in the person's absence; so the person asked another question by saying, "O Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), what if what he said was true?" He said, "If it was in him then you have actually practiced backbiting, and if it was not then you fabricated lies and slandered him".
Fabricating lies and slandering is greater than backbiting as Allah says which translates as: "And those who annoy believing men and women undeservingly bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin"(Al-Ahzab). Since backbiting is one of the great sins, anyone who does it between prayers will not have his sins expiated because the condition for expiation of sins, is that the great sins not be committed. So he who insists on doing this great sin and does not repent, ask the forgiveness and come back to Allah then even the small sins will not be expiated by the Salaah, nor by fasting, nor by the Sunnah prayer nor by the Umrah nor the Hajj. Allah says which translates as: "If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do so we shall remit from you your small sins"(An-Nisaı: 31).
Therefore, the condition for expiation of sins is that the great sins must not be committed. As in the saying of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) found in Sahih Muslim he (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, "The prayer to prayer are expiators to what is between them as long as the big sins are not committed". In another narration, it says as long as no one does a great sin and he also said Ramadaan to Ramadaan and Umrah to Umrah and Jumıah to Jumıah are expiators to what happens between them as long as the great sins are avoided. Therefore, he who practices backbiting mentions his brother with things that he hates in his absence even though what he is saying might actually be true about his brother. Without Tauba and abstaining, this great sin accumulates until it completely destroys the person as the Prophet said in the book of Imam Ahmad in the Hadith explaining and describing sins. He said it is like the example of a group of people who are divided in a valley, each one of them brings a small stick, and they gather and collect these sticks under a pot until they were able to build a fire to cook. Likewise, sins act this way and will gather and collect and accumulate until they destroy the person.
O believers, it is from Allah's mercy that He made the prayer as an expiation of small sins which are committed between one prayer to the other so if you commit a great sin such as backbiting or slandering especially regarding the people of knowledge then you are in a great danger. Rescue yourself and avoid the way of the misguided people. Those who commit sins, those who slander the people of knowledge though they know they are the best of people; the people who carry in their hearts and minds, the Quran and the words and ways of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). What they talk, they utter the words of Allah and the words of the Messenger as though he is present among us teaching and enlightening us. They educate the ignorant and the illiterate. They guide people to the correct ruling and people will know their effect when people recollect and gather in the hereafter. If a person takes a word from a scholar and this word results in that he is guided then it is of the religion and he will see the results and effects on the Day of Judgment. So how dare these people lie and slander the people of knowledge! How dare they backbite the people of knowledge when they are the best of people on earth. Anyone who mentions them with anything but good words is along the misguided and he is one that is not on the correct path. Slandering the people of knowledge is one of the great sins. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said in the Hadith found in the books of Imam Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah and Muslim reported by Samurah, "He who says things or conveys something knowing that it might be a lie then he is one of the two liars". In another narration, it says he is one of the liars. Allah says which translates as: "It is they who believe not in the proofs and evidences of Allah that fabricate falsehood and it is they who are liars"(An-Nahl: 105). Lying has spread in our time and that has resulted in backbiting and slandering causing many bad things to spread between people.
O believer, faith and belief prevent you from committing adultery and fornication and it prevents you with the help and guidance of Allah from drinking liquor or taking ribah or stealing or doing any of the great sins like polytheism, practicing magic, escaping from the battle, slandering believing women and all those matters that are rejected and hated by a believer. However, did your faith and belief prevent you from backbiting, lying or slandering? Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah said that it is common that righteous people avoid fornication, adultery, and drinking wine, but a lot of them fall into committing great sins by the use of their tongue in backbiting. The tongue commits great sins like backbiting and the heart commits great sins like arrogance and showing-off. Indeed, what the Sheikh said is true because great sins are many and Allah made for the tongue a sin that is considered a great sin. Muaadh asked the Prophet in the Hadith found in the book of Imam Tirmidhi reported by Muaadh Ibn Jabal. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) told Muaadh control this and he held his tongue so Muaadh asked the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), "Are we going to be held accountable for what we say?" he responded, "What else do you think would cause people to be thrown on their faces or their noses other than practice of their tongue".
So what would these people say to those who gather in social gatherings to backbite and slander the scholar, not having the least respect for the religion and what the scholars have in their hearts from the book of Allah and the Messenger. They do not fulfill the due right of the faith that is being conveyed to the people and spread by the scholars. They commit this great sin by speaking ill of the scholars yet while doing that; they act as if they are doing good works as if reading the Quran.
O Allah, we ask you make our tongues pure and instill love in our hearts for the believers. Do not make us have enmity nor hatred for them. O Lord, make us among those who say good and when we speak and we take refuge in you from tongues that will lead us to the hellfire. Allah says which translates as: "By the time, verily man is in loss except those who believe in Islamic monotheism and do righteous deeds and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience and perseverance (Al-Asr).
I ask Allah to bless you and I with the guidance of the Quran and to benefit us from its verses.