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Backbiting (Gheebat) in Islam and Ways to Prevent Backbiting

Backbiting (Gheebat) in Islam and Ways to Prevent Backbiting

The act of backbiting (Gheebah/Gheebat) has been strongly condemned in Islam in both the Quran and the Hadith. There are frightening descriptions of the punishment for backbiting in Islam. Backbiting in Islam is likened to one of the most repulsive acts possible in the Quran.

The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari that whoever has oppressed another person should indeed beg him to forgive him. He must do this before the Day of Resurrection. On that day, there will be no money to compensate for wrong deeds. In fact, the evildoer may lose his good deeds as well. Eventually, if that’s not enough, then Allah will give the oppressor the sins of the oppressed.

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said a group of people during Mi’raj were scratching their chests and faces with nails. He asked Jibril who they were. Jibril replied that they were the ones who engaged in backbiting.

Allah commands the believers in Surah al-Hujurat to avoid negative assumptions. He points out that this can be sinful. He also tells Muslims not to spy or backbite each other. Then, the Almighty likens backbiting to eating the flesh of one’s dead brother.

Backbiting is certainly a major sin and must be avoided at all costs. However, many people take it lightly or aren’t aware of the numerous forms of speech that qualify as Gheebat. Muslims must pay heed and learn about the various ways they can fall into the heinous sin of Gheebah. This is imperative in order for us to thoroughly protect ourselves from committing this often-overlooked transgression.

What is considered as backbiting in Islam?

The evil deed of backbiting prohibited in our religion can be committed in several ways. Many kinds of speech constitute backbiting, and it’s easy to backbite without even realizing your error.

Gheebah is to talk about a person negatively, which would offend and upset the person in question if he were present. This could include any undesirable comment about anyone’s physical appearance or his practice of the religion. It could also be something as basic as a snide remark regarding one’s financial status or children.

We can commit Gheebat in multiple ways.

It could be through regular speech or writing, for example, on the internet using social media. It doesn’t even have to be an outright, explicit statement.

Even implicitly mockinginsulting, or exposing someone qualifies as backbiting. If the statement disparaging the other person is true, it is still considered backbiting. However, if it is an untruth, one would be guilty of slander.

One may seek to justify and cover up his backbiting by using Islam. In such a case, a person might convince himself that he is against backbiting in general. He could tell himself that he’s not committing Gheebah; rather, he only shares the truth about another person.

Others may pretend to oppose immorality, whereas their primary intent is to talk negatively behind a person’s back. We must take great care to ensure we never commit this dreadful sin. Furthermore, we should always be mindful of our intentions when speaking, only uttering what is beneficial.

The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari that whoever believes in Allah and the Day of Reckoning should either speak good, or keep silent.

What causes Backbiting?

Weak Faith

It is vital to assess why backbiting is so prevalent nowadays. There are a number of factors that lead to backbiting or increase one’s likelihood of falling into it. For example, one may be lacking in faith and thus unable to exercise God-consciousness in all his actions. For such people, pleasing Allah and striving to avoid incurring His wrath is not always a priority.

Envy and Animosity

Another reason is envy and hatred towards others. Indeed, jealousy frequently instigates people to speak ill of those they harbor hostility and resentment towards. Conceit is also a key motivator of Gheebah. Often, one’s arrogance may lead to his looking down on others. Pride can make a person belittle others, ridicule them, or make fun of their lack of wealth, etc.

Impact of Upbringing:

Poor upbringing can also play a part. One may not have been brought up with Islamic values and etiquette. This means one’s conduct is not according to correct religious teachings; therefore, backbiting may become a regular activity.

Negative Company

In addition, keeping bad company is a common reason for backbiting. When your friends are morally deficient and ill-mannered, they will influence your character negatively. Consequently, you may end up acquiring their bad habits.

Social Pressure and Conformity:

A person may not necessarily be inclined towards Gheebah, but he may still backbite to avoid being seen as different or odd by society. People also tend to gossip and backbite purely for entertainment and socializing.

Lack of Religious Knowledge:

Furthermore, some people simply lack knowledge of the religion and the noble conduct and manners it enjoins. Such people are unlikely to grasp the enormity of this evil deed.

Practical tips and strategies to prevent yourself from backbiting

Here are some practical tips and strategies that individuals can implement in their daily lives to avoid backbiting by Islamic principles:

Mindful Speech:

Be conscious of your words and intentions before speaking about others. Imagine the impact of your words on someone’s feelings and self-esteem. Ask yourself whether what you’re about to say is necessary, true, and beneficial. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, refrain from saying it. Remember, words can either heal or hurt, so choose kindness.

Change the Topic:

If you find yourself in a conversation that turns towards backbiting or gossip, try to steer the discussion toward a more positive and constructive topic. Think about how you can make the conversation more enjoyable by sharing inspiring stories, discussing personal growth, recommending a good book, or sharing a positive news story. Be the catalyst for positivity.

Positive Affirmations:

Remind yourself regularly of the harmful consequences of backbiting as described in Islamic teachings. Picture how your words may affect the person being talked about. Reflect on the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that encourages speaking good or staying silent. Internalize this wisdom as a daily mantra to guide your speech.

Seek Good Company:

Surround yourself with friends and acquaintances who encourage positive speech and discourage backbiting. Think about the warmth and trust that a good company provides. These friends can serve as a powerful deterrent against engaging in negative conversations. Together, you can create an atmosphere of respect and kindness.


Take time each day for self-reflection. Instead of dwelling on the faults of others, consider your flaws and areas for improvement. Visualize the growth and self-awareness that come from focusing on your journey. This shift in mindset can lead to personal development and a more positive outlook.

Supplication (Dua): 

Ask Allah for guidance and strength to avoid backbiting. Recall moments when you’ve sought divine guidance and how it has empowered you. Seek forgiveness if you’ve engaged in backbiting in the past. Regularly make dua to improve your speech and character, feeling the spiritual connection that strengthens your resolve.

Educate Yourself:

Study Islamic teachings on ethics, morality, and the consequences of backbiting. Imagine the profound impact of this knowledge on your behavior. The more you understand the gravity of this sin, the more motivated you will be to avoid it. Knowledge becomes a powerful tool for personal growth and righteousness.

Practice Empathy: 

Try to understand the feelings and perspectives of others. Picture yourself in their shoes, facing their challenges and emotions. Empathy softens the heart and reduces the tendency to criticize or judge others. Remember that everyone has their struggles and challenges.

Avoid Gossip-Centric Environments: 

Limit exposure to places or social media platforms where gossip and backbiting are prevalent. Recall how freeing it feels to unsubscribe from or unfollow accounts or groups that promote harmful speech. Surround yourself with content that uplifts and inspires you.

Accountability Partner:

Consider having a trusted friend or family member to hold you accountable for your speech. Visualize their supportive presence, gently reminding you to choose words wisely when you slip into harmful speech. Their encouragement can be a powerful motivator.

Be a Positive Role Model: 

Lead by example. Imagine the positive ripple effect your behavior can have on those around you. Others may follow suit if you consistently avoid backbiting and practice positive speech. Your actions become a beacon of positivity and integrity for others to emulate.

Seek Forgiveness and Make Amends: 

If you realize you’ve engaged in backbiting, immediately seek Allah’s forgiveness and sincerely try to rectify the situation. Reflect on the relief and inner peace of seeking forgiveness and making amends. If they are aware, apologize to the person you’ve backbit against, and make sincere efforts to rebuild trust. This act of humility can mend broken relationships and promote healing.


Backbiting is a grave sin in Islam, and Muslims must diligently avoid it. We should abstain from committing it and steer clear of situations that may lead to it to avoid displeasing Allah. Surrounding ourselves with virtuous company is crucial, as backbiting often arises in adverse environments fueled by gossip and group dynamics. To prevent it, initiate positive topics in conversations. Choosing good companions reduces the likelihood of falling into this sin by a significant margin.

Additionally, parents must instill Islamic values and Quranic teachings in their children, fostering a deep understanding of Islam. Backbiting is a sin that must be avoided at all costs. The Quran likens it to consuming the flesh of one’s deceased sibling, a horrifying image that should deter every righteous Muslim.