Question & Answer
In what cases is backbiting not haram?

we all know that backbite is haram in islam and my question is, in what cases is backbiting not haram?


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

We begin with Allah’s blessed name, we praise him and we glorify him, seek his forgiveness and ask him to guide us. Whoever Allah guides, None can lead astray and whoever he misguides, None can guide. There is no power and no strength except from Allah, The most high, the Most great, the most powerful. We bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers. We pray for peace and blessings on all the noble messengers and in particular on the last of them all “the blessed prophet Mohammad (pbuh)”

Allah Says in the glorious Quran: O ye 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? Nay ye would abhor it...but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning Most Merciful. QURAN[49:12]

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do you know what is backbiting? They (the Companions) said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion about this that if I actually find (that failing) in my brother which I made a mention of? He said: If (that failing) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbited him, and if that is not in him it is a slander. SAHIH MUSLIM[Book 32 : Hadith 6265]

The valid reasons approved by Islamic law, where backbiting is permissible are:

1. It is permissible for an oppressed person to speak before the judge or someone in a similar position of authority to help him or her establish his or her rights by telling him `so-and-so wronged me and has done such and such to me' etc.

2. It is permissible to seek somebody's assistance in forbidding evil and helping someone change his or her immoral conduct. One can say to the person who can offer such assistance, `so-and-so does such and such evil deeds. Can you urge him?' etc. This is permissible as long as one intends to forbid evil. If, however, one intends something else apart from this, then this act becomes unlawful.

3. One who seeks legal verdict on a certain matter may point out the defaults of another person or relate something else. One in this case can say to the Mufti (religious scholar who issues verdicts): "My father or brother (for example) treated me unjustly. Can I get my right established?'' etc. This is permissible to say only if need be, but it is better to say `What do you think of someone who did such and such?' This does not mean, however, that naming the person in question is not permissible.

4. One who criticizes those who openly commit acts of disobedience, such as drinking wine, gambling, engaging in immoral habits, fornication, hypocrisy, and making mischief.

5. It is permissible to call into question the narrators of Hadith, and witnesses in the court when the need arises. It is also permissible to mention the bad qualities of somebody for marriage purposes in case an advice is sought. Also, if one has noticed that a "seeker of knowledge'' frequently goes to the gatherings of an innovator in religion and one fears that this "seeker of knowledge'' may be affected by this so-called scholar, then he must in this case give advice to the "seeker of knowledge'' by telling him about the "innovator,'' etc.

6. It is permissible to use (NON OFFENCIVE) nick names such as "Al-a`mash'' which means `the blear-eyed' to talk about people who are known by such names for the sake of identification and not for criticizing people and underestimating them. To identify them without resorting to such names is however better.

Imam Al-Bukhari has obviously justified the backbiting of wicked people to save people from being deceived from their appearance. If people are not informed of the real conduct of such persons, their religious as well as worldly life will be exposed to a grave danger. For this reason, the backbiting of wicked persons for the purpose of warning others is permissible.

Hypocrites are also people of mischievous and doubtful conduct. It is, therefore, not only permissible but necessary to make people aware of their real position so that people become cautious about them and their religious and worldly life may remain safe from their machinations.

It is permissible to mention the true facts, virtues and vices without using ambiguity to conceal the truth, about the parties who intend to enter into wedlock provided one does it for their welfare. And Allah alone knows the best.

I ask Allah to make this a sincere effort, seeking his pleasure, and I ask him to grant us refuge in him from the evils within ourselves, and that in our deeds. I ask him to grant us success in achieving whatever pleases him; And May Allah Shower His blessings and mercy upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his family and his Companions and on all those who follow him until the final hour.

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