Backbiting in educational material

Fatwa ID: 02338

Answered by: Molana Muhammad Adnan

Question:

Assalamu 'Alaikum

I recently participated in a language lesson at university where we translated a newspaper article together which backbit/slandered a certain person. We only had a short extract, from which it was not completely clear what the content of the article would be, but from the title it was possible to make a very good guess, though most of the extract itself did not talk directly about the person, so it was a bit ambiguous. Was it wrong to have participated in this though I felt strong doubts about the article? There were only three of us in the class so it would have been very difficult to avoid doing as the teacher came to check on each of us in turn.

At the end of the lesson I also audibly agreed when the teacher asked us to translate the part of the extract which we did not get to in class, possibly (though I'm not sure) having forgotten momentarily that it was doubtful since I'd already started translating it. Would this be considered encouraging/assisting in sin? If I was at fault, how should I repent for this?

Answer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Allah has stated in the 12th verse of Surah Hujurat:

O you who believe, abstain from many of the suspicions. Some suspicions are sins. And do not be curious (to find out faults of others), and do not backbite one another. Does one of you like that he eats the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor it. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is Most-Relenting, Very-Merciful.

The definition of backbiting is as following: This connotes speaking ill of a person behind his back which if he heard would hurt or injure his feelings, even if what was said about him was the truth; if what was said about him was untruth, it is slander or false accusation.[1]

It is evident from the above verse that backbiting is a major sin and therefore needs to be avoided.

Amongst the many rules of backbiting the scholars have stated: Backbiting does not only connote speaking ill of a person behind his back, but it also connotes an action or pointed reference to him.[2]

Therefore to aid in such matters would be blameworthy and taubah should be carried out.

As for taubah is concerned Allah has stated:

O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, "Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent." (Surah At-Tahreem:8)

Commenting on the above verse, Saeed bin Jubair (may Allah have mercy upon him) stated: “sincere repentance” is the accepted repentance and repentance will not be accepted until 3 conditions are met:

1.Fear that the repentance may have not been accepted.

2. Hope that the repentance has been accepted.

3.Obedience/good deeds are continued.[3]

Furthermore Allah has stated:

The forgiver of sin, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the destination. (Surah Al-Mu’min: 3)

In this verse Allah has informed us that he is both the acceptor of repentance and severe in punishment so that we remain between fear and hope and do not become content with our actions.[4]

There are many methods of taubah the easiest being to ask Allah for forgiveness directly in whichever language is easiest for you.

Just to mention one of the duas recommended in the Hadith:

It is narrated by Shaddad bin Aus: The Prophet () said "The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is:

اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ، أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَىَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي، فَاغْفِرْ لِي، فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ

('Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilahailla anta, Khalaqtaniwaana `Abduka, waana `ala `ahdikawawa`dikamastata`tu, A`udhubika min Sharri ma sana`tu, abu'uLakabini`matika `alaiya, waabu'ulakabidhanbifaghfir lee fa innahu la yaghfiruadhdhunubailla anta.")

The Prophet () added. "If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise."[5]

Only Allah knows best

Written by Mufti Eunus Ali

Checked and Approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham


[1]Mariful Quran, Volume 8, Page 139, Maktaba-e-Darul ‘Uloom

 

 

[2]Mariful Quran, Volume 8, Page 142, Maktaba-e-Darul ‘Uloom

 

 

[3]TafseerQurtubi, Volume 9, Page 421, Darul Hadith

 

 

[4]Tafseer Ibn Kathir, Volume 4, Page 84, Darul Hadith

 

 

[5] Saheeh Bukhari:6306

 

 

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