The Qur'an equates backbiting with eating the flesh of one's dead brother. It states: "O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible) for suspicion in some cases is a sin and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it ... But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft- Returning, Most Merciful." (Holy Quran, 49:12)

The prophet (SAW) said: "Do you know what backbiting is?" he was answered, "Allah and His Messenger know best." So he said, "Anything you say about your brother that would displease him." Then someone asked, "But, if my brother is as I say, (is it still backbiting)?" And the Prophet (SAW) answered, "If he is as you say, then you are guilty of backbiting, and if he is not as you say, then you are guilty of slander (which is worse than backbiting)." (Muslim)

It is reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: "If a Muslim dishonors another Muslim at a time his honor is at stake or injured, then Allah, the Almighty, will dishonor him when he needs Allah's Help; and if a Muslim helps another Muslim when his honor is at stake or injured, then Allah, the Almighty, will help him when he needs Allah's Help." (Abu Dawud)

This hadith teaches us if someone is being ridiculed or backbitten in our presence, we should defend his honor. If we neglect this, we deprive ourselves of Allah's Help and Mercy.

The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

January 2000
Shawwal 1420
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