Imagine yourself working very hard every single day and when you get your paycheck you decide not to use it, instead you put it aside in a bank to save it so that one day when you have enough money, you would buy a house for your family and live happily. So, you work hard day and night and save as much as can for that house and after many years you decide to go and withdraw your money from the bank to buy your dream house.
But when you try to withdraw your money, the banker tells you I’m sorry but your account is empty! You get frustrated and angry and say “what happened? I spend all those years saving my money! I want to file a complain against you, give me my rights! Tell me where did my money go?” And the banker would say “Some people came to us with prof that you owe them money and we gave it to them.” You will ask: “Who are these people give me their names!”. He will tell you: “These are the people that were backbitten by you! The people you used to describe as “This guy is stupid, She is short, He is fat, She is ugly, He smells bad, She isn’t funny” and many more of them, and I’m sorry to tell you that some people didn’t get their rights yet so, they will file a complain against you asking for their money!”
Imagine this as your situation on the day of judgement, all of your good deeds are taken away from you by these people and when your good deeds end, and the people you’ve backbitten are still standing waiting for their rights, they’ll start giving you their bad deeds, so your scale will go down as it was described in this hadith:
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his forgiveness today, before there will be no dinar and no dirham, and if he has any good deeds to his credit they will be taken from him in a manner commensurate with the wrong he did, and if he has no good deeds, then some of his counterpart’s bad deeds will be taken and added to his burden.” [al-Bukhaari].روى البخاري (2449) عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَال : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ مَظْلَمَةٌ لأَخِيهِ مِنْ عِرْضِهِ أَوْ شَيْءٍ فَلْيَتَحَلَّلْهُ مِنْهُ الْيَوْمَ قَبْلَ أَنْ لا يَكُونَ دِينَارٌ وَلا دِرْهَمٌ إِنْ كَانَ لَهُ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ أُخِذَ مِنْهُ بِقَدْرِ مَظْلَمَتِهِ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ حَسَنَاتٌ أُخِذَ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ صَاحِبِهِ فَحُمِلَ عَلَيْهِ
Allah Subhanhu-Wa-Taalaa said in the Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ (12) سورة الحجرات
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting) . And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (12) Surah Al-Hujraat
Our Prophet Mohammad(Peace be upon him) described what backbiting is in this hadith:
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” [Muslim]
وقد عرف رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الغيبة بقوله: أتدرون ما الغيبة؟ قالوا الله ورسوله أعلم، قال: ذكرك أخاك بما يكره، قيل أفرأيت إن كان في أخي ما أقول؟ قال: إن كان فيه ما تقول فقد اغتبته، وإن لم يكن فيه ما تقول فقد بهته. رواه مسلم
A mistake that we do sometimes is that we speak ill of person behind his back and when someone tell us to stop because we are backbiting, we say, “I already said it to him in person!” This is still considered gheeba because you’re mentioning it behind his/her back just because you once said it to that person , doesn’t give you a free pass to go around and speak about him behind his back!
This hadith gave me goosebumps after hearing it, it is so painful to know that backbiting will lead to such a result!
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “During the Mi’raj (the Night of Ascension), I saw a group of people who were scratching their chests and faces with their copper nails. I asked, ‘Who are these people, O Jibril?’ Jibril replied: ‘These are the people who ate flesh of others (by backbiting) and trampled people’s honour.”‘
قال صلى الله عليه وسلم: لما عرج بي مررت بقوم لهم أظفار من نحاس يخمشون وجوههم وصدورهم، فقلت من هؤلاء يا جبريل؟ قال: هؤلاء الذين يأكلون لحوم الناس ويقعون في أعراضهم. رواه أبو داود
After knowing all of these punishment we should repent today and ask Allah to forgive every single person we’ve backbitten even if we don’t remember their names, because sadly, backbiting became our main topic wherever we go, we sometimes backbite people that we don’t even know well like celebrities, our teachers, some random people.
May Allah forgive us and forgive every single person we’ve backbitten and grant us mercy, and make our tongues never speak ill of any human being, and make our hearts hold no jealousy or hate for our Muslim brothers(Ameen)