Leniency and kindness a must in Da'wah
Fatwa No: 45312

  • Fatwa Date:8-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 15, 1433
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I sit with some women who often indulge in backbiting and tale-bearing; what should I do? One of them says that she does not admire some of the traits of so and so, yet she does not mention the name. Is this considered backbiting? When someone indirectly mentions that so and so does not do his work properly or that some of his personal traits are bad, without mentioning the name of the person, is this considered backbiting? Is backbiting permitted in certain situations?





All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.


We ask Allaah The Almighty to reward you for your desire to guard His religion and forbid evil. You should know that it is the obligation of every Muslim individual to forbid evil upon seeing it as much as he is able. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered whoever saw something evil to change it with his hand; if he could not, then with his tongue, and if he could not then in his heart, and the last is the weakest degree of faith. [Muslim]

Backbiting is one of the most evil deeds that Allaah The Almighty forbade. In this regard He 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. And fear Allaah ; indeed, Allaah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful} [Quran 49:12]

·         {Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.} [Quran 104:1]

The one who enjoins good and forbids evil should offer advice kindly and leniently. There is no doubt that this is better in the sight of Allaah The Almighty and more likely to affect the person he is seeking to guide. It was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that Allaah The Exalted is kind and loves kindness. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]  She also narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that Allaah The Almighty is kind and loves kindness; and that His reward for kindness is greater than that for severity or any other manner. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

However, if they do not stop backbiting and tale-bearing, you are required to stay away from them. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allaah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed Allaah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together.} [Quran 4:140]

Scholars say that backbiting is when a Muslim mentions his Muslim brother in a manner that the latter dislikes. That was how the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, defined it in Hadeeth (narration). Therefore, if the statements mentioned in the question are mocking, they are considered backbiting. The same applies if someone says that some of the personal traits of so and so are bad.

You should also know that it is the obligation of every Muslim to forbid evil regardless of age, however, age must be taken into consideration when choosing what to say and how to say it. For instance, addressing someone who is older than you requires flexibility of words, leniency of style, submission and humility more than that  required to address someone of your own age or younger than you.

Do not be deceived by the whispers of the accursed Satan that forbidding evil would make people hate you and get annoyed with your behavior or that you would suffer many problems. Indeed, you may find this but only with evil people, whereas good people will love you because of what you are trying to do. Even if you suppose that people would hate you, this should not be a pretext for a believer to shirk his obligation. After all, the road to Paradise is paved with difficulty.

Allaah Knows best.

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