The Dangers Of Gossip

Birds gossiping behind someones back
Two ravens gossiping behind bird's back © Antares614 | Dreamstime.com

When we are speaking, we should be very careful to not say negative things about other people. We may see it as a very insignificant matter, which will cause us to engage in it more frequently.We should remember however, what Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and-backbiter.” (Qur’an 104:1)

We should remember our own faults rather than the faults of others. We were not created to judge God’s creation. Judging others will cause us to become arrogant and develop a false feeling of piety. We are not perfect and we’ve all made mistakes in our lives. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Indeed He [Allah] does not like the proud.” (Qur’an 16:23) 

Talking negatively about other people without their knowledge can actually cause harm to that person. We may think that it is harmless and it will not affect that person, but the reality is that we are not aware of how detrimental it can be. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Oh, you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterward become full of repentance for what you have done.” (Qur’an 49:6).

Sometimes the negative things we are saying about others without their knowledge may not even actually be veritable. It may just be something we were told by another person and we have taken it upon ourselves to pass it on to another as though if it were a truth. Only Allah knows the truth. He knows what is in every heart and only He is aware of every deed. Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an:

“O ye who believe! 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? Nay, ye would abhor it…But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 49:12)

Our Lord and Creator is telling us that we should avoid suspicion. When we say things about others that we don’t know for certain are the truth, not only are we causing problems for the person in question, but we are also falling into sin ourselves. So, there is no benefit in gossip and backbiting – we should strive to avoid doing these things. We read in the hadith reported by Abu Huraira :

The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and his messenger know best.” The Prophet said, “To mention your brother in a way he dislikes.” It was said, “What do you think if what I said about him is true?” The Prophet said, “If what you say about him is true, it is backbiting. If it is not true, it is slander.” (Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim)