Backbiting and gossiping are diseases which have lasted in our hearts for so many years and we find hard to curb them. It is clear that everybody is involved in backbiting and gossiping as long as he/she is a human being.
We hear that “iwenso ndiye umapanga mabodza ngati mkazi bwanji” (why do you gossip as if you are a woman?) which clearly shows that everybody takes part in gossiping and I don’t know whether the above statement means that women are more gossipers than men but the truth is we all fall in this trend.
However, Allah has warned us in Holy Quran where he says: “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.” (49:12)
Although, we know the relationships and cruelty we show one another. It seems that everything is a competition. Who is the most pious, intelligent, which organization is most popular and on and on. In my accord, I think this competitiveness is our human nature.
However, as Muslims we should learn to control our tongues and not love backbiting and gossiping about our sisters and brothers whether it makes us feel better or not. The truth is, it is prohibited. Some people say that there is not backbiting or gossiping if the thing we talk is true, but this is not true and the proof is in the following hadith where al-Muttalib ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Gheebah (backbiting, gossip) means that a man mentions about a person something which is true, behind his back.” (al Suyuti, Malik). And, abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah is?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “mentioning about your brother something that he dislikes.” (Muslim, abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ahmed).
Al Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The scholars agree that it is a major sin” and ibn Kathir (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “backbiting is forbidden by consensus, and in general there is no exception to that, save in circumstances where it is necessary to speak about people, such as establishing the status and authenticity of hadeeth narrators and giving advice.” And we have many Prophetic narrations explaining how dangerous gheebah is, and how one must strive to avoid backbiting. For example, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that a person had spoken about another after he left, whereupon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Clean the bits of meat from between your teeth!” The man said: “What should I clean from between my teeth? I haven’t eaten any meat! He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “You have eaten the flesh of your brother.” (al Tabarani).
And below follows another greatest warning than the above one, wherein the person who commits and engages in backbiting will be exposed on the greatest of all days, the Day of Judgement, by Allah Himself, Most-Just and All-Knowing:
Abu Barzah al Aslami and al Bara’ ibn Azib (may Allah be pleased with them) narrate that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O you people who pay lip service to faith when it has not entered your hearts! Do not gossip about the Muslims and do not expose their faults. Whoever exposes the faults of his Muslim brother, Allah will expose his faults, and if Allah exposes his faults it will be open for everyone to see, even if he hid in the innermost part of his house.” (Tirmidhi, Hibban).
Conversely, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever defends the honour of his brother in his absence, Allah will protect his face from the fire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi).
So, let us far-flung way ourselves from this attitude and Allah knows best!